Life as a trucker requires you to go from Point A to Point B with as little issues as possible. Deliveries need to be timely, and while you can do everything in your power to make sure that all loads get to their destination, you can’t control road conditions.
Accidents, construction and bad route planning are just a few reasons for late deliveries.
Trucker GPS systems can help with your route planning, allowing you to maximize your time and even perform many of the tasks you have to do by hand, including logging fuel usage.
If you’re a trucker without a proper Trucker GPS, it’s time to invest in one today.
Why Should Professional Drivers Invest in a Truck Specific GPS?
Smartphones have been able to eliminate many of the GPS systems on the market because it’s simple and easy to mount your phone, fire up Google Maps and go. But truckers know that there are dead zones where phones lose reception.
There is also a lack of key features that can make driving faster and more efficient.
It’s these features that matter the most:
- Filtering. Truck stops are not created equal, and there are plenty of times when drivers will avoid certain truck stops because of their brand name or the amenities that they don’t offer. Some trucker GPS systems will allow you to filter through all of these truck stops to ensure that you’ll be able to find the right stop the first time.
- Points of Interest. When you plug in points of interest, these are points that have all been rated by truckers themselves. This means points that offer ample parking space, hotels and restaurants that fellow truckers frequent.
- Routing. Truck routing and trip planning allow you to get on the road with confidence each run. There are customized routing plans that take into account the weight and size of your truck so that you know you’ll never have to turn around at an overpass or bridge. Grading is also considered, so you can map out your entire route without fear of breaking any local laws in the process.
- Live Traffic Alerts. Never drive into traffic unknowingly. Live traffic alerts let you know of road conditions before you reach a potential accident or detour.
- Cautions and Advisories. Keeping on top of restrictions and weather conditions can be difficult. Garmin’s truck GPS has advanced features that will alert you of high wind areas, sharp curves and even restrictions.
- Speed Updates. When speed limits change, you can fall right into a speed trap. When the speed changes or there are different limits for truckers and cars, alerts can be sent to tell you to slow down.
- Border Notices. When passing through the border of a different state or country, you’ll need to adhere to different laws. You’ll receive notices before passing through these borders to give you a heads up.
- Dash Cam. While not all units will have a dash cam, there are models that come equipped with a built-in dash cam. These cams will monitor your actions and can be used as proof if an accident occurs.
- Service History. Detailed logs of your truck’s service history are kept, allowing you to know when to make your next service call.
- Logs. Want to keep track of your e-log mileage data and gas usage? GPS units can monitor all of this, allowing you to adhere to logging laws. Even hours of service, hours of sleep and other data can be logged.
Every trucker GPS is different, so the features that are present may be different. We’re also seeing some with voice assistance and kits that allow for lane assist and advanced lane guidance.
These are features, specifically designed for truckers, that may not be needed by pedestrians and added into the latest apps.
When it comes to trucking, a dedicated GPS from one of the top rated truck GPS companies is recommended.
Fleet management systems are also incorporated into many high-end units. When using fleet management, you’re able to have your route seen by fleet managers. These managers are able to view your route and locations to better help provide customer service to shippers and receivers.
The fleet manager can even send out an alert to the receiver or shipper so that they know when you’ll arrive. Driving behavior and correct routing can also be confirmed by the fleet manager.
What are the Top of the Line Truck GPS Systems?
Don’t skimp out on your GPS if you want top-of-the-line features and continual updates. A lot of the best companies, including Garmin and Rand McNally, offer lifetime map updates – a key benefit due to routes and roads always changing.
If you don’t know where to buy a trucker GPS, look no further than Amazon.
But I have selected a few of the leading models to review – models that a lot of truckers rave about.
Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD Review
Garmin has been a leader in the GPS navigation industry for years. And they have been one of the pioneers in the industry, offering some of the best features and gearing their GPS towards truckers.
The Garmin dēzl 770LMTHD is a feature-rich GPS that comes in a 5-inch and 7-inch size option.
Considered an “advanced GPS for truckers,” this model comes with many key features:
- 7” glass display
- Lifetime HD digital traffic
- Lifetime maps for North American
- Route warnings
- Truck services directory
- Trailer services directory
But that’s just the start of what the 770 can do. When you choose this model, which is easily mounted on your dash, it will have the route on the left side of the screen and HD pictures of your next move on the right. This allows you to have a visual when going under an overpass or around a turn.
