Need Quotes For New Article: Your Best Tips For Staying Out Of Trouble At A Truck Stop

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Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey folks, we're putting together a new article and we're looking for your thoughts. We're going to include some of your quotes in the article.

New drivers have no idea what is acceptable behavior and what is not at a truck stop and we'd like to give them some help before they go solo. What are your best recommendations for do's and don'ts at a truck stop? Some of the more obvious thoughts would be:

Is parking at the fuel island acceptable? If so, for how long?

What if I want to ask another driver something? Can I just knock on doors?

Should I help someone who is trying to get backed in?

If the lot is full should I make my own parking spot? What's acceptable and what is not?

If someone is trying to slide their tandems , should I offer to help?

If I'm pulling a reefer should I try to park away from others to keep the noise down?

Who gets control of the TV in the lounge? And is my cell phone _really_ bothering anyone?

Is it dangerous in truck stops at night? What can I do to avoid any problems?

If I'm just looking for someone to chat with for a little while, where's the best place to look?

These are just a few of the questions that new drivers might have and I know you guys have a lot more suggestions. Let's hear your thoughts on the best tips for staying out of trouble at truck stops. Cuz we don't want anyone getting punched in the face or accosted by a CB Rambo!

smile.gif

This article will be published Thursday, June 15th, so hurry up and get your thoughts in! We've already started putting it together.

Thanks!

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Hey Brett, been awhile. I still lurk just quiet and shy😉 Great idea on the article too. I avoid truck stops whenever possible. When I do stay at one I always turn off the CB as I pull in. Nothing worse to me than someone being a butt on it. Go slow in the lot by all means. At night try to stay in the well lighted areas. This will save you lots of potential grief all the way around. Don't park on the fuel island any longer than necessary. It disturbs me when I get behind someone that decides that is the place for a 30 minute break. I pretty much stay to myself but thats just me. I avoid the lounge like the plague. I have only ever found folks there who never have a positive thing to say about anything. If you want conversation sit at the counter in any truck stop restrauant and it will find you. Never seems to fail. Just some quick thoughts

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

As a woman I think I'm more observant of my surroundings. At night I pull through the fuel island, buy my food and use the restroom then go park for the night No need to get out of the truck again.

If I roll out at night, I pull into the fuel island and do my PTI under the lights near other people.. Most truck stops are not well lit so if I absolutely need to go inside after parking, I take a very heavy flashlight as protection. The other drivers can see me, but I have something heavy if someone gets a bad idea to harm me.

I do think that I get approached by other drivers more because I'm a woman. Men want to help, so if I'm checking my oil, men often ask if I'm having any issues or if I'm okay. They mostly mean well, but some give me the "a woman doesn't know anything about trucking and needs to be saved" feeling.

It is nice to see a friendly smile, but don't be creepy about it. Lol yesterday a driver from my company walked across an empty lot to ask me if I was loaded and why my reefer was on. Then asked me where I delivered to and what time, and how long I was waiting for a load. Maybe it was just chit chat, but I wanted to say "what? Are you writing a book? None of that is any of your business." He seemed to get offended when I told him I'm always under preplan and needed to go. And just because he is from my company doesn't mean we are friends or I'd feel safe around him. It was a fairly empty place.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Other than fuel and coffee, I honestly avoid them. They tend to be a confluence of bad driving, tall tales, and rude behavior.

Overall my advice to any rookie is similar to what PJ suggested; turn the CB OFF, drive slow and proceed with extreme caution. Most of the stupidity I have observed since I started, has occurred at a truck stop. If you must park, find a spot that is away from any of the end spots in direct line with other trucks entering or exiting the lot. The end spots seem to see the lions share of mishaps. Try not to be influenced by the impatience of the rude few who seem to relish in the trials of others, forgetting they too were not born a "truck driver".

