Women in Trucking - A Woman Driver's Guide
Whatever you did before or whatever you thought before about time most likely does not apply anymore. In fact, bringing your old concepts with you will probably get you and keep you in trouble. Most of us may not even think about time very often, or give it much importance and herein lies ours dilemma.
In trucking, time is of the utmost importance, equaled only by safety. Drivers tend to get safety because they see, hear, and touch its direct effect on themselves. But time is too often a different matter. Nowhere in any industry except maybe the space program is time more important and, the sooner a driver realizes that and applies that knowledge to their behavior, the sooner they will be on their way to success.
When you get down to it all we ever really have for sure is time. Time for each of us is limited as it is for each customer we interact with. If we waste our time or theirs it can never be retrieved or redone. We have so many hours in a day to get our jobs done and so do they. If we rob them of any of that through our late arrivals or failing to get our part of the loading or unloading done in a timely manner it affects much more than the man on the dock.
In some instances, you can actually stop production, delay a delivery, even delay every driver after you for the rest of the shift. If your late delivery is one too many, you can be the straw that brakes the camel's back and cost your company that account. This can result in less work for every driver at your company, if you still have a company to call your own that is. Your delay can cost that company money in overtime and in delay penalties. One company I delivered to would charge the company I was delivering for thousands of dollars by the minute. Once they were charged $66,000 dollars for being 11 minutes late!
Sure, sometimes there are things beyond our control but many of those that we think are just bad luck are really just a result of our poor planning.
When you take a trip, plan that trip in advance before you agree to the delivery time. Once you have agreed, it is totally your responsibility to get there on time. Excuses will not change the damage your late delivery may have caused, or the expense. Often there is a money penalty to your company, as in the example above.
If you divide the distance of your trip by 50 m.p.h., that will give you your driving time even if you get stopped at a weigh station, held up in traffic, rerouted, miss your exit...you get the picture. But you are not done yet. Figure in at least a one-hour break even for the shortest trip. Figure in an hour's break for every 150 miles. Even if you only stop at the most accessible rest room you will loose at least 15 minutes with that stop so if you want to add getting a sandwich and washing your hands to that, then you can see how easily an hour can get lost. It is also good for the circulation in your legs to get out and stretch at regular intervals. Deep leg thrombosis is always a possibility when you sit for long periods of time. Get out, stretch your leg and back muscles. Walk a little or as much as you have time for. Eat lightly until you are ready to stop for a 10-hour break.
Allow enough time every time. Never try to turn your truck into a time machine. You can't make up time without great risk for a little gain. Keeping your door shut helps more than anything. Take only the breaks you need until you get the job done. If your schedule is really tight, bring your food with you-fruit and sandwiches are all available at truck stops.
Don't leave late, that is really the bottom line. If time isn't important to you remember, it is to every one else in this industry and it is the difference between a professional successful driver and a steering wheel holder.
Remember too, that none of us know how much time is allotted to each of us. You might ask yourself how you would live your life if you knew this was your last week or your last day. If that day's behavior is what you would be judged by or remembered for, would you do it differently? Give yourself your best effort everytime.