When you order a new TV or go to the store to pick up your groceries for the week, chances are they traveled to you via truck. Trucks drivers are responsible for about 70% of America’s goods getting where they need to go, but their job is not easy, and many are quitting.

There are many reasons for this, but one of them is a lack of parking space.

Tips for Finding Truck Parking

There are some strategies truckers have found to help combat the truck parking shortage:

  1. Park during off times. Sometimes, such as when bad weather pops up, you won’t have much choice in when you need to park. But when you do, try to find a place earlier than you usually would.

    Some drivers even choose to park in the morning and drive during the night if they know they’re going to be in an area where parking is scarce.

  2. Use an app. There are several apps available that can make your efforts to find parking easier. Some even provide information about more unusual parking areas such as retail store parking areas, vacant lots, and street parking.

    Here are a few of the best truck parking apps:

    • Park My Truck

    • Trucker Path

    • Road Breakers

    • Truckbubba

    • DAT One

  3. Be willing to get creative. This may mean calling ahead to reserve a paid parking space, and it also may mean being willing to park at rest stops that have fewer amenities or even retail store lots that allow truckers to stay the night.

    These scenarios might not be ideal, but at least you’ll have a safe space to sleep and refuel.

Looking for a truck driver job? These position are hiring now near you:

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Current Truck Parking Issues

Truck drivers need places to rest when they get tired, when they’re required by their carrier to take breaks, and when they’re facing inclement weather. While some of these breaks are quick bathroom and gas breaks, many are far longer so that the driver can sleep and eat.

To give truckers a safe place to park, many states and companies built truck stops and rest stops across the country where drivers could rest, buy food and gas, and even shower. However, these areas have been packed recently, making it difficult for drivers to find an open spot.

The cause of these crowded conditions is a combination of an increase in truck traffic and a decrease in truck and rest stops as states closed them to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, drivers are having to spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to find a parking place or are being forced to park illegally in store parking lots and on roadsides.

For many drivers, this additional stressor on top of an already stressful and exhausting job is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and many are quitting truck driving entirely.

The truck driving industry, which transports about 70% of the U.S.’s goods, is already short about 80,000 drivers, so having another reason for truck drivers to want to quit is a significant problem.

To combat this, the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to include funding for additional trucker parking areas in the latest federal infrastructure bill.

While this didn’t end up happening exactly as they hoped, the bill did include more money for the budget categories that would be able to pay for these projects, so there is some hope for improvement.

In the meantime, companies have created apps to help drivers find available parking quickly, and some truck stops allow drivers to call ahead and reserve a space.

Trucker Parking FAQ

  1. Can truckers sleep anywhere?

    No, truckers can’t sleep anywhere. The specific laws regulating this depend on the state and the type of truck, but just like regular cars can’t just park anywhere for however long they want, neither can trucks.

    For example, many states allow truck drivers to pull over on the side of a highway or road for a few minutes to fix an issue or wait out a storm, but they don’t often allow them to sleep there.

    Similarly, some shopping centers or big box store parking lots may allow trucks to overnight there, but others don’t.

    This is why states and companies built dedicated truck stops and rest areas, and it’s why it’s so tricky for drivers to find a safe place to sleep when those truck stops are full.

  2. How long does a truck driver have to sleep?

    A truck driver usually has to sleep at least seven hours. The FMCSA requires drivers to spend at least seven consecutive hours sleeping. This counts toward their mandatory ten hours of rest each day, but the other time can be spent doing other activities – it just has to be at least two consecutive hours long and not involve driving.

    Other truck driver rest requirements can include a mandatory 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving, a 34-hour rest period after driving 60-70 hours across seven to eight consecutive days, and not driving more than 14 hours after starting their shift.

    These mandatory breaks may change some depending on the driver’s situation, but every driver has some form of them. These rules are put in place to protect the driver, their load, and other drivers, but they also make the need to find convenient places to rest even more necessary and make the lack of space even more frustrating.

  3. How do truckers find places to sleep?

    Truckers find places to sleep by communicating with their carrier or customer, mapping out truck stops and rest areas along their route, and using apps designed to help with this.

    Some carriers and other companies that hire truck drivers will allow them to rest at their facilities overnight, and many drivers will stay at a truck or rest stop.

    These stops can range from a safe place to park off the highway to full-service facilities with showers and restaurants. Some drivers choose to stay in hotels or motels while leaving their trucks at these locations as well.

    Truck drivers may know the general layout of where they can stop along their route and may even make reservations, but often they don’t know exactly what’s available. This is where truck parking apps come in handy, helping drivers find rest stops and even fuel and weigh stations along their routes.

    Many times, though, it’s simply a matter of finding what’s available nearby their location when it’s time for them to take a break, especially in rural areas where towns and rest stops are farther apart.

  4. Why are so many truckers quitting?

    Many truckers are quitting because of low pay combined with difficult working conditions. Truck drivers can spend days at a time behind the wheel of their truck, spending nights in gas station parking lots, or even on the side of the road. During this time, they don’t get to see their friends and family or enjoy simply being at home.

    This, plus the physical toll of no exercise, poor diet, and an extended period of no bathroom breaks, makes truck driving a difficult job, to say the least. While many truck drivers make a decent living, it often isn’t enough to make the difficult aspects of the job worth it, and they quit when it gets to be too much.

    The trucking industry has a turnover rate that hovers around 90%, which means that a year from today, 90% of currently employed truck drivers won’t be in those jobs anymore. The truck driver shortage isn’t necessarily a case of too few drivers: It’s that too many are leaving.

By - Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job.

His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.