You don’t have to be a veteran truck driver to fully understand the many demands and stresses associated with long hours and days spent on the road and away from home. If you frequently make long-distance trips, here are some tips and tricks that could make such journeys more productive and less physically and mentally demanding.
1. Drive Safely
There are about 500,000 truck-related accidents in the United States each year. So, if you’re on the road regularly for long-distance hauls, pay attention to speed limits and other rules of the road.
2. Maintain Your Truck
You’ll be less likely to be involved in a truck accident if your vehicle is well-maintained. If you are an owner-operator, have a certified mechanic periodically check your vehicle — and document each time this is done.
3. Know When to Stay Off the Road
It’s best to stay off the road when conditions are extremely hazardous, even if it means not being on time with delivery. It’s not worth the risk to try to defy Mother Nature.
4. Don’t Drive While Distracted
Distracted driving remains a serious problem within the trucking industry. These five iPhone 2019 apps are designed to prevent texting while driving.
5. Watch Your Hours
Mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs) make it pretty much impossible to do this today. Even so, you’ll still want to be mindful of how many hours you are clocking behind the wheel, especially during long trips, to avoid unintended violations.
6. Check Your Tires
All it takes is one tire blowout to cause a serious or fatal collision. Reduce this risk by periodically checking your tires.
7. Get Sufficient Sleep
Before you have a scheduled long-distance trip, get a full night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, adults need from 8-10 hours of quality sleep per night.
8. Compare Hotel Prices Ahead of Time
Plan ahead and check out hotel prices at your known stop/rest points when you’ll need overnight accommodations. This will give you the opportunity to compare rates.
9. Consider a Truck Cab Mattress
Another way to catch some Zs while on a long trip is with a truck cab mattress. This product can also literally pay for itself when local hotels are a bit too pricey.
10. Use Drivewyze to Bypass Pesky Weight Stations
The company that makes the app says it allows drivers to bypass weight stations in 36 states and 600-plus inspection sites. A 30-day free trial is offered for both individual drivers and fleets.
11. Get Handy Details with Overdrive’s Trucker Tools
This app helps truckers find rest stops, provides weather updates for areas where you are traveling, and other useful features. It also has a load tracker and a message board you can use to connect with other truckers.
12. Use Trucker Path Pro to Share Tips and Track Loads
With this app, you’ll be able to use an interactive map to share tips with other truckers traveling the same routes. With the posting feature, you can instantly let brokers know you’re ready to haul a new load.
13. Find Efficient Routes with CoPilot Truck Navigation
While this app is a bit pricey, it could pay for itself by helping you quickly find efficient routes during longer trips. The GPS also works offline, which spares you from using too much data.
14. Track Your Expenses with Cost Per Mile
If you’re an owner-operator, this app can literally be a lifesaver! It tracks all of your expenses so you’ll always know how much you are spending per mile, which increases your odds of turning or maintaining a profit.
15. Bring Healthy Snacks
It’s easy to get into the habit of stopping at roadside eateries or filling up on empty calories when on long distance trips. Avoid such temptations by bringing bite-size, healthy snacks along with you like yogurt cups, fruit pieces, dried fruits, and unsalted nuts.
16. Get Regular Checkups
Don’t sacrifice your health just to take more long-distance trips. Between lengthy hauls, get regular checkups so anything potentially serious can be detected and treated ASAP.
17. Exercise When Not On the Road
Between trips, find some time to either go to the gym or find healthy forms of exercise you can enjoy at home or in your neighborhood. Possibilities include core strength workouts, jogging, cycling, swimming, elliptical machine use, and even yoga and Pilates.
18. Stretch While On the Road
Long-distance trips can mean hours behind the wheel. Take some time when stopped to do simple stretches to keep your joints and supporting muscles flexible and sufficiently stimulated.
19. Use Support Items
If you have existing issues with back or neck pain, long trips can aggravate joints, bones, soft tissues, and nerves. Minimize this possibility by bringing lumbar or neck cushions, heated seats to stimulate circulation and other support items with you.
20. Stay Connected to Loved Ones
There are many ways to remain connected with family members and friends while on the road. In addition to periodic phone calls, you can always send texts, video chat, or even arrange for in-person meetings at points where you’ll have a resting period.
21. Find a Good Work-Life Balance
Longer trips can mean more money. But it’s just as important to avoid over-stressing yourself or sacrificing important relationships. Make a commitment to finding an appropriate work-life balance that’s right for you.