Aside from good communication between driver and dispatcher, drivers must truly have a good understanding of the hours of service and their own available hours along with understanding their own driving habits. Trip planning is an essential responsibility of a driver. OTR drivers must be able to estimate, calculate and more importantly execute the trip plan in order to be efficient. A proper understanding increases the driver’s profitability. Poor trip planning can increase a driver’s stress, frustration and may lead to unsafe behaviors because they feel rushed all the time. Drivers who are good at trip planning know when to say no and then can relay to their dispatchers what they can complete in a smooth safe trip. This will help dispatchers find loads more effectively and keep drivers happy and safe.
There are plenty of tools out there on the internet for those who are not as capable of planning their dispatched loads (ex. Trucker Path Trip planning). However, if you can utilize just a few of the following suggestions you will increase your efficiency and profitability.
- Understand your own hours of service availability.
- When planning a trip calculate all the time needed for the following
- Know your Start Time/ Know your End Time
- 30 minute rest breaks between 6.5 -8 hours into your day
- 10 hour rest breaks
- How much drive time will I need – increase by 2 hours to give yourself a buffer.
- Plan your fuel stops – how much fuel and when
- Allow a minimum of 2 hours for loading and unloading
- Know the area you are traveling
- Is this a city delivery with traffic and limited parking
- Construction ( can always look up on the web)
- Will they allow you to stay on premises (you can always call ahead of time)
Drivers will always be responsible for knowing their own hours and making sure they arrive on time at the shipper and receiver. Good driving habits and trip planning practices will always keep drivers legal and profitable.