Image of a truck drivers map and the caption "trip planning for truck drivers, get to where your going faster."

Trip planing for truck drivers is an essential skill to have to become a successful and profitable truck driver. It takes very little time to trip plan and it will save you from making costly mistakes. In this article I will use an example to teach you how to trip plan.


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Trip Planning For Truck Drivers


Please note that this is just a simple example. Maximum truck speed is 60 MPH and time zones are not accounted for.



Shipper: Melissa’s Melons

Miami, Florida

Pick Date: Monday at 8:00pm


Consignee: Foods Distribution

Weatherford, Texas

Delivery Date: Thursday at 7:00AM

Total Trip Mile : 1201 Miles

You make it to the shipper after a already long day decide that you are tired and do not want to drive after loading even though you have 2 legal hours left to drive. You want some extra off time for yourself since your day has sucked.

You wake up in the morning and leave at 9am and drive 11 hours plus take breaks, get fuel and shower which adds 2 hours to your day. So you have driven 660 miles and ended your day at 10pm.

The next day you leave as soon as your 10 hour rest period ends at 8am and do the same as the day before. So your day ends at 9pm and you find that you are not at the shipper like you thought you would be. You have driven a total of 1320 miles on this load. Notice something wrong here? The original trip was 1201 miles. Now you get this sinking feeling in your gut that something is wrong.


You check the mileage on your cell phone, map or whatever and it tells you the mileage is actually 1369 miles. You still have 59 miles to drive but your not legal to drive again until  7am. Now you will arrive exactly one hour late if you have no other delays.

  1. If you would have driven one or two hours the night you loaded you would have been on time.
  2. Even if you had exhausted all your hours for that day you couldn’t have driven, you could have still left earlier than you did and made it on time.
  3. If you couldn’t have left earlier or driven the night you loaded you could have told your dispatcher that you can’t make it and they could have rescheduled your appointment.
  4. The end result is you being late, not getting unloaded till later in the day and the company having a service failure because you didn’t trip plan like you should have.
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Trip planning for truck drivers tips

  1. First things first in trip planning is to check the true mileage to your delivery point.
  2. Do the math and see if you have enough hours to legally get to your destination.
  3. Plan out where you are going to stop each night and how many miles you have to make a day to be on time.
  4. If it is tight or you think you may not make it on time communicate this to your dispatcher ASAP!
  5. Write the directions to the consignee on the top of your windshield with a dry erase marker so you don’t have to keep looking at your Qualcomm.
  6. Never compromise safety to be on time.