Truck stops offer convenience and supplies for long distance drivers. If you haven't already, be sure to read our recent post on the history of truck stops in America. There are many tips and tricks that can save you money and spare your sanity at truck stops. We've compiled some of the most useful tips for OTR drivers to make the most of their stops:
Park your truck beside a curb when possible. This protects at least one side of your truck from other drivers that, for some reason, may not see your giant trailer. These spots may be located further away from the building than other spaces, but that just means it’s a quick and easy way to work some exercise into your day.
To save money, limit your spending at truck stops. Convenience always comes at a cost. While the average 20 oz. soda will run you about the same price anywhere, other items such as medical products, groceries, and truck maintenance supplies will show a remarkable price increase. Stock up on your most used items before you leave and rely on truck stops for small items and snacks only.
Choose a stop based on your needs. Is it time to do laundry? Can you barely see out of your windshield after the salty spray of the last 200 miles? Are you just looking for a hot meal? Each truck stop offers these services, but some may be just a bit better. For example, The Flying J truck stop has long handles on the brushes for window washing and includes washer fluid in the water to clear your windshield completely. The Petro offers a great salad bar, with tons of options to make your own deluxe salad. All Travel Centers of America (TA) truck stops include laundry, and some include TV and video game rooms.
Use reward cards to earn free showers. Most TA, Petro, Love’s, and other truck stops offer showers to the drivers that visit. Typically, showers cost between $7-10 per use, and include a towel, wash cloth, soap, toilet, and an individual shower stall. By using reward or loyalty cards for specific chains, you can earn free showers with fuel purchases, as well as other discounts and freebies. Be sure to bring your own toiletries, though! You’ll need your own razors, flip flops, and other personal products.
In case you are wary of truck stop showers, keep in mind the complete overhaul that Pilot Flying J performed in 2013. They invested in a complete overhaul of their bathrooms and shower facilities, recognizing the importance of their patrons and their needs.
Think of those that come after you. This is probably the most important truck stop etiquette tip. Think of the truck drivers that will visit the stop after you. Throw all your trash away, keep bathrooms neat and tidy, park or pull ahead when you are done fueling, and park in the appropriate spaces. These few things might seem like common sense, but making sure you do them will make life on the road easier for everyone involved.
Bay & Bay Transportation employs hard-working OTR drivers and they deserve the rest and respite that truck stops offer. When we do our part to keep things neat, tidy, and clean, everyone’s job is easier. If you are interested in applying for a truck driving job with Bay & Bay Transportation, visit our Driver Opportunities page.