Keeping Yourself Out Of A Jam: Interstate, Freeways, Secondary Roads, Backroads

Topic 30047 | Page 1

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Joshua S.'s Comment
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I was wondering if anyone has any advice or general comments to eliminate risk.

In my opinion, driving on major interstates is more-or-less "point and shoot". Very little chance of getting into trouble; however, as we exit onto smaller roads that changes. For example, a GPS "short cut" can place you on very tight back roads, low clearance bridges or roads that don't allow semi trucks.

Is there a general rule of thumb like, stick to interstates and major highways whenever possible?


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

PackRat's Comment
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Trip planning in advance whenever possible. Know where you're going before you start rolling.

Use all available resources such as Google Earth satellite view, a trucking road atlas, the GPS, your company directions, and directions from the customer.

Jamie's Comment
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Another tip, when you do find yourself in a bind or that you missed your turn. Pull over as soon as you possibly can to figure out a solution. I’ve saved myself so much time and headache by pulling over and pulling up something such as google maps, etc to figure out a good plan on getting back on track.

Especially out east where there are so many low bridges, I’ve been to a few customers where there is only one route into the customer and any other way has a low bridge. One time in Buffalo, NY, I actually went past my customers entrance and not even 150 yards ahead was a low bridge. But I simply stopped before getting myself into a service bind to think of a plan. Of course my plan was simple, backup when the lane was cleared. Which took longer than expected due to high traffic in the area.

But basically, just don’t get ahead of yourself and keep driving because you don’t think you can stop to figure out a plan. Because I’ve done it, even right in the middle of my lane. Just put my flashers on and stopped.


Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Mikey B.'s Comment
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In New York and New Jersey stay off the parkways. Dont blindly follow GPS regardless of what road you're on. Always and I repeat, ALWAYS READ THE SIGNS...ALL OF THEM.

Generally your GPS shouldn't take you down any backroad shortcuts to get you into trouble, you should be running a commercial vehicle GPS which will usually route you out of the way to AVOID small streets or restricted streets.

Thinking that major interstates are "point and shoot" is what will get you into trouble. Nothing is routine, never get comfortable, always be on the lookout for trouble or it will find you while you're sleeping at the wheel.


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

Old School's Comment
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Dont blindly follow GPS regardless of what road you're on. Always and I repeat, ALWAYS READ THE SIGNS...ALL OF THEM.

Mikey makes an excellent point. A GPS is a helpful tool, but it's not infallible. The signs are some of the most important information you will depend on. After you've built up some experience out here you will find that you are paying a lot more attention to the signs than you are the GPS. Signs are going to save your tail more than once. They are critical pieces of way-finding information.

Check out this article. I think you will find it helpful.

Don't You Dare Miss That Sign!

Optical's Comment
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Another thing to keep in mind, the local police aren't some monster to hide from. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where the only option is a u-turn or you can't figure out the escape. You can call the local police and they will help. More than anything, they don't want you on their streets tieing up traffic any more than you want to be sitting there wondering how the hell you're going to get out of the mess you've found yourself in. A very close person to me is a driver and they've called the local police more than a couple times. They've come out and blocked traffic while she pulled u-turns and gave her safest directions to get to where she needed to go.

Missed turns, wrong turns, general mistakes happen. Just don't be afraid to ask for help and know what tools you have at your fingertips and how to use them.

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