Advisories and cautions are built-in, so you’ll know well ahead of time when:
- Speed limits are lower for truckers than cars
- Sharp curves are ahead
- High wind is in the area
- Restrictions are up ahead
- Risks of grounding exist
Notices are sent to the driver five miles before reaching the border of a different country or state. Local sunrise and sunset times are posted, and easy route shaping is available. You’ll have full control of your route with the ability to add points to your route while the system calculates the most efficient route possible.
Service history logs are kept, HOS and IFTA tracking is offered, and the unit is Bluetooth headset compatible.
If you’re coming to a bridge or a road with weight limits, you’ll also receive a warning. Custom routing can include all of the size and weight limitations of your rig, so you’ll be able to find a route that has as little issues as possible.
- Lifetime updates for extended usage
- Warns of steep grades, state borders, uphill grades, weight stations and more
- Logging provides a fast and easy way to maintain e-log compliance
- Low clearance warnings are often posted
Low clearance warnings seem to be an issue, and this can happen in NYC where measuring for clearance is slightly different. You’ll find that’s there are other quirks, such as the unit seeming to always post a down grade symbol when a grade ahead notification is posted.
But these minor quirks are easily ignored due to the unit being highly customized. You’ll even receive a notification when you’re on a legal or non-legal road.
The Bluetooth communication also works well – headset is not included – and this is rare for a trucker GPS. A glass screen also allows for faster touch response and minimal glare.
Rand McNally TND 740 Review
Rand McNally’s TND 740 is a nice alternative to Garmin, and both of these manufacturers have a strong hold on the industry. When you choose the TND 740, you’ll receive everything you need to get started: windshield mount, USB cables, vehicle charger and a quick-start guide.
The unit’s display is also 7 inches, and all of the images are in HD.
- FREE lifetime map updates
- Truck-specific routing
Customizable, you’ll be able to have full control over your next route. Over-the-air updates are available for maps, too. There’s never a need to plug the unit into a computer and go through the arduous task of updating maps again.
And thanks to Wi-Fi connected services, you’ll also be able to receive:
- Fuel price updates
- Weather updates
For an owner-operator, the fuel price updates are a very nice addition because they allow you to save money. This model’s display is vibrant and easy to adjust, and there are a lot of neat extras that Rand McNally has added into the unit.
Advanced lane guidance and lane assist are two safety features that help you keep your truck in line. Truck-specific routing is available, so you’ll be able to calculate faster routes. And McNally claims that this GPS unit has 35% more truck routing information that any other GPS on the market today.
There’s an audio out feature, so you can route the GPS through your truck’s audio system.
Warnings are all customizable, and they can include notifications for:
- Steep curves
- Speed limit changes
HOS alert and warnings are also available along with a driver scorecard. The scorecard tells you and management how well you’re driving. This scorecard will include:
- Idling and vehicle fault codes
- Miles per gallon
Electronic driver logs are kept along with vehicle inspection reporting.
And in the box, there’s even a glare and screen protector. You’ll be able to see the 7-inch screen no matter the lighting condition.
When driving, icons are on the map to show you where gas stations are. There’s also the ability to plan out your trip, including fuel stops, so you don’t have to worry about losing time when on the road.
- Easy to use and highly accurate trip planning
- Quick processing in case the unit needs to recalculate
- Magnetic back keeps the unit in place even over bumps
- Issues with charging for some users
The only downside is that some users have complained about charging, but most have not made any complaints. It’s possible that a bad charging cord is responsible for these complaints, but aside from this small issue which is easily resolved, there are some neat features, such as lane assist, that users really like.
A more affordable option compared to the Garmin, this model offers sufficient route planning, e-logging and other features that make the life of a trucker easier and more efficient. When it comes time to get on the road, plug in your route and be confident that you’ll be on the safest, fastest route possible.
Truckers that need to get from Point A to Point B with as little hassle as possible can benefit from a trucker GPS. Easy to mount and get started, these GPS systems make deliveries and pick-ups faster and ensure truckers are complaint with e-logs.