As with any profession, truck drivers face their fair share of stress. While even home daily trucking jobs can come with challenges, planning long-haul trips is often pretty cumbersome. Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier. Here are some long-haul planning tips that can make over-the-road (OTR) truck driving less stressful. 

Use a Realistic Timeline

When you’re estimating the amount of time it takes to travel a route, make the timeline realistic. You need to account for issues that may increase driving times, including traffic, construction delays, inclement weather, elevation changes, weigh stations, and border crossings. Additionally, you need to consider the time required for meals, restroom breaks, and sleeping. 

Then, you also want to build in a cushion. By having some extra time beyond your initial calculations, you make the trip less stressful. It will reduce the impact of delays, allowing you to arrive on time even if the unexpected occurs. 

Identify Alternative Routes

Since certain unanticipated events – such as lane-blocking accidents resulting in road closures – can significantly alter your driving time, identify some alternative routes in advance. By doing so, you can take the other path if there’s a known incident along your route, allowing you to bypass stressful problems like stop-and-go traffic. 

In some cases, you can identify alternative routes before your trip. For this, use data or previous experience as an initial guide, letting you figure out where common trouble spots are and how to get around them if needed. However, it’s also wise to examine roadway conditions at the beginning of each day and during meal breaks, allowing you to pivot if an unexpected event causes a problem in a different area. 

Have a Weather Radio 

While truck drivers can typically check the weather on a smartphone during the journey, having a weather radio is wise. They have special receivers that make it easy to receive important weather information as you travel. Plus, most can run for a substantial amount of time on a single set of batteries, and they might be able to provide you with weather information in areas where cell service is spotty. 

Mark Walmart Stores Along Your Route 

Walmart is often less expensive to shop at than truck stops, so knowing where the stores are located can be a money-saver. Plus, Walmart stores have large parking lots, and most locations allow trucks to remain there for up to 24 hours, suggesting they don’t impede customer access to the store. 

Bring Extra Drinks, Food, Supplies, and Clothing

When you’re driving a long-haul route, it’s always wise to have extra drinks, food, supplies, and clothing with you. That ensures you can remain comfortable and fed if you experience a breakdown in a remote area or are stuck in traffic longer than you expect. 

For the clothing, include some options you can layer if any part of your trip goes through a colder area. Having an emergency blanket and heavy coat with you is also wise. Then, if you break down in a spot with frigid temperatures, you can stay warm while you wait for assistance. 

Find The Best CDL Jobs In California Or Texas

Ultimately, the long-haul planning tips above can make a difference. If you’d like to learn more or would prefer to avoid OTR and explore home daily trucking jobs instead, PTS wants to hear from you. Contact us today. 

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