14th April 2020 in

Life during COVID-19: the tech helping truck drivers eat

Truck drivers are selflessly traveling back and forth across America to deliver essential goods during COVID-19. Could this app make their lives easier?

All across the world, lockdowns are in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But there’s one group of people for whom the restrictions don’t apply. The truck drivers delivering essential food and medicine to our shelves. Without them, the grocery stores would run out of stock within three days, reports Business Insider.

However, life on the road for these men and women is far from easy right now.

In the US, during the early days of the crisis many truck stops closed up completely, leaving these essential workers with few choices when it comes to having a bite to eat, taking a shower or filling up with gas.

“In the coming weeks and months, it will be critical that these businesses remain open 24 hours a day,” said Jim Mullen, acting administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in a letter to the National Association of Truck Stop Operators.

After pressure from trucking organizations, most truck stops are open again, but in many cases restaurants have either closed altogether or are only offering takeout and drive-thru. To help ease the pressure, the federal government has allowed food trucks to operate in rest areas.

Travel Centers of America, which operates more than 250 truck stops in the USA and Canada, confirmed in a statement it is “working hard to keep our travel centers open for business”.

It has even reported an increase in year-on-year diesel fuel sales “indicating to us that the US supply chain remains intact and functioning under these unprecedented circumstances.”

Route planning made easy

But for drivers on the frontline, it’s difficult to know what facilities are available at exits along their route, because until now navigation apps haven’t displayed this kind of information.

However, Nexit is an app designed to give drivers greater awareness about what amenities are available on the road ahead. This intuitive road-trip app shows you what’s available at all the exits along your route. Better still, it has a feature called ‘TravMatch’ that allows you to plan your trip around specific parameters.

As Randy Carpenter, CEO of Nexit, demonstrates:

“I want a pharmacy, a steakhouse and a hotel that’s pet friendly with an exercise room. Boom. From New York to Chicago there are nine exits that have all those things. Here they are.”

Drivers can also search by dietary requirements, like gluten-free, and also look for truck stops that have pharmacies. In addition, Nexit gives you a real-time view of all the gas prices across the country, so drivers can see where the cheapest places to fill up are on their routes.

Before it became an app, Nexit was a website, and as Randy explains, it was a favorite of truck drivers. “Truckers loved us because there’s nowhere else that shows exit-related information along the trip. I would imagine truckers right now are driving a lot of routes they’re not accustomed to. Nexit can add a lot of value to them.”

For the nation’s 1.9 million truck drivers, technology like this might make their lives that little bit easier on the road as they selflessly keep working to make sure the rest of us receive the food and medicine we need during these unprecedented times.

Read the article by Ian Dickson at HERE 360.