Avoiding Wrong Turns as a Truck Driver
There aren’t many things that are more nerve-wracking in the day-to-day job of a truck driver than making sure you’re on time. Accounting for any number of incidents along the route takes extra planning and care along the way. Let’s take a look at the ways technology can help us out there.
Dynamic Transit is one of the few companies out here who still allow the truckers to choose their own routes, but that doesn’t mean they leave their drivers out in the wind. Each Dynamic truck is fitted with Rand McNally electronic Logs with GPS navigation. (Here’s a link to last week’s blog on e-logs if you’re curious about those.)
Rand McNally GPS navigation factor in the best routes for trucks. Their mapping systems account for low overpasses, small bridges, truck routes, etc.
As great as Rand McNally GPS is, it is only a map view. Google Maps offers a function for street view. That puts you right on the street in front of the address you selected to take a real life look around. You can also move up and down the street, or anywhere else along your route for that matter, to take a closer look at turns, driveways, or intersections.
However, sometimes Google Maps can be inaccurate. The images for the street view are not live satellite pictures. They’re taken when the Google car drives that route with all of its many cameras. That means that things could have changed since the picture was taken, like seasons or construction. Google Maps also doesn’t provide truck routes like Rand McNally does. However, in case of a loss of signal, you can download a Google map and directions to your phone to hold onto it.
It never hurts to call ahead to your shipper or receiver. In fact, they’re the best place for you to start, because in all likelihood, your dispatcher probably never tried to pull a truck into those locations. A shipper or receiver is going to be happy to take your call to help you arrive on time and provide any special instructions around them, especially the further out they are.
I worked for a small (two shipments/week) manufacturer in the country. Rand McNally and Google always directed the drivers down the road right in front of us, but it never told them that the funds for the county’s bridge replacement project ran dry and they were heading towards a 5’ ditch.
For those times when technology fails us, there’s always the good ol’ CB radio to fall back on. Many of Dynamic’s drivers are hauling in the Pacific Northwest. There are a lot of gaps in digital coverage out there. If you haven’t saved your route to your phone, it can’t hurt to call out to somebody around you for some direction. Many shippers have CBs on hand to talk drivers in for just those instances.