Something I just flat cannot understand is why professional truck drivers are using non-commercial routing systems. It’s almost every day that we hear about someone shoving a 80,000 18-wheeler under a too-low bridge, into a covered bridge from the Pilgrim era, or onto a bridge nowhere near the weight-handling capacity needed.
Put the cell phone down!
The biggest misconception is that Google Maps works for big trucks. No, it does not and you cannot tell me otherwise. It is not programmed with CMV routes.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a good indicator of traffic conditions. But it does not have bridge height and weight restrictions built into it that other task-specific brands do.
I know, money’s tight and there are alternatives to dropping a few hundred dollars on a brand like Garmin or Rand McNally. But please use a proper app for the routing.
What did I depend on for routes when I was driving?
There are some great applications on your mobile device out on the market. Here’s a few I used that helped me get around safely:
From what started off as what I call the “comment section about truck stops,” TruckerPath has really blossomed. The app now features fuel pricing, parking expectations, traffic flow, and more. Its truck routing is pretty up to date, with only a handful of errors over my OTR career.
“The Swiss Army knife of trucking apps,” as I deem it, has a pretty handy mapping tool I used a few times. While not my mainstay, I used TruckerTools for some of its other handy features.
Both the apps have a premium subscription that give more tools, but the free version has everything I needed to make it on the road.
Let’s not underestimate the value of a good map
Yes, they still make good old-fashioned paper maps. The annual Rand McNally Commercial Driver’s map has been a valuable purchase every year. Having a non-internet-based backup is crucial when you’re driving out West where the cell signal has a tendency to drop in the canyons and crevices.
While some prefer the dash-mounted device, I would rather have one I could hold in my hands, and not worry about pushing buttons and needing battery power to use it.
So what do you use for a routing guide? A GPS device, old-fashioned map, or the directions the company or broker gives you? Leave your comments below.