Drive a lorry? Got a smartphone? If you're not using apps to make your life on the road easier, safer and more enjoyable, you're missing out. However, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of choices out there for Apple and Android phones, so how do you separate the incredibly useful from the inevitably useless? If you work for one of the larger haulage companies, there may be some used as standard throughout the fleet, but there's always something new... no matter how up-to-date you think you are.
We've got the low-down on some of the latest tech that haulage companies and self-employed drivers can use to keep things moving on the road.
This app is free. Now that we've got your attention, we can tell you that this is a seriously handy app for tackling a serious subject. Trucker Timer tracks your driver hours, ensuring that you to adhere to the law and that you don't succumb to fatigue by driving for too long. The app uses an advanced tacho and driving log to cumulatively calculate your driving hours, and it's available for both Apple and Android phones. (This is a great one for haulage companies to roll out across the fleet to ensure compliance.)
Voice Text Pro
When it comes to texting and driving, just don’t. But when it comes to something as potentially lifesaving as Voice Text Pro, just do. This app allows you to speak into your phone, where your voice will be translated and sent as a text message, email or social media post... and all of this without you having to take your eyes off the road! If you've got even a slight case of FOMO, this Apple-compatible app is a must – and it's free, so why wouldn't you go for it?
The FleetSafer app takes phone safety a step further, and is another tool that haulage companies may consider as standard issue for their drivers. FleetSafer blocks access to the web, text and emails while you're driving, and any incoming texts and emails receive an automatically generated response that states, "I'm driving". The app is free and compatible with both Apple and Android phones.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to plan your journey knowing exactly when and where you could stop along the route for rest, safe parking and food? This dream becomes reality with the Truckstop app, which provides the pertinent details of stops, including their parking availability, opening times and facilities. It's £1.49 and downloadable for all Apple and Android devices.
More expensive than most other apps, Navtruck UK could be considered an investment rather than simply a handy app – particularly for larger haulage companies. It's the first GPS app that's designed solely for HGVs, which means that it provides safe navigation, taking truck-restricted roads and vehicle weight, size, length and loads into account. It's available for both Android and Apple, but has an extra voice guidance feature for iPhones. It's £79.99, but has the potential to save thousands of pounds in terms of empty mileage and downtime across a fleet.
Haulage Exchange Mobile App
One of the handiest apps of all is that of online freight exchange, Haulage Exchange. Their mobile app provides all of the benefits of the site at your fingertips, enabling you to view available, nearby jobs in real time via the notifications. What's more, other users can see your location through the "Live Availability Map". The app is free to all subscribed members (and if you're not already a member, you should be!), and is a tried and tested way to get more work, cut dead mileage and boost profits.You can also easily integrate other mobile apps with the Haulage Exchange platform.
Making the most of mobile apps makes sense for anyone who drives for a living. From finding the best parking to navigating routes and getting jobs, it's time to let technology take a bit of the effort out of life on the road!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.