After a day (or night) on the road as a trucker, it’s time to find a place to park and rest. This can sometimes be challenging, especially if you are trying to park at the same time as many other drivers. A lack of available semi-truck parking spots is more than just a nuisance. It can be a safety concern and may also cause issues with hours of service (HOS) compliance. Although the availability of spots can vary, there are some tips you can use to make it easier to find a spot and to park safely.
Tips for Finding Semi-Truck Parking
Plan Your Trip
Trip planning can help you be more efficient and you should consider parking when you plan your route. Having a few different truck stops listed can make it easy to change course if the first parking lot is full. It’s also important to leave enough driving time to move to the next location if this becomes necessary. When planning for your haul, you may also be able to see when the stop is busiest using a smartphone application for truckers and can also see how safe the area is.
Consider Stopping Earlier
Semi-truck parking areas usually start to fill up around 4 pm or 5 pm as drivers stop for the night. If possible, consider starting your day a little earlier so you can park before this. Some truckers even prefer driving at night and sleeping during the day. You don’t have to completely alter your schedule to find parking, though. Even a difference of an hour or two may help you beat the rush and get a spot.
Look for Smaller Truck Stops
The big-name truck stops often fill up most quickly, whereas mom-and-pop locations may have more spots open even during busier times. When planning your trip, you may want to look for some of these smaller options, especially if you are going to be near a large city.
Tips for Parking Safely
Back Into The Spot or Pull Through
Whenever possible, back your semi-truck into a spot or pull through. Backing out of a spot to get back on the road takes more time and accidents are more likely when backing out.
Avoid Parking Near the Entrance
Although it is tempting to grab the first available spot you see, it’s best to avoid parking near the truck stop’s entrance or at the end of a row when possible. These areas have the most traffic and you increase your risk of an accident by parking there.
Rushing through anything with a semi-truck can be a recipe for disaster. Even if you’re stressed, it’s important to slow down and take your time when parking your vehicle. Remember to get out and look (GOAL) to check for any hazards that you might not see from inside the truck.
Drive With DSW
If you are looking for a regional or long-haul trucking job, DSW is currently hiring. Our truckers have access to over 30 terminals across the country and we also have a driver-friendly fuel purchasing program. It is our goal to work as hard for you as you do for us.