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A huge part of trucking is all about time! Appointments, regulations, distances required to deliver on time. Planning has to start when you first get your load information. The clock starts the minute you get your dispatch, getting to a shipper on time is so important because some of them will make you reschedule your delivery appointment if you are late.
Always plan your trip with a cushion, build in extra time for things that are out of your control, such as construction backups, accidents, bad weather, breakdowns or a multitude of other things. These things do happen and will whittle away your time; causing you to run late for your delivery. No matter what happens, ALWAYS BE SAFE! No load is worth endangering your life or the lives of the people who share the road with you.
If you have a multiple stop load, one consignee can make a real mess out of the rest of your load. I was held up at one stop for 3 hours for 80 cases and yet at another it took only 10 minutes to get 10 totes. You just never know how it’s going to go.
If you have a dedicated route, or have a few Interstates you travel regularly, you learn where your fuel stops are. You’ll also know which roads are under construction (or typically are) but you can never predict a traffic jam due to an accident that could cost you hours of valuable time. We can plan for the best, but when the worst happens you have to communicate with dispatch, your shipper or receiver. Many receivers will work with you if you call them, others will simply reschedule your appointment and you’ll have to abide by that. Call anyway, it is part of the job.
Make the most of your home time by doing chores like laundry and cleaning the cab interior when you are sitting for a few hours at a truck stop. It’s always such a production to load and unload everything you need each time you get home but that too is part of the job we do. Doing some of those types of chores while away saves us valuable time at home. We all have such limited time at home that we need to manage that time well too. Our families are our priority when we go home and catching up with them and spending precious time with our loved ones is time well spent.
With all of the rule changes, time management is more important than ever. And yes, it seems to get harder than ever too. It does appear that the new hours of service rules make it more difficult, on many of us at least, to get enough rest. We have to find a way to adapt to them. We have both said, for many years, that we are not “like normal people”. “Normal” people get to call in advance to make an appointment for their doctor, dentist, hairdresser and others because they have the same hours on the same days every week. For those of us who drive over the road, unless you get a dedicated run and know exactly where you are going to be and when you are getting home every week, that kind of “normal” is elusive. It’s just another part of what we do, a choice we made when we got our CDL. Yet another example of how we can practice using time management skills – – by arranging those appointments when we are headed home!
Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!