Solutions for Semi-Truck Parking Problems
Truck parking is the hauling headache that keeps on giving. Since 2015, semi-truck parking ranks as the top concern for truck drivers, according to the 2021 report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) titled Truck Parking Information Systems: Truck Driver Use and Perceptions.
The truck parking problem is so widespread that truckers admit to frequently parking on shoulders, ramps, or other undesignated areas when there aren’t official spaces available. The lack of available truck parking has certainly had an economic impact on trucker wages. Truckers end up parking before their hours-of-service (HOS) limit expires to ensure they find a safe parking space. That means there are lost wages due to early exits from revenue trips to the tune of $4,600 annually per truck driver.
Five Steps for Finding a Truck Parking Space
There are ways for truckers to combat this daily deterrent and win the battle. The following five steps from Trucker Tools are a broad overview of how savvy truck drivers find a truck parking lot to house their rig.
- The early trucker gets the space – Location and time make a difference because finding semi-truck parking near you greatly depends on where you are in the country and what time of day it is there. So, understand where you’re headed and park early if it’s a particularly crowded area. Also, some truckers haul loads at night because truck parking is easier to find in the morning.
- Reserve your truck parking space ahead of time – Think of it almost like making dinner reservations. The convenience of truck parking apps (more on those later) allows you to scope out which truck stop has spaces before you get there. That way you can reserve your spot before there are no spots left.
- Rest areas are free truck parking goldmines – Rest areas can be beacons for truckers as they have wide on and off ramps and free parking. But of course, those are the spots that will probably fill up quickest. Again, use truck parking apps to zone in on a free rest area truck parking spot and get there early.
- Pay upfront if you’re going to arrive late – Many truckers plan on paying for truck parking if they know they are going to arrive late at night. That’s because the chances of finding an open truck parking space at night are slim. In that case it is best to pay upfront for your truck parking space, so you aren’t worried about finding one when you get there after dark.
- Truck parking is great with amenities – If you’re going to take the time to look and pay in advance for a truck parking space near you, especially for overnight truck parking, you might as well find one that also offers restrooms, showers, and dining. Truck parking apps can help you search out the amenities that come with the truck parking space.
Truck Parking Apps and Variable Message Signs (VMS) Can Help
Truck parking apps can be invaluable for finding a safe space to give the rig (and you!) a break. According to ATRI’s report on truck parking, nearly 60% of truck drivers use a smartphone-based app and/or a website to find available truck parking spaces. Among the many truck parking apps available are Trucker Tools, Trucker Path, TruckSmart, AscendTMS/TruckPark, and TruckPark/Dock 411.
Some truckers, as many as 70%, according to ATRI, use variable message signs (VMS) to learn about available truck parking spaces. VMS are electronic traffic signs on roadways that provide information on upcoming rest areas and the amount of available parking spaces. These signs are used by several states and multi-state groups. While sometimes the timeliness and accuracy of the information has come into question, VMS can be another resource for truckers looking for parking spaces.
A Longtime Trucker Offers Advice on Parking
Lastly, we have advice from longtime trucker Antonio Thomas of Houston, Texas. Antonio uses truck parking apps because they tell him, “How parking is in certain areas,” he says. “That gives me a good idea of where to go. I don’t mainly go to the big truck stops like Love’s because that is where most of the drivers go. I go to the mom-and-pop truck stops and sometimes there is parking available there.”
Thomas also reiterates some of the steps mentioned above, particularly getting there as early as possible and knowing the truck parking situation in the state you’re hauling. “In California, for example, you must get there as early as possible.”
Truck parking can be a challenge for truckers hauling loads, but getting paid for working hard shouldn’t be. Apex Capital is ready to be your factoring company. We can help you with cash flow, fuel cards, fuel discounts, and many other tools and services. Visit our website or call us at 855-369-2739.