Truck drivers spend a majority of their time on the road. However, it is the time spent off the road that can be tricky. Finding truck parking can be a huge problem for many drivers, as driving out of hours can result in a hefty violation. Truck drivers often have to drive around for long periods of time looking for a place to park for the night, but so many truck stops fill up quickly, leaving many drivers out on the road.
What is the Truck Parking Problem?
Truckers need their rest, as we know that driving while tired can be extremely dangerous. So after long days of driving round the clock, being unable to find a place to park and rest for the evening is a big issue. Not only is it dangerous, but it can be extremely frustrating as well. Also, it is against the rules to drive outside the “hours of service”, meaning that if you can’t find a place to park overnight before then, you can receive a violation from the USDOT which can jeopardize your career, not to mention end in a hefty fine.
As you well know, a truck is not just a regular-sized vehicle that can find parking anywhere. It takes up a lot of space and oftentimes, the driver needs places to plug things in so that they can cook or heat up/cool down their truck while it is stationary. The issue lies in where to find these large parking spaces with accommodations for the drivers. There are many times when truck stops are completely full and there is no parking left at all.
So what can be done when there is no parking available at the truck stop you are closest to when it comes time to pull over for the night? What are some options for finding parking and avoiding this huge trucking problem that so many drivers come to face? In this post, we will take a look at some of the alternative options to parking in a truck stop and some ways that truckers may be able to find parking, rest up, and not worry about driving outside their “hours of service”.
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What are Some Alternative Solutions to Truck Stops?
Try making it to the next truck stop
In some cases, you may be able to make the drive to the next truck stop before running out of the “hours of service”. This will depend on how much time you have left within your hours and how close the next truck stop is. The problem with this is that many times truck stops are miles apart and it can take a while to reach another one, meaning that you probably won’t make it in time to stay within your “hours of service”.
Getting “personal conveyance” to drive for your own personal reasons. Sometimes drivers can get special permission to continue to drive outside of operating hours for their own personal reasons. One of these reasons would fall under needing to find a place to park (if there are no parking places available where you are).
However, the down side to this “personal conveyance” is that the driver is not allowed to advance a load toward its destination. What does that mean? Well, that means that if you were stuck without parking and were to receive “personal conveyance”, you would have to go back in the opposite direction. You would have to backtrack and lose some of the distance you’ve already traveled. Sometimes it isn’t very far, yet other times this can mean losing several miles, depending on how far away you are from another truck stop.
Finding alternative truck parking
Sometimes truckers will park in a large shopping area parking lot, such as a WalMart. Of course, the parking lot must be substantial and have plenty of space available. However, just because a parking lot is large does not mean that it is truck-friendly. Sometimes you will be asked to move if you try and rest in a shop parking lot, though this is not always the case. It is sometimes just luck of the draw.
Stopping at a rest stop
There are rest areas along many highways and while they are not made specifically for trucks, they do offer a parking lot to park in. There are no restaurants, convenience stores, or diesel pumps in these rest areas, but there are bathrooms and vending machines. If you are really in a bind and need somewhere to park for the night, then this may be a good option if you can find one near you.
Using apps like “Truckers Path”
There are some apps, like Truckers Path, available to truckers that claim to be able to predict parking availability. They also offer reviews of alternative stops such as WalMart parking lots and rest areas that are truck-friendly. These apps can be extremely helpful for truckers, though the predictions may not always be 100% accurate. However, they are great for alternative parking options because other truckers can leave reviews about the space so that you will know if you can park your truck there for the night.
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Trucking parking problems can be very frustrating, as well as a big issue for many drivers. Not having a place to stop and rest can be dangerous to the driver, as well as others on the road. Not to mention, it can result in large fines and, sometimes, termination. Following the rules is important, but it can be very difficult if you cannot find a place to park your truck.
These alternatives we mentioned in this post are great ways to try and resolve the parking issues. However, they aren’t fool-proof. Doing your own research and planning your route accordingly, including rest stops along the way, can be very helpful. Trucking parking problems are a large issue in the industry and, while there are some solutions, it should be taken seriously. Always plan ahead, and always have a back-up solution. While you can’t always be prepared for parking issues, you can always at least try to have several options in mind.