How common is it to get lost?

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by jayo2009, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. jayo2009

    jayo2009 Bobtail Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    greensburg, IN
    As when you first begin as an OTR trucker, even with a Truckers atlas and a good GPS. How common is it to get lost on your way to the destination? I cant imagine all the truckers out there, even if theyve been driving for 30 years now have never got lost at all. Whats the best advice to give for getting lost. Is getting lost risking losing your job with the company or is it just something thats bound to happen.
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    I_HATE_MINIVANS Heavy Load Member

    You'll get lost easily. That GPS is only good for converting written directions into a 2-D visual image in your head, or for choosing the fastest route or something. 99% of GPS units will route you down residential streets, under low bridges, etc. Always use that Rand McNally to verify the GPS isn't sending you down a non-truck route. For local directions, ALWAYS get directions from the shipper/receiver or your company so you don't end up in trouble.
    The number one cause of getting lost though, will be when the directions you're given are wrong or if you miss a street sign and have to find a place to turn around. It happens, though. Avoid Pittsburgh, the local map looks like a plate of spaghetti.
    cchardel and Preacher Man Thank this.
  4. Sequoia

    Sequoia Road Train Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Getting lost just happens. In my case it's usually the result of not seeing a street sign, not seeing a street sign until you're passing it, or seeing a street sign only to find out you had to turn left instead of right (or vice versa).

    Pittsburgh is the worst. I missed a turn once and thought "oh no problem, I'll turn at the next block and catch up with it there." Wrong! The street I needed to turn on to actually went up and over the street I tried to turn onto to get back on it and I was staring at a low clearance over pass. Luckily for me, I wasn't the only truck who missed the turn.
  5. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    Getting lost is common. I always tried to get directions with both compass directions ("is that west toward Dallas?"), landmarks ("when I turn left is there a business or landmark where I turn?"), and relative to a larger city ("I'll be coming into Nashville on I-40 from Knoxville area"). Even when I did that people still mean to tell you "left" when they meant "right" and I turned left when I was saying "right at the light."

    On your way into the customer note the big intersections you are passing, the more lanes the better and ones with traffic lights. If you go past your customer and can make 2 left turns and parallel your inbound route, you can look for one of those big intersections and use that to turn back onto your "final approach" to the customer.

    Broker loads are the worst. Brokers try to keep the actual customer name hidden, the real street address may not even be on the bills, since the bills are transferred between numerous companies. I also particularly hate when companies use their street address as 1 Company Name Drive, when "Company Drive" is just 20 feet of driveway into the parking lot. Company Drive isn't on any map.

    Zoom out on the GPS or map and keep the big picture in mind so that if you miss your customer you have an idea of the major roads around you and which direction you can turn to avoid a bigger problem or as a safe haven.

    And for the love of everything holy, turn on your CB. Driver get lost around where I work and maye 3 drivers per year have their CB on to hear the help being offered. Instead they get lost, block the road and either call the dispatcher or start fiddling with the GPS. AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!

    What used to get me messed up was going back to a pretty small town I'd been to many months earlier. More than once, Iflipped open my "notebook of life" found my directions back to the customer, followed them, and then realized this customer wasn't that customer.

    Don't trust directions from the Qualcomm until you have personal experience with their reliability. My first company never got them right.

    I_HATE_MINIVANS Heavy Load Member

    When you've been driving a few hours on the interstate with a heavy load and you're easing 'er down the exit ramp, coming to a stop, do you ever get the feeling you're landing a large plane? It's kind of weird, happens to me sometimes when I'm back on the road after a whole weekend full of touch & go practice in a Cessna. I figured by your avatar and your reference to "final approach" that you're also a pilot.
  7. postmandav

    postmandav Medium Load Member

    May 18, 2008
    south portland, maine
    Never rely on the gps only. It will send you down roads a big truck should not be anywhere near. I did that once, just once. ok, twice. Now I use the gps to get me near the destination, and then as a reference to what streets are coming up.
  8. ironpony

    ironpony Road Train Member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Ask my GPS...
    Wheel holders get lost. Truck drivers get temporarily misplaced! :biggrin_2559:
  9. kajidono

    kajidono Road Train Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    I get temporally displaced all the time.
  10. DirtyBob

    DirtyBob Road Train Member

    Sep 2, 2010
    Between wrong addresses, bad directions and receivers who don't speak English, getting lost tends to happen. Not completely lost, usually in the right area, just not sure exactly where to go.

    Between using the Atlas, my company's directions, receiver's directions, both truck and car GPS, and Google Earth I usually end up right where I need. I use them in the order listed as well, with the Atlas being used through the whole process to cross check everything. It's nice to use multiple sources as you can find the conflicts between them to see where you might have problems ahead of time. Google Earth helps big time in figuring out where the actual truck entrance is before you get there. Many times it's not on the same street as the address on the bills. It's also nice to find a dirt patch or whatever that you can park in if needed and they won't allow you in early.

    When I take in all the information and decide my route I write it all down and follow my written instructions in. It's the most reliable way to do it in the end.
    Infosaur Thanks this.
  11. Heirforce1

    Heirforce1 Medium Load Member

    May 16, 2011
    The Windy City
    A real trucker never gets lost only temporarily turned around lol!.......
    Wargames Thanks this.
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