Commercial trucking is big business. At any moment, tens of thousands of trucks are at work all over America, hauling goods from place to place. They’re often active at all hours of the day and night.
Trucking has existed for many decades, and it will doubtless continue to do so. There are self-driving trucks in the works, but for the moment, companies need human operators to drive these big rigs and get them safely to where they’re going.
Technology is always coming out that can help truck drivers, and GPS is the perfect example. Let’s take a closer look at truck driver GPS and what it can do for the modern trucker.
History vs. Today
Before we get into what you want to look for in the best truck driver GPS, you should know about the not-too-distant past out of which truck driver navigation comes. Not many years ago, truck drivers would rely on paper maps to get around. They would stop to consult them at diners and weighing stations, sometimes taking into account construction projects and road closures.
A trucker would have to learn the country pretty quickly. They would need to know how to shave minutes off their routes and what roads to take if construction closed a particular one.
It was an imperfect system, but the average trucker did the best they could with it. They had no viable alternative.
The Onboard Infotainment System
Many vehicles these days feature infotainment systems, not just commercial trucks. These systems usually have GPS capabilities. However, the companies did not create all of them equally.
Some of them can instantly find routes to virtually any destination within the continental United States. Others are slower, and truckers probably won’t care for those as much. Truckers make their living delivering their payloads as quickly as possible, and they chafe whenever they encounter a delay.
The best onboard infotainment system that also includes a GPS feature is the one that allows a trucker to plug in the coordinates and hit the road with no delays. They should see a clear route materialize on the screen in front of them. They should never have to do anything more than glance at that screen to see where they need to go next.
What Else Might a Trucker Expect from a GPS?
The GPS should also give the trucker instructions on when and where to turn in a clear, understandable voice. If it speaks with a thick accent or garbles some of the words, that’s not helpful.
The best unit will also feature information about where commercial trucks can and cannot go. In that respect, trucker ones differ from systems that someone driving a family sedan would most appreciate.
A trucker’s GPS should feature real-time traffic information. If the GPS knows that there’s a traffic jam up ahead, it might be able to instruct the driver on where they can go to avoid it.
Are There Any Other GPS Features a Trucker Might Want?
Some truckers may also look for trip logging capabilities. If the GPS can log a trucker’s route before they leave, they will know approximately what to expect along the way. The trucker’s company can also refer back to the trip log if they want to know what route the trucker took and how long it took them to get to their destination.
The screen size can be a more critical issue than you might think. Some GPS screens are relatively large, and that can distract a trucker and cause an accident. Commercial trucks are enormous, so distracted driving is not something the trucker or their company will ever want to occur.
The screen should not be too small, either. If the trucker has to squint at it to make out when they should turn and where, that can be just as lethal as having too large of a screen.
Some GPS options show places where a commercial truck can stop and refuel. Most truckers considered that to be advanced technology not long ago, but now, it is much more common. Knowing where to stop and gas up can save lots of time and trouble on a long trip from coast to coast.
What most commercial truck drivers come to realize is that there is no single answer regarding what GPS to use. They may have to experiment with a few different ones before coming across the ideal model for their needs.