I recommend that everyone go with a laptop, because only with a laptop do you get a panoramic view and because only with a laptop can you multitask and do several jobs simultaneously besides just navigation. Plus it’s a much more flexible solution, because you can also surf the Internet, send and receive emails, watch movies, download music, etc. Try multitasking or sending and receiving emails with a GPS stand-alone navigation unit, you can’t do it, but you can with the laptop.
Now there are several solutions on the market but the one I don’t recommend anyone go with is Co-Pilot by Alk Technologies. I used the Co-Pilot 9 for almost two years and I constantly stayed on the phone talking to tech services or sending emails. Not to mention, when I was on truck routes, the software used to tell me to turn around and not only that, but when I would try to route HAZMAT, it would try to route me down residential areas. In other words, it was a comedy of errors.
Anyway, they kept telling me that when Co-Pilot 11 comes out, all the problems would be worked out. Accordingly, when Co-Pilot 11 finally came out after a long delay, they told me that I could have it for free if I paid the shipping and handling cost, I guess because I used to bug them all the time. To make a long story short, I tried the new Co-Pilot 11 version for a week and after a week I took it off my hard drive because it kept crashing!
In any event, I switched to Microsoft Streets & Trips and also bought a new product called the Truck Stops Plus 08. It’s a template that converts Microsoft Streets & Trips into trucker’s software. Besides giving you a quick way to check and verify your routes are truck legal, it also contains thousands of truck specific points of interests like truck stops, Wal-Mart Supercenters, rest areas, picnic/parking areas, turnpike service plazas, weigh stations, etc.
The best part was both products together cost a small fraction of what Co-Pilot cost and together they are a much better product. Hell, I never even read the instructions! I just started using it out of the box, it’s that intuitive and I’ve been able to do every thing I want. Plus now I can plan and route my trips in about 1/10th the time that it used to take me using Co-Pilot.
And the truck stops and other points of interests…man if I would have had something like that when I first started trucking and before I learned where the truck stops were, I would have spent a lot less nights sleeping at exits. Not to mention, that I’ve finally found some truck stops I never could find even after years!
Garmin® mapping software does not contain truck routes or low clearances. You can put your unit in Truck Mode, which means that the unit navigates on major roads as much as possible. However, if there is only one way to get to your destination and you need to go down a street on which trucks are not allowed, the unit will plan to navigate that road.
To put your device in Truck Mode: