Long-Haul Planning: Road Trip Preparation for Truck Drivers
Semitrucks are responsible for moving more than 70 percent of the nation’s overall goods by weight. As such, these trucks—and their drivers—play integral roles in our ability to access necessary resources. Every day, thousands of trucks hit the roads to deliver our goods—but this process isn’t just a matter of sitting in the driver’s seat. Semitruck drivers often spend just as much effort preparing for a long haul as they do on the road. Here are some road trip preparation tips for truck drivers.
Conduct Any Necessary Repairs
Long hours on the highway leave a lot of time for potential malfunctions. Though semis are built for extensive treks across the country, they can still become overused and worn down. Before embarking on any trip, the driver should perform any necessary repairs on the vehicle. This will prevent any existing problems from getting worse and prevent new issues from arising.
This process may also involve researching and purchasing replacement parts. As you do this, make sure you’re taking the semi’s make, model, and age into consideration. For example, Volvo VNL 670 parts will be slightly different from Peterbilt 387 parts, so it’s crucial to know the difference when buying replacements.
Map Out the Route
Knowing how far you’re traveling beforehand will give you a better idea of when and where you can stop to take breaks. Setting a goal for how many times you’ll need to rest during a haul will ensure that you’re not overworking yourself and that you’ll remain in peak driving form.
It’s also important to plan the route you’ll be taking. Marking important stops such as gas stations, restaurants, and repair shops in advance will keep you informed on what’s around you as you’re driving.
Pack the Essentials
Every driver should be ready for emergencies as they take to the roads. In the event of a mechanical breakdown, it’s important to have a kit of essentials handy. This will help you mitigate the issue until you can get the vehicle to a repair shop. Items in this kit should include a chain or towing rope, electric charger wire, a flashlight, screwdrivers and wrenches in various sizes, bungee cords, and pliers.
Perform a Final Check
As with any road trip, it’s always crucial that you check the vehicle’s status one last time before you leave. Since you already had the vehicle inspected and repaired, it’s unlikely that a new problem has developed, but it’s always better to be on the safe side. Check the tires’ condition as well as their pressure, ensuring that they’re not damaged or susceptible to flats. You should also check the vehicle’s fluid levels—including wiper and brake fluids—mirrors, and headlights to make sure everything is functioning properly.