New drivers who are about to go out on their first interstate drive are usually up for the challenge, but as with any new task, that first time can feel a little strange. If you're about to embark on a cross-state trip, help make that odd feeling go away by preparing ahead of time. Your trip will involve more than just driving and paying attention to company and federal hour limits; you'll also have to deal with permits and being social on the road.
For oversize vehicles, a series of permits, such as overweight auto permits, are usually necessary as you cross state lines. The permits show that you do have permission to take this oversize vehicle into the state's territory. Permits can cover length, width, number of trips, and more, and what you need varies from state to state. For each state that you are driving into, even if you're just passing through for a couple of hours, contact the department of transportation to find out about the permits you need.
Look specifically for regional permits that allow you to pass through multiple states. You can use these for loads that you're not breaking up; for example, if you have a load that you need to take from Arizona to Texas, crossing through New Mexico and not delivering anything until you reach that final point in Texas, you might be able to use a regional permit to cross through New Mexico and into Texas, instead of purchasing separate permits for those two states. However, if you're making that trip and dropping off some goods in New Mexico first, you likely won't qualify for a regional permit.
Mile Marker Keys
Always research the mile markers in each state you're driving through to ensure you can read them quickly. California, for example, has mile markers on some regional highways, but interstates use a postmile system that has a slightly different visual format. You can also get postmile information off call boxes and other signs if you know how to read them. These markers are essential for keeping your bearings. Always ensure you know what to look for as you enter each state.
CB Politeness Levels
Eventually you're going to interact with other drivers, and if all of you use CB radios, it's good to learn local etiquette. If you're driving into unfamiliar territory, keep two golden rules in mind: Be civil, and don't use that much of your local CB slang because slang has regional variations.
Driving interstate routes can be boring at times, but in the end, it is an experience you will never get with any other job. Prepare everything up front so you can enjoy your trip as much as possible as you travel through parts of the country that you might not have had the luck to drive through before.