As with a lot of drivers that have been doing this a while, I did not always have technology to rely on for finding my routes. I started out in this industry with the good old laminated United States road atlas and then moved towards adding Thomas Guide books when I took on more local and regional hauling too. The addition of Google Maps for my traffic and routing has made some really tough locations to get into a breeze in comparison, allowing me to see an aerial satellite view and street view of where I’m going beforehand. I took it a step further now that I have another driver running for me and try to make it a point to give him even better maps of places I may have already been to, but that I am sending him into for his first time. Needless to say that it helps to keep him happier by avoiding unnecessary frustration and takes only but a moment longer than snapping the regular screenshot of the mapped location.
By importing the map screenshot from my phones photo library, then opening it in PDF format with my “PDF Expert” editing program, I can use all sorts of nifty tools to draw detailed descriptions of where my driver needs to maneuver into at any new customer. The difference can be seen here below in these side-by-side shots of the same two locations, with the left being a plain screenshot and the right being an edited version I sent via text that took no more than an additional 2 to 3 minutes to set up. This small investment of time to clarify can help to alleviate the potential for phone calls for directions, or even a driver getting stuck somewhere they weren’t supposed to pull a truck into!
The response I got with the first map like this that I sent my driver was one of relief and astonishment. Most carriers will print out typed, line-by-line directions at best, but some may also have mapping programs that can help a little more built into their ELD’s. My driver hadn’t had such clarity in directions as this before and loves when I can provide these helpful hints in easy-to-follow edits that will help save him time and possible frustration. Taking the time to think ahead and make sure your trip plan is well thought out should always include detailed location research for the shipper or receiver if you haven’t been there before. The minutes of time to send maps with details like these is a small price to pay for the great payoff they can provide!