The Truck Parking Headache: From a Trucker Who Knows | Apex Capital Corp

The Truck Parking Headache: Thoughts from a Trucker Who Knows

by Mario Tarradell | September 25, 2019

truck parking

The Truck Parking Headache: Thoughts from a Trucker Who Knows

Antonio Thomas has been driving a truck for a living nearly 19 years. He knows the highway well. He also knows firsthand every trucker’s frequent headache – finding a parking space that’s not only available and accommodating, but legal and safe.

Truck parking is a national issue with an estimated 90% of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the US experiencing problems finding designated spaces. According to a study from the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “existing demand for truck parking spaces outstripped the available supply.” In other words, there are way more trucks on the road than there are truck parking spaces.

Naturally, Thomas has thoughts about the parking problem he faces every day while he delivers brand new 18-wheelers. During a stop in Fort Chiswell, Virginia, far from his home in Houston, Texas, Thomas talked to Apex about truck parking.

There Just Isn’t Enough Parking

What are your general thoughts on truck parking?

“When you get to certain areas, there just isn’t enough parking,” he says. “This is why you see trucks parked on the side of the road or the on-ramp. Parking is always limited and if you don’t get there at a certain time, you’re not going to get any parking. When you are on a certain time frame, you must be legal so you can’t just park anywhere. We drive 11 hours within a 24-hour period. Half of the 11 hours is when you stop, and you must park in that time period. So, you really need to find parking legally.”

What works for you? Do you have a backup plan?

“There aren’t many drivers that have a backup plan regarding parking,” Thomas says. “Nowadays it’s hard because you have so much traffic, you have so much construction. You can get up early in the day and drive but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get to the place you plan to get to in that time frame you want.”

Are there areas that are better than others regarding parking?

“In certain areas you do find parking, like New Mexico. It needs to be areas that are not really populated. The more populated and the busier the state, the harder it is to find parking. California, New York state, Florida, Texas – those are the difficult ones. Some of the easier ones are New Mexico, Louisiana (certain parts), Alabama (certain parts), up north like South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa.”

Any Tricks of the Trade? What About Advice?

After all this time in trucking, do you have any tricks of the trade?

“When I first started there were less trucks on the road,” he remembers. “Now the highway is mainly full of 18-wheelers. The industry has grown so much that you can’t rely on the things you did then because everybody is trying to do the same thing you do. You have to just keep driving to see if you find another truck stop hopefully not far away and hope and pray that you find parking there.”

Is there a best way for you to find parking?

“I use the Trucker Path app. It will tell me how parking is in certain areas. 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 there.”

What would you tell a new driver about truck parking? Any advice?

“Make sure he checks the area he is going to. Try to get there as early as possible, because the earlier you can get there to find parking the better your chances. In California, for example, you must get there as early as possible to find parking.”

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about Mario Tarradell

Mario Tarradell
Mario Tarradell is a Bilingual Communications Specialist at Apex Capital. He comes to Apex after a long career writing for daily newspapers. At Apex, Mario enjoys telling stories about truckers, especially about the many aspects of the trucking industry that have the greatest impact on them personally and professionally. Mario believes that truckers are our lifelines, so he always wants to pay respect to the hard-working folks behind the wheel.