10 Things to Remember Before Going on A Long Drive

Strong Tie Insurance July 23, 2020 Commercial Truck Insurance

Every professional trucker understands how important it is to create a plan for each long drive they make. When a trip is well planned, it produces a higher profit and takes away the stress from the drive. Just like commercial truck insurance is a necessary part of each trucker’s business, a proper plan is a critical part of that business’s operations.

What Can Happen on an Unplanned Long Haul?

While many truckers probably get by without planning much of their trips, there are some nasty consequences that can happen. It may take a couple of extra minutes to prepare for your next trip, but it is definitely time well-invested.

Here are some of the most common unintended results from hitting the road without a plan:

  • Running out of gas
  • Over-fueling before scaling, which can cause an overweight issue
  • Not having a convenient place to stop for meals or to sleep
  • Not being close to repair or other essential services are located
  • Extra miles for taking the wrong route, costing the company money
  • Wasted time or being late for the delivery
  • Cause a situation not covered by your long haul trucking insurance

 

Don’t Forget These Ten Things Before Going on a Long Drive

1. Plan by the Trip’s Total Distance Daily

Make sure to take into account stops for bathroom breaks, meals, fueling, border-crossing, weight stations, traffic, weather, etc. It might sound crazy, but calculate trips at 40 miles per hour, and you’ll account for most things that cause delays.

Pay attention to where your trip takes you and adjust accordingly. If you’re driving through Wyoming or staying on I-80, you’ll have a pretty straight-forward route. If you’re going through a major city, you may have additional delays to consider.

Make planning part of your daily routine, even while on the road. This will help you know what’s coming and reduce some of the stress involved with making a long haul.

2. Set Realistic Goals

You want your goal stops to be realistic. You might be tempted to be aggressive in your planning, but don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s always easier to be ahead instead of trying to catch up.

Part of your destination goals should include knowing where essential services are located. This includes repair shops, truck stops, etc. If you prefer to purchase food instead of hitting restaurants, plan your trip with grocery chains, like Walmart, in mind.

3. Save Cash on Fuel

Fuel costs can vary quite a bit from state to state or inside vs. outside of a city. If you do a little research and plan your fuel stops accordingly, you will see huge savings on your overall fuel costs.

It’s never a bad idea to open rewards accounts with gas stations that you frequent, so long as they have them. While you shouldn’t necessarily pay more for fuel to earn points, rewards programs can offer a few nice perks when used.

4. Plan For Parking Real Estate

In some areas, it’s vital that you stop for the night at a reasonable time, otherwise you might find it hard to locate a safe parking space. In some cases, you might even have to pay exuberant fees just to park. Other areas of the country have plenty of spots, so you can push through as late as you want and still find a great place to call it a day.

Check the crime rates of the areas where you plan on stopping. You don’t want to get caught in a situation where theft or vandalism comes into play. Even if your owner operator insurance covers motor carrier insurance, damage to your truck or cargo can slow down the overall delivery. 

5. Pack for the Worst

Always prepare for the worst. That means packing extra food, clothing, and other supplies. If you’re in an accident or get caught in bad weather, you may be forced to settle down before you originally planned. Even with stellar truck insurance, you don’t want to be stuck in a bad situation without supplies.

6. Double-check Directions

Many applications use slightly different methods for determining directions. Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze are some of the most popular. Take a look at each to see where they are similar and where they divert from each other.

Make sure you have an atlas or paper map as well. If your GPS or cell phone is out of range, runs low on battery, or stops working, you’ll want a backup. It’s also wise to write directions down. Many truckers use post-it notes stacked on top of each other to plot their courses.

7. Check the Weather

Weather plays a huge role in making your delivery. If there are significant storms in a particular area, you may need to adjust how fast you expect to make it through. It may not be possible to altogether avoid different kinds of weather, but it at least helps to know what is coming.

8. Update Your ETA throughout the day

It’s always crucial to stay in contact with your driver team leader. That includes updates on your route and your estimated time of arrival. Report any time adjustments that happen during your trip.

If you get ahead of your original schedule and expect to arrive earlier than anticipated, make sure to also update your next-available-time. You might be able to get another load that day, which can mean more money for you. Otherwise, you might have to wait until your original NAT comes. Make sure you have bobtail insurance if you plan on doing any driving without a load while you wait. 

If you end up behind schedule, proper communication lets the customer and your team leader adjust. While no customer likes their orders to be late, they will appreciate knowing what to expect.

9. Give Your Truck a Look

Make sure to do an inspection of your truck before hitting the road. 

  • Tires
  • Fluid levels
  • All lights
  • Windshield and mirrors
  • Wipers
  • Brakes
  • Doors and locks
  • Safety gear

10. Check that You Have Commercial Truck Insurance

Before you hit the road on any trip, short or long, make sure your truck insurance is up-to-date and covers the cargo and journey you’re taking. You don’t want to hit the road only to find that you’re not actually covered for this delivery. 

While you’re examining your long haul trucking insurance, feel free to contact Strong Tie insurance to get a free quote. We offer commercial trucking insurance that not only covers every kind of trip you’ll take but can do so with the best prices in town. Contact us today!