Dealing with Truck Parking Issues
Finding an available and safe truck parking space can be frustrating for many drivers. This issue has become worse with changes to hours-of-service regulations, increased freight volume, and limited availability in certain areas to set up parking areas.
There are close to 300,000 parking spaces available, but more than 3 million trucks on the road. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, drivers spend about an hour per day on average looking for a safe parking space. This time wasted in search of parking results in close to $5,000 in lost wages annually.
The lack of parking available has led to issues such as unauthorized parking along entry and exit ways, or in dense metropolitan areas. Drivers understand they need to obey federal laws when it comes to operational hours, but they often feel they have to weigh the potential for a violation or a fine for illegal parking.
Finding an available parking space requires planning so you know where you can stop along the route. You can also work with dispatchers to locate a safe place to park. Beyond that, there are five tips you can put in place to help you find safe parking.
Involve Fleet Operations
Fleet operations can be of great help for reviewing parking availability along your route. The team can help develop the most convenient routes for drivers while keeping in mind parking spots along the way and arrival times.
Fleet operations can also work with you to find preferred and reserved parking spots along the route. You can possibly work out a stipend to pay for these truck parking spots to keep your truck and yourself safe overnight.
Develop a Strategy for Parking
As a driver, you can take the planning initiative to prepare for parking needs along the way. This planning includes:
Planning Ahead and Parking Early
Planning your rest stop before leaving will improve your chances of securing a safe parking spot. This planning may include stopping early for the night to have a better chance of a parking spot.
The fleet operators can also help here, but as a driver you should do a little research before taking a route. While this doesn’t guarantee a parking spot, it does give you options if things don’t go as planned.
Park in a Well-Lit Space
Wherever you park overnight, you want to find a well-lit area. This improves your individual safety, as well as the safety of your vehicle and your cargo. This is important as damage could cost you a great deal of stress and money.
Choose parking locations with streetlights, guards, and security whenever possible. Try to find an active parking spot in areas with lower crime rates to avoid becoming a target. Ask your dispatcher for the safest parking areas if you are new to the route.
You know wherever you park, you will take up a lot of space. That’s why it is important to find a designated commercial truck parking spot. It’s also helpful to back into your parking spot so you can pull forward instead of backing out of the spot later.
Whenever possible, avoid parking at the entrance or exit of the row, as these spots are more prone to accidents. Take all precautionary steps to make entering and exiting a parking spot easier for you.
Use Safety Tools
If you must park alongside the road, use your safety tools. This includes:
- Safety triangles
Also, make sure you don’t park in a way that blocks the view of other road users, and don’t park facing oncoming traffic.
Close all windows and lock the doors for your safety. Keep any valuable possessions out of sight and use window screens to avoid peeping.
You may want to invest in a dashcam as well. Having one installed could bring extra peace of mind while you sleep.
Participate in Regulatory Conversations
Truck parking has become a national issue, and governmental agencies are stepping in to see how they can help fix the problem. You also have other industry organizations conducting research and trying to help find solutions.
Pay attention to the conversations going on around you regarding industry issues. Get involved and let your voice be heard. You can lend your voice by participating in industry surveys and getting involved with what government representatives are saying on these topics.
Use Available Technology
There are several apps available that can help you plan routes and find parking. These tools can provide you with maps of commercial truck parking spots, regions where it is safe to park, and how busy these places are during certain times of the day.
There are also apps available to help you reserve parking in dedicated spots. These spots can cost some money to use but can be worth it to keep you and your cargo safe.
Look for Parking Lot Pals
There are many companies within the trucking and related industry who understand the difficulties faced by drivers when it comes to finding safe parking. Some of these companies are willing to open up parking lots to provide safe spaces.
Talk to companies you are working with to find people willing to help. Shipping docks are also often willing to keep spaces open to make parking easier. It may take some research but look for people willing to work with you.
Get the Most Out of Your Trucking Career
Truck parking is one of the top industry concerns for drivers. While there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve this issue, you can start with the above tips to make the parking issue easier to manage.
Better Truck Driving Jobs has several resources available to help you make your routes and planning simpler across the board. Check out more tips and tricks for the industry to get the most out of your trucking career