August 10, 2023How Truck Parking Shortages Are Affecting Drivers
Parking shortages affect truckers nationwide, with more trucks needing parking than spaces available, which poses stress and safety issues for drivers. Truck drivers need more access to parking during off hours and when they need to sleep fatigue away, a topic gaining traction recently.
Before changes benefitting truck parking come into play officially, it’s essential to understand why drivers need more parking, where truckers can park, and how to find it.
Why Truckers Need More Truck Parking
Truckers work on the road delivering loads across the country, and while they spend most of their time driving, they also need places to park at the end of operating hours or when they need some shut-eye. Those who drive with partners can sleep while the other person drives, making deliveries efficient while keeping drivers rested simultaneously.
When traveling alone, or if your partner is asleep but you find it challenging to stay awake, the safest option is to pull over and get some shut eyes until you can maintain awareness again. When this happens, drivers must quickly find a place to park and rest their eyes. Finding parking more accessible and faster means being able to rest and get back on the road faster. Truckers sometimes park on the side of roads and highways to get rest when fatigue hits, which should be avoided.
Parking on shoulders or alongside roads is only permitted during emergencies, and drivers found sleeping in these areas may be ticketed. Safety is the main reason parking on the side of roads or highways isn’t permitted, and although extreme fatigue behind the wheel should constitute an emergency, remaining parked in these areas is extremely dangerous for truckers trying to get some shut-eye and other commuters passing by.
Where Truckers Can Park
A secure truck stop or travel center is ideal for truckers looking to park and rest. Some truck stops are open 24/7, offering parking, convenience shopping, food, and showers. These jackpot truck stops aren’t everywhere, and available parking isn’t guaranteed, making it a gamble to look for one if you’re short on time and Z’s. If it’s proving difficult to find a designated truck parking area, other options for parking in a flash can be some Lowes or Home Depots with large parking lots.
Some grocery stores, Walmart, and fast food lots can also be semi-safe options when looking for truck parking. Abandoned warehouses sometimes have lots large enough for truck parking, but this option is unsafe and should be avoided. Wherever you decide to park, look out for possible signage prohibiting parking.
How to Find Truck Parking
A great way to learn about good parking spot locations is to talk to other drivers, especially those you meet along your usual routes. Trucker Path is a great app and an asset to drivers for finding parking, truck stops, gas stations, and more. Your GPS can also help find parking in less obvious places like store parking lots or other lots. Google Earth is also an excellent option to see the size of lots to determine if they are large enough for truck parking.
Look for road signs signaling rest areas, and pay close attention to those advertising truck parking in particular. When you come across a great parking spot, mark it on your GPS for the next time you drive there. Soon you’ll have a customized map of your favorite places to park that will become a great asset during trips.
More Truck Parking and What it Means for Drivers and Others
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced in July 2022. The bill’s purpose was to allocate funding for building or improving public parking facilities for commercial vehicles and has been recently passed through to the House of Representatives to await approval. If approved, truckers are expected to see more truck stops, larger lots in rest areas, and improvement of existing facilities.
Truckers need a place to rest and power down without considering the risk of pulling on the side of the road or wasting valuable time looking for a proper rest area. The SHIP IT Act is another attempt to improve trucking conditions for truckers, including adding more truck stops and rest areas. Truck parking conditions will improve soon and alleviate stress for drivers looking for somewhere to park.
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