Saving Miles or Saving Money?
Trucking newbies, as well as experienced truckers, often find themselves in a situation when they see an amazing opportunity to save a few miles and some time by getting off the expressway and maneuvering through small town roads.
Our inner voice often tells us that breaking a small rule can help us gain a huge advantage, so it’s worth it. My own experience tells me otherwise. The few miles you save by going off the expressway can turn into a complete disaster for the following reasons:
- Bad roads. By going off the route, you have no idea where you’ll eventually end up. A small town road might not be designed to accommodate your vehicle and you will be forced to U-turn, which is far from being a pleasant experience. If the roads are not designed to accommodate a large vehicle, a truck can cause damage to the pavement. The weight limits didn’t just come out of nowhere.
- Let’s face it. Cops are not less intelligent than we are. They are more eager to catch truckers on the small roads than race after speeders on the expressways because small towns need money. In addition, a speeding ticket is much more preferable than a fine for entering a “no truck” zone. If you think there are fewer cops on town roads than on the highways, think again. There are just as many or even more.
- Getting into an accident on a small town road is 70 % easier than on an expressway. People rarely expect to see a large vehicle when backing out of their driveways. Bikers, joggers, inattentive kids – these are the “fun” bonuses you get on small roads.
- Consequences. The tickets you get for breaking the rules on small roads will eventually lead to:
- Bad job records – A real killer for your career
- Increased insurance – A serious toll on your wallet
- Suspended registration – Job loss
The consequences of an accident don’t even need to be discussed. They can vary from unpleasant to downright scary.
Going to non-approved roads can cost you up to $2,000 in fines and lead to a registration suspension for up to three months. It is easy to do the math and realize that such consequences will cost you much more money and hassle than you will save by getting off the expressway.
Small roads might not always be a way to save time. Traffic on town roads can be much heavier than on an expressway.
We have all broken a few rules while driving. It is hard to avoid adding a little speed or parking for just a few minutes in a restricted zone. However, choosing your battles is an absolute must when you are driving a truck. The consequences of maneuvering on small town roads can be extremely unpleasant for you and damaging to your vehicle.
Food for thought: Did you know that a fully loaded five-axle rig that weighs 80,000 pounds could damage the expressway more than 5,000 cars? Imagine what it can do to a small town road.