What You Need to Know About Working with Your Dispatcher

As a truck driver, your most important point of contact with the company you’re working for is the dispatcher. The dispatcher’s role is to manage the movement of freight. To do this job efficiently, dispatchers try to reduce the number of miles that a truck is driven while empty. They also try to schedule drivers so that freight gets to its destination by a certain time.


Maintaining a Harmonious Relationship with Your Dispatcher

Since you’ll be working closely with your dispatcher, it’s essential to get off on the right foot. Establish a cordial, professional relationship with him or her. Since dispatchers and drivers have two completely different jobs, it’s helpful to keep in mind what your dispatcher’s goals are and what he or she is dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Likewise, you may need to gently remind your dispatcher that factors beyond your control may affect the speed of transportation, like bad weather, traffic, fatigue, and hours of service.


Remembering Who You Work For

Since your dispatcher is the person assigning routes to you, it may feel like you’re working directly for the dispatcher. But actually, you’re working for the company. If you feel that a dispatcher is setting an unrealistic deadline in light of hours of service, traffic, or weather conditions, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak up about it. Let your dispatcher know that you’ll do your best to get the cargo to its destination on time, but that you can’t promise it.


Talking to the Safety Supervisor

The best way to deal with a stubborn dispatcher is to try to reach a mutual agreement. But sometimes, dispatchers get so overwhelmed by the responsibility of moving freight under tight deadlines that they forget that safety is the number one priority. If you cannot resolve a disagreement with the dispatcher, ask to speak with the safety supervisor. It’s the safety supervisor’s job to protect truckers and reduce liability for the company by ensuring that protocols like hours of service are kept.


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Getting Enough Rest as an Over-the-Road Truck Driver

Did you know that sleep deprivation can cause the same level of impairment behind the wheel as intoxication? As a professional truck driver, your number one concern is safety, and sleep is an essential part of promoting safety on the roads. As you gain more experience, you’ll settle into a sleeping routine that works best for you. For the time being, consider trying the following tips.


Stick to a regular schedule.

It can be tough to keep a regular schedule when you’re on the road, but try to keep your sleep and wake times as consistent as possible. This helps your brain regulate its natural sleep/wake rhythm. Remember that, according to the hours of service rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you’re required to take regular breaks for rest. Drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours after getting 10 consecutive hours of rest.


Park in a quiet location.

You will typically park at a highway rest area or truck stop to get off the road. Some companies have facilities for truckers to use, and some customers set aside an area for truckers to park in overnight. Try to park in a quiet area, away from bright parking lot lights. The exception is if you’re in a cold region experiencing strong winds. In this case, you may be more comfortable if you park between two other big rigs. This minimizes the effects of the wind gusts hitting your trailer.


Make your sleeper berth as comfortable as possible.

You’ll sleep better if you’re comfortable. Add a mattress topper to your bunk, along with comfortable bedding and your favorite pillow. Reduce the amount of light in the bunk area as much as possible. If your alarm clock has illuminated numbers, dim it if possible or turn it around so that it faces away from your bunk. Bring earplugs on every trip, and consider plugging in a white noise machine.

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