Whether you are new to the trucking industry or a seasoned driver, there is likely going to come a time when you get lost on the road. Both poor communication while receiving directions and relying solely on a GPS device contribute to getting a driver off route. While you can’t always control whether you get lost, you can control how you react to the situation.
Follow these tips on what to do if you get lost while trucking:
1. Remember Not To Panic
The most important thing to remember when you get lost is not to panic. Driving in a panic can cause you to make hasty decisions and increases your chances of getting in an accident. If you find yourself lost, find a safe place to pull over and reassess your situation. Use your map or GPS device to determine where you are, then check your directions to see where you took a wrong turn.
If you can’t reroute yourself with the tools available to you in your truck, you can contact the shipper/receiver for clarification if you are nearby. Otherwise, your dispatcher may be able to help.
2. Call Other Truckers For Help
Keeping your CB radio on while you are on the road can pay off if you get off course. You can use it to call out to a local driver and ask for directions or clarification on where you are. Every truck driver gets lost once in a while, so drivers will be understanding of your situation and more than likely willing to help.
3. Find A Safe Place to Turn Around
Once you have calmed down and figured out where to go next, you will need to find a safe place to turn around. Turning around in a space that is too small for your truck or failing to see an obstacle can be dangerous for both you and others on the road. You could drive into a ditch, hit a parked car, or sideswipe a trailer. Getting back on course cautiously will help you avoid these potential accidents.
4. Stay On Track
You can avoid getting yourself lost by preparing your directions before you leave for a trip. The number one reason truckers get lost while on their route is when the directions they were given were wrong or they miss a street sign. While they can be helpful with navigating, Google Maps and regular GPS units are not truck-friendly because they do not consider the weight limits of bridges or the height of overpasses. It is important to supplement their directions with other sources, like a road atlas or instructions from your company or shipper/receiver, and to use a trucker-friendly GPS when possible.
Here are more tips to help keep you on track:
- Repeat the directions back to the person giving them to you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Ask for landmarks along the truck route to keep an eye out for.
- Keep a journal of directions from every trip you take to look back on if you are in the area later.
- Ask for unfamiliar street names to be spelled out.
A Safe Driving School
At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we will prepare you to be the safest driver possible, but also understand that getting lost is sometimes unavoidable. We have locations in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to assist our students in getting their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) in as little as four weeks. We also offer job placement assistance to help you explore your employment options after graduation.