On The Road With Chris: Part 3
Posted on October 26, 2018 at 2:15 PM by Blog Committee
In honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Chris headed out on the road to get a feel for what our drivers experience on a daily basis.
Part 3 (A few of Chris’s thoughts from the week):
- All of the various apps available are useful: myPilot, Weigh My Truck, and Trucker Path to name a few. Weigh My Truck in particular is a huge time saver.
- I tested out the new company specific Transflo app and although it is helpful, we have a few more tweaks before we make it publicly available. The company fuel map is handy too.
- CoPilot Navigation on the Omnitracs IVG is the best I have used but it’s still not perfect, even with a human to interpret it. It takes some work to get the best route. This will be a huge hurdle for autonomous vehicles.
- XM radio is great but isolates you from the local flavor of listening to FM radio like in the old days.
- Pre-Pass and toll transponders are great time savers.
Logistics for Drivers:
- Things like weighing loads and sweeping trailers take quite a bit of time that could be spent driving. If shippers had on-site scales and would clean out the trailers each driver would gain at least a couple of hours per week to drive.
- Parking is another daily challenge that eats into driving time. Anything that can be done to make parking easier would result in more hours of driving.
- Both of these changes could ease the “alleged driver shortage” without needing to add additional drivers or trucks.
- Everything in a truck takes an hour: fueling, showering, getting in and out of a shipper, etc. Drivers have to be patient, there is no other way to deal with it.
- There are lots of options for eating, but they are rarely healthy. It takes some time and effort to make sure that you are able to maintain a proper diet. All of our company trucks have a refrigerator which allowed me to bring groceries with me because of this, I bought only coffee while I was out. I was also able to pack many great products that are made by our customers.
- Lots of drivers are driving equipment that I would not ask our drivers to drive. There are so many good carriers out there, I don’t understand why drivers drive for companies with bad equipment.
- For one interconnected system, the differences in our highway system are interesting. Each state has slight differences in signage, guard rails, bridge designs, entrance and exit ramps, frontage roads and, of course, speed limits.
- Every minute counts. A driver is always on some type of time constraint. The clock is always ticking and it’s not very forgiving. If anyone understands time, it is a truck driver: 30 minute breaks, 8 hours until a required break, 10 hours off (at least 8 in the sleeper), 11 hours to drive, 14 hours to drive and be on duty, 70 hours in 8 days, 34 hour resets, home time, wait time, alone time (lots of this), and all of this across four different time zones.
- Truck drivers are an amazingly diverse group of people. Each night at a truck stop is a melting pot.
- One can only imagine the firsthand knowledge of our drivers with twenty or more years of driving experience. They know all of the roads, all of the places to stop, all of the shippers and receivers. They know because they have been there, they were part of it, they delivered it.
- Trucking is a perpetual motion machine. The industry and its people collectively never stop.
- There’s immense satisfaction in knowing that 40,000 pounds of something made its way across the country because of your efforts. Drivers are the only ones that truly understand what it takes to make this happen.
- Our country is a huge place! It is amazing how densely developed it can be in certain areas and desolate in others. You can see why people settled where they did. Rivers, valleys, natural resources, etc. all hint at why people chose a place.
Written by Chris Hummer, President