Communication is Key
Communication is key in the trucking industry. Flashing headlights, CB radios, mobile devices, and old-fashioned face to face contact are key to making sure that a load is delivered safely and in a timely manner.
Keep in mind that when you see a truck on the road, the drivers in those trucks are working. These men and women are transporting thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise on a time restriction. To better understand road communication, it is a good idea to become familiar with signals that a truck driver may send to others on the road.
Truck drivers usually communicate with each other by using a citizen’s band (CB) radios. However, they also communicate using the lights on their rigs. If you are not familiar with these signs, you may not even realize what they are doing. Truck drivers have an advantage over other drivers on the road. They sit higher, therefore they can see down the road further. They also have access to CB radio, and can communicate with other drivers to warn them of anything that may impede their delivery time.
A courtesy is to flash a driver if he/she is allowing a merge. Due to a truck’s size and weight, it is much slower than an average vehicle making a lane change.
Truck drivers will put their hazard lights on when highway traffic is coming to an abrupt stop. If you understand this, you will notice it from a great distance and be able to stop without braking hard.
New mobile communications can include much more than location and status. The internet has opened the market to fleets of all sizes and technology has advanced to the point where it has become cost-effective for fleets to implement.
On-board scanning has become more prevalent in trucking. Important data and information regarding brake sensors, tire sensors, cargo monitoring, etc., can be sent via a wireless mobile communications system. This information lets drivers scan and transmit paper documents such as trip reports, bills of lading, time sheets, receipts, and other documents. This speeds up the process. Data collected from the scanned documents is received in the main office within minutes which speeds up the billing process. Not only does it speed up the billing process, but it also keeps the driver on the road rather than stopping to fax or mail documents.
Office to Driver Communication
Emphasizing the importance of communication is step one. Make sure that everyone on your team understands the importance of communication. Clear, consistent communication is essential, not just to the completion of routes, but to the long-term success of the business. Using up to date communication management software is crucial. This will help the team engage and allow them to communicate in real time. Always make sure that communication is clear, concise, and effective. Get to the point, emphasize the point, and get out. If you bury the important part with unnecessary details, your message may be lost.
If you have any other suggestions for effective communication within a fleet, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.