When it comes to life on the open road, nobody knows it better than the professionals. As someone who spends 3-4 months out of the year driving across the country, I would consider myself quite the seasoned road warrior – however I pale in comparison to these guys. Truckers know better than anyone else what it takes to gear up for that long drive, in fact they have it down to a science. Here are some tips from a professional truck driver on preparing for your next road trip.
Map It Out
Nowadays thanks to the conveniences of smart phones, it’s easy for drivers to hop in their cars, open up their Google Maps application, enter Points A & B and voila, a per-calculated route for their trip just like that. However, according to the pros, a GPS will only get you so far on those long treks.
Commercial drivers will tell you it’s important to not only have your route mapped out before you leave, but to really know your route as well. Is your destination in a dense urban area? What landmarks are near that exit you need to take? What’s the speed limit in one state vs. another? Factors such as these are very important for helping you reach your destination.
Make It a Smooth Ride
As professional drivers, truckers are commonly paid by the mile and are constantly driving against the clock in order to make deadlines. Because of this, it is of the utmost important that they make their trip as efficient as possible.
To ensure a smooth trip there are a couple things that can be avoided (if possible). One major impediment driver’s face would have to be mountain passes. Many passes across the country can be quite treacherous for drivers and when combined with inclement weather could potentially bring a halt to your trip.
When asking a truck driver, they’ll tell you the best route when traveling cross-country is through the southern states where the land is more flat and there is less chance of nasty weather.
For their own safety, commercial truck drivers are mandated by law to take at least a 30 minute break for every 8 hours of driving. If you were to ask them, most will say they stop to take a breather more often than that.
Breaks are key to remaining awake and at attention while driving and are very important to the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. Knowing when the next rest stop will be is always a good idea, especially when driving at night or in inclement weather. Trucker’s will tell you if you can’t make it to a rest area, the next best thing is exit the highway and pull over on an entrance ramp where you are more likely to be visible to other drivers.
Early Bird Gets The Worm
For anyone that has been on a long and grueling road trip, they know that there is nothing worse than driving in the dark. Driving at night is incredibly dangerous, not to mention boring, and should be avoided whenever possible.
The best way to avoid driving in the dark is to leave early in the morning. Not only does leaving early allow for a full day of daylight, it also prepares you for any hiccup you may encounter while on the road (flats, construction, traffic, etc.).
Next time you’re planning a road trip with the family, or maybe just a long drive for the fun of it, take these trucker tips into account. If you want to become a true road warrior, you might as well learn from the best.
About The Author: Reggie Sizemore is the self-proclaimed King of the Open Road. With a lifelong affinity for all things auto, Reggie has spent much of the past decade on the road. Combined with his love for traveling, Reggie has driven all over North America, and even South America. In his free time Reggie works as a freelance writer, covering nearly everything and anything related to the automobile industry. Reggie specializes in covering the car transport industry and frequently writes on behalf of American Auto Move.