Cornelius A.'s Comment
member avatar

If you looking for conversation don't sit in the for trucker only section.... that will allow you to have a wider variety of people to talk to

Big T's Comment
member avatar

I think some forget how busy, dangerous, and complicated a truck stop can be. Unlike any other place a driver goes where there are not that many different dynamics; a truck stop has several. When a driver goes to a customer there are usually drivers picking up or delivering. There is also a somewhat orderly fashion to the chaos. At a truck stop, however, you have drivers trying to get fuel and get back on the road, get their truck worked on, take a quick break, perform daily inspections, finishing their day or ending their day. The two things new drivers have to keep in mind as with everything else is safety and common courtesy.

Fuel islands are just that. They are for fueling. Get your fuel and pull forward and let the next driver get their fuel. If you are doing anything other than getting receipts, using the restroom, or grabbing something from the quick mart go find a parking spot. It is not cool to hold other drivers up because you want to take your break, grab a shower, or go sit and eat. If you're not grabbing and going then go find a spot.

My general rule for approaching other drivers was if I could make eye contact with them then it was ok to knock. If you cannot see the driver, and it is not an emergency, then I would not risk waking a driver up. You can always try and raise them on the C.B. as well.

We should always be willing to help each other out. You may not be good at backing yourself, but you can at least be an extra set of eyes. It doesn't take any extra energy really to jump out of your truck and ask if you can help. If the driver doesn't want your help then walk away at least you offered. Trucking used to be seen as a brotherhood, and helping each other is the way to get the "family" back together. We cannot expect others to respect us if we do not respect ourselves first.

Truck stops are dangerous day or night, but night time adds other risks. The main risk is there are more hiding spots for the less than savory people. I always tried to not walk between trucks if I could avoid it. When you are walking around a truck stop at night pay attention to the shadows. You may notice warning signs in the shadows that allow you to avoid being a victim.

One last thing is to always make sure you inspect your vehicle before moving it. There are dirt bags out there that doing stupid things like pull fifth wheel release arms, lower landing gear, put quarters in glad hands, pull tandem release handles etc.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey, great to see you're still around PJ! I wish you'd come out more often.

Great stuff so far I've gotta tell ya. Keep it coming! I know there's a lot more ideas out there.

Big T, your profile says "In CDL School" .......there's no way you know all that if you're still in school! You should update your profile. Just click on your name under your picture and it'll take you to your profile page.

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.
Cornelius A.'s Comment
member avatar

You are very right about the inspect your vehicle part... as I had previously posted in another post about the 1 mil claim that came from a trailer getting lose from the truck and killing the woman that was driving behind it. Always inspect before leaving

One last thing is to always make sure you inspect your vehicle before moving it. There are dirt bags out there that doing stupid things like pull fifth wheel release arms, lower landing gear, put quarters in glad hands, pull tandem release handles etc.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Big T's Comment
member avatar

Hey, great to see you're still around PJ! I wish you'd come out more often.

Great stuff so far I've gotta tell ya. Keep it coming! I know there's a lot more ideas out there.

Big T, your profile says "In CDL School" .......there's no way you know all that if you're still in school! You should update your profile. Just click on your name under your picture and it'll take you to your profile page.

Technically I have graduated school. However, until my birth certificate gets here I am not "in training" yet either. This is not my first rodeo though. I drove for four years and trained for two of those. I was one of those that made the mistake of letting my license lapse and am now returning to the industry after being away for eight years.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

Hey, great to see you're still around PJ! I wish you'd come out more often.

Great stuff so far I've gotta tell ya. Keep it coming! I know there's a lot more ideas out there.

Big T, your profile says "In CDL School" .......there's no way you know all that if you're still in school! You should update your profile. Just click on your name under your picture and it'll take you to your profile page.

double-quotes-end.png

Technically I have graduated school. However, until my birth certificate gets here I am not "in training" yet either. This is not my first rodeo though. I drove for four years and trained for two of those. I was one of those that made the mistake of letting my license lapse and am now returning to the industry after being away for eight years.

Oh right on. Yeah, I could tell you weren't new to this.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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