4 Best Ways to Avoid Traffic While Route Planning
Learn how to avoid traffic as a delivery driver. Get safety tips and learn more about how route planning can help you deliver faster.
Meet Circuit Route Planner — your new BFF for cutting out wasted time. Circuit finds the fastest, most efficient route for your deliveries so you can finish your workday earlier.
No need to sugarcoat it.
Traffic sucks. The average commuter wastes 54 hours a year stalled in traffic.
What a waste of time and gas!
Plus, traffic can make you late for pickup and drop-off, piss off your customers, and put your job on the line.
And, if you make money based on how many deliveries you make, traffic can rob you of your earnings.
Everyone knows the best way to avoid traffic is to stay the hell away from roads.
But, as a delivery driver, that’s not exactly an option (until they get the kinks worked out on the hoverboard, that is).
You make your money on the road — so you must make peace with all of its demons.
Or learn to tame them.
OK — I’ll tone the dramatics, but you get the idea.
Route planning can help you get back the time wasted in traffic by finding the best route for the time of day, traffic conditions, and even construction.
I’ll walk you through the best ways to avoid traffic with route planning and safety tips to help you avoid collisions and incidents on the road that can slow you down and put you — and others — at risk.
What is route planning, and why is it important?
Route planning is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of planning the most efficient route for your deliveries.
There are a lot of different route planning software apps on the market, and you can check out this guide for an in-depth look at how to pick the right one for you.
But bottom line: You need a really good route planning solution if you want to save time and money and avoid traffic.
Here are some benefits of route planning.
- Save time: The biggest benefit of route planning is to plan a sequence of delivery stops that makes sense, is time-effective, and reduces wasted time from backtracking.
- Make more money: If you’re making money per delivery, getting deliveries done faster means you can make more money in less time. Plus, you can save gas money by avoiding wasted miles.
- Reduce vehicle wear and tear: When you cut out needless miles, you also reduce the wear and tear on your delivery vehicle and help lower your maintenance costs.
- Less stress: Running behind, getting stuck in traffic, and backtracking are all stressful situations. Route planning makes things easier by doing the heavy-lifting for you.
- Better customer experience: Customers love getting their packages on time. Route planning helps you make that happen. This can help you make your big fancy business owner boss happy with your work too. Or, if you’re an independent contractor, you can pat your own back for a job well done.
4 best ways to avoid traffic
Delivering packages can be a hassle.
Traffic, long distances, and time restrictions can all add up to make your job more difficult — and less profitable.
But with the right route planning software, you can minimize the amount of time spent on the road and maximize your earnings.
Let’s get to the route planning tips that can help you avoid traffic.
Use a route planner app
It’s simple — route planner apps do the route optimization for you.
And when you first start using a multi-stop route planner, you might be shocked at how much time you can save.
For example, with Circuit Route Planner, you can save up to an hour a day with route optimization.
Circuit works with your fav map tool like Google Maps or Waze for real-time traffic updates and road closures — due to things like accidents and construction — so that you can save time by avoiding them.
It also allows you to add, delete, and re-optimize multiple stops while you’re on the go, so you’re not stuck having to pull over and get situated.
You’re also less likely to waste time hunting for addresses or backtracking to get to missed deliveries.
The less time you can spend on the road, the better.
Consider the timing of your route
You’ve seen rush hour, right?
And no, I’m not talking about the 1998 cinematic masterpiece featuring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
I’m talking about the real-life traffic jam that can make your delivery route as a courier a nightmare.
Here’s the deal: Traffic patterns depend on the time and day of the week.
For example, in major metropolitan areas, traffic is typically worse during morning and evening rush hour periods on weekdays.
But on the weekends, traffic is more evenly distributed throughout the day.
That’s why it’s important to consider the time of day and day of the week when you’re planning your route.
The best way to avoid traffic is to deliver during off-peak hours.
For example, most people commute to work between 7 am and 9 am, and again between 4 pm and 6 pm.
If you can avoid these times, you’ll avoid most of the traffic.
Of course, this isn’t always possible — especially if you’re making time-sensitive deliveries.
But if your deliveries aren’t urgent, consider planning your route for a time when traffic is lightest.
Plan multiple alternative routes
No matter how much you plan, traffic is unpredictable.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have multiple route options in case one of your routes gets snarled in traffic.
For example, let’s say you’re delivering to three locations:
- Location 1 — 10 am to 11 am
- Location 2 — 11 am to 12 pm
- Location 3 — 12 pm to 1 pm
If traffic is bad on your first route, you can always fall back to plan B by changing up the order of the drop-off locations to suit the route that avoids traffic.
The key is to have a few different route options so you can avoid traffic — no matter what.
Instead of planning out the routes yourself and then needing to adjust your plans, you can use a route planner app to do it for you automatically.
For example, with Circuit, you can add new stops and re-optimize with ease.
No need to plan a new route on the spot. Circuit keeps you on the fastest route at all times.
Adding a new stop?
Enter a new drop-off or pickup location with ease (you can even use the hands-free voice entry) and re-optimize your routes on the go.
Stay up on the latest traffic reports
Traffic is always changing. That’s why it’s important to stay up on the latest traffic reports before you hit the road.
You can follow the news, tune into a local radio station with traffic updates, download an app, or even follow local Instagram pages that post the latest accidents.
This way, you can avoid any traffic jams or accidents that might slow you down.
Most route planner apps offer real-time traffic updates (or integrate seamlessly with services that do) — so you can plan your route accordingly.
For example, Circuit works with Google Maps, Waze, or your preferred GPS mapping service for real-time traffic updates, so your optimized routes are always up to date.
5+ delivery driver safety tips
Being a delivery driver is a big responsibility.
Not only do you have to navigate traffic, but you also need to deliver your load safely and on time.
And, of course, you want to get home to your loved ones safely and not put anyone else on the road at risk.
That’s why driving safely is so important.
You’ll find a wealth of professional driver safety training resources online to help you learn safe driving techniques and defensive driving.
(We’ve even got a post on 10+ safety products you should have as a delivery driver.)
But there are some general rules you can follow to use your motor vehicle or delivery truck responsibly.
Wear a seat belt
This one should be a no-brainer. It’s a fundamental principle of safe driving.
But you’d be surprised how many people don’t wear seat belts — even though it’s the law in most states.
Not to mention, it’s just plain dangerous.
Research shows that seat belts can help reduce serious crash-related injuries and fatalities by half.
So, buckle up every time you get in the car or delivery truck — no matter how short the trip.
It could save your life.
Don’t use your phone while driving
Texting and driving is a recipe for disaster.
But even things like checking directions or changing music can be distracting.
And it’s illegal in many states — check out this list of what distracted driving (using your cellphone) can cost you in every state.
So, if you need to use your cellphone, pull over to a safe spot first.
It’s not worth risking your life — or the lives of others — just to save a few minutes.
And say you get a new delivery address while you’re en route. In that care, you’ll need to pull over to add the address in your GPS or route planner.
That’s why you want to pick a route planner like Circuit that allows you to quickly add in your stops and re-optimize with a hands-free voice entry, so you can stay safe on the road.
Obey the speed limit
So, obey the speed limit and take your time.
It’s better to arrive a few minutes late than not at all.
Plus, speeding tickets are expensive. The average speeding ticket is about $150.
And they can impact your car insurance costs, too.
Not only can they cost you financially, but they can also make you stand out to your boss — and not in a good way.
And you can lose time pulled over on the side of the road, watching the clock tick by, and your delivery schedule falls behind with each passing minute.
Be aware of your blind spots
This is especially important if you’re driving a large vehicle.
But all cars have blind spots, so it’s important to be aware of them — and avoid them whenever possible.
It’s easy to back up into something when you have a big blind spot blocking your view.
The best way to do this is to check your mirrors regularly and signal whenever you change lanes.
Keep your vehicle in good working order
This one is important for all drivers, but it’s especially important for delivery drivers.
After all, you’re on the road a lot — which means your vehicle takes a lot of wear and tear.
So, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, and brake repairs.
Bad weather is not your friend, so you also want to keep your windshield wipers and headlights in good working order so you can see — and be seen — in all weather conditions.
This can help you avoid breakdowns and accidents — and keep you safe on the road.
Familiarize yourself with defensive driving
Defensive driving is all about being aware of your surroundings and anticipating what other drivers might do.
It’s a good skill for all drivers to learn — but it’s especially important for delivery drivers.
Here are the basics:
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Be aware of your surroundings and look for potential hazards.
- Don’t tailgate — give yourself plenty of space in case you need to brake suddenly.
- Use your turn signals, and give other drivers plenty of time to react.
- Don’t speed — obey the posted speed limits and take your time.
The National Safety Council (NSC) offers a defensive driving course that might be helpful.
How Circuit Route Planner gets you there faster and easier
If you want to avoid traffic and get through your delivery routes safely, Circuit Route Planner is the route optimization tool for you.
Circuit uses real-time traffic data from your preferred GPS app to avoid congestion, give turn-by-turn directions, and get you to your destination as quickly and safely as possible.
Save an hour every day with optimized delivery routes.
Plus, it’s easy to use — just enter your stops, and Circuit will do the rest. You can even use the hands-free voice entry to stay safe while driving your delivery truck.
Circuit even has proof of delivery and real-time updates for customers.