What is the best part of driving at night? For truck drivers, the answer is simple: There is almost no one outside. At all.
This means no traffic, more miles, and no angry four-wheelers.
For some drivers, like Red Viking Trucker, this nighttime driving is perfect. For other people, they don’t like messing the body’s natural circadian rhthym.
Read on to find out about more pros and cons of night driving.
Pros of Driving at Night
As we mentioned above, the roads are barren at night due to the typical 9-to-5 of most drivers. Most workers usually call it a day by 9:00 PM.
Due to the scarcity of traffic, truckers can use this to their advantage and easily knock out 500 miles a night. The truck driver motto is especially relevant in the dead of night: Miles = money.
And if you’re an owner-operator that pays for your own diesel or you get a fuel bonus, the lack of a constant stop-and-start traffic will save on fuel.
Another benefit of night driving is saving on maintenance costs. Without all that wear and tear from excessively changing momentum, truck components can go longer without needing to be replaced or repaired.
Removing trucks from daily traffic could improve commute times, so some municipalities may even want to find ways to incentivize truck drivers to run at night. Some nice incentives for trucking companies that are passed down to drivers would go a long way!
Cons of Nighttime Driving
Department of Transportations, such as the one in Colorado, have issued reports about trucking companies altering their schedule to drive during low traffic periods. As expected, those that shifted their hauls were able to save on fuel and maintenance, while also increasing the number of runs per trucker.
One obvious problem is safety. Any time a truck driver parks or makes a stop in the dark of night, there is a measure of risk involved. Being locked up in a cabin is generally safe, but if you get out to use a shower or restroom or especially to unhook or hook up a trailer,you’re in a vulnerable position.
Nightdrivers should always carry pepper spray or a heavy flashlight for defense, but you can’t always be paying 100% attention to your surroundings. Especially for a drop and hook with no visibility.
Another problem is lost time at the shipper/receiver. If truck drivers arrive to a shipper/receiver during odd hours, an employee will likely not be there late at night when a truck driver arrives with the load.
You might have made great time getting to the destination, but you would have to adjust your entire schedule around the shipper/receiver anyway.
Tips for Night Driving
Truck drivers interested in starting the “vampire-shift” should always remember to:
- Stay in contact with dispatch
- Keep your doors locked
- Check surroundings before getting out
- Stay alert and adjust your body’s routine prior to making the first run