Truckers call on a wide variety of route-planning tools, from software to the trusty road atlas, to save both time and money

Time is money, especially when you’re hauling a time-sensitive load ticketed for a narrow delivery window at a location thousands of miles away. How you chart your course may make a difference in your wallet. Make a mileage miscalculation or ignore a weather advisory and you pay the price in wasted time and lost pay.

Today, there is help in several forms, from satellite-based GPS systems and sophisticated route-planning software designed for truckers to carrier-supplied programs that script your every move to the dependable $20 road atlas.

Approaches to route planning vary from a heavy reliance on technology to calling on years of driving experience and familiarity with U.S. interstates and truck-permitted highways. Benn Kingsbury, of Eleva, Wis., who drives for Taylor Truck Line, is a road-tester for software developer ProMiles. He calls on that company’s Kingpin program and GPS to track his routes. “I found that I turn loads faster, which means more revenue,” he says. “For me as a company driver, that’s a positive.”

Owner-operator Ronald Penrose, of Castroville, Texas, leased to Landstar Ranger, reaches for his Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas and fires up his Landstar trip-planning program when he takes on a load. The atlas contains important phone numbers, such as state transportation department hotlines, while the software provides online access to road and weather conditions. “It’s a handy tool to make us more efficient and help keep our customers informed,” he says. “There have been times when I got loads at the same time as other drivers [who weren’t as adept at planning], and I was able to deliver the loads sooner and avoid road closures and get another load.”

Ronnie Brockette, an owner-operator from Cooke

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission