Trip Planning for Newbies

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Supraman, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Supraman

    Supraman Bobtail Member

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
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    Hello,
    I'm a new driver and i'm having problems with trip planning. I can follow the route outlined by Qualcomm but i'm not sure how to plan my stops like where will i park for the night. I have read somewhere that its a good idea to get to a point where i can finish my 10 hour break before i get to the consignee so I can have somewhat of a fresh start on my hours of driving. i'm also not sure how long i should plan for loading and unloading and securing the load and sometimes its hard to figure out what exits i will need to get off at. can anyone give me a run down on how they plan a trip from start to finish? and what things i should consider when planning a trip. Thanks
     
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  3. otherhalftw

    otherhalftw Insignificant Otter

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    Nov 18, 2008
    CA...gold discovery foothills
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    First off, get yourself a truck stop directory or exit guide, that will give you the exit numbers for the truck stops. Very important in the east, (I see you are from MD) as most of the time you don't see the truck stop till you go past it and the next exit is 20 miles down the road. Helps to know what exit to use.

    Since you are online with this thread I am assuming you have a laptop, so use mapquest or yahoo maps to get your local directions by address, these will show you the exit you want for your delivery location, then plan your stop at the nearest stop to that location. You will eventually get to know which customers you can sleep overnight on their property. Make freinds fast this can help you get some parking on property rules bent for you.

    Loading and unloading are location specific. Some it will get done in 30 minutes or so, others bring a pillow. When you say securing the load I will assume you are a flatbedder, I am not, so securing and tarping and all that young guy stuff I can't say, but some guys (even old farts like me) I have seen tarp out a tall full length load in 30 minutes or so. Most of the time everyone pre-plans loading at 2 hrs total this should include securing. Most flatbeds seem to be loaded and off loaded quicker that us van types.

    Don't try to pre-think everything, it will get you confused. Experience is the best teacher there is. Take your time, think before you move, then move with caution. Sounds like you have a square head on your shoulders, at least your not afraid to ask questions. Good luck out there, and BE Safe.
     
  4. terrylamar

    terrylamar Road Train Member

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    Oct 8, 2006
    Austin, TX
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    Directions are not always the best, or shortest, or fastest. Depending on who you drive for, you may be allowed, even encouraged, to find a better route. The Qualcomm routes are usually safe routes.

    Look at your available hours and see how far you can drive. With a little experience you will learn different routes and know how far you can drive in the time you have.

    This is always a good idea. My experience is with a flatbed. I could usually park at the consignee. Having a fresh day and all your hours prepares you for what ever happens that day.

    Sometimes, delivery times and your hours will dictate you arrive with few hours left. You just have to deal with it.

    Again this is experience. It differs with every load, and shipper and consignee. Make your best guess, but realize it could go out the door.

    I plug it into the GPS. Then I look at the route the GPS plans. If there is any doubt, I pull out the Motor Carriers' Road Atlas and check for restricted routes and low clearances and anything else I am interested in. Just remember, GPS is just a tool, don't overly rely on it.

    Things to take into account are: The load, load appointment, delivery appointment, route, fuel stops, breaks, where to stop for the night, your hours, traffic, weather, daylight, or night, scales, tolls and many other things I am forgetting to list.

    Mainly, once you get a little experience, it will be easier.

    Goodluck.
     
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  5. notarps4me

    notarps4me Road Train Member

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    NASA HQ
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    Don't be taking trip planning advise from a Tarp More Cargo... step a locate streakin beacon... step b locate next streakin beacon...:biggrin_25523:
     
  6. LogsRus

    LogsRus Log it Legal

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    Nov 23, 2006
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    The best thing to do is arrive to customer and load/unload and then take 10 hour break at the cutomer. You can be on line 4 all you want past the 14th hour so you can drive up to your 14th hour, log line 4 for loading/unloading for however long you need but then you must take a 10 hour break (which gives your dispatcher 10 hours to find you a new load).
     
  7. notarps4me

    notarps4me Road Train Member

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    Tell that to the guy who was turned away from the cons and went and parked elsewhere and took two bullets to the head and was robbed of 7 dollars.:biggrin_2554:
     
  8. Supraman

    Supraman Bobtail Member

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
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    Ok, thanks for all the help. It seems that the best way to learn is through experience. I really need to learn to manage my time, become more familiar with my atlas, and use my laptop, I have MS Streets and Trips loaded and I also plan at a later date to get Copilot Truck 11, I did pickup a truck stop guide.
     
  9. terrylamar

    terrylamar Road Train Member

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    Oct 8, 2006
    Austin, TX
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    I am disappointed in you Mr. No. Have you forgotten I no longer drive for TMC?:biggrin_25511:

    Too Much Class, to be a maverick driver.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
  10. Earl

    Earl Light Load Member

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    Feb 13, 2009
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    My $.02 worth.....when I flatbedded I tried to get a load a day delivered...I would plan my trip according to location...meaning...is this a business, limited to hrs of operation, or is this a job site delivery. If I was delivering in ATL I would make sure I would enter early in the am to avoid the traffic. You have to consider the traffic...will see you sitting for a long time. Keep in contact with your delivery contact...if I was an hour out, and getting close to their closing time, I would call and make sure their would be someone there to unload.

    Try to unload in the am...try to be loaded by 2PM or 3PM...gives you time to drive to the next delivery and get some shuteye. I would try to get within an hour to an hour and a half of delivery location before shutting down.

    Ask your contact if you can park on their property...make SURE you let them know you are a BIG TRUCK when they give directions...had a company send me into a residential area, when I was a newbie, and had to back out 3 blocks...luckily it was 3am...

    I now have CoPilot11...I run it then ALWAYS check your atlas...nothing better than experience to arrive you safely. Use your CB when close...local info has saved my butt plenty of times...

    Good Luck and be safe.

    Oh yeah...the book..."The Next Exit" is a good asset for assisting in directions, locating fuel, and logging...I belive the Flying hook has them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
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  11. RickG

    RickG Road Train Member

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    Jul 22, 2008
    Owensboro , KY
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    And if you load / unload at 7 or 8 a.m. ?? . I never park at a customer the night before unloading . They'll come banging on your door before you have at least 8 hours . Ever see a customer with a restaurant or driver's showers ? I stop an hour or two out from the customer , take my 10 hours , get in and unload , and get out of there . My loads are dedicated . I don't wait for the dispatcher . All the empties go home . I call when empty to see what is available but most often it's preloaded coming out of the terminal .
     
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