As an Owner Operator, technology can not only make the work we do easier and safer but also allow us to enjoy life a little more.
I got to thinking about all the changes in technology since I first started driving and how much more enjoyable life in the truck is. When I finally came off the road a couple years ago to run my business I had a 7” GPS on the dash. With a tap of the screen I could see how far the next truck stop or rest area was, if I wanted, I could add that stop into my routing.
The display could be configured to tell me what time I would arrive at the next destination based on how I told it I liked to drive (you could set the speed calculations to show you running slower or faster). It would give me traffic conditions and let me look for alternate routes. Now don’t think I didn’t use an Atlas when I was running in areas that where new to me. That stayed right near me at all times.
Of course I had the smart phone, satellite radio, computer, tablet, flat screen TV with surround sound.
I had an Xbox with a wireless controller, multifunction printer/scanner that connected to my wireless network with wireless internet access. Obviously you can’t live without Hulu and Netflix as well. Yes, I liked my toys.
The one thing I didn’t do, that I now see is absolute genius and would have been available to me at that time, is use Google Earth to look and see what that “last mile” looks like in terms of route, potential issues and landmarks.
For last mile directions I never relied on one source of information. I always called (even when told not to) to get the best route to the customer. Being able to look at the Google Earth shot of the location and see the route into and out of a stop is just brilliant.
One of my teams, Craig and Anne Leonard (if you don’t follow their Blog, you need to), told me this is what they do when they are looking to park for their next adventure. It is so simple and absolutely amazing.
So next time the customer says, “We get trucks in here all the time!”, you now know you can check to make sure they aren’t talking about some little package delivery truck.
In no way should you get rid of your atlas and truck stop book. Technology only goes so far and you don’t want to see your rig on Facebook with the caption “My GPS said it was a truck route.” When used properly though, technology can really get you out of some sticky situations or help you avoid them all together.
Now we can go on and on with all the different technology that Owner Operators are using to make life on the road more enjoyable, life safer and to make better money. But I would rather hear from all of you on what you are using, what is working and what doesn’t work.