Parking & Getting
Sleep On The Road

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Where Can I Park My Truck?

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Your preferred place to park will be at a truck stop. That's why they're there. Truck stops are built and equipped to handle large commercial vehicles. But one of the main problems you will face is finding parking at these truck stops. That's because they tend to fill up fast, especially later on in the evening.

 It's been my experience that if you can get to a truck stop before

(4 or 5pm) you can have a good chance of finding parking, but any later then that and your chances will start to decrease signifyingly. There will times that you will not be able to find any parking at a truck stop. So where else can you park your truck? 

Other Places to Park Your Truck

Rest Area-                           

You can find theses on most major highways and most of them have designated parking areas for big trucks

 

Shipper or Receiver         

More experienced drivers will many times try to arrange to sleep in the parking lot of their customer to maximize their available driving hours.

Shopping Centers   

Some shopping centers like Walmart might have and area to park your truck if you need to do some shopping or need to just rest for a while. But you should be very careful around these spots there are a lot of small cars and these lots were not designed with trucks in mind. Also some of them do not allow over night parking.

On/Off Ramps                    

There will be times when finding parking before running out of hours will be a giant hassle, and drivers sometimes resort to parking on a ramp (This is Definitely Not Recommended)

 

 

IS IT LEGAL TO PARK ON THE SHOULDER OF THE HIGHWAY???     NO, NO, NO!!!  NEVER PARK ON THE SHOULDER OF THE HIGHWAY!

Not only is it illegal, it is extremely Dangerous. I've seen trailers opened like tin cans because a guy parked on the shoulder and was hit by another  truck.

If you run short on hours (usually the result of poor trip planning), continue to the nearest safe haven. Note the reason for the HOS violation in your logbook, notify your safety department and deal with the violation. A ticket and fine is much cheaper than possibly being involved in a fatal accident because you were illegally parked.

 

Edit: Yes, there is a provision in the DOT/HOS regs for driving up to 2 extra hours, if necessary, to reach a safe haven. But that is restricted to truly emergency situations completely outside the driver's control. “There's no place to park at this truckstop, so I guess I'll just keep going” doesn't qualify.

 

Additional Edit: There is a new change to HOS rules allowing for the use of “Personal Conveyance" to drive beyond available legal hours, up to 150 miles, to enable drivers to access safe, secure parking if they are delayed at a Shpr/Cons and denied parking on-site to get their break.

Sleep being a key ingredient of overall health, maximizing your sleep while still getting as many miles as you can will be a learned balancing act to help you succeed as a truck driver. White noise generators, ear plugs, headphones, and even just the idling of your own truck are all methods drivers will use to help them sleep and block out noises from truck stops, roads, etc.

 

If you're into taking sleeping pills to help you sleep, always keep in mind that most prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter meds, will potentially violate company or DOT drug policy, and should be cleared by a physician and your company. When in doubt, ask.

Without Adequate or Quality Sleep, You Could Experience:

  • Slower reaction times. Definitely important if you are driving a big rig! It could mean the difference between stopping on time or being involved with in a serious accident.

  • A cloudy/foggy mind and a lack of focus.

  • Being irritable.

  • Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to many the development of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. As a matter of fact, when people who suffered anxiety and depression were surveyed to calculate their sleep habits, it turned out that most of them slept less than six hours per night.

  • It may also affect your immune system increasing your risk for developing infections, as well as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

  • It often leads to an increased appetite, which can lead to overeating and even obesity.

Most of us need about eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly.  Some need more and some need less.  It is important that each of us understand what we need and strive to get it. 

How can I Tell if I Am Too Tired to Drive?

Studies have shown that drivers cannot accurately rate their degree of impairment due to drowsiness and that sleep-related accidents are more common in young people than in older drivers. 

So what are the warning signs?

  • Trouble keeping your eyes open.

  • Trouble keeping your head up.

  • Daydreaming or wandering thoughts.

  • Drifting across lanes.

  • Drifting of the road or hitting rumble strips.

  • Missing signs or exits.

  • Frequently yawning or rubbing your eyes.

  • Irritability or restlessness.

 

With deadlines and tight schedules it is not always easy to take a break.  However, if you are at risk, isn’t it better to break and get to your destination late, than to get into an accident and not get there at all?  Only you, the professional trucker can make a decision such as this.

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