The Importance of Planning Ahead

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Driver News

There are only so many hours in a day. As professional drivers it’s important that we utilize that time in a very efficient manner if we expect to sustain a good level of productivity and make it to our destination safely.


When we get a load offer over the PeopleNet system the first thing we need to do is verify that we have more than “just enough” hours to safely and legally run that load. We need to allow ourselves a time cushion of a few extra hours above the predicted transit time in case an unexpected problem takes place en route.

Do you have the proper PERMITS?

Certain states may require permits that are not in our permit book. As an example, any commercial vehicle operating in the state of Oregon will need to obtain a truck-specific Weight-Mile Tax Permit prior to entering the state. If you are picking up and delivering a particular load within the state of Texas (which is legally referred to as “intrastate hauling”), you will need to contact a terminal and obtain a Texas Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Certificate of Registration (which is often referred to as a Texas Intrastate Permit).

Did you plan your trip to allow yourself time to shut down and park in a safe and legal spot?

Depending upon where you are to end your day places to safely and legally park may be filling up by early afternoon. It can even be difficult to find a parking spot at some of our terminals late in the day. Not all of our customers allow on-site overnight parking—and parking on the street outside their gate may not be the safest option for a number of reasons.

If you complete your pick up or delivery late in the day and the customer won’t allow you to take a break on their property, utilizing the reserved parking at a nearby truck stop may be your best option.

Are you managing your time properly?

When we look at the 14-hour window we have to work within daily we need to make the most of that time. When live loading and unloading at customers it helps to find out whether or not they have on-site overnight parking before you arrive. If they do then you can use that to your advantage by getting there early enough to take a legal 10-hour break. You won’t need to start your 14-hour clock until your shipper loading or receiver unloading is completed and you are doing your pre-trip inspection. That will allow you to make productive use of your day and cover some miles on your trip.

Did you get good truck-legal directions to your shippers, stop-offs and receivers? 

We can easily access truck-legal directions to most locations in our customer base via the PeopleNet system in our trucks. If they are not available, try to contact the customer’s shipping and receiving department to get them. While a GPS can be used as a tool to help you find the streets that are in your truck-legal directions it is important that you do not rely on that device to route you. Even the top-rated truck-specific GPS units cannot be trusted for routing purposes. You could be directed to a road that isn’t legal for trucks and/or may have low clearances that cannot accommodate a 13′ 6″ tall trailer.

Does your route have TOLL ROADS? Got CASH?

While our EZ-Pass toll transponders cover the tolls in certain states, others like Oklahoma and the north section of the Florida Turnpike will require you to stop at a toll booth and pay in cash. Attended toll booths in Kansas will accept cash, credit, or debit cards. Don’t forget to save those receipts and submit them via Transflo for reimbursement.