Bathrooms V Bushes V Jugs And Showers V Towelettes V More Deodorant

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Tab O's Comment
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Hello all!

I am a "sub-rookie" with my CDL learners, which I got using the training materials here at TT, and my DOT physical. I am still deciding between company training and a CDL school at the local community college. I need to decide because both start Monday. I've searched and read a lot over the past few months as I gradually decided on making driving a second post-retirement career. I only have one lingering significant concern: personal hygiene and using the bathroom.... or not.

At home I shower once and sometimes twice a day if I am working outside. I know that some drivers may go a couple of days without showering, that showers are available at most truck stops, and some drivers have rigged up showers in their sleepers. I'm fairly confident I can work through the shower challenges. Using the bathroom is another thing, however.

Last April when I began to think seriously about becoming a driver I joined CitizenShipper and got two hauling jobs. The first took me from home in Virginia to Georgia where I picked up a bumper-pull travel trailer and delivered it to Utah. On the return I picked up a motorcycle in Colorado and delivered it to a neighboring town here in Virginia. Along the way I stayed at truck stops and rest areas and slept in the back of my full-size SUV. I talked to truckers, clerks, waitresses, and observed and listened. And, three times at three different rest areas (one was actually just on the shoulder of an onramp), I saw gallon jugs that were either lemonade or pee. I'm quite sure it was the later and that totally grossed me out. I know that the majority of drivers who use receptacles in their rigs dispose of them properly. Still, peeing in a cup? Bad enough alone but what about when I am with a trainer?

I realize there is no Do Not Disturb button for when nature calls. With the song Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown in my head, I was standing outside along I-40 around 11 one night trying to figure out which way to pee in a whirling 35 degree 40-45 mph wind. I know it is much easier to pull over in an SUV with a 22' trailer as compared to a tractor trailer. So, what do you do? What do I do in the middle of the night when I am rolling with a trainer and need to get up and go into the truck stop, rest area, or nearby shrubbery? Even if one decides that peeing in a cup is fine in an emergency, what if last night's buffett is rumbling in your gut and whatever the next place is with a toilet you're parking and rushing in unbuckling your belt along the way? What if you're on I-70 with the nearest off ramp still an hour away? What if you're stuck in line at a 2 AM delivery with a dozen other trucks around you and no john and no private spot outside?

I've looked at options from camping supply stores and even read up on how astronauts do it. (That would require tapping into the air brakes, ouch!)

I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

Thanks for the help!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan R.'s Comment
member avatar

Things are about to get a bit personal here...

For me, if the main vein needs a drain without proper facilities, there's a couple choices. If I'm in a deserted area, there's a gap between the cab and the drive tires that I'll go in, pulled over to the side of the road or on an off ramp. The side fairings on the Cascadia basically turns this area into a semi-private room. I tend to fight past the chains and use the passenger side. Down side to this is if your trailer gets hit, you're done for. It's also probably not legal.

The other option is the old reliable bottle. I too went into this swearing I'd never do that, but when it's freezing outside and that coffee wants out but you don't, it looks much more appealing. Just do your duty to dispose of it properly(pour it out in an out of the way place where no one is going to be walking through it, and throw the container away in an outside can).

As for when Subway decides to show you why Eat Fresh is a poor slogan for them, there's far less glamour here. You either waddle to the bathroom if you suspect you can make it, or get creative. I have a five gallon bucket, garbage bag, and toilet paper on my truck for a reason. Just, again, dispose of it properly, and that I'd suggest doing immediately as you KNOW if you put it off even a little bit, that's exactly when DOT is going to decide they want to have a look around.

