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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Worst Cities for Truck Drivers

roadprobrands.com
Article thanks to The RoadPro Family of Brands and Jim Sweeney. Links provided:
Ever notice how ads meant to recruit truck drivers always show semis rolling down scenic highways with no other vehicles in sight?
You’ll never see an ad featuring a truck fighting to change lanes on the Beltway in Washington D.C. or idling on I-285 outside of Atlanta. But the reality is traffic-choked cities are unavoidable for most truckers, whether over-the-road or local.    
While every city of any size has traffic jams, some towns are notorious for having the worst congestion and conditions.    
Navigation equipment manufacturer TomTom has released its annual list of cities with the worst traffic:
  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Francisco
  3. Honolulu
  4. New York City
  5. Seattle
  6. San Jose, Calif.
  7. Miami
  8. Chicago
  9. Washington D.C.
  10. Portland, Ore.
INRIX, which makes transportation software, has its own list with most of the same cities, but it also adds Austin and Bridgeport, Conn.  
In some cases, bad traffic is so widespread than it makes an entire region a nightmare. Southern California, the New York-Boston Corridor, Washington D.C./Baltimore, Chicagoland and Seattle-Tacoma are examples.    
Of course, traffic congestion is only one factor for truckers. They also worry about enforcement, load limits, road conditions, construction and space for easy parking and delivery.
The downtowns of many older cities, especially New York, Boston and others in the Northeast, were built when deliveries were made by horse and wagon, not truck. As a result, the streets are narrow and can have restrictive weight limits. Loading docks are small and there is little room to turn around.
Low bridges and trestles can also close off roads. Drivers single out Pittsburgh as being especially bad for minimum clearance.  The downtowns of older cities also are less likely to have safe places to park overnight, with the closest truck stops located on the outskirts of town.
Truckers also dislike cities with aggressive motorists, ones who like to play bumper cars with trucks. New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta are notorious for such encounters.  
When possible, drivers try to avoid the worst cities by going around them or driving through during low-traffic times, such as overnight and between rush hours.
“My plan, as always, is that if I have to drive through places like Chicago, L.A., Atlanta via I-285, I choose 2 to 3 a.m. because it's obvious,” one trucker wrote in response to our question. “Why tackle all that traffic, especially when you are on the clock? But I absolutely refuse to drive through NYC when I'm heading into the Northeast. Even the locals don't drive through it. The George Washington Bridge is a joke even at 1 a.m. I go around, it's not all that farther anyway.”
As for the best cities in which to drive, well, there seem to be only bad and worse, as far as truckers are concerned (though one driver praised Phoenix’s wide streets). Truckers long for those lonely interstates found in the ads.
As one driver put it, “I don’t really have any favorite cities to travel through. I do have some notable back routes that I like to take to avoid congested areas. Some are very scenic and make the route that much more enjoyable.”

How to stay calm in traffic
Truckers who can’t figure out how to keep their cool in traffic don’t last long in the job — it’s a must-have survival mechanism. Still, it never hurts to learn a few tricks to stay calm. Here are five of our favorites:

  • Listen to music that will chill you out. Bumper-to-bumper on I-75 in Dallas is not the place to pop in Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All CD. Maybe some smooth jazz or a Grateful Dead bootleg instead. Sing along.
  • Realize it’s not personal. That four-wheeler who just cut you off doesn’t have it in for you; she’s just a bad driver.
  • Get Zen. Over the course of a day driving, you will be in proximity to hundreds, maybe thousands, of other vehicles. You can’t control what those drivers do. All you can do is drive as professionally as you know how and not let other drivers affect you.
  • Listen to a good book. Literature can take you places far, far away from the construction zone in which you’re stuck. Find some good books and you’ll see traffic jams as opportunities to listen to another chapter.
  • Keep a picture of something beautiful in the cab. A beach, snowcapped mountains, your family – whatever works. Look at the picture. Breathe deeply and relax.



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