Time Management

Topic 21127 | Page 1

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Travis H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone, I'm just about to enter my 4th week solo driving. I've made it this far without getting seriously lost, I haven't had any accidents, andi haven't gotten any citations. Those were my 3 biggest fears about becoming a truck driver. My big problem right now is time management. As of now I've been late to several customers, can't seem to get ahead on anything, and twice now I've driven over my legal 11 hours, only by a little bit but it's still not good. it's been frustrating. Is this normal for new drivers? Any tips on how to better manage your time or is this something that will come with experience?

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Are your appointments too tight? Who are you driving for?

It's normal to be late once or twice at first, but several times is not good at all considering it's a primary requirement of our profession to be punctual.

The first thing you need to do is properly plan your trip before you even start it. Assuming you're in a governed truck, plan your trips at no more than 50 mph. So if you have an 850 mile trip, you know it should take you roughly 17 hrs of On Duty time. To clarify, I'm not saying it'll take you 17 hrs of driving to get there--the 17 hrs includes fueling, pre/post trips, and 30 minute breaks. You only have 11 hrs of drive time each day, so you can count on 11-12 hrs to work each day before you have to take a 10 hr break. So for that 850 mile (17 hr) trip, you know you'll only be able to work 12 hrs before you have to take a 10 hr break. Then you can finish the remaining 5 hrs the next day. After accounting for the 10 hr break, your total trip time is 27 hrs from right now. This method always works--I know, because I have used it ever since I got into trucking almost 2 years ago and I have never been late to a customer.

The second thing you need to do is plan on being at least 2 hrs early to every customer, every time. So plan your trip like I explained above, and then tack on an extra 2 hrs for unexpected delays. So instead of 27 hrs, you need to account 29 hrs for your trip. Count 29 hrs from the time you can start your trip and see how it matches up with the appointment time--if it is at or before your appointment time, you're good. If not, contact dispatch and tell them you can't make it. They should get you something else or try to change the appointment time. If they tell you to run with it anyways, make sure they put that in writing so you don't take the hit for being late to the customer.

Always always always try to be early. The earlier the better. You never know what kind of delays you may encounter on your trip, so be ahead of the game so you can still arrive on time or early to your customer.

I'm sure others will chime in with slightly different methods for trip planning, but you'll find that we all try to get there early and allow extra time for delays. Hope this helps. Good luck

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

I forgot to say congrats on getting your career going lol. And good on you for not getting any tickets or accidents so far. Keep up the good work there.

If you don't already have it, download the TruckerPath app on your phone and use it to determine where you'll stop at the end of each shift. It's worth its weight in gold. You can use the parking status history to determine which truck stops should have parking when you'll be ending your day. It's a good idea to have a few different stops planned for the end of the day just in case you don't get to the one you want to park at or it doesn't have parking when you arrive. Also consider parking at your customers when possible in order to maximize your clock and possibly get unloaded early sometimes. If you have an 8 am appointment, you can arrive at midnight and get unloaded while on your 10 hr break so you're ready to roll with a fresh clock at 10 am.

Travis H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks I appreciate it. My company is giving me plenty of time to make the customer I'm just not managing my time right, that's what's getting me. thanks for the advice.

I forgot to say congrats on getting your career going lol. And good on you for not getting any tickets or accidents so far. Keep up the good work there.

If you don't already have it, download the TruckerPath app on your phone and use it to determine where you'll stop at the end of each shift. It's worth its weight in gold. You can use the parking status history to determine which truck stops should have parking when you'll be ending your day. It's a good idea to have a few different stops planned for the end of the day just in case you don't get to the one you want to park at or it doesn't have parking when you arrive. Also consider parking at your customers when possible in order to maximize your clock and possibly get unloaded early sometimes. If you have an 8 am appointment, you can arrive at midnight and get unloaded while on your 10 hr break so you're ready to roll with a fresh clock at 10 am.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations on your first month solo. Many people have trouble with time management. As you get better at backing, you can get in and out of shippers/receivers quicker. That will help. You have an 11 hour clock and 14 hours to use it. Like Pianoman said plan all trips at 50 mph. Figure you can run 550 miles in 12 hrs. Question 1, where will you sleep? Now you have to do a pre-trip, at least 15 minutes. 30 minute break. That's leaves you with 10 hours to drive. (If you take a 30 minute break at a truck stop, it will take at least 45 minutes. From the time you slow down to get off the interstate to the time you get back to highway speed when you get back on.) If you stop at a rest stop to use the rest room, that's 15 to 20 minutes. Allow an extra hour to go around a large city. If you have a drop hook at a distribution center allow at least 1 hour. Use Google maps, satellite view to look at how to get into and out of shippers and receivers. Also if you are still having problems talk with your DM to see if they have any tips for you. Make sure you have an atlas, that can help you see the big picture of your trip. You can make more miles in a day out West then you can in the Northeast. Mountains can slow you down as well. Also, write your directions down on paper and tape it where you can read it easily while driving. I hope this helps.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Plan the night before what you'll do tomorrow. If you need to get 500 miles, figure how long that will take-figure 10 hours driving, as Pianoman explained. Somewhere in the first 8 hours, you'll need that 30 minute pause. Use your phone, atlas, company routing, etc to figure out where you will stop. I always use an A, B and C plan in case something unexpected happens such as weather, traffic, terrain, parking, etc. I also write all this down the night before, so I'll know where I plan to stop. Keep track of your miles and your clock. Make a plan and stick to the plan. Failure to plan is planning to fail. The more you do this, the better you'll get at it. Eventually it will become second nature.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

