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Many vehicle owners use GPS systems during long distance travels. However, there are numerous differences between the devices used for automotive owners and the systems manufactured specifically for commercial vehicles. Independent drivers and fleet owners realize many benefits by using the best truck GPS systems. Compared to typical motor vehicles, trucks have navigation challenges and requirements that automotive devices do not provide. This website provides a comprehensive analysis as well as unbiased user reviews of all truck GPS units available on the market today.
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Fleetmatics, Google mapping and Rand McNally are some of the most accurate mapping systems that provide truckers with optimal routes when entering starting and destination information. Some tracking systems also enable drivers to zoom images to street level for a 3D look at streets and roadways. Mapping features may also include verbal street name and turn-by-turn directions. Some systems also feature re-routing information if a driver happens to miss a turn.
After determining a detailed truck route, the GPS unit provides drivers or truck owners with an estimation of fuel costs for the journey. Devices additionally enable drivers to plan routes containing multiple stops or maintain information concerning preferred routes for each driver.
Navigating systems continually update, which ensures that drivers receive the latest information about traffic accident locations, road construction sites, detours and other delays. Truck specific units also provide detailed road descriptions and alerts that include the location of sharp curves, steep inclines or narrow roads. Road alerts can provide drivers with information concerning toll road sites and costs. Some devices come equipped with lane assist capabilities that relay the proper lane needed while traveling on complex highways. In this way, drivers are ready in advance of exits or turns. Systems also commonly feature weather-related data that provides current and future weather reports along with road conditions of specific locations.
Using Approved Roadways
Automotive GPS devices feature maps and software that indicate the shortest and fastest routes for traveling from one destination to another. However, many roads throughout the country have truck restrictions based on the height, weight, length and cargo of the vehicle. Truck GPS systems use this information when designating routes. Truck and fleet owners merely enter the specific profile of the commercial vehicle and the software handles the rest. In this way, trucks are less likely to encounter bridges that are too low or drive on roads having hazardous load, height, width or weight-restrictions.
Many systems are also equipped to handle multiple truck profiles on the same device so that the GPS can be removed and used in different vehicles.
Driver Assist Features
GPS systems designed especially for commercial vehicles contain guides specific to the industry that provide truck-related points of interest. When driving toward or entering a location, the guide provides information concerning repair and towing services, truck stops, weigh stations, eateries, lodging, rest stops and other pertinent data. A “where am I?” guide offers GPS coordinates of current location in addition to the addresses and information pertaining to health care facilities, law enforcement agencies and other emergency services.
Systems equipped with automated electronic logs monitor hours of service, driving status, hours of sleep, meal breaks, off-duty, mileage and IFTA fuel data. GPS units also keep log data for multiple drivers of the same vehicle that can then be exported after each trip.
While driving, points of interest directories provide truckers with the location of fuel stops and the fuel prices found at each destination. Drivers then know in advance where to stop along the route to find the most cost-effective fuel costs. GPS systems designed for trucks help owners save money on fuel costs by alerting drivers and managers when excessive speeding occurs, by monitoring engine idling times and keeping track of routine maintenance needs. Systems can also be used to monitor unnecessary truck travel or route deviations. In addition to providing drivers with more efficient routes, fleet managers can also determine the location of trucks nearest a specific job or delivery site.
Effective Fleet Management
From a fleet base station, managers are able to track the start and stop times of vehicles along with the specific location of any truck at any given time. By using pre-determined routes, managers can also improve customer service by keeping clients informed of load delivery or pick-up times. Companies are better able to track driver performance, as systems help fleet owners monitor driving behavior and reliability. Trucks are expensive investments, and safety features provide alerts 24 hours a day when truck systems display unauthorized use in the event of thefts. Owners receive notification when trucks are entered, removed from locations or get live updates of moving vehicles.
Units having Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology feature microphones and speakers that enable drivers hand-free talk capabilities while maintaining eye contact with the road. Audio/visual input ports provide quick connections with back-up cameras, DVD players, smartphones or other mobile devices.
GPS units manufactured for trucks come in many different sizes with full-colored high definition screens measuring anywhere from four to eight inches. Devices can be permanently installed on or in the dashboard within view of the driver. Other models easily detach from installed stands for use in different vehicles or simply removed for safe keeping. Some systems also feature feedback communities that allow driver to enter road updates or tips on individual maps.
Take Time to Research
Before spending hundreds of dollars on a GPS system, truck and fleet owners should research truck GPS reviews for the various available models and find a device that fits particular needs. Units may have vehicle size restrictions, require traffic update subscriptions or are not equipped with the features that may benefit the specific needs of drivers or companies. Be sure to read the reviews posted by current users. User reviews provide a wealth of helpful information and give a sense of model performance and recommendations. Owners must also be aware of restrictions and regulations that some states have pertaining to GPS devices.