The key to becoming a successful driver is trip planning. In the present economic environment with the skyrocketing price of diesel, trip planning has gained an added importance. To be successful as a driver, you'll always want to carefully plan out your trip so that you can get the required rest and arrive early.
There are several key factors involved in proper trip planning. The driver must calculate time to travel the required distance for the load to include all dead head miles. The driver must also calculate available hours to drive so that he/she can complete the load legally within the DOT regulations. Several other factors to consider are the times for the pick and delivery of the load, traffic patterns through major cities as well as the weather to name a few.
Trip planning involves taking the entire miles for the trip and dividing it by a reasonable mile per hour rate. Also a driver will not be able to maintain the maximum speed limits in most states due to geographical limits.
Another factor that has to be considered for over the road truck drivers is time zones. If you're traveling west from the New York to Los Angeles, Ca. you'll actually gain three hours because of the time zones. Likewise traveling back east you'll loss three hours.
So to properly trip plan a load you'll have to include all of these factors and along with several others. Distance, time, weather, speed, traveling conditions and most importantly rest. Yes considering how much rest you've had or need is another thing you must factor into trip planning if you plan to succeed. Fatigue is one of the major problems that effect truck drivers, especially when it comes to performing their jobs in a safe and successful manner.
Every day on the road is different and no one set of guidelines can cover every possibility. To be successful as a professional truck driver you'll want to always be on time for both your pick ups and deliveries so you don't have to waste valuable time sitting.
Blurb taken from an article by Steven Easley. Read the full article here: