Is it time to rethink what you’re getting from that tourist-level GPS?

Is it time to rethink what you’re getting from that tourist-level GPS?

If you're a professional driver, you know that driving for a living is different from getting behind the wheel for a road trip or family vacation. GPS navigators are great tools to have on the road - no matter what kind of driving you do. But if you're like so many long-haul drivers still relying on GPS systems designed for passenger vehicles, you're missing out on a bunch of trucker-tailored features and capabilities that could be making your life easier and better. Is it time for an upgrade? The next time you find yourself in a Love's Travel Stop with a few moments to spare, why not wander over to the GPS area and check out some of the "big rig" models? Here are a few of the trade-up incentives you'll want to look for:

Bigger screens, easier viewing: The bigger they come, the easier they are to see and interpret. Instead of squinting to read that small portable car navigator across a big truck cab or trying to hold it close enough to see while you drive, consider one of the industrial-sized over the road series devices. They come in 7-inch-, 8-inch or 10-inch formats with super-sharp touchscreen displays and clear, easy-to-read maps. Plus, the 8-inch and 10-inch displays offer both portrait and landscape orientation options, so you can position them whichever way gives you the best viewability in your cab.

Custom truck routing: The best route for a car may not be the best one for a truck hauling freight. A custom routing feature1, available on specific GPS products, lets you enter your vehicle profile (customizable by height, weight, length, width and hazardous materials carried) to find truck-preferred routes best suited for your rig and load. With the onboard trip planner, you can easily change your route to include preferred roads, waypoints or cities. And if you're driving in unfamiliar territory, there's a feature that shows you popular routes used by fellow truckers in the vicinity. Plus, driver alerts for upcoming bridge heights, weight limits, sharp curves, steep grades and other potential "oops-factors" help add safety and take the guesswork out of getting your load delivered on time. 

Quality-of-road-life features: Need to make a pit stop? Grab a shower? Park your rig? Find a reliable mechanic? To help simplify life on the road, your over-the-road friendly GPS can include searchable database information such as a Truck & Trailer Services directory that helps you locate all these things and more. The directory can filter listings by brand or amenity, such as "Love’s Travel Stop" or "Showers." Truck-specific parking data also helps you locate the choice slots at truck stops along your route. You can even access a load-to-dock guidance feature that shows potential loading zones or storage lots available as you're approaching your drop-off destination. 

Staying connected: Want hands-free calling? Smart notifications on the big screen? Live traffic, weather, fuel prices? A voice assistant you can ask for directions? All these connectivity features and more are on the menu with these new-generation truck navigators. So, bottom line, what makes a trade-up worth the money? Any old GPS can probably navigate your rig from Point A to Point B. But a GPS that understands how truckers work can do so much more to make life on the road safer and less stressful. Check out the gear at your favorite Love's Travel Stop, and try to tell us we're wrong!

Written by the experts at Garmin.

FOOTNOTE: 1Not available in all areas. Entering your truck profile characteristics does not guarantee your truck's characteristics will be accounted for in all route suggestions. Always defer to all posted road signs and road conditions.