When driving your truck from one destination to the next, you will no doubt need to stop and catch a few “zzz”s to ensure you are well-rested and refreshed. Truck drivers have many different options when it comes to finding a place to take a nap or sleep. To help ensure you get a decent night’s rest, remember to check out the truck interior accessories, cushions, and other items available from us, here at Suburban Seating & Safety.
More on that later. When finding places to sleep on the road, truck drivers must be careful of the spots they choose. Rest areas are part of the United States Interstate Highway System and designed to provide safety provisions for motorists. However, theft, vandalism, car-jacking, drug dealing, and other types of crime can make them less safe to spend the night. The following roadside sleeping safety tips can help protect you when it’s time to rest.
Rest areas are great places to stop when you need a break from driving. Some rest stops even have restaurants and fuel, allowing you to take care of most of your needs in one stop. If you plan on sleeping in rest areas, keep in mind that not all rest areas allow for overnight parking. However, sleeping during the day is commonly permitted.
There are usually rest stops every few miles. Some are in remote areas and not each one is necessarily the best place to stop for the night. To pick a rest stop carefully:
- Park in well-lit areas: It’s a known fact that lighting deters crime. In addition to well-lit buildings, look for good illumination around the parking lot and avoid trails, picnic areas, and the woods surrounding the rest area. Illegal activity is more likely to take place in the dark. If you’re alone and concerned, and police officers or security personnel are present, ask for their help in looking out for you.
- Be aware of your surroundings: As you pull in, verify you have cell phone coverage and always keep your phone with you and fully charged. Check for the rest stop’s name and mile marker. Leave the area if you can’t do any of these. If suspicious individuals are hanging around the parking lot or restrooms, avoid them. If you need to go inside the building, avoid recessed areas, blind corners, and thickly vegetated locations.
- Lock your doors when sleeping or away from your truck: Drivers at rest stops are vulnerable, so many state laws ban sleeping there. If the area doesn’t look safe or there are signs warning not to stay the night, find a motel instead. Trucks are easy targets, so always keep your doors locked, even if you leave the vehicle for a short time. If anyone unfamiliar approaches and you need to communicate with them, talk only through the window or door. Leave the premises if you feel threatened.
- Stop driving immediately if you find yourself nodding off: Fatigue is recognized as a leading cause of truck accidents in the U.S. Falling asleep at the wheel is especially dangerous, but sleep deprivation and being tired can make you less alert and impair your cognitive abilities. Being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle with little activity can further contribute to the problem. Therefore, getting enough rest, exercise, and healthy food are among the most important roadside sleeping safety tips.
- Never stop overnight on highway shoulders: It is illegal to park your truck on the side of the road to sleep, per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you must stop on a highway shoulder, turn on your hazard flashers until you can place a warning device nearby. Stopping on the side of the road can result in car accidents, which you could be liable for, in addition to fines and citations.
Many truck stops have parking spaces where you can stop for the day. One benefit of truck stops is having access to food, fuel, showers, and other such amenities. The only drawback is that truck stops tend to fill up early, so, the later you arrive, the harder it is to find overnight parking.
Finding an adequately sized parking spot is a must. Older truck stops tend to have shorter spaces, as trucks were shorter in length, on average, a few decades ago. Often, CDL trainers have their students practice at rest stops, which raises the risk of sustaining damage if one has a mishap. To be as safe as possible:
- Park at the end of the parking area.
- Stay the farthest you can from moving vehicles.
- Don’t park too close to other trucks.
- Avoid coming to a rest near poorly parked trucks.
- Try not to park at the end of a row.
When you settle in for the night, keep your load pad locked. Investing in a dash cam is a good idea as well. It can continuously record events and comes in handy especially if someone hits your truck and leaves the scene. Often, common sense alone can keep you safe.
Numerous people have been robbed, assaulted, or even killed at rest stops. Getting quality sleep is hard if you don’t feel safe. Some truckers will book a hotel or motel room overnight to enjoy sleeping in a regular bed. There are various chains that have ample room to park your truck if you choose this option. Many roadside motels and hotels are affordable and a suitable choice for a safe, clean place to stay for the night where local truck stops may not be as secure.
Some RV campsites can also accommodate overnight truck parking for truckers. Just make sure to call ahead to find out if parking is available at the campground. Such facilities are less heavily traveled and not as likely to attract criminals; they may also be guarded at the entrance or at least have controlled entry and exit points that deter unwanted visitors. A campground is also more secluded and quiet than a highway rest stop, so you’re more likely to get a better night’s sleep.
Plan Your Route and Places of Rest
After picking up your load, take the time to map out your route and figure out where you will be stopping so you can research what sleeping and parking options are available. It will be more difficult to determine a safe resting spot when you are exhausted. Plus, knowing where you’re likely to be that night should make you feel more at ease during the day.
Purchase Safety Equipment from Suburban Seating & Safety
Suburban Seating & Safety offers leading-brand truck mattresses in numerous sizes if you choose to sleep in your vehicle and find a safe place to park at night. We also offer many other safety products and accessories. These include heated and motorized mirrors that maximize your field of view, multi-image digital LCD monitors, and backup cameras that reveal what’s in your blind spots.
We also offer back-up alarms, as well as wireless receivers with minimal image latency, LED backlighting, and anti-glare screens. Our receivers are triggered when a truck is in reverse gear. In addition, numerous safety belts, tether straps, and other restraining products are available. We’re here to keep you completely safe on the road and when stopping your truck to rest.
For more information about our replacement seats, bedding, and other items, call Suburban Seating & Safety at (844) SAS.SEAT (844-727-7328) today!