Driving tips for getting where you need to quickly…and safely
A professional courier who is not paid by the hour has a vested interest in getting where they need to (or, more precisely, getting themselves where you need them to) expeditiously. This concern is generally shared with most commuters: the vast majority of us are “paid”, not by the journey, but by the destination. (The word “paid” is in quotation marks to indicate that the rewards are not always financial – it includes getting your daughter to the soccer game, or arriving at the grocery store, or picking up that phone-in meal from your favorite local restaurant.) We all want to get where we’re going quicker, and obviously we’re not here to advocate any form of reckless driving or civil infractions – like you, we have children on the road too. But we thought we’d share with you a few helpful driving tips we’ve found to minimize road time and maximize travel efficiency.
1. Study a map.
While this may sound silly, familiarizing yourself in the most basic way with the area in which you live is one of the best ways to keep yourself from having to make panicky U-turns when you realize the instructional app may have led you astray or you’ve gone off track. When the author of this entry reached car-buying age, he was instructed by his father to study two things: the vehicle’s Owner’s Manual and a printed map of the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. It helped immensely with orientation: having a visual understanding in my head of what exit I wanted when confronted at very high speed with the choice of 635 Eastbound or Westbound, knowing that Allen was north of Plano, or that Belt Line Rd. really did circle all of Dallas. These bits of information kept me from feeling totally lost, and helped instill a confidence in driving and a sense of belonging to the community, which paid off in the long term in many other ways.
2. Choose the right navigational app.
Some years ago I worked with a guy, hired on a trial basis, who requested an advance list of all his delivery stops. When asked what navigation app he used, he said that he didn’t, and that he wanted to go home with his list of stops and plug them all into his computer. His trial period ended a few minutes later, as did his employment as a delivery driver.
Your phone automatically gives you several choices, depending on its operating system. While updates improve their quality all the time, here at DFW Delivered we definitely have our favorites. The three best-known, in order of value to us, are:
- WAZE. While some of our staff are a bit put off by its default POV (as opposed to map-level), the traffic-avoiding suggestions truly can’t be beat. As professionals, we’re at times loathe to fully trust an app’s idea of how we should get where we need to, but with WAZE we feel good.
- Google Maps. This is an extremely close second, and if you’re going to take our suggestion above regarding orientation by map-studying, noodling around a bit with Google Maps is time well-spent. The GPS data has truly evolved, the user interface (both microphone and allowing music apps to play through) has improved, and traffic data is reasonably reliable. If you don’t want to download WAZE, Google Maps is definitely going to do you right.
- Apple Maps. It’s gotten significantly better, but it’s just not reliable enough for the professional driver or consistent commuter. Also, the built-in driving tips aren’t as reliable. Since that type of data isn’t Apple’s true bread and butter the way Google’s is, it’s hard to envision a time in which Apple Maps wouldn’t essentially be an also-ran.
3. Don’t be afraid to take the service road.
There may be some debate over this, but it is our general consensus that when driving along the highway, confronted with the “wall of red” as all cars are completely stopped, it is nearly always worth the time to take the most immediate exit and use the service road (or parallel major roads). Sure, there will be traffic lights and other drivers with the same idea – but the ability to avoid a bottleneck on Central Expressway due to a multi-lane closure often makes spending time on Greenville Avenue the better option.
4. Toll roads aren’t mandatory (except when they are)
There are those who really resent the toll roads, and it’s easy to understand why. Anyone who lives in the West Plano, central Frisco, Little Elm, The Colony or that entire area north of Dallas is faced with a grim situation in which the nearest three highways charge them money for every single use. Barring policy change, in these instances complete avoidance of the toll roads is a tricky proposition.
However, with a certain degree of strategy and flexibility, some toll traps can be avoided while other temptations can be ignored. Hulen Street in Fort Worth may be a few minutes slower but save you a consider amount of money when compared to the Chisholm Trail Parkway. As “cool” as it may look, the LBJ expressway is fundamentally a money pit, in nearly every sense. Of course, in the new reality of COVID-19 commuting, everything is a bit lighter with people working from home, so the very need for toll roads has diminished except where otherwise geographically mandated. So this is a good time to continue to save that money that would have otherwise been spent avoiding traffic that’s simply not as prevalent.
This is but a partial list of driving tips, of course, but hopefully it will spur ideas for our fellow “Wayfinders” out there. We hope when our paths cross out there, it’s done with the utmost safety! And, as always, should you prefer to remain where you are and leave us to deliver your documents and packages anywhere in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, day or night, we are happy to oblige. Call 972.591.7750 for a quote!