What’s the difference between a good truck driver and a great truck driver? Efficiency.
A good truck driver knows how to get the job done safely and on time. A great truck driver knows how to maximize his or her time so that they can log as many miles as is legally, safely, and physically possible in any given week.
A great driver is insanely efficient. Bay and Bay Transportation of Minneapolis, MN wants to help you become an insanely efficient truck driver. Sound like a good plan? Stick with us.
If you’re already a CDL driver, during your training you learned about the safe operation of large vehicles on the road. However, chances are you did not receive classroom training about how to make the best use of your driving time.
Every driver is different, so efficiency is best discovered and practiced while on the road. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Timing is Everything
Plan to drive when road conditions are the most in your favor. Rather than wasting precious time and fuel sitting in traffic congestion, plan your routes for when the roads are prone to be empty (or for when most people are asleep).
The first step is to calculate how you can be off the road altogether before the evening rush hour (starting around 4:30 – 5:00 pm). Take it one step further by figuring out where the most generally traffic-heavy areas of your route are and drive them around 3–4am when traffic tends to be light (if there is any at all).
Load and Unload Like a Boss
Meeting deadlines is extremely important. Missing deadlines results in losing miles, loads, and sometimes even your job…and we don’t want that!
Plan ahead to load and unload early so that you can not only meet your deadlines, but also exceed them. When you know you are on track to arrive early, call your DM to get in touch with the shipper to see if they can arrange for an earlier pick up time than originally scheduled. This will allow you to make the delivery earlier than planned.
Doing this consistently will boost your reputation and increase your chances of being requested for loads in the future.
Sleep Like Your Job Depends on it
Because it does! Getting enough rest is absolutely imperative to being a healthy and efficient truck driver.
When you allow yourself the proper time to rest, you are able to think more clearly and safely respond to issues and driving conditions as they arise. When you push yourself to drive when you are exhausted, your body releases more adrenaline to keep you going. The more adrenaline in your system, the more recovery time you need to make up for your exhaustion.
Continuing the pattern of pushing yourself past exhaustion creates a chronic deprivation of sleep and increases stress to your body. It’s not doing you any favors.
Rather than putting your nose to the grindstone and driving through your exhaustion, recognize that even a 20-minute nap can do wonders to help you feel refreshed and ready to go.
Meticulously Gauge Your Fuel Usage
An efficient truck driver is a fuel efficiency expert. Even just a slight decrease in your fuel usage can boost your job security and even your pay! In a previous post we outlined specific ways to become a more fuel-conscientious driver. You can read that post here.
Some basic tips for saving fuel are to keep your tires properly inflated and to turn off your engine when idling for a significant amount of time.
Slow(er) and Steady Wins the Race
While probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of getting things done quickly, it’s actually more efficient for a trucker to drive within the speed limit.
Driving fast can lower your truck’s miles per gallon (of fuel) usage. Cruise control, within the speed limit, is a much better way to conserve fuel. Also, trucking over the speed limit is wasteful and dangerous. Increasing your chances of a crash and/or fines simply isn’t worth the costly risk.
Becoming an insanely efficient truck driver is the key to a successful career as a CDL driver. With careful planning, skillful driving, and a lot of practice, you will become the kind of driver that is every transportation company’s dream! If you think you have what it takes to be an insanely efficient truck driver (and have 1 year of solo OTR driving experience), contact Bay and Bay Transportation of Minneapolis, MN today to hear about our wonderful opportunities for company drivers and owner/operators.