Truck driving is a career path unlike any other, and for those who are new to the industry, adapting to the demands of this job can take some time. It isn’t easy to understand how to manage your time, both on the road effectively and when handling the administrative tasks that come with this job. Once you learn a few simple tricks, you can save yourself a great deal of time as a commercial trucker. If you’re new to trucking, keep reading to learn a few insider tips on time management, from avoiding time-consuming traffic jams to effectively understanding tax deductions like the Section 179 deduction, and more.
Always Give Yourself Extra Time
This is especially important for new commercial truck drivers, who are less likely to be familiar with the routes they’re driving and their trucks’ capabilities. However, even as you gain more experience and learn your various driving routes, you should always give yourself extra time to make sure that your delivery will be punctual. Unexpected traffic, weather conditions, or road construction can quickly add hours to a trip.
Prior to each trip, calculate how long it should take you to get to your destination. Then, add a buffer to that driving time to ensure your delivery won’t be late due to circumstances outside your control. This punctuality will be appreciated by everyone you work with, and if you happen to arrive early, so much the better!
Reserve Your Parking Spot
Finding a good parking spot at a truck stop during those prime parking hours can be difficult. You may find yourself wasting time driving around, trying to find a good spot to park your vehicle. A better option is to reserve a spot for your truck. You can do this through either the TruckSmart mobile app for TA & Pedro Stopping Centers, or the MyPilot app. Reserving your spot can also be a good way to help you with mapping out your route and ensuring that you’re hitting these milestones on time to make your deliveries.
Try to Avoid Traffic
Naturally, if you could always avoid traffic, you would do so, but that’s not always within your control. There will certainly be times that you’ll be stuck in traffic during your driving career (hence the importance of giving yourself extra time). However, there are a couple of ways that you can try to avoid major traffic delays on your route. Google Maps is known to have very accurate, real-time traffic information and can provide you with alternate routes if the delay is significant; this makes it highly beneficial for you to always be running this app when on delivery, even if you’re familiar with the route to your delivery destination. The Waze app can also provide traffic updates, and it may be worth checking this app each time you stop to check for any major changes in traffic on your route.
Plan Your Breaks
Some drivers think the best way to maximize their productivity behind the wheel is to drive until they can’t drive any longer; then, and only then, will they take a break. However, this is neither safe nor productive. Getting the right amount of rest on your trips not only ensures that you don’t fall asleep behind the wheel but can also help you avoid time-consuming mistakes, like taking a wrong turn. When you’re well-rested and alert, you’re a better driver—not only in terms of safety but in terms of efficiency as well.
This makes it more effective to plan out your breaks rather than just exhausting yourself before you bother to stop. Calculate the number of miles you can expect to drive in a day, then determine the best times and locations for taking regular rest periods throughout the day. Stretching your legs and clearing your mind are good for your health and for your bottom line.
Understand Your Tax Deductions
As a truck driver, your tax situation becomes much more complicated than it would have been if you were a simple W2 employee. After all, nobody likes spending hours upon hours trying to figure out how to file their return. With tax season fast approaching, it’s worth researching now to ensure you understand your tax situation and can handle your tax return efficiently.
One key research area is the deductions you qualify for as a commercial truck driver. A common example of a deduction that benefits drivers is the Section 179 deduction. Under this provision, small to medium-sized businesses can deduct a truck’s full cost in the year it’s purchased. Normally, you would have to spread out the deduction over the course of several years and deduct it as depreciation of assets. However, deducting the entire cost of the truck can be extremely beneficial, especially if you’re a new truck driver who’s just starting out in your career. It can save you a great deal of money on your taxes while also saving you time in calculating the depreciation of your truck year after year.
Visit Our Semi-Truck Lots
If you’re still searching for the perfect semi-truck to launch your trucking career, contact Arrow Truck Sales today or stop by the Arrow Truck Sales location nearest you. We pride ourselves on not only having affordable semi-trucks but helping truck drivers as you get into their new trucks as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ll help you find the right truck faster, get you qualified for financing, and have you out on the road as soon as possible. Search our inventory online to see our available trucks and learn more about how we can help you start your truck-driving career. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team members to get the answers you’re looking for.