Where To Find Parking For My Break

Topic 14659 | Page 1

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Sean O.'s Comment
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I am a Swift company driver, my route is national. With no set route.. Does anyone have the same that I do with finding A place to park at TA, Pilot, FlYing J. Or rest stops, when you have either a 30 min. Break or exhausted your 11 hours of driving. I went to 3 different truck stops, 2 rest stops...all were full for my 10 hr off dutybreak (which I chose to take 1 hr early @19:00 hrs). Since I couldn't find a place to sleep (Waddy Ky) I had no choice to park in an emergency turn out lane. I turned on my 4 ways flashers, put emergency relectors out...I felt it to be safe. All was good until a Kentucky HWP..banged on my door. I had even a slept for no more the 2 hours...he asked me what the problem with my truck being parked in an emergency turn out lane (shaped like a half circle). I explained My driving hrs where up for that night, & I was on my 10HR sleeper birth. He asked why would I choose parking in a emergency turn out when there are plenty of truck stops & rest stops...I explained it went to 3 rest stops 2 trucks stops along the way...and all were full with no parking. Plus my HOS for driving left me with 45 minutes left in finding a parking spot. He said I had to move...I said I would be in violation of DOT HOS for driving. It got worse from there...he wanted to see my ETL logs (Qualcomm electronic logs)...I showed him how to view my HOS & hrs left to drive , which was zero... Then he decides to do an inspection , asking me to step out of the truck to do it with him (this puts me as on duty and in violation) after inspecation all he finds is on the driver trailer rear tire a small gash. So he not only writes me a ticket to for the tire, he writes me up for the parking in an emergency like turn out lane (BTW no signs posted stating emergency parking only) He gave me until my 10 hr, sleeper birth was over..or face towing a day another ticket... This is frustrating for a driver looking for an open stop to park for either their 10HR /30 min breaks/ or 34 hr reset...I witnessed fights at Truck stops over who was first to park their right at a stop that had only one stop open I barely had only 15 minutes left on my HOS of driving, either for 30 min break or 10hr, or 34 reset at times trying finding a place to park.

I had 2 violations on HOS...due to last minute exhaustive search for sear ching parking my rig.... (once at a TA due to no parking spot open , I parked along a curb near trash ben, & asked to move after logging off duty) The 2nd time was at a Walmart DC...waiting to get unloaded, I had 2.75 hrs left Before my 10 hr sleeper birth... I was told to wait my turn to get unloaded & it would be 45 mins before the called me to dock...so I could not legally logged off duty..once I was called to bump the dock to be unlaoded, my clock only had .75 hrs left. I asked if I could park over night and was refused.. When I was finally unloaded I was seriously in violation of HOS rules. It took another frustrating 1hrs to find a place to park my rig for the night. Can anyone give me advice on how to find parking anywhere when your HOS driving hrs are alomost exghausted... Some truck stops have reserved company drivers spots to park. ..that's great if your on the same route,,,and if your company pays for the reserved spot ... (Shift does not pay for reservered spots nor will they reimburse you) DOT needs to look at this no parking issue, provide more rest stops along our Hwys...we need good rest sleep...without we become a danger to ourselves and 4 wheelers on the HWYS. Anyone have advice? My trip planning fails when I cannot find parking.. Sean Obrien Sken398@gmail.com

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

You have the Trucker Path app? I use it almost exclusively to plan parking. Before you leave a location you need to know where you're going to shut down. Program this info into your Qualcomm if you need to. I really avoid running my clocks down to the wire. It happens but it should be rare. My DM prefers that I run on recaps and it's OK with me. This means that I put in my 8 or 9 hours and park. It also leaves a buffer for when I need to drive 10 or more to make an appointment. I also watch the time of day when I'll be parking. If I don't want to risk parking late I'll shut down earlier than normal. Then I hit the road early the next day.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.
ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

I have found that the major truck stops are almost always full. And at night most rest areas fill up fast!

The mom and pop truck stops almost always have parking. On the Trucker Path app they are marked with a red T. I have pulled into these places at midnight or later and still found decent parking. The ones that are usually open are the ones with dirt lots (look at the reviews to find this info) or ones that are extremely small (10 or less spot). These are the places that people tend to avoid.

Sometimes you have to get creative with parking. Look for fast food restaurants with truck parking or hotels. I watch billboards on the highway for motels that are truck friendly.

Walmarts are also listed on Trucker Path but check the reviews to make sure they will let you park. I always call ahead to double check. Always ask to speak with a manager and be polite and respectful. It also helps if you tell them you will be buying groceries while you are there!

Pianoman's Comment
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I have found that the major truck stops are almost always full. And at night most rest areas fill up fast!

The mom and pop truck stops almost always have parking. On the Trucker Path app they are marked with a red T. I have pulled into these places at midnight or later and still found decent parking. The ones that are usually open are the ones with dirt lots (look at the reviews to find this info) or ones that are extremely small (10 or less spot). These are the places that people tend to avoid.

Sometimes you have to get creative with parking. Look for fast food restaurants with truck parking or hotels. I watch billboards on the highway for motels that are truck friendly.

Walmarts are also listed on Trucker Path but check the reviews to make sure they will let you park. I always call ahead to double check. Always ask to speak with a manager and be polite and respectful. It also helps if you tell them you will be buying groceries while you are there!

