We’ve all seen the headlines. The Coronavirus pandemic is making already challenging jobs, like trucking, even more difficult. As essential personnel, truckers can’t just stop doing their jobs. Fortunately, we live in a time in which technology can solve some of the problems presented by a nation in crisis, whether it be due to a natural disaster, a tragic event, or even a pandemic.
Knowing the whereabouts of rest stops and the amenities offered at all of them poses a challenge for drivers even under the best of conditions. Take, for example, the availability of safe parking spots. This issue has been so persistent and well covered that a bipartisan bill— 6104, The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act—was even introduced to address it this month. Under current Hours of Service regulations, drivers consistently rank finding parking as one of their top issues. Many drivers report stopping with hours still on the clock out of fear of not finding a place to park in time.
With the COVID-19 FSCMA Hours of Service Exemption in effect, some drivers may find that they are able to more easily reach a destination on their own time, but challenges around parking remain. In fact, parking may even be more difficult to predict than before as some service areas close.
Similarly, accessing healthy food or necessary supplies such as cleaning materials has long been a challenge for truck drivers on the road. Many drivers relied on WalMarts for these supplies in the past, but have more recently faced concerns around parking at these locations as some WalMarts change policy to prevent long-term parking. Now, under current conditions, drivers can add reduced hours and empty shelves to their list of concerns. Some drivers are reporting crafting their own hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes on social media as a result.
Ideally, all of these conditions would improve quickly to better support these critical supply chain employees. In the meantime, having updated information at their fingertips may be the best tool drivers can count on for getting where you need to be quickly and without incident.
A reliable truck stop guide, like the one included in the Trucker Tools application, can provide information like the number of parking spots, diesel pumps, fuel prices, and additional amenities offered. It also includes weather for that location and the restaurants within walking distance of that particular truck stop. Along the same lines Trucker Tools also includes a Collision Repair Locator feature in the unpleasant event of an accident. Perhaps the most important tool to have at your disposal during a worldwide health crisis is a medical examiner. While some rest stops these days do offer urgent care facilities, not all do. Even if all is well, scheduling a DOT physical along the route can save time and money. And when all is not well, having a tool that will locate the nearest medical facility could be a lifesaver. The free driver app has also recently added a resource guide specific to COVID-19 which will be continuously updated.
Preparedness is the only way to prevent wasting time and money, and the best way to spring into action when the unexpected happens. Technology like the Trucker Tools app can be a gamechanger when it comes to setting yourself up for success under any condition.