Are you new to truck driving? Of the many questions asked by rookie drivers, one of the most common is how many miles you should be driving. While this is a reasonable question, the better question to ask is how do you manage your time? Truck driver time management is so important because without it you are not only going to be less efficient, you are going to run the risk of burning yourself out or compromising safety. The following are some tips to help you manage time better and make your new job safer and less stressful.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Veteran Drivers
Don’t go asking a driver who’s been at it for years how many miles they are averaging. At least not for a while. Comparing your stats to theirs or trying to match what they are doing is a mistake. It takes time to be able to get where they’re at. That’s why they are veterans.
Planning Ahead Is Smart
Don’t just wing it. Careful planning of routes stops, and resting will keep things running as smoothly as possible. Also factor delays and the unexpected into your planning. Of course, you can’t anticipate everything, but you can plan to be flexible and you can be as informed as possible. For example, traffic has a huge impact on your trip. While you can’t predict traffic all the time, you can plan your trip to avoid being on the road during peak traffic times.
Plan for loading and unloading times. If you can get this done early and as efficiently as possible, you’ll be ahead of the game, which is where you want to be. The time you save gives you more flexibility and makes you less likely to try to rush other things to make up lost time.
Bottom line: You want to plan as best you can to avoid traffic, to load and unload quickly and early if possible and to research your routes and stops. Even with that, you’ll find that there is no substitute for experience. As you go, you’ll learn more and that is what will maximize your productivity.
Always Prioritize Rest
Don’t make the mistake of pushing yourself or skimping on rest. Be sure you are getting enough because if you aren’t, you’ll feel it. You will not save time or log more miles by cutting your rest time. You might gain a temporary edge but in the long run, it’s just not sustainable. Sleep deprivation is not only dangerous, but it affects your ability to make smart decisions and be productive. The well-rested person will always perform better than the sleep-deprived person, hands down. Along the same lines, it’s important to pace yourself. Rushing can actually cause you to lose time, not gain it. Rushing will also increase your chances of mistakes that will set you back or put you and others in danger.
Remember, you are just starting your journey. Truck driver time management is a skill like anything else. Pace yourself, plan ahead, learn from any mistakes and always get enough rest. As you gain experience you will find that your time management skills improve, your mileage goes up and your paychecks will do the same.