I second the Walmart thing. Although I have found in my limited experience that most Walmarts I have encountered in the infamous Northeast do not allow it, period.

I just wanted to point out a misconception you have though, Sean O. You mentioned this:

"Then he decides to do an inspection , asking me to step out of the truck to do it with him (this puts me as on duty and in violation)..."

This actually does not put you in HOS violation. You can legally log as many On Duty hours as you want any time of day, any day of the week. You could log 100 hours On Duty Not Driving in a 6 day period and not be in violation (although I would feel very sorry for you). The only time you are in violation is when you drive when you are out of hours. If you notice, when the super annoying Qualcomm lady says how many hours you have left, she says, "You have [such and such amount] of remaining drive time. Even if you have no drive time left, you can still legally go On Duty--yoy just can't drive. And now, you'll have to restart your 10 hr break before you can drive again.

I'm sorry about the Walmart thing. But you have options most of the time. If you can (and considering you work for Swift, I'll wager that you almost always will have time to do this), take a 10 hr break before going to the DC. That way you have 14 hours available to wait before you run out of hours--not to mention, if you were really there for that long, you would be able to get a full 10 hrs off duty or SB while you were there.

Another thing is to log SB while you're at a shipper or receiver. I always log the obligatory 5-15 minutes when I arrive and when I leave, but in between those two I log SB or Off Duty. Why? If you log two consecutive hours Off Duty or SB, you might (depending on other factors) be able to just take 8 hrs in the SB that night and end up with plenty of hours (split sleeper function). Or if you get unloaded and have no time left, just stay logged SB until you've reached 8 consecutive hours in the SB, and then leave. The 8 hours in the SB pauses your 14 hr clock, so you'll find that after the full 8 hrs you have exactly as much time on your clock then as you did before you started the SB period.

I've never tried it at a Walmart DC, but I can't imagine you would get in too much trouble for staying around for an extra 4-5 hrs after getting unloaded. They've got so many drivers in there, who's really gonna notice? If you feel you're too conspicuous, you could always drop your now-empty trailer somewhere in the lot and sit in the bobtail section pretending you're still waiting on your trailer.

Like ChickieMonster and Robs said, plan ahead using the Trucker Path app--just not while you're driving. Look for smaller stops, and check the "parking availability history" section for stops in that app. It will give you a good idea of whether there will be spots available or not.

I do sympathize with you on the parking thing. It's tough sometimes, but it is avoidable.

Good luck

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Trucker Path! It's ready to find the Big 5 (Flying-J, etc.) but T-Path will point out the smaller stops.

Just last night 8pm, I drove by an exit with a Pilot and a Philips 66 truck stop. I could see the Pilot was full, but the '66 was 80% empty asphalt.

I usually park when there's about an hour left on my day. That way if there's a problem I can keep looking. If you don't know the place, assume you can't park at a shipper. That might mean getting your 10 or 8 before you pull in.

Don't use HOS as some kind of king's X. Your Kentucky Trooper was obviously unimpressed.

Sean, the Art of Parking is unfortunately one those things you have to figure out yourself. There's the easy stuff like finding a Love's then there's the lore about Walmarts, parking behind a Home Depot or a decent vacant lot.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Another thing to make it easier if you really have to park at the big 5 is to start your day at 2 or 3 am. Then your shut down by 4 or 5 before the big spots fill up. I normally run northeast and uppermidwest a lot and I almost never have trouble finding parking at 2 or 3 in the afternoon unless I'm around a major city like Chicago or new york

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Another thing to make it easier if you really have to park at the big 5 is to start your day at 2 or 3 am. Then your shut down by 4 or 5 before the big spots fill up. I normally run northeast and uppermidwest a lot and I almost never have trouble finding parking at 2 or 3 in the afternoon unless I'm around a major city like Chicago or new york

This is what I do...I start early and end early. I also park 50 miles from a major city... cause some cities fill up at noon.

I only go to TA Petro and FJ that have more than 200 spaces. There are plenty... be sute to go all the way to the back cause people are lazy and there are probably spots there. and once you find a place you like... be sure to record it somewhere so you know where to go next time. We have a fuel book and I highlight the awesome places and cross out the tight ones. You can park at some weigh stations too.

Also use Google Earth for your customers and look to find street parking in nearby industrial parks.

Near Chicago I always got to the TA in Gary IN... exit 6 294.. burr st. 300 plus spots.. and you can get creative when necessary. Even went there at 3am.

Here's a question for you experienced drivers..... one driver told me that if you remain in the sleeper and talk to the cop thru window they cannot force you out and make you go on duty. But you have to go on duty if you step past the curtain. Is this true?

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Btw... once you are unloaded you can legally off duty drive because you are looking for teuck stop. My FM has me do this.

Fm:

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.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Oh Sean I forgot to mention, Swift actually does reimburse for parking (at least some of the time). I've gotten in a bind a couple of times and paid for parking. I scanned in the receipt just for ****s and giggles and they reimbursed me under "miscellaneous." I don't imagine they would do this all the time, but theyve done it the few times I paid for parking. Just keep that in mind.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

Rainy mentioned Gary, IN. That reminded me of the terminal network that Swift has. The OP is a Swiftie right? Terminals aren't as well appointed as truck stops but they are safe and legal parking options. As for driving off duty. That sounds sketchy. The elogs will switch to driving automatically.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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