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Trip planning is crucial to surviving over the holiday weekend.

We are approaching a very important holiday weekend that will be sure to make life a struggle for the professional driver. Oh sure Canada Day happens every year, but this year is the 150th birthday celebration so you can bet that It will be much busier than normal. So as a professional driver what do you do, especially if your deliveries take you into large cities like Ottawa or Toronto?

Our traffic patterns change constantly, just jump on the 401 at any city streetpoint of the day to see that. With the special celebrations already beginning in many areas of the Country it can be a challenge to get around. As a driver you will still be required to deliver your load on time and what would be a normal route into the destination may now have changed. How do you continue to deliver on time, avoid road closures and retain your on-time status as a professional driver?

Check your arrival time

The time you have to arrive at your destination is for the load. Depending on your departure time you may not be able to adjust your time but if you can then adjust your time with the customer. What do I mean by that? Let’s assume you are to deliver at 8:00am on July 2nd or 3rd. The chances of driving into your destination in Ottawa with no issues is a dream. Many drivers would normally arrive the night before but with celebrations on the go that may not be an option over the holiday weekend. So when do you arrive? If possible the best time will be between 3:00am and 6:00am and that may require some arrangement ahead of time. You may have to talk with dispatch to change times for pickups and so on to work with your hours of service.

Check your delivery instructions the old fashion way.

The best defence against being held up is basic old school technique, calling on the phone. Calling your delivery customer and find out what the situation will be in their area. They should have a good idea of what roads may be closed for celebrations and where it may be best for you to park. That normal route may not be available at this time.

Ask the company what their hours of operation may be as they may have special closing times over the Holiday. Often a shipper in the United States will have no idea of what days or changes will be happening to a customer in Canada so it is always a good idea to check delivery instructions with a person in the company at your delivery point.

Don’t rely solely on GPS

I am not a fan of GPS units unless you are fairly familiar with the area, but many are. I will offer you a word of caution here, follow the instructions above. Global Positioning Systems may not show road closures, parade routes, or other changes that are required for the celebration weekend. It is always best to call.

Hopefully you will be at home with family and friends over the Holiday weekend and celebrating your Country whether in Canada celebrating its 150th birthday or in the United States celebrating July 4th. Happy Birthday to both Countries. If you aren’t home and are working over that time I hope the tips above will offer ways for you to avoid traffic issues and road closures. An extra step at this point will be the best defence against long delays.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

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