Put it in Park: Parking Safety Tips for Truck Drivers
Even the truck driver who loves traveling must pause their journey at some point.
It’s one thing to manage that massive rig on the roads. We all know it takes training to steer that massive rig around curves, or hold it steady in challenging weather – but what about parking?
Truck parking is a different task than regular parking. Learning how to park a commercial truck is just as important as learning how to drive one, especially since you’ll be doing it a lot with a career on the road.
Whether you’re new to the industry, thinking of starting up a trucking career, or even a trucking industry veteran who is always looking for helpful advice, here are some helpful parking tips for trucks.
General Parking Tips for Truckers
The first rule on how to park a commercial truck is to take your time. Anyone who’s ever driven knows that time is a factor on the road – but beyond doing things fast, it’s more important to do them safely.
Truck parking requires you to have more visibility than passenger vehicle parking. If you need to, get out of your rig and assess the spot (or spots) to make sure there’s enough room for your vehicle. Be mindful of any obstacles around, including pedestrian or vehicular traffic that’s moving in the area, no matter how slow.
How Do You Back into a Spot?
Now comes the fun part – how do you back that massive vehicle, trailer and all, into a parking spot? Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you may think.
When you’ve found a parking space, you want to stay close to the lane that it’s in and pull up about three or so spaces depending on the size of your vehicle. Once you’re the right distance up, you want to pull your rig in the other direction, and you’ll be lined up and ready.
At this angle, you should be able to see your trailer tires in the mirror. That’s another thing – never open your door to try and park a truck. Learn to use your mirrors – this is one of the most important parking tips for trucks, and will serve you well once you get used to it.
The more comfortable you get, the better. Aim for the stripe on the parking spot, and look out your window if you need to. When the center of your trailer is past the stripe, begin adjusting your wheels.
How Do You Parallel Park, Including Blindside?
Parallel parking is a little trickier, but the same principles apply. You’ll want to back straight up parallel to the space until the front part of the space is about at the midpoint of your trailer. Then begin slowly angling your trailer into the space.
You may need to pull forward to straighten up after – remember that when you straighten up the truck, you don’t want the rear of the trailer to veer out of the spot again. If you find it has because you overcorrected or came in at too sharp an angle, pull out and try again.
Parking at the Truck Stop and Beyond
Even if you know how to park a commercial truck, knowing where to park is just as important for any truck driver.
No matter how long you’ve been on the road and how comfortable you are handling your rig, a truck driver needs a safe place to stop so they can feel secure whether they’re resting for a half hour or eight full hours.
Consider planning ahead – look for truck stops on your route, or even ask around to fellow truckers or search on trucking forums to find out which spots are generally considered to be the best ones.
How to Secure Your Vehicle
It’s always important to secure your vehicle, especially if you’re parking somewhere you aren’t familiar with. Data shows that many truckers pick “unofficial” spots to rest, such as ramps, shoulders, commercial parking lots, and local roads.
Securing your vehicle means locking up, and even covering your windows if you want the added privacy. Some trucks have exterior cameras that can be used to alert you if anyone is around. It’s also important to check your truck before you head back out on the road to ensure it hasn’t been messed with during your downtime.
Personal Safety Tips
The topic of safety is important in every aspect of a trucking career, and truck parking is no different. Just like you never want to try to squeeze your rig into a space where you may cause damage, you never want to leave yourself in a situation where you’re forced to pull over in an area you don’t feel safe.
Don’t Let Parking Put You Career Aspirations in Park
When you read up on how to park a commercial truck and begin thinking about where you’ll stop along your journey, it can be easy to get anxious.
While the trucking industry has a lot to offer, some let the fear of parking one of these massive rigs or stopping for the night prevent them from starting their career altogether. However, this doesn’t have to be the case – with the right support, you can easily manage this important aspect of the job.
Use Trucker Parking Apps to Help
The right trucker apps can help you find rest stops, truck stops, and even commercial facilities that are okay with you parking in their lot. You’ll get information on weigh stations, wash stations, hotels, restaurants, and more.
Some apps even feature comments from your fellow drivers, so you can get additional information about truck parking areas from those who have been there personally. It’s just another example of how truckers are never truly alone on the roads.
Did you know that trucker parking has even become a policy issue? Legislation has been enacted to make parking easier to find, as everyone knows the experience truckers have will impact our economy as a whole.
Park Yourself in a New Trucking Career with Hermes
Here at Hermes, we know all about how important truckers are to the economy – our policies and the support we provide are both designed to help you feel comfortable on the road whether you’re just starting out or you’re an industry veteran. Most importantly, you’ll always be connected to a company that cares, so you’re never alone whether your wheels are rolling or you’ve put it in park for the night.
Hermes is always looking to talk with talented truck drivers. Even if you’re new to the field, all it takes is a CDL to apply – our lucrative pay and benefits are designed to reward the hard work that freight workers do, and our comprehensive training and support resources ensure you’re connected to help whether you’re loading, driving off, parking, unloading, or driving back. Click here to learn more.
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