Truckers play a vital role in the American economy, and they spend a lot of time on the road. Even short hauls can mean spending a night away from home.
Long haul drivers have cabs in their haulers where they can eat, wait, and sleep. However, safety remains the number one concern for short and long hauls. Therefore, drivers can’t park their haulers in any spot – they must scope out a safe area first.
One survey shows that 40% of truck drivers experienced an incident other than a traffic collision in 2020. Incidents include assault with a knife or baseball bat. By law, drivers must rest. However, they must figure out how to do so safely.
Casual drivers may have seen a row of trucks along the sides of interstates and highways. When truckers congregate in this manner, they aim to watch over each other. After all, there is safety in numbers.
Although sleeping in the cab saves them money, it’s not always feasible. Plus, drivers want to take showers, grab hot meals, and relax in bigger spaces too.
Let’s look at three of the best spots for truckers to spend the night.
1. Overnight Truck Stops
The American Industrial Revolution expanded interstate commerce. It also expanded the retail sector and changed the economy. To keep their doors open, retailers required a way to put their products in the hands of consumers. Thus, the birth of the traveling salesman.
The traveling salesman needed a place to stay. Therefore, this group helped expand the hospitality industry in the 1940s and 1950s. In addition, professionals who transported goods needed somewhere to fuel up their rigs.
Even though the United States found itself in the middle of a world war, it still managed to experience expansion. As interstate commerce grew, travel, the hospitality sector, and the size of trucks and haulers expanded. Thus, another birth – the truck stop.
Truck stops remain the top spot for truckers to spend the night, shower, eat a tasty, hot meal, and fuel up their equipment. Moreover, truck stops provide safety. Truck stops act as extended families for truckers.
2. Business Hotels and Motels
Sometimes truck drivers want to sleep in a bed. Therefore, another great spot to spend the night is at truck-friendly business hotels.
Motels started as roadside inns and expanded as individuals began managing them professionally. Motels and hotels provide beds and privacy. Plus, drivers can shower, grab a meal, and watch TV. The trick is to find the properties that have large parking lots attached to them.
Usually, you’ll find the best choices situated off the interstates, outside of downtown areas. The more space they have to build fast food chains, gasoline stations, and lodging, the more room they’ll offer for parking trucks and haulers.
One reason drivers experience attacks is that individuals with nefarious intentions want access to the loads. When you spend the night at a hotel or motel, try to do so after dropping off shipments. The other tip is to find a property that has fencing around the parking area.
Another option is to find properties where fellow drivers stay and trust. You can also consider those that have outdoor security or a representative at the lobby 24 hours.
Remember that you’re balancing comfort with safety.
3. Retail Parking Lots
Retail parking lots have become a spot for truckers to spend the night too. Since large retailers, such as Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s, receive sizable shipments almost daily, they have become sensitive to the challenges of truckers.
These retailers often own large parking lots too. When they are the only retailer on the property, retailers have complete control over it. Therefore, scope out the lots and look for other truckers. If you find some parked there, look for security.
Sometimes drivers have permission to park there. When they have 6 am deliveries, they receive permission to spend the night. Nonetheless, it’s safe.
Truckers must balance obtaining a good night’s sleep on the road with safety. Before heading out,, check in with fellow drivers and ask them where they spend the night. Once you have a few recommendations, match them to your routes. In most cases, the best spots are truck stops, hotels and motels, and retail parking lots.