Last week, I hauled a load from eastern North Carolina up to northern Pennsylvania.  The proposed route that my GPS and Google maps suggested took me around Washington D.C. on I-495 and it would be around 4 pm when I got there.  As most of you know, this is one of the worst traffic regions in the country and a delay of at least an hour is the norm for that time of day.  The hour delay is only if there are no accidents.  If accidents occur, then plan on adding even more travel time to the trip. 

I chose a route that would take me away from that traffic disaster, but would add approximately 30 miles to the trip.  I hated to run the extra miles, but it was a strategic decision that benefited me the most.  Although I added 30 miles of fuel to the trip, I never experienced any traffic snarls and I'm confident that I even saved 30 minutes of time by avoiding the Capital Beltway. 

Even though the shorter route would save me 30 miles,  the added time and fuel consumption of starting and stopping in traffic for at least an hour really made the decision a no brainer!  A wise old man once said, "You can make more money, but you can't make more time."  That's something else to consider when choosing routes.

Comments (5)

Joey Slaughter

Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. Joey has been in the trucking industry since 1992.

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I find it amazing how close in mileage two different routes can be, but with other vastly different in route considerations, especially when going all the way across the country. Tolls are one obvious example, in addition to urban congestion you mentioned. The few extra miles out of the direct route with a high toll cost is a comparison worth making.

March 20, 2016 12:11:13 PM

I use the Rand McNally TND tablet to route my truck. It's awesome. But, I rely on my TomTom GPS to keep me posted on traffic issues. It really is great and I've been using it for years. It provides me with alternate routes, but I can't use them many times as they don't consider that I am a humongous truck. But, it advises me of potential problems which I can attempt to avoid.

In Arizona along I-10 from Benson to Tucson, there is major road work going on. My Rand McNally only tells me there is construction. My TomTom advises alternate routes. I take US90 to 82 to Nogales, as that is where I deliver every other week. In Nogales, there are signs that say Highway 82 is not recommended for trucks but it is a great road for trucks and avoids all that construction.

Information is a key part of being successful. Alternate routes are sometimes the best way to go.

March 20, 2016 12:05:25 PM

Sorry about the double post.

March 19, 2016 11:59:00 AM

I would have done the same route as you to keep out of heavy traffic. Heavy traffic means a greater chance of an accident.
I have always been interested in the concept of saving time in the trucking industry. Especially when it comes to excess speed to save time or make more money. The majority of drivers will speed with the concept that they are making more money per hour but very few can prove this over a period of more than a week at the most. Any time spent in stopped or slow traffic, waiting for the next load, or waiting to unload will affect the average mile per hour.
If a driver has 150,000 miles at the end of the year driving 60 mph or 75 mph he has made the same amount of money within the same time frame and rate. And if this is an owner-operator the slower driver will have made a greater net profit.

March 19, 2016 11:57:52 AM

I would have done the same route as you to keep out of heavy traffic. Heavy traffic means a greater chance of an accident.
I have always been interested in the concept of saving time in the trucking industry. Especially when it comes to excess speed to save time or make more money. The majority of drivers will speed with the concept that they are making more money per hour but very few can prove this over a period of more than a week at the most. Any time spent in stopped or slow traffic, waiting for the next load, or waiting to unload will affect the average mile per hour.
If a driver has 150,000 miles at the end of the year driving 60 mph or 75 mph he has made the same amount of money within the same time frame and rate. And if this is an owner-operator the slower driver will have made a greater net profit.

March 19, 2016 11:57:31 AM