Beating GPS


GPS machines (Truck Navigational Devices) are great tools. I like having one in my truck. I would miss the challenge of beating them. Just yesterday, I was leaving a scrap paper yard in Germantown, WI on my way to 1919 S. Broadway in Green Bay. It is a run that I have done at least a half dozen times. I have been going in and out of the old Fort Howard mill in Green Bay since 1992. Let's just say that I don't need GPS to find it. I did use a GPS to get in and out of the scrap yard in Germantown. Once I got on the highway, I would usually turn it off.


The load paid 108 miles (HHG) my GPS was reading 122 miles. That is a bad ratio. A few months ago, I learned a faster way out of the scrap yard. I turned right (GPS way) out of the yard and the driver behind me turned left. When I got up to Mequon Road that driver was ahead of me. The next time I went his way. When I got to Mequon Road the machine was telling me to turn left and it was 120 miles. I believed that it would be shorter if I turned right. Even if it was a break even proposition, there is a weigh station on US41. I don't go out of my way to avoid weigh stations, but if it is six of one-half dozen of the other, why deal with it?


When I turned right on Mequon Road the machine immediately went from 120 miles to 113 miles. It is not the first time my GPS has done similar things. Once, heading across I275 north of Cincinnati, my machine was telling me to use I75, I wanted to use I71. As I crossed I275 heading east toward I71 my mileage immediately dropped 12 miles and my ETA improved by 8 minutes. It sort makes me wonder why the GPS didn't just choose my way in the first place. Maybe GPS will take you the long way to avoid the hassle driving of smaller roads or surface streets.


There are several examples of things like that. On the way to Green Bay, with my short cut, I was getting paid 108 miles to drive 115 miles. Better than 122 miles, but still not satisfactory. Then coming across 172 in Green Bay my machine was trying to take my to US 41. NO! When going to the mill we had always gotten off of 172 at the Ashland Avenue exit. As a matter of fact for years, I have been seeing trucks go by me when I got off at Ashland only to end up behind me at the mill. I will often talk to them and tell them the shorter way. Some listen. Anyway my GPS was reading 7 miles when I took the exit and immediately dropped to 1.9 miles. That made my actual miles 110. That sure beats 122.


Use your GPS, but use your head too. As many of you know I complain about HHG miles and think that they need to be gone from the industry. However for drivers to complain about how far off HHG is from GPS and then not double check the routing doesn't work either. Use everything you can to decrease the miles. Measure twice-or as many times as it takes-then drive once.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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Many times in addition to paging thru my trusty Rand McNally motor carriers atlas , I will change some of the parameters on my GPS from the same manufacturer . This is a great way to pass time while waiting to be loaded / unloaded .

June 30, 2015 5:11:15 AM