The biggest thing that I do to maximize my time is to never ever never allow myself to fall into the "oh I've got plenty of time" trap.

No matter how much of a time cushion I think I have, I still get to my destination as soon as I can. Then if I still have that cushion, I can relax and enjoy it at the end of the trip knowing there will be no delays to slow me down.

For example: If I estimate a trip to take 16 drive hours, I never split it up into two 8 hr shifts like some do. I'll drive as far as I can the first day, up to 11 hrs, leaving a short 5 hr hop on the 2nd day.

You never know when an unexpected delay will come up. So maximize your drive hours when you can first.

Everyone has their own method, but this works best for me. I get crazy high miles every week, and I've never been late.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Are you taking excessive breaks? For instance not leaving right away when your 1 hour break is complete? Maybe taking a 30 minute break too soon and end up having to take 2 30 minute breaks? Taking too long to do a drop and hook? (15 minutes on duty time is plenty). Forgetting to take yourself off duty?

When you say you're not managing your time well,. How do you log loading, unloading, fueling, drop and hooks, scaling, fueling, pre and post trips, etc? what comes to my mind is that you're wasting time either during your work shift, or you're logging your work activities in such a way that you're severely limiting your hours of service and reducing your earnings potential..

So is it one, the other, or both?

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not going to try to repeat any of the good advice here. (well, maybe a little bit)

In my first weeks OTR and out of school, I used up too much time during any given day. It had to do with the HOS rule of being On Duty whenever someone is loading, or if you are getting repairs, etc. (go look it up). Another driver (yes sometimes the anonymous driver you chat with may have some good advice! Just take those grains of salt.) said to log enough On Duty time to cover paperwork, then any waiting, including while you have a live load or any other time you are not driving or messing with paperwork, is OFF DUTY. This driver's added opinion: "Nobody will be looking at this, anyway!"

The thing of getting to your customer (shipping or receiving) the night before, you can allow them to load/unload your truck while your 10 hour clock is ticking. I've done this at both the start and the end of my 10 hour break. Pianoman was the first to mention this. Also, you can put-put your truck (a technical term) around the yard as needed without blowing your rest break.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you Pianoman. Thats where I'm studying now. I put that one in my copy and save file. I'm heading to SWIFT in Lewiston,Id 1/2/18. Trying to get a jump on some of this stuff. It's absolutely fascinating, I had no idea what trip planning would be like. Keep pouring out the advice. All the others that are helping us newbs, thank you as well.

Are your appointments too tight? Who are you driving for?

It's normal to be late once or twice at first, but several times is not good at all considering it's a primary requirement of our profession to be punctual.

The first thing you need to do is properly plan your trip before you even start it. Assuming you're in a governed truck, plan your trips at no more than 50 mph. So if you have an 850 mile trip, you know it should take you roughly 17 hrs of On Duty time. To clarify, I'm not saying it'll take you 17 hrs of driving to get there--the 17 hrs includes fueling, pre/post trips, and 30 minute breaks. You only have 11 hrs of drive time each day, so you can count on 11-12 hrs to work each day before you have to take a 10 hr break. So for that 850 mile (17 hr) trip, you know you'll only be able to work 12 hrs before you have to take a 10 hr break. Then you can finish the remaining 5 hrs the next day. After accounting for the 10 hr break, your total trip time is 27 hrs from right now. This method always works--I know, because I have used it ever since I got into trucking almost 2 years ago and I have never been late to a customer.

The second thing you need to do is plan on being at least 2 hrs early to every customer, every time. So plan your trip like I explained above, and then tack on an extra 2 hrs for unexpected delays. So instead of 27 hrs, you need to account 29 hrs for your trip. Count 29 hrs from the time you can start your trip and see how it matches up with the appointment time--if it is at or before your appointment time, you're good. If not, contact dispatch and tell them you can't make it. They should get you something else or try to change the appointment time. If they tell you to run with it anyways, make sure they put that in writing so you don't take the hit for being late to the customer.

Always always always try to be early. The earlier the better. You never know what kind of delays you may encounter on your trip, so be ahead of the game so you can still arrive on time or early to your customer.

I'm sure others will chime in with slightly different methods for trip planning, but you'll find that we all try to get there early and allow extra time for delays. Hope this helps. Good luck

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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