Fuel for Thought
The Scenic Route
Expediters are usually looking for the shortest or fastest route possible. When time is of the essence, decisions have to be made to deliver the load on time.Sometimes the shortest route is not the quickest and the quickest route is not always the shortest. Sometimes there is the toll factor. Taking a slightly longer route to avoid tolls is not uncommon, and the same applies to avoiding heavy traffic congestion or finding a way around a back up due to a crash.
For the most part, trucks stick to the major roads. Interstates, U.S. highways and then state roads. Getting off of the interstates can sometimes lead to longer travel times, even when the secondary roads will save miles, it can add time to your trip.
How do you know which secondary roads are truck friendly? Which ones can save you time? Which ones will slow you down versus staying on the longer, but maybe faster, interstate?
Mountainous secondary roads, like U.S. highways and state highways can be great shortcuts and timesavers, and a little change of scenery from the interstates, but some should be avoided so choose carefully. Consider the season when choosing mountainous highways and byways.
If the secondary roads you want to try are in rural farm areas, please be mindful of the farm equipment that may also use the road. Especially during planting and harvesting times of the year. While farm equipment may slow you down, be respectful and considerate to them. Give them the right of way. Keep in mind that this road might be a great alternative route, but only at certain times of the year.
Truckers should be especially cautious of county roads. These roads will generally be smaller, narrower, with or without shoulders, trees near the road and bridges with weight restrictions.
Never blindly follow your GPS.
Whenever you have a load with plenty of extra time for delivery built in, consider doing your own research. If you are in an area with some secondary roads that are truck friendly, meaning trucks are allowed, and it may cut off some miles, give it a try. You may find a better road for the next time you are in the same area.
Taking the unknown shortcut when you are pressed for time could lead to late deliveries, but when you have the extra time, it may be your chance to find a better way for next time or to confirm never to take that route again. Either way you will gain knowledge and experience and may even get to see some interesting sights along the way.
Small towns off the interstates can have a lot to offer. You may just find your next favorite diner or fruit and vegetable stand. Many state parks are located off the interstates and many will have truck parking areas and walking trails.
See you down the road,