As a professional, over the road truck driver, you can be sure you’ll be visiting truck stops on the regular. Don’t you think it’d be nice if you knew a few tips to make the most out of your time (and money) while you’re there? Well, we've got you covered. We asked fans of the Driver Solutions Facebook to share some of their own personal truck stop tips with us. Here are 25 of the best and most helpful tips, tricks, and hints!
Truck Stop Parking Tips
- Stop and park early, if you can. Truck stop parking fills up quickly.
- Be careful. Take your time when parking. Get out and look if you need to. James suggests using your CB radio for help backing in. People would rather help guide you in than be hit.
- Watch your tail swing when pulling out of a parking spot. Don't sideswipe anyone's trailer or cab!
- Jason shares a tip everyone would agree on - don't take up a whole spot if you're bobtailing! It's hard enough to park as it is - it's even more frustrating when bobtails are taking up the larger parking spaces reserved for trucks with trailers. Be respectful and park in a spot only a bobtail could fit in.
- Use your mirrors to help you back into a parking spot. Watch your tandems for a point of reference.
- Take a pull-through parking spot if you can find one.
- Check your parking brake! We don’t want any roll-aways!
- Stacy recommends making eye contact with those on the right and left of you. Make sure that they’re aware of your presence and know that you’re about to park.
Truck Stop Amenity Tips
- Get a rewards card for the truck stop you frequent most (or get one for each!). Most truck stops will reward you for consistently stopping with them by giving you truck stop points to use in the convenience store, free drinks, free shower coupons, and other various perks.
- Jason recommends investing in a truck stop guide. They have useful information on the size of the stop, costs of the stop amenities, and food options.
- Don’t do your regular, run-of-the-mill shopping at expensive truck stop convenience stores. Save money by doing your big shopping at groceries and supercenters.
- Bring your own laundry detergent! Truck stops often charge exorbitant prices to use theirs.
Truck Stop Safety Tips
- Drive slowly through the parking lot. There's a lot going on - people fueling, backing, parking, and hitting the restaurants or convenience store. No need to break any speed records here!
- Jason recommends not keeping all of your cash in your wallet. Consider buying a lock box for your cab to keep any valuables and extra cash in.
- Don’t brag about what you’re hauling. This broadcasts the value of the load you’re carrying to any potential thieves.
- Lock your doors every time you leave your truck.
- If possible, try to avoid truck stops in large, metropolitan areas. These can be shady areas that you should steer clear of.
- Don’t open your door for people you don’t know.
- Look, watch, and be aware of your surroundings.
- Be confident – if people see that you look scared or nervous, you might be seen as a target. Act confident, but remain aware of what's going on around you.
- If you’re a female, don’t broadcast that you’re alone.
- Consider carrying something like pepper spray with you on your key chain, just in case. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t park in secluded or dark areas.
Here’s more of what our fans on Facebook said!
"First off, truckstops fill up quicker in the east, far more trucks. Plan your day so you're stopped by 3, 4 at the latest. Good luck finding parking after 7 pretty much anywhere. Take your time. Relax. Get out and look no matter how long it takes. Watch out for four wheelers and pedestrians. If you have a CB, it's a great tool to help guide you in when backing. People would rather talk you in than be hit. When pulling out, watch your tail swing. Be mindful of your security. Don't keep all your cash in your wallet. Always lock your truck. If approached by a panhandler or lizard, respectfully decline. Being decent to the less fortunate goes a long way. Don't buy "gold" off people. And lastly, if you're not comfortable with the area, find a place you are." - James Perdue
"I drive early morning and I'm stopped by 2 or 3 pm almost every day so I get the good spots. Also on top of what James said, get yourself a driver perks card from the stops you'll be frequenting like TA, Love's, Pilot, or Flying J. That way, you can earn points when you fuel as well as free showers and drinks. Another thing - always carry at least ten bucks cash. Some places, unless you're fueling, want you to pay to park. Also, invest in the $3-4 for a truck stop guide. They have a lot of useful info on size, cost, amenities, and food. Always make sure it's the newest edition, too. Just because last year's is a buck doesn't mean it's up to date. And please, for the love of trucking, if you're bobtailing, do everyone a favor and park some where only a bobtail can fit. Don't be the jerk who takes up a whole parking spot just because he can." - Jason Everett Kirk
"SLOW down. Turn off the phone, the radio, and the CB. Concentrate, get out and look, and pay attention. Use your mirrors. Make eye contact with the person on the left and the right of you. If you can get a pull-through, take it. Much easier to get that truck parked at 4:00 than holding up a line to practice your backing skills in a busy truck stop. Truck stops are NOT the place to practice backing. Do that in a yard or at a shipper/receiver, not a truck stop. Don't be afraid to let the traffic go and pull around, set up and do it again. Who cares if they laugh? In the end, the important thing is safety. Don't hit anybody and don't wreck that truck. It's not worth the paperwork!" -Stacy Albers
"I put a strap on the doors from one to the other and ratchet it tight when both the co-driver and I sleep at once. It makes sure if someone picks the lock, they still can't get in." - William Stine III
"If you run at night, it makes it a lot easier to find a parking space when it's time for your ten hour break." - Richard Jordan
"If you're a newbie, get there early and park. Get your sleep and roll out early in the morning! Also, seat belt through the door handle. Buckle it in place. Works just as well as tie straps for securing your truck." - Stephenie Cross