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The “Truck Stop Code”, From a Trucker

The “Truck Stop Code”, From a Trucker

Without rules, it’s only a matter of time before chaos and anarchy occur. If you’ve ever used a truck stop, it can be a pretty chaotic experience.

However, it would be much more chaotic if it weren’t for the truck drivers following the truck stop code. So what exactly is it, and what do you need to know?

Let’s take a look.

What Is the Truck Stop Code?

The truck stop code isn’t an official set of rules, but it’s a standard etiquette that good truck stop users follow. This code of conduct helps ensure all truck stop users have a smooth and efficient experience.

Some of these unwritten rules will seem like common sense or more evident than others.

Can Normal Vehicles Use Truck Stops?

Despite their name, truck stops typically offer services for those traveling in various types of vehicles. They’ll have special truck lanes for big 18-wheel trucks and fuel pumps for standard passenger vehicles. Those towing RVs or trailers that need diesel can often use the truck lanes to take advantage of the additional maneuvering space.

You’ll often find many amenities at truck stops, like food, showers, and restrooms. There’s nothing that says these are for truck drivers only. Someone in a regular vehicle can take advantage of the many perks of a truck stop.

However, it’s important to remember that the truck drivers who rely on these truck stop amenities are typically on very tight schedules. So be as efficient as possible and avoid causing delays for truck drivers.

Are Truck Stops Safe?

For the most part, truck stops are safe. Many truck stops have taken security precautions, like installing extra lighting to maximize visibility and using security cameras. However, some truck stops are safer than others. There are truck stop parking lots that can be hotbeds for seedy activity from time to time.

You generally have nothing to worry about when stopping at a truck stop. So many people are coming and going that criminals will be cautious about attempting anything sketchy for fear of getting caught. If you ever feel unsafe, get back in your vehicle immediately and find a spot to stop where you feel safer.

Pro Tip: Make sure you know these 7 Things Non-Truckers Should Know About Truck Stops before you head out on the highway.

Trucker filling up gas tank at truck stop
RVers and cars can use truck stops, but it is wise to follow truckers rules while using them.

Truck Stop Code

There are several essential pieces of truck stop codes that drivers should follow. Whether you’re driving a big rig or a passenger vehicle, there are a few things you need to do when using truck stops. Let’s get started.

Pull Forward After Fueling

When truck drivers need to fuel up their rigs, it can require pumping hundreds of gallons of fuel into their trucks. This can take a considerable amount of time under normal circumstances, and truckers want to be as efficient as possible with their stops. If you need to run inside to grab a bite to eat or use the restroom, it’s common courtesy to pull forward far enough so the truck driver behind you can start the process of fueling up their rig.

Sadly, we see this part of the truck stop code frequently broken. Drivers fuel up their rigs and head inside without considering the other drivers waiting patiently behind them to fuel up their rigs. If you’re guilty of breaking this part of the code, don’t expect those waiting behind you to be patiently waiting when you return to your vehicle.

You may find yourself having an intense encounter with an angry driver.

Watch Your Speed

Truck stops can be chaotic due to many drivers constantly coming and going. Not only do you have to watch for other trucks in the lot, but also their drivers and passengers. Keep your speed in check when driving in truck stop parking lots, so you have plenty of time to react or stop your vehicle when necessary.

While many parking lots have pavement, some are still gravel or dirt. By keeping your speed in check, you’ll avoid kicking up and blanketing the area with a cloud of dust. You wouldn’t want to choke on a cloud of dust from an inconsiderate driver, and neither do other drivers. So watch your speed when driving at truck stops.

Be Efficient With Shower Rooms

After a long day on the road, many drivers want nothing more than to get a hot shower before heading to bed to get some rest. Some shower rooms will have a time limit, but not all do. Regardless, make sure you follow the truck stop code of being efficient with your shower room usage. 

Take enough time to use the restroom. Take care of any grooming needs and shower, but avoid taking more time than necessary. After spending hours fighting traffic on the road, waiting in line for a shower is the last thing drivers want to do. 

Park Carefully

Parking can be challenging at some truck stops, especially in dark or crowded parking lot areas. If you’re not parking carefully, you could bump into a fellow driver’s truck or trailer. Nothing will anger a truck driver more than if you damage their vehicle or trailer. It will interrupt what little time they have off from driving and create a stressful situation.

However, accidents happen occasionally, no matter how careful you are while parking.

Ensure you have plenty of room to maneuver and use your mirrors to keep an eye on all the objects and vehicles around you. Give yourself and other drivers plenty of room to come and go as needed. Those parked around will likely not follow the same schedule. You don’t want to park in a way that makes it difficult or impossible for them to get in and out of their vehicles or to leave when it’s time for them to get back on the road.

Male trucker walking by truck stop
Always be efficient and considerate when using a truck stop.

Be Considerate

The golden rule applies to truck stops, treat other truck drivers how you want to be treated. If all drivers followed the golden rule, every truck stop user would have a great experience. However, we don’t live in some fictitious idyllic world, and not everyone is considerate of others.

Be considerate of others, whether it’s how you park, use the facilities or interact with other truck stop users. You never know what other drivers are going through or the kind of day they’re having. Showing a little bit of compassion and consideration for other drivers can go a long way to improve morale in the community.

Clean Up Before Leaving

You’ve likely heard it since you were a little kid, but always clean up after yourself. Make sure any trash you need to get rid of finds its way into a trash can or dumpster. We’ve seen many truck stop parking lots littered with trash and debris by inconsiderate drivers and truck stop code violators.

Nobody wants to walk through or park in a parking lot covered in trash. So do your part to help with any garbage you see that needs to find a nearby trash can.

Support the Truck Stop

If you’re planning to park overnight, make sure you support the truck stop by making a purchase. This could be filling up on fuel, grabbing a bite to eat, or using any of the amenities they offer. It’s common courtesy to show appreciation for a safe and clean place to park for the night and get some rest. 

By supporting the truck stop, you help ensure they’re successful as a business and remain open the next time you pass through and need a place to stop. You have to remember that they’re a business to make money. They have bills and employees to pay to keep things running efficiently.

Pro Tip: Use our road trip guide for non-truckers on How to Sleep, Shower & Eat at Truck Stops.

Obey Truck Stop Code

Truck stops can be a great place to help you be as efficient as possible with your stops while traveling. You can fill up on fuel and food, use the restroom, and stock up on snacks before returning to the road. However, you’re likely not going to be the only driver needing to stop at a truck stop. 

Following the truck stop code helps ensure everyone has a positive, smooth experience and gets back on the road as quickly as possible. So be a good truck stop user and obey the truck stop code!

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