One of the most common issues that you will have to learn to deal with are unexpected delays due to construction or accidents.
There is some technology that you can tap into to help with these inconveniences, but sometimes you just have to stay cool, stay calm and go with the flow of traffic. Believe it or not staying well rested and learning a few simple techniques to stay calm and relaxed will help you get through these unavoidable situations.
Many of the mapping and GPS location tools for traveling now provide you with information on known construction zones. While you may find that not all small projects are listed on the maps, the larger ones that will definitely slow down the traffic are typically indicated.
By looking ahead on your route each morning and also keeping tabs with other truckers you can usually plan around big highway or bridge construction projects. Just remember those alternative routes may not have regular fueling stations or truck stops, so check that out also.
Use Your Apps
There are a range of different travel apps that will let you know of everything from lane closures due to accidents to major traffic backups simply due to volume or construction. These apps are handy to use in conjunction with the more general mapping programs mentioned above.
If you are using these apps make sure you check them will in advance of coming up on major centers or at the first sign or report of traffic problems up ahead. The user generated information on the apps is fairly accurate and is often literally in real time. Of course, and this goes without saying, check apps when you are fueling, stopped for a break or on lunch, don’t check apps when you are behind the wheel and moving.
Watch For Signs
It is easy to get lulled by the open road and simply fail to notice signs that are posted well in advance of lane closures, construction work and major accidents. Often you will also see signs of impending traffic problems such as slower overall rate of travel or congestion. Usually, however, once you are in this type of traffic your chances of getting off the major route and getting to a good second route are limited.
Don’t Become Distracted
It is easy to become distracted when you are crawling through traffic in a big construction zone or at a major accident. Unfortunately this often leads to multiple accidents as fender benders occur on the road in front of you. If you are not paying attention to what the other drivers are doing you can be involved in a very serious accident.
A truck and trailer, even moving just a few miles an hour, can cause significant damage and injury a passenger vehicle and the driver and passengers. While you may be tempted check your email or respond to a text, this is never the place to do it. Keep to the same rules you use whenever you are behind the wheel and avoid these all too common distractions.
Don’t Become Agitated And Aggressive
When drivers get frustrated, even professional drivers and truckers, it is easy to take that frustration out in more aggressive driving. It can also be incredibly frustrating when drivers of smaller passenger vehicles don’t let you into the lane of traffic that is moving or simply refuse to give you the space you need to make a safe lane change. Getting mad, cursing and yelling isn’t going to change anything; it will just make the situation worse. Instead, try putting in some music you enjoy and just relaxing rather than giving into that frustration.
There are drivers out there that will provide you the space that you need. Avoid becoming aggressive and trying to nose into the lane as this can pose a very serious risk to a drive that isn’t backing off.
Know Your Blind Spots
Another major issue for truckers to consider is that in congested, slow moving traffic all vehicles are literally bumper to bumper. This creates a real problem for the natural blind spots on a truck and trailer combination. If you can avoid changing lanes this is always the best option but, when unavoidable, try to get enough space between yourself and vehicles following you to address the blind spot issue.
Traffic issues and construction zones are just a part of a trucker’s life. Having a good network of truckers that you can talk to about your route is a great option, especially if you are all running the same routes. This allows you to stay up to date on where problems are, alternative routes and even where to plan your fuel stops and breaks on those secondary route options.
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