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The Single Most Important Rule for Parking Overnight at a Truck Stop

Truck stops can be an excellent place to park overnight and get some sleep. However, unless you want to be on the receiving end of an angry trucker, you’d best stay out of the way.

After a long day of driving, not much will anger a truck driver more than an RVer parked in a way that makes it challenging to navigate an 18-wheeler. If you plan to regularly use truck stops for overnight parking while RVing, familiarize yourself with this critical truck stop rule.

Today, we’re looking at how you can ensure you stay out of the way while using truck stops to park your RV overnight. Let’s get started!

Can RVs Sleep at Truck Stops?

Most truck stops and truck drivers welcome RVers sleeping at truck stops. As long as RV owners follow the rules and do not cause a scene at the truck stop, they will likely have no issues.

However, parking in the wrong spot or taking up more room than necessary is a significant rule violation and may quickly attract negative attention.

Can Non-Truckers Use Truck Stop Facilities?

The facilities at truck stops are for all customers, including non-truckers. Many truck stops offer showers, restaurants, and other facilities for travelers in the area. You don’t have to be a trucker to take advantage of these facilities.

Stopping at truck stops can be a convenient way to take a long hot shower, especially if you enjoy boondocking and must strictly manage your water usage. For $12 to $15, you can use one of their showering rooms for 30 to 45 minutes.

This is ample time to use the restroom, shower, and care for any grooming or shaving. 

What’s the Most Important Rule for Parking Overnight at a Truck Stop?

The most important rule for parking overnight at truck stops is to stay out of the way. Truck drivers have a very stressful and vital job. Drivers should be considerate of big rig drivers, especially at truck stops.

Truck drivers often have strict regulations when it comes to driving and resting. Commercial truck drivers typically have a 14-hour window to complete 11 hours of driving. Many rigs have electronic communications that monitor a driver to ensure they’re obeying these restrictions. Truck stops are one of the few places for truckers to park after a long, stressful day on the road.

If you park in a way that prevents a trucker from accessing a parking spot or getting on the road, they will not be happy. You may get a very angry knock on your RV door demanding that you move.

We’ve even seen some truckers use their air horns to wake RVers. If that happens to you, you’ll have to deal with the angry honking trucker and the rest of the truckers trying to get some sleep.

Tips for Parking Overnight at Truck Stops

You can do several things to ensure a smooth experience parking overnight at truck stops. Here are a few critical tips you should remember during your next stay. Let’s dive in!

Be Visible

Some truck stops could benefit from additional lighting, but it’s up to you to be visible to other drivers. Avoid parking in dark sections or areas with obstructions that might make it challenging for drivers to see you.

Many RVers pull too far into a spot, which makes it nearly impossible for truckers to see them. Many truck stops use one-way traffic throughout the lots to help avoid accidents. If that’s the case, avoid pulling too far into a spot so truckers don’t think they’ve found an empty place.

They’ll start maneuvering their rig to fit into the “empty” area and then discover that an RV is occupying the space that appeared empty.

Avoid Opening Slides

You want to minimize your footprint while parking overnight at a truck stop. Slides can stick out significantly from an RV and be hard to see in the dark. We have heard several horror stories of RVers having slides hit while they’re parked, especially in tight truck stops.

If you have to open slides, close them as soon as you no longer need them. It’s better safe than sorry!

A vehicle hitting your RV slides can do massive damage to a rig. Damage to your RV slides can make it impossible to close them, which means you’re likely stuck in place until professionals can help or repair the slides.

That will bring your future adventures to a screeching halt! 

Consider Other Spots When Possible

We often encourage RVers to consider other parking options like Harvest Hosts and boondocking instead of parking at truck stops for the night. Truckers have strict rules and regulations regarding how long they can drive and required breaks.

Their options can be limited to safe and convenient places to park their rigs for the night. However, RVers typically have many more options.

Semis can’t pull into a local campground or use services like Harvest Hosts. The more RVs parking overnight at truck stops, the fewer spots are available for truckers. This can be a significant issue, especially during peak camping season when many RVs are on the road. If other options are available, we recommend considering those before stopping at a truck stop.

Don’t Take Trucker Parking Spots

Many truck stops have spaces for trucker-only parking. No matter how big of a rig you tow, these aren’t for you.

If you take up one of these spots and a trucker comes along, it won’t be pretty, especially if there are few other spaces available. Truckers must follow many rules and often have little patience for those who do not follow them.

If you’re unsure where to park, you might want to speak with a truck stop employee. They’ll likely direct you to a place where you’ll be out of the way or provide additional ideas of where you can safely park for the night.

Be Respectful

No matter where you’re parking, you should always be respectful. Pick up all your trash, and do not leave anything behind when you go. While truck stops can be rather noisy, avoid making unnecessary noise while parked. It’s not the time or place to test your new sound system or play music.

We strongly recommend that RVers spend as little time outside their rig as possible. Those traveling with kids must be extremely mindful that little ones often struggle to remember that parking lots can be dangerous. It may be an open lot, but it’s not a playground.

Drivers have enough to worry about while hauling heavy loads; they don’t want to worry about kids running through a parking lot.

Stay Out of the Way

You’re doing yourself and the truckers a favor by staying out of the way while parking overnight at a truck stop. You allow them to quickly and easily maneuver throughout the truck stop so they can do their essential jobs. We should do anything we can to lighten the load for truckers.

Ensure you choose your spot wisely while parking overnight at a truck stop, and you’ll have a smooth experience. 

Have you ever parked overnight at a truck stop before?

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