Truck Driver’s Guide to Truck Stops
Truck stops are a beacon of hope to the weary trucker. They are a destination that marks rest, a break from the hours behind the wheel. Whether you’re pulling in to refuel your truck, your body, or your soul, truck stops are an integral part of your trucking experience.
Truck stops are busy places with drivers coming and going at all hours of the day and night. Parking takes patience both for yourself and for others. Oftentimes, you’ll be waiting while someone parks, or you’re making others wait while you park. Either way, you’ll require patience.
With so much traffic in the parking lot, consider what’s safest. Choose parking spots that are further from the buildings. These spots tend to be safer and reduce the chances of your truck and trailer getting hit by other drivers simply because they are not as convenient, and many drivers just don’t want to walk the extra distance. Also, when choosing a parking spot, look to park next to poles and curbs as this protects one side of your truck.
Use good parking practices. Back into your spots so you can easily and safely pull out when it’s time to hit the road. Visibility is greatly limited when you are required to back out of a spot, significantly increasing the risk of damage or injury.
Fuel islands are only for those drivers who are actively fueling their trucks. They are not a place to take your 30-minute break while you go have a shower. Sure, there will be drivers who use this space as easy parking, but don’t be that driver.
When you’re fueling, take a walk around your truck and trailer. Take this natural break in the day to check on your tires and your lights, and check for any leaks that may have developed since your last inspection.
Many of the many chain travel centers offer on-site repair services. These convenient services provide drivers with peace of mind. Though the delay can be unpleasant, it’s comforting to know that the travel center has numerous amenities to look after you.
From the mom-and-pop diner to the major travel center chain, truck stops off a range of food that runs the gamut. From homemade traditional truck stop food to middle eastern cuisine, from cornbread and grits to chain restaurants, your options are endless from coast to coast. You will often have the benefit of stocked convenience stores as well that provide you with a variety of snacks for the road, often including fresh fruits.
An increasing number of truck stops recognize the need for drivers to have access to exercise. Whether they have created a series of walking paths, basketball courts, or fitness centers, you can look after your fitness needs while taking a break or ending your day at the truck stop.
Many truck stops offer lounges dedicated to professional drivers. These lounges often include TVs to watch your favorite show or sports event or even rent movies to watch in their theater. Take the time to sit back with other drivers and be entertained. After all, you’ve earned it.
You’ve fueled up, you’ve accumulated the needed shower credits on their point system, and it’s time for some relaxation in the showers. New travel centers have showers that rival those of hotels with tile and granite showers and counters. You might feel tired and worn down from a long day or week on the road, but refreshment awaits you at most truck stops and travel centers.
Now that you’re all washed up, take your truck for cleaning. Many truck stops offer truck washing facilities with numerous options to keep your truck looking shiny and new. And somehow, as we all know, clean trucks — and drivers — run better.