If you’re a truck driver, then you know the importance of staying connected and well-equipped while on the road. Even the most experienced truckers need to keep up with advances in technology to stay safe and productive on the road. Here are some essential pieces of tech for every trucker.
Though many smartphones now offer GPS navigation apps, it’s important to have a stand-alone system in your truck. A dedicated system will provide you with superior routing information, stronger signal strength, and a larger screen for an easier viewing experience compared to a smartphone app.
A generator is a must-have piece of tech for every trucker. Not only will your appliances remain powered when the engine isn’t running, but they can also keep you safe from dangerous situations that arise during extreme weather conditions. If your power inverter fails or you get stuck without heat at night, having access to electricity from a generator could save your life – or keep your food from spoiling.
Air conditioning is another thing that every trucker should have. Though long-haul truckers often don’t have access to the same level of comfort as drivers who live in their trucks, it’s important to have a comfortable place to sleep. This goes double for those who work for mattress companies and spend much of their time sleeping in uncomfortable beds.
Although many truckers use traditional CB radios to communicate with other drivers, a smartphone is much more versatile. With features like text messaging and live location sharing, a smartphone can make the job of driving safer and easier. Many truckers also rely on apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for entertainment purposes while they’re waiting in long lines at the port or sitting in a boring dock.
As a long-haul driver, it’s important to be aware of weather conditions even when you’re not driving. This is particularly important if you do refrigerated or oversize load deliveries where bad weather could mean delivering your cargo late or getting stuck waiting for assistance from road crews.
Apps that provide information about severe weather along your route at any time are great for alerting you to the conditions ahead. Additionally, a weather app that provides notifications about how the weather is impacting the time it takes for other drivers in your area to reach their destinations can help give you an edge when making up lost hours.
A CB radio is an essential piece of trucker equipment. Though some new drivers shy away from using a traditional CB, neglecting this form of communication can be dangerous and limit your job opportunities. Many carriers require their drivers to be active on the CB – even if they use an electronic logging device (ELD) and rarely talk over the airwaves.
Having a dedicated CB radio for your truck is important for staying in touch with other drivers and receiving important information about road conditions and traffic up ahead.
Electric Logging Device
An ELD is required by many carriers who participate in the Hours of Service (HOS) program established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This technology helps ensure that all driver logs are accurate and up-to-date – reducing the risk of costly penalties.
An ELD can help you avoid being in violation of the HOS by automatically recording when your engine is running and when it’s off. This will be particularly useful if you’re aiming to get your trucking authority and you’re becoming your own boss. A lot of company trucks have these installed as standard. However, if you’re becoming an owner-operator, you’ll have to invest in your own. If you’re considering getting your trucking authority, follow these steps for a sure-fire route to success.
Nowadays, many of us are using some form of computing device daily. As a trucker, you’ll need access to online resources related to your job.
As an independent contractor, you must always keep up-to-date with your online scheduling and stay in touch with your customers. For this reason alone, investing in a laptop computer, printer, and satellite connection is probably worth it – particularly if you plan on operating as an owner-operator. To ensure success as a small business owner – even as a trucker – you’ll need to have access to current technology.
Modern technology has made owning a truck much easier, and many companies offer free electronics to their drivers as an incentive for driving for their company. Some carriers even require their drivers to take home a tablet or laptop computer so the carrier can provide the driver with up-to-date schedules and other information from any location.
Though dash cams are becoming increasingly popular among everyday drivers, they’re a must-have piece of tech for every trucker. In addition to being helpful for those who want to prove their innocence after an accident, some insurance companies also offer discounts to drivers who have dash cams installed in their vehicles.
A first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and flares are just a few examples of the many pieces of emergency equipment that every trucker should carry with them on the road. Seriously consider investing in a satellite phone as well – if your cell phone dies on you while you’re out on the road, having access to a fully functional phone could make all the difference.
Professional drivers use two hands when they drive, so keeping a phone up against your ear is out of the question.
A wireless Bluetooth earpiece allows you to keep up with calls without taking your attention off the road. Some truckers also like using tablets while driving. To make sure that you’re always on top of things, consider pairing your tablet with an extended battery.
Truckers spend a lot of time in their vehicles, so being able to charge your devices is extremely important. Portable chargers allow you to keep all of your electronics at full battery power without having to stop and recharge – no matter how long the road ahead might be.