When you are a trucker your livelihood depends on your ability to get to your destination as quickly as possible. This requires you to commit to a trip check list for preparation. After all, the last thing you need is to have to take a detour to go buy essentials, such as a pair of work gloves or lunch items, because you forgot to pack them. Take charge of your next trip, whether you are a trucking company preparing your drivers or an independent trucker.
Step 1: Plan Your Route
Before you hit the gas you need to plan your route. Your commercial truck may be fitted with a GPS system, but you can’t depend on that for route planning. As a trucker you experience all kinds of detours due to things beyond your control, such as road construction and bad weather. Additionally, regular GPS systems are not equipped to handle big rig routes, which differ due to road weight limits and height restrictions. Your best bet is to get a good old atlas and plan not one, but two routes, using your pen and paper. Then you can use a GPS system as a backup method.
Step 2: Conduct a Pre-Trip Inspection
All truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to do a pre-trip inspection. This involves checking your engine, fluids, tires, lights, brake system, and coupling devices. It is a good idea to have a pre-trip inspection checklist in your hand so you can be sure not to miss anything. In addition to ensuring your safety, a pre-trip inspection protects your equipment. Also, if you are stopped by a DOT inspector during your trip you can rest assured that everything should be A-OK since you’ve checked your rig before your ride.
Step 3: What to Pack
Having a backpack or suitcase ready to roll when you have a trucking job is essential. You’ll need the basics of a change of clothing for each day out, along with personal hygiene products and lounge wear. But have you considered the weather conditions of your destination? For example, if you are from the South and preparing for a trip to NYC in November, you’d better pack a winter coat, snow boots and waterproof gloves. An easy way to cover this base is to check the weather forecast along your route. Along with clothing and bathroom products, you’ll want to grab some snacks to eat along the way. Think of easy to manage foods, such as sandwiches, fresh fruit, and veggies with dips. Stick to healthier items so you can avoid feeling sluggish, which can cause you to slow your pace on the road.
Whether you run a trucking company or you run solo, a trip check list can help you increase your bottom line.