Driving a truck is a job that many a young kid in the USA aspires to. But when they see the reality of it – long trips alone in the wilderness, cold and damp days and the problems that come with it – they realise that it’s not the glamourous job they once believed. Still, many do go on to be drivers – often those who’s dad and grandpa were truckers – and enjoy, so what are the things truck drivers do to make life easier on the road? Here’s nine of the top truckers tips we came across!
1: Keep Your Mobile Phone Charged
This may sound like basic common sense, but it’s amazing how often truckers set out with little charge on the phone and no charger! This isn’t just going to get in the way of keeping it touch, but it also means they may miss out on important traffic information and have no way of contacting anyone in an emergency. The phone should be fully charged at the start of the journey, and always pack a charger. A quick call to loved ones when in the middle of nowhere really can help.
2: Change of Clothes
Driving from one side of the USA to the other, or north to south, means encountering many different possible weather conditions along the way. It’s not unusual to set out from one place in bright sunshine and arrive to freezing weather at the other end. This is why a change of clothes – or more than one if the journey is very long – is essential if you are too be comfortable at all points of the journey, so packing carefully is a necessity.
3: Well-Maintained Truck
Having a truck that is reliable is a major bonus for any long-distance truck driver, and this means keeping up with maintenance. Quality parts suppliers such as finditparts.com are important here as sub-standard parts can lead to problems. Trucks have to work hard so only quality or original parts will do. Make sure the truck is serviced regularly and has consumable parts replaced before they are due to be, just to be safe.
4: Plan Ahead
It may be a journey you’ve done many times, but planning in advance is still essential. You need to get an idea of the weather along the way, any potential hold ups and alternative routes, where there is work going on and other problems. It’s always worth remembering where there are tolls to pay, and where you can stop in the case of emergencies. Fuel stops also need planning so don’t leave them out!
5: Know Your Truckstops
If you are a regular on a route you will have your choice of truck stops that you prefer, so plan your journey around the best ones. Some are not up to scratch while others offer great facilities, and it pays to get known in the right ones. This also means that someone will know where you are meant to be at any one point of the journey which is a bonus for safety. You’ll need something to pass the time when you’re off-duty so here’s a great book about trucking that makes for a good read!
When trucks run in convoy it’s not just for fun, it’s also a fuel-saving measure and – when in remote areas – one of security. Truckers will always help each other in the event of a problem and with so many trucks on the road it is sometimes easy to meet up with other trucks on the road, let them know you’re tagging along and taking your turn at the front! The sense of brotherhood – or sisterhood now there are many lady truckers out there – helps allay the loneliness that can often prevail when truckers are out in the wilderness, so join a convoy if you can.
7: Keep a Snack Handy
You never know when hunger may strike, and it could be when you’re hours from anywhere with a shop! A good trucker keeps a snack handy all the time – not something that will go off and smell, but food that will keep for length of time – ready to tuck into a stave off that hunger. It makes a lot of sense as hunger can lead to lack of concentration which, when you’re behind the wheel of a heavy rig, means danger. Don’t go hungry, pack a few things to eat and if you are passing a shop you know is the last for a while, stop in and stock up. This also applies to water, as a few bottles will always be needed by truckers on the move.
8: Pack a Sleeping Bag
Now this may come down to personal choice as some drivers like to take a blanket or two, but a sleeping bag is by far the most convenient bedding to carry. They are designed to be compact and light, and yet are great at insulating against the cold, and are perfect for use in the cab or in a truck stop where you may not be too happy about the bedding. A good sleeping bag will last a long time if cared for, so make sure you go quality.
9: Drive Safely
The best way to have an easy trip is to take it easy, settle into your rhythm and keep safe. Brake early and be aware of others on the road, use the gears with other traffic in mind, and keep to the routes you have planned. Safety is a great aid to having a successful, simple trip and will help you keep relaxed too.
That’s nine tips we have found that will help a trucker enjoy a comfortable and trouble-free journey, so check them out and see which ones you might have overlooked. There are many more things that can be done to make life easier, but the simple fact is it’s all about knowing where you’re going, what you will encounter on the way, and where you can stop safely when necessary.