What Apps do Truckers Use?
Long-time truckers will regale you with tales about finding their way around the country with road maps only—just to find construction delays, low bridges, and non-existent roads. Somehow they managed to work through or avoid these problems, and lived to tell the tale.
In the 21st century, technology comes to our aid, and ensure that we have more access to information than ever before. Whether you are freshly-graduated from a Tacoma CDL driving school, or have spent your life on the road, your smart phone may be the second-most important item in your cab—after the driver of course.
Your smart phone can be loaded with apps which will help you get around and avoid trouble. Some of the best apps available follow.
Co-Pilot Mobile Navigation
Many truckers have been using GPS devices for years now, and they do make it easier to get from point A to point B. The Co-Pilot app, however, does much more than provide directions for one trip. You’ll be able to use many of the skills you were taught at your CDL driving school in Tacoma, and plan trips to every corner of the country from the Pacific Northwest.
The basic app—available for $9.99 per month—includes features which will make any driver happy. It calculates routes, including alternatives, and provides distraction-free directions. It allows you to optimize multi-stop trips, and includes offline-maps for when you drive in areas with no service.
It also can be activated by voice, and provides detour instructions, lane indicator arrows. The search feature is powered by Yelp. Truckers will appreciate the premium features which include calculating efficient rules based on load type and truck dimensions, as well as Hazmat settings.
Truckers frequently have to stop at highway weigh stations—usually on entering a state. While the weigh stations help enforce highway safety, they also can present significant delays. Since time is money, these delays mean each trip is less efficient.
Drive Wyze allows you to bypass many fixed and mobile weigh stations—over 700 locations as of November 2017. While many states have restrictions based on load or truck size, the app will allow you to drive past participating locations regardless of the lane you’re in. The company is also committed to your privacy, and does not share information with any state authorities.
Big Road and DashLink
Big Road is an electronic logging device solution. Big Road operates as you operate, and can produced logs for inspection in minutes. Manual errors and guesswork are eliminated. Dash Link connects with the engine to report drive time, driver availability, and driver duty status.
The apps work to eliminate the need for an in-cab printer. Dash Link connects with the app via Bluetooth, and Big Road can switch easily from DashLink to non-DashLink vehicles.
While buying the least expensive fuel is not necessarily the best, you will always be better off by finding the least expensive diesel which does not take you too far off your route. GasBuddy is crowd-sourced, so you can correct any changes in fuel pricing when you stop.
GasBuddyis useful for truck drivers both in their cabs and cars while on home-time. It works through your GPS, and finds truck stops and stations near your location, as well as through searching for locations in towns down the road. It links with Google Maps as well as with other map apps to give you directions to your selected station.
It’s quite likely that the instructor at your CDL training school in Tacoma mentioned Waze to you. Like GasBuddy, Waze is crowd-sourced, and provide much better traffic information than Google or Apple map apps.
Because its information is provided real-time, by people actually in a given traffic situation, it will keep you current. One of the settings allows the app to give verbal information, making it a hands- and distraction-free app.
Waze also helps locate truck stops and gas stations, and can provide pricing information.
Fat Secret Calorie Counter
One of the challenges for truck drivers is maintaining their health and weight. Time on the road does not necessarily mean a lot time for an active lifestyle. Eating frequently at restaurants, and restaurant food is frequently heavily salted and over-processed.
Fat Secret is available on most every platform, and is free. It allows you to track everything you eat while on the road. People who track what they eat tend to lose weight almost three times as fast as those who don’t track. It’s a simple process, and the app produces a journal for you to track your progress.
Truck Logics is a dispatching app which works with both individual truckers, fleets, and dispatchers. The app allows easy management of dispatching, invoicing, expenses, driving logs, compliance records, less-than-truckload coordination, and other features.
The Less-than-Truckload feature is a key component in this app. As your instructor from your Tacoma truck driving school told you, coordination of loads is important to maximize your dollars per mile. The LTL feature quickly coordinates loads to trucks, creates separate invoices per customer, and schedules deliveries in an efficient manner.
Weather.com or Weather Underground
They also allow hourly forecasts, and look ahead for at least a week. Weather.com has a 15-day feature, but such long-range forecasts are not entirely accurate. Weather Underground is a bit easier to use, and has less advertising.
Your CDL driving school in Tacoma will have discussed trip planning and weather during your training. These apps will keep you aware of what’s ahead of you.
All the Tools
Your smart phone is one of the key pieces of equipment in your cab. That phone, which has far more power than the computers which sent Apollo XI to the moon, can keep you connected with your family, dispatcher, and the world.
Using these apps will make your job easier and the highways smoother.