Trip Planning

Topic 13648 | Page 1

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Clyff A.'s Comment
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Looking at older posts about planning your trips I'm a little unclear on all the details of this. I'm thinking its most likely a basic fundamental of truck driving but if some one could break it down with an example that'd be awesome

Last Shadow's Comment
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Looking at older posts about planning your trips I'm a little unclear on all the details of this. I'm thinking its most likely a basic fundamental of truck driving but if some one could break it down with an example that'd be awesome

Yes please, I am on my last week of super solo and soon I will be on my own, I understand the planning part but I would appreciate someone with experience to brake it down 7th grade level--Barney stile to be clear, my trainer has hit very good points on how to properly plan but would love some fresh and different ways.

Tractor Man's Comment
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I believe it is a part of classroom training at Driving school. At least it is on my itinerary from Swift. I start school next month. In it's basic form it would be using a road atlas to plan fuel stops , mandatory rest breaks, which route you will take to your destination, etc. I,m sure gps, google maps, driving instructions from your Carrier all fit into the mix. I'm an old guy (55). I would think it would be imperative to do Trip Planning the old fashioned way, a map, at least in the beginning. Can't always trust electronic navigation.

Dutch's Comment
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Clyff, first order of business is to write down all your load info. You can use any blank piece of paper, but the truck stops sell trip planning books that work great, allowing you to just fill in the blanks.

You will need this info repeatedly when dealing with customers. Info like pickup numbers, drop numbers, trailer numbers, telephone numbers, stop offs, final destination, as well as contact numbers, in case you need to contact the customer. You will also make note of Interstate exit numbers, as well as local directions that will take you off your main route right into the shipper or receiver.

As far as the route planning itself goes, if you have a GPS, you will enter your customer addresses, as well as your fuel stops. Once you have the info entered, you can then check your GPS to see if the GPS is routing you the same route that matches your company's suggested route.

Sometimes the two match perfectly, but sometimes they do not. It is imperative that you look at your Road Atlas, and get a mental picture of where you are going. One thing I did in the beginning, was to write the name of the city beside any bypass that was along my route. That allowed me to get a better mental picture of exactly which route I was taking in getting the big picture.

I have had some drivers tell me that they just enter the destination address into their GPS, and away they go, with no real idea the route they should be taking. I would advise against this, since your GPS can and will route you needlessly to places you don't need to go, only to have you turn around and go back in the opposite direction you came from.

One thing I will mention here that I feel is a huge blunder for some drivers, is that they do not follow their local directions given by the company. Most of the time, the address provided that you enter into your GPS, is the administration address for the company offices. It will be close to the shipping and receiving dept., but not exactly where you will need to be. Once you leave the Interstate in a 70 foot truck, you will need to know exactly where you are going, by following the local directions EXACTLY as they are given, in order to lead you into the correct driveway. Also, with todays GPS technology, once you have the address entered for your customer, you can go back to your past history and select the same address again, which will allow you to zoom in and out, and follow the route the GPS in taking you into the customer. If it doesn't match, you can take your ink pen or stylus, and highlight certain streets, and route through them, forcing your GPS to match your local directions.

Also, now would be the time to check your Road Atlas index for any low bridges listed along your route. It is a fairly quick and easy process in most states, but some of the older cities have quite a long list. Also, be advised that there are low bridges in some locations, which are NOT listed in the Road Atlas index, so this is one reason it pays to make an honest attempt to follow your suggested route provided by the company.

Over time, the process becomes a lot easier than in the beginning, and once you have been with the same company for awhile, you will begin to service customers repeatedly, which will make the entire process much easier. In fact, over time you will make some runs where you don't need to bother writing down any directions, because you will remember exactly where you are going, and how you will be processed once you get to the customer.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Deb R.'s Comment
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Dutch explained things very well! I especially second his advice to get a good mental picture of where you are going. You will encounter unexpected events along the way, like an accident, that may mean you need to reroute and choose "right or left" on the fly. And, the GPS will sometimes want me to go down a road that is clearly NOT meant for my truck.

