One of the mistakes a driver makes early in his career is trusting the directions you are handed. This means when you miss a turn, or they made a mistake, you are in big trouble because you have no idea where you are.
Get A Bigger Picture
If you plan your route by looking at a map and seeing how those directions play out, you are ahead of the game.Take advantage of all the information available to plan your route before you start. Check on road construction, truck-friendly detours, and don’t rely on a GPS for a car because they don’t think about bigger vehicles when they suggest a route. Neither does Google Maps. Use information that is designed for high, long, hard-to-maneuver trucks, like a Rand-MacNally Motor Carrier’s Road Atlas or similar products.
Know exactly how high your truck is. This is serious stuff…get out and measure if you don’t know for sure. A bridge that’s listed as having a 12’6” clearance is not going to let your 12’14” truck get under it. Figure out how to avoid the trouble spots before you get behind the wheel.
Get your route familiar before you start by writing down any exits, planning parking, etc. Look for a pack of sticky notes and put the trip on your visor or dash where you can see it easily.
You know how your brain works. Do what you have to do to be familiar with what you are doing.
Plan For The Detours
Plan on getting lost at some point. Everybody does get lost once in a while. If you plan for it, you won’t panic because you have an idea to act on. Keep the numbers of the consignee or shipper on hand so you can get local advice for directions. When you get your CDL at Diesel Truck Driver Training School, your instructors will be experienced drivers who have gone through the same scenarios and probably have some good stories to tell. Ask them how they learned the importance of planning a route and get ready to learn from the best in the business.