GPS, Every Truck Drivers Friend
Having a co-pilot to handle navigation always make the chore of winding through an unfamiliar city easier. So how’s the first time solo truck driver going to handle being late for his/her delivery time, when finding they have no clue where to even start looking for the delivery location listed on the manifest.
This is it, you’re on your own for the first time since leaving Truck Driving School. The last truck stop was temporarily out of city maps, and the address you’ve been given looks Greek to every trucker you talked to when you were fueling. Even the CB has brought you no help, and you’ve got a load of perishables just waiting to be rejected.
Global Positioning Satellite, commonly referred to as GPS. No trucker should be without some sort of address locating GPS device. Today dashboard mounted units such as Tom-Tom, or Magellan are slick compact units that are easy to operate. From about $300 and up, you can easily invest the better part of $1,000 into such a device.
If this is a bit rich for your blood, there is another alternative. Today nearly all truck drivers carry a laptop computer with them. Whether it be for record keeping, looking for loads, truck driver jobs, E-mail, or just surfing the web. With most major truck stop chains such as Flying J, Travel Center of America, Pilot, and Petro, all providing Wireless Internet , (WIFI) the computer has become standard equipment in the trucking world.
For a considerably lower price, address locating software can be purchased complete with a GPS receiver that plugs into the USB socket on the side of your laptop. You can usually find these packages for $100 or even less on sale.
I’m partial to this type of set up as I traveled extensively using a laptop with Microsoft Streets and Trips loaded into it. Once I was coming into New Orleans, looking for a particular street. I saw an exit labeled to match the address and took it. In a matter of a few minutes I was hopelessly lost in the narrow streets of the French Quarter, at 3am in the morning. The few people I saw on the sidewalk didn’t seem like the sorts that I wanted to pull up and ask directions.
I pulled into a bus stop and fired up the computer. Quickly determining that I could go down one block, over two and turn right, for a straight shot back to the freeway. I was back on track in a matter of minutes.
Who would have imagined that a city would have two streets by the same name within a matter of a few miles of each other.
There is no worse feeling then coming into an unfamiliar city, with traffic flying at +70 MPH, and you have no idea where you need to go. It’s not always easy to pull up anywhere with that 53ft trailer and get directions.
Even if you do raise someone on the CB, that’s willing to give you directions, you wouldn’t be the first person to be lead down the primrose path. More often than we like to admit, other drivers will go out of there way to lead you astray. Especially if they find out your new to the world of over the road trucking.
Don’t rely on maps, there hard to read, and many aren’t detailed enough to do you any good. Get your self set up so you can type in a specific address, and have turn by turn directions on how to get there.
With GPS you can out smart them, be prepared. Have your course plotted out well ahead of when you need it. Drive into the city, confident that you know exactly where your going, even if you’ve never been there before. That’s part of being a Professional Truck Driver and will help you establish yourself as a true professional.
Article provided by: Curtis Carper