When deciding between two possible routes, most people will favor the one with the shortest distance. However, unless the difference in distance is extreme, the shortest route isn’t always the best for the commercial or owner operator truck driver. Some obvious reasons for this are traffic congestion, speed limits, and whether the route goes through an area full of controlled intersections. Such a shortcut, which will involve a lot of stop-and-go travel, may take longer and consume more fuel.
One consideration that many people don’t take into account is the pavement condition and the pavement type.
Roads with potholes, cracks, frost heaves, and broken up pavement are hard on your rig and will increase maintenance costs. Avoiding, or at least minimizing wear and tear, will require driving at slow speeds. Another problem is that these conditions hurt fuel efficiency because energy is wasted in your truck’s suspension, shock absorbers, and tires. Much of your forward energy of motion gets converted into heat. This should be clear enough if you compared the coasting distance between such a road, and one in good condition with perfectly smooth pavement.
Smooth pavement will have less rolling resistance than coarse pavement. This difference won’t amount to much in saved fuel for short distances but will matter over longer distances. In fact, the difference can be quite substantial when traveling through one state vs another where one uses a coarser pavement type on their roads. The reason is that the granular surface of coarse pavement makes lots of small deformations in your tires’ tread rubber which generate heat. That is, truck motion energy is converted into heat. And of course, that energy came from your fuel tank.
Sometimes it’s hard to visually discern the smoothness of pavement. However, you can listen for road noise at a certain speed. Quiet means smooth, while noisy indicates coarse pavement. In good weather conditions, smooth pavement is the best choice. On the other hand, coarse pavement gives you better traction in wet conditions, which makes it a safer choice in bad weather. This safety consideration is especially important in the winter when you’re contending with snow, and could mean the difference between getting into an accident and making a claim on your Illinois commercial or owner operator truck insurance or not.
If you are looking for commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Illinois, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.