I should also note, while it isn't exactly talked about, accidents happen. You're out there probably eating junk, being pressured to get as many miles as possible, and believe it or not for the first bit you'll be getting to know how your body works exactly, when the real tipping point is when it comes to letting go of your waste. Whether they admit it or not, I'd say probably a good 95% of drivers have had some kind of 'accident'. I'd say don't feel embarrassed about it, but you'll feel it whether I say it or not. Just know that it happens to pretty much everybody, especially when they're new. Mine was on 80 in Nebraska, I believe, while still with my trainer. I thought I was going to die of embarrassment, but we ended up having a long talk about how things like that happens.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

My first night in my trainer's truck, I got up a couple of times and took the long walk to the bathroom in the terminal. The next day I bought two Gatoraids, emptied them and they became my P bottles. It was fairly easy to lay on my side and pee. I bought a small towel to put under it just in case. I have a reusable shopping bag I use to discreetly carry one or both bottles into the bathroom or shower in the morning and dump them down the toilet. Thankfully I haven't had any emergencies from the other end. My trainer did one night and used the bushes behind the trailer. You will figure out what works for you. You just have to get used to doing things a little differently. Also, I only drink water when I have to drive. It helps lessen urges. Hope that helps.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dan R.'s Comment
member avatar

Also, don't necessarily count on rest areas. In some places a 'rest area' is good for little more than four wheelers getting some rest. No facilities, and sometimes only a sign indicating that on the sign saying to exit there, and sometimes not even that. In some areas, Colorado comes to mind, the rest areas are for four wheelers only and NOT advertised as such or, again, if they are it's just on the sign saying to exit there. So it may very well be that you make it to a 'rest area' and still end up having to get a little creative with your waste management plan.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

There should be no shame in having to go. Spend a little time in the military, in some very inconvenient places/times and you get humbled real quick.

In CDL school an instructor said "large mouth Gatorade bottles are very handy." I agree. As for disposing, if a dog can pee in the woods, emptying your container there should be okay. As someone else said; AWAY from where people will walk. Or, with the lid on the bottle, take it (in your bag) and dump it in the toilet in the truckstop.

In my opinion, there's never a valid reason to just throw out a bottle of pee (or anything else) on the ground for someone else to clean up. It's one of the few things I believe truckers could easily change to better our reputation.

Once you get going, you'll do trip planning. Use the truckerpath app to see where rest areas and truck stops are along the way. Plan to use the bathroom BEFORE getting into Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and other big cities. It'll make your life much better.

I hope this helps.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Also, get baby wipes. They are great for freshening up between showers or when there is no place to wash up and you just got your hands dirty. I have a pack on the floor by my seat. I use it almost daily.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

There are enough rest areas and truck stops where you can pull in and use the restroom. I've not had the need to "get creative" if you want to call it that.

Yes, I keep baby wipes. I don't like having dirty hands or a gritty face if I'm doing a drop and hook at a dusty dry drop lot. I also find plenty of time to get a shower daily.. worst case a day and a half if my appointment times are tight.

It's all about trip planning. Knowing where you're going to stop for breaks and what's close to your delivery or loading points.

I use trucker path to help find places. It's only a problem if you make it a problem.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tim H.'s Comment
member avatar

We all do the bottle I'm guessing. No shame. I don't feel like walkin' all the way to the restroom in the middle of the night. I want go right back to sleep. I've pulled into a service or rest area and used my bottle and then just headed right back out. Cutting back on coffee helped with not having to go as frequently. Like the others said... dispose of kindly. Don't be like the jerk who left a wallyworld bag of poo in the parking lot that I was lucky to discover when duckin' under my trailer during post trip. Who does that?

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

We all do the bottle I'm guessing. No shame. I don't feel like walkin' all the way to the restroom in the middle of the night. I want go right back to sleep. I've pulled into a service or rest area and used my bottle and then just headed right back out...

Umm we don't all use a bottle, and honestly I can't imagine being so lazy to pull into a rest area and then fail to walk to a rest room.

You may be offended here, but personally I find this disgusting. Don't bother getting on my truck if you don't shower regularly or plan on making my truck into a restroom.

Tab O's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the great advice! I'm looking forward to the hard work and travel. I know it'll not be the trouble-free glorious road some recruiting ads make it out to be. It'll be what make it out to be.

I look forward to gaining the time and miles to eventually be on the other end of the questions.

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