After awhile, you will get a sense of how long things are going to take. I use 50 mph as an average, because my truck is governed at 63, I make more potty stops than some folks, and I KNOW that something will probably happen along the way, like a road closure due to rockslide. If all goes well, and I get somewhere sooner than expected, great! But I hate being in a panic, right down to the last minute.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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I'm a company driver so as soon as I get the assignment I list the route on a note pad that hangs on my dash while I'm driving.. after looking at the Atlas I use the truck stop apps to list all the truck stops along the way as well as the number of parking spaces in each... yep.that matters to me. I'm sure to stop as close to the 90 as possible... even better if they have overnight parking. I try to get there as early as possible and will take 8 hrs in the sleeper to extend my 14 hr clock as needed. It took me a couple weeks to figure out how to manipulate that.

As I said in another thread... I drive at night and pull into truck stops around 7am and take a 2 hr break. This bypasses the morning traffic and at the same time keeps me from the night fatigue. Then I drive until after noon and the truck stops are still empty. Sometimes 8 hrs in the sleeper then helps me out with getting to appts such as 2300 times cause it completed the 8 2 split. I also bypass the afternoon work traffic this way.

For me... I avoid traffic and busy truck stop times... less frustration while parking.... and get there early. I've called customers to find out it was a drop n hook and picked up 12 hrs or more early!!!! That allows a couple things.... either haul ass and make more money or take it easy and enjoy the day. I like the freedom.

Rob S.'s Comment
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Lots of great advice. I'll add this nugget. Don't start driving unless you know where you're going to be stopping. Even if it's just a break. I don't roll until I have my GPS set with directions to my next stop.

Clyff A.'s Comment
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Awesome info guys thanks for all your input, that helps me out a lot

Old School's Comment
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I try to get there as early as possible and will take 8 hrs in the sleeper to extend my 14 hr clock as needed. It took me a couple weeks to figure out how to manipulate that.

As I said in another thread... I drive at night and pull into truck stops around 7am and take a 2 hr break. This bypasses the morning traffic and at the same time keeps me from the night fatigue. Then I drive until after noon and the truck stops are still empty. Sometimes 8 hrs in the sleeper then helps me out with getting to appts such as 2300 times cause it completed the 8 2 split. I also bypass the afternoon work traffic this way.

Rainy, that is some great stuff right there - Really good information for anyone who can understand it, and even if you don't you should study it until you can get a grip on what Rainy is doing. These are the kind of things that I find even many twenty year veterans don't get, but they are really helpful towards getting more accomplished - and that is how you make some decent money at this - accomplishing more than the other guys.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

Rainy, that is some great stuff right there - Really good information for anyone who can understand it, and even if you don't you should study it until you can get a grip on what Rainy is doing. These are the kind of things that I find even many twenty year veterans don't get, but they are really helpful towards getting more accomplished - and that is how you make some decent money at this - accomplishing more than the other guys.

YAY I said something good lol thanks

I had to read through the high road section on the 8/2 split quite a few times to understand it. One day I was sitting at Cargill that takes forever.. made sure I was in sleeper... did the 8 hours and was like "hey... I still have 5 hours of drive". I got moving. Later I took a shower and grabbed some food and said "let's see what happens if I'm down for 2 hours." When I got a big chunk of time back I was happy ;)

I know a lot of drivers hate the splits and only do the 10 hour breaks... but to me it sort of breaks of the day. I rarely take a 30 min unless the load is really pressed for time. I especially do it during bad weather too. Driving through snow in Idaho on US 30 was dark and slick. Drove four hours... then at 6am stopped for 2 hours. By that time the sun was up. So next break could be 10 hours or 8 hours depending on when I need to be at customer.

Dispatcher has gotten accustomed to me doing this and if he sees I went straight to sleeper after my 90.. he'll ask me if I want an 8 or 10 b4 he sends the next load. It helps him if he has something that cant wait the 10. Also... when I need more than 10 hrs (like walmart shopping or laundry etc) he has no problem giving me a little extra time. A happy dispatcher Means more miles for me ;)

I've also learned to go sleeper when parked very close to customer. If they won't take me early I creep in...sometimes with 4 hours already in sleeper. By the time they get me in the door and loaded/unloaded it is quite possible my 8 hrs will complete and 14 hour clock extended.

Not.bad for only being solo since valentine's day lol

I really think trainers should teach this stuff.... but honestly many trainers only want TNT for double the miles.

Dispatcher:

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14ยข per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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