Before starting out, you'll want to know how to plan your truck trailer trip. Here are some great tips that will help you have a successful and safe truck trailer trip.
- Inspect your truck and trailer and make sure that your equipment is safe and ready for the trip. Check all tires, lights, breaks, fuel levels, and oil. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your truck before you start your trip. Fire extinguishers are mandatory in most states, along with reflective triangles.
- Purchase a good trucker's "Atlas" from a local truck stop. A trucker's "Atlas" has a world of helpful information you will need for every state you will be traveling through.
- Calculate the total miles of your trip. You can do this easily using the mileage guide in your trucker's atlas. Where will you be starting your truck trailer trip, and where will your final destination be?
- After calculating the total number of miles of your truck trailer trip, divide this total by 55. The 55 represents the average speed you will be driving. After you divide 55 into the total miles of your trip, this will give you the approximate number of hours that you will be driving to your destination. Yes, you will be driving faster than 55 miles per hour most of the trip but because of the starts and stops that we all encounter on a trip, 55 miles per hour will be closer to your average speed.
- Check for low clearances along your route. The standard dry van, box trailer is 13 feet, inches high. Each state has a low clearance guide in the atlas that tells you were every low clearance is located on a legal truck route in it's state.
- Make sure that your truck and trailer are legal on the route you want to take. The height and length of your truck and trailer may not be legal on every road.
- Determine what time you want to start your trip. You'll also want to know what time you will arrive safely at your destination on your truck trailer trip.
- Take into consideration the total mileage of your trip, the total gallons of fuel you will need to get you to your destination, and also the stops you will be making all along your trip.
- Will you be stopping and sleeping over night on your trip? That's at least 10 hours to add to your trip for one night. Add in an additional hour for each meal you plan on stopping for, and also additional time for fueling and getting cleaned up along the way.
- If possible, plan your truck trailer trip to miss rush hour times for major cities. For example, it is better to drive through a city like Saint Louis, Missouri and stop for the night after going through it, than to stop and sleep in the suburbs and then trying to get through the morning rush hour the next morning.
- Purchasing an "Exit Guide" book. An "Exit Guide" book is a great tool for planning fuel stops and restaurant stops. It also lists every bank and motel along your route on every interstate.
Be safe and have fun on your truck trailer trip.