If you’re a fleet owner or truck driver, you know that a truck GPS navigation solution has become a must-have tool. But, choosing the right solution isn’t quite as simple.

What is the difference between a truck GPS navigation and a consumer navigation solution?

A truck GPS navigation solution generally has the same basic functionality as a consumer GPS navigation solution (such as Google Maps or Waze) with additional truck-specific criteria such as bridge heights, road weight limits, and truck parking availability.

For more information on this, check out our guide on how truck GPS navigation works and the differences between truck and consumer solutions.

What are the key truck GPS navigation features to look for?

The features you need will depend upon your business, but there are key functions that almost every carrier and driver should be looking for in a solution.

Key truck GPS navigation features for drivers

The ability to enter multiple vehicle sizes and classes

A truck GPS navigation solution should create routes based on the specs of the truck you’re currently in. Be sure to choose a GPS solution that isn’t “one-size-fits-all” as this defeats much of the value of a truck-specific solution. Also, your solution should allow for multiple vehicle profiles. This is especially important if you run a slip-seating operation.

Bridge, overpass, and road weight restrictions

A solution should use your current vehicle specs to route you away from bridges and roads that you cannot legally and safely operate on.

Speeding alerts

Not only is speeding dangerous, but speeding tickets can damage your CSA score. Look for a solution that displays the posted speed sign and provides audible alerts when speeding excessively.

Hazmat compliance

If you haul HazMat, you know that planning compliant routes can be complex. A truck GPS navigation should offer HazMat compliant routing.

Dangerous road alerts

Some roads that are safe for passenger vehicles are risky for heavy-duty trucks. Look for a solution that alerts drivers of upcoming steep inclines and declines, narrow roads, and sharp corners.

Rest stops, parking, and other points of interest

The availability of truck parking, rest stops, and other facilities have always been important when planning a route. In the Electronic Logging Device era, it’s become critical.

Without insight into parking and rest stops when choosing a route, you may end up running out of drive time with nowhere to stop. Your solution should make it simple to identify these key points along each suggested route.

Key truck GPS navigation features for drivers for fleets

Accurate and dynamic ETAs

Look for a solution that provides realistic ETA updates within a web dashboard. This is important to keep customers updated without needing to distract the driver with calls or messages.

Easy route planning and dispatching

Many fleets like to plan specific routes for drivers, especially when there are multiple stops. Your truck GPS navigation solution should make it simple to plan a route and dispatch the route directly to your driver’s phone.

Hours of Service integration

Look for a solution that integrates with a driver’s Hours of Service to increase route planning efficiency and compliance.

Planned vs. actual reporting and alerts

In transportation, every mile and minute impacts the bottom line. With planned vs. actual reporting, you can find opportunities to address off route mile situations to plan and execute a route more cost-efficiently in the future.

Also, some solutions provide the option of receiving real-time alerts when a driver leaves the assigned route by a set number of miles. These alerts can be used to proactively clear up any confusion or unexpected issues with the route.

3 tips for choosing the right truck GPS navigation provider:

  1. Over-the-air updates. Between construction, road weight restrictions, and speed limits, the reality out on the road is constantly changing. Look for a provider that offers automatic updates “over-the-air” via a WiFi or cellular connection at no additional charge.
  2. Reviews. There are many review sites that share the experience of current users. Some of the leading ones for truck GPS navigation are Capterra and the Google Play Store.
  3. A monthly subscription. With a truck GPS navigation solution, quality is the key. It’s unlikely the provider can invest heavily enough to keep their road database updated without a monthly fee. Often, a non-subscription solution may not be the right choice. 

Truck GPS navigation is just the start

A truck GPS navigation solution is an important part of running a safe, efficient fleet. But, there’s so much more a fleet can do to compete in the modern trucking market.

Motive, for example, can help you:

  • Manage drivers, vehicles, assets from a single dashboard
  • Easily dispatch routes to drivers through their ELD with pre-built navigation integrations
  • Prevent collisions with dashcams
  • Reduce fuel usage and vehicle maintenance costs

Learn more about GPS navigation with our guide to fleet tracking.