Are you using these apps?
By: Phil Sneed
Smartphones and tablets have become must-have accessories for everyone, including truck drivers.
You get the basic functionalities of a cellphone, such as the ability to make calls and send text messages. But you also have much more information and power at your fingertips. From mapping your route to relaxing by watching a viral video, handheld devices provide help and entertainment.
Various groups of professionals will have different demands from their smart devices. Some apps and services truckers want and need on the road are going to be specific only to the transportation industry.
Here are a handful of apps that you might find useful while away from home. Some are helpful while in the cabin, but remember to avoid looking down at your mobile device while behind the wheel or using them to send messages, for instance.
If you aren't using these apps yet, you might want to soon enough.
For help with navigation
Trucker Path Pro should be No. 1 on your favorite app list while on the job. Available for both the iOS and Android platforms, this app is designed by truckers, for truckers, as over 500,000 drivers use the app on a consistent basis. The app combines many functions drivers will find useful.
"This app is designed by truckers, for truckers."
First is the built-in navigation system. Unlike other popular mapping services geared for consumers, Trucker Path Pro's GPS includes information relevant to drivers. You'll be able to find detailed information on weight stations, truck stops and parking availability, to name a few of the features.
You can also look up where the cheapest diesel fuel is along your route. Using the Trip Planner function, you can map out your delivery to the exact detail from the moment you leave the dock or loading area.
Additionally, the app has a feature called Truckloads, which can help you find new loads to haul.
You'll likely need some time to get acclimated to using the app since it has so many features, but the sheer amount of information it provides is a must-have while you're delivering loads.
Refresh your memory
Every semi-trailer driver needs a commercial driver's license in order to get behind the wheel of a semi-trailer. According to DMV.org, which is not affiliated with any state DMV office and only provides background information, CDL licenses issued in the state of Texas, for example, are good for five years.
After that, you'll need to renew your CDL in person. You may be required to take a test before the process is approved. Knowing what to expect and preparing for these tests beforehand can be extremely beneficial, and the app CarriersEdge can assist you. But it can also come in handy for individuals hoping to become drivers in the future.
This app is designed to help you prepare for the requirements you'll need to meet in order to obtain a CDL or to renew one. According to Fleet Owner, the app offers courses in the following areas:
- Defensive driving
- Hours of service and logbooks
- Hazardous materials
- Fire safety
- Maximizing fuel efficiency
- Recognizing and preventing fatigue
- Cargo securement
- Winter driving
In an interview with Fleet Owner, CarriersEdge CEO Jane Jazrawy said the app is a result of the increasing emphasis placed on mobile devices and how they are being used to increase efficiency and convenience.
"Having a dedicated mobile app for driver training makes a lot of sense," said Jazrawy. "There are generic productivity apps that can be used to run basic training programs, but until now there hasn't been anything dedicated exclusively to driver training and we felt that needed to change."
When the app is installed, drivers will have access to CarrierEdge's library of knowledge tests, refresher courses and orientation sessions. Truck companies can even create custom content and schedule certain training assignments be completed by a certain deadline.
"Drivers will have access to a library of knowledge tests, refresher courses and orientation sessions."
To help you relax
Being a truck driver means you'll have times where you aren't able to come home for a few days, potentially longer depending on the shipment and the destination. Likewise, you will have to take breaks here and there, whether it's to stretch your legs or rest for the night.
When you do decide to pull over, there are plenty of apps that can help you pass the time. Music and video streaming apps are excellent choices. However, keep in mind that when you stream, you will consume a lot of cellular data, so be sure you have enough to spare. You might therefore have to limit your Netflix binges in the cabin to an episode or two of your favorite show.
But some music services, like Spotify and Apple Music, enable you to download music to your device so you won't have to worry about using data. Before you leave your home, simply download a playlist or a couple of albums to your phone and listen while you go for a quick walk at a rest stop or to help you fall asleep.
Podcast apps are also popular to have and use while you have some down time. These digital audio shows come from a variety of sources and cover a wide range of topics, from sports and television shows to in-depth stories. These can also be downloaded to your device so you can avoid using up all of your data.
The great part about owning a smartphone is the sheer number of apps that are available for you to use for trucking and personal purposes. These are only some of the apps it's recommended you use, but there are many more to explore.