Locating safe and legal places for parking trucks or trailers can be challenging. But with the right planning and resources, you can park your truck with ease.
Plus, you’ll get to avoid any fines or penalties for non-compliance. We’ve put together a list of parking hacks that will aid in making things a little easier when parking your rig.
How Does Truck Parking Work?
Truck drivers must follow all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for stopping for breaks and sleep. Stating that you couldn’t find parking won’t get you out of complying with these regulations.
But you can’t just park on the side of the road. You need to find designated trucker parking. One way of doing that is using one of the best truck parking apps. Additionally, there is the Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIMS), which is a federally funded program to aid in safe truck parking to meet FMCSA regulations.
Even once you find a reliable place to park, you might experience disruption due to increased traffic during certain seasons. Parking your truck just anywhere could lead to safety concerns and hazards for both you and the goods you’re hauling.
Designated truck parking includes options for the following parking options:
Make sure you know what type of parking you’ve chosen before getting too comfortable. You don’t want the dreaded tap on your window from law enforcement in the middle of the night because you’re sleeping in short-term truck parking.
What Is Jason’s Law?
Jason’s Law is known as a “national priority on addressing the shortage of long-term parking for commercial motor vehicles on the National Highway System (NHS) to improve the safety of motorized and non-motorized users and for commercial motor vehicle operators.”
Under the law, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must do three things:
- Conduct a survey and assessment to evaluate truck parking and rest facilities.
- Review each state’s volume of commercial motor vehicle traffic.
- Create a system for measuring commercial motor vehicle parking adequacy.
The law gets its name from a tragic incident. A truck driver named Jason Rivenburg was delivering a load to a South Carolina Food Lion supermarket.
He arrived earlier than expected and was told he could not park on-premises. Instead, he parked for the night at an abandoned gas station where he was shot and killed while he was asleep. The event brought the issue to the attention of lawmakers and governing bodies.
7 Parking Hacks for Truck Drivers
Preparation is the best way to ensure safe truck parking. Here are 7 parking truck hacks for a trucking route.
Before your shift, review your route and plan your stops. It’s a good idea to have more than one option for stopping in case your first option doesn’t work out.
Consider the timelines for when you’ll need to take breaks and evaluate the safest locations to comply with those regulations. Use a truck parking app to review your options in advance and perhaps even reserve a spot for overnight or long-term parking.
Run in Familiar Lanes
If you stay in familiar lanes, you’ll become acquainted with the parking options along those routes. Getting dedicated routes will make the process of stopping and resting feel like clockwork.
You’ll know seasonality too to make adjustments to when and where you stop based on traffic. You can go back to the same parking places again and again with confidence knowing that route’s safe locations.
Make a Note of Good Parking Spots
Keep a notebook – either on paper or digitally – on good truck parking spots. Just make sure it’s always with you. This will help you save time when you run that route again or you run a similar route.
Some drivers find it helpful to create spreadsheets with multiple options in case their first or second choice is all booked up at the time. And with a full spreadsheet, you can add notes on clean bathrooms, security and other amenities to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.
Utilize Shipper and Receiver Locations
Get to know your shippers and receivers so you can use their lots for short-term or overnight parking. These are great locations to stop for the night and know that you are in a safe, reliable location.
However, never plan to park at these locations before having a conversation with the shipper or receiver. Some companies have restrictions on parking, especially overnight. You can also get your dispatch team involved and have them ask the shipper or receiver about allowing you to park on-premises.
Make Safety a Top Priority
Never park somewhere that you don’t feel safe. Make safety your priority when looking for truck parking. Ideally, you want to be somewhere that other truckers are constantly coming and going from.
The more activity, the less chance there will be that you’ll encounter trouble. When you’re alone, you’re vulnerable. Focus on areas with good lighting, approved trucker parking, security cameras and a fair amount of traffic.
Some truck parking even has fences and security guards to make it super secure. If your dash cam has parking mode, be sure to turn it on as another safety feature when you are parked, regardless of how long you’ll be there.
Use Real-Time Parking Data
Under Jason’s Law, many states are making it easier to find parking. TPIMS offers traveler information websites for Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio to guide you toward safe truck parking locations.
Plus, you can find real-time parking data on a variety of apps. Additionally, you can watch for road signs indicating how many spots are available so you can decide where to park based on how you’re feeling.
If you work for a carrier, you can call dispatch to help you locate a parking spot. Dispatch will have tools available to review exactly where you are located and compare that to open parking options. This is especially helpful if you’ve reached the traditional place where you like to park but have found that it is full at the time you need to take a break.
Additionally, providing dispatch feedback on parking along a route can help them review all routes in light of parking options to build safer options with ample parking opportunities.
Park Safely Using Truck Parking Information
Safety should be your top priority when parking your truck. Using the seven tips above, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding safe, reliable locations to stop and rest, whether that’s for a few minutes or for several hours. Understanding which resources are at your disposal can aid you in staying safe while on the road.
No, in most states, the law does not permit big rigs to park on the side of the road. Drivers must locate rest stops or designated truck parking.
Yes, semi-truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after 8 cumulative hours of driving. Additionally, they cannot be on duty for more than 14 hours without a 10-hour period of being off duty.
Semi-truck drivers park on ramps because they cannot find another suitable place to park due to a shortage of truck parking options.
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