It’s no secret that it’s hard for you to find parking as a trucker. According to research from the American Transportation Research Institute, the states where truck parking is hardest to come by are Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. The good news is that organizations such as the federally funded Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIMS) are now providing up-to-the-minute parking availability along major freight corridors in the Midwest, viewable in your parking searches in the Trucker Tools mobile app.

Experienced truckers and carriers who deal with truck parking in their day-to-day lives also are a wealth of information when it comes to parking. Trucker Tools recently surveyed nearly 200 owner operators, company drivers and carriers from across the country to learn about their tips and tricks for finding parking. As one of the people who responded to our survey noted, “Listen to the guys with good experience because they know of lots of places that have good food and safe parking.”

That’s great advice and we’re taking it! Check out these six truck parking tips from drivers working in the trucking industry.

1. Run in Lanes You Know

Routines can be good, especially when it comes to truck parking. When you’re running a dedicated route, once you find safe and secure places to park, you can (hopefully) go back to those same places again and again. Said one trucker from the survey, “I try to run in lanes I know so I know where to park if I am late or early.” Another commented, “Most of time I run the same lane, so I try to park in locations I’ve used before.” The knowledge that you build about truck parking spots when running the same lane(s) can save you lots of time and headaches.

The knowledge that you build about truck parking spots when running the same lane(s) can save you lots of time and headaches.

2. Word of Mouth

Another truck parking tip from drivers working in the industry is to talk to other drivers. You can connect with fellow truckers and carriers online through social media or in person at truck stops. Several of the folks who responded to our truck parking survey told us that you have to “do your research and network” to find good, safe truck parking. Make a point to talk to other truckers about parking to see if they’ll share their knowledge with you, especially if you’re new to trucking. As one of our survey responders said, “It’s a learning curve and it takes time for you to find your own little cubby holes to park in.”

Make a point to talk to other truckers about parking to see if they’ll share their knowledge with you, especially if you’re new to trucking.

3. Keep Notes on Good Parking Spots

Keeping a digital or written log of where you parked and whether it was a good place to park is a great way to save time, especially if you’re running the same lanes week after week.

One of the suggestions we received from the truck parking survey was to “do homework on areas you are traveling to and keep a notebook of stops.” Keeping a digital or written log of where you parked and whether it was a good place to park is a great way to save time, especially if you’re running the same lanes week after week. You can do this digitally using an app on your phone, with a spreadsheet or even with a small notebook. If you do keep a truck parking log, be sure to note whether or not the location has showers, restrooms, security, and other amenities onsite. Don’t forget that when you tap on the Parking button in the Trucker Tools driver app, you can view user ratings on parking locations and see what amenities are available before you book your space.

4. Plan Ahead

Having a plan for where you’ll park at the end of your shift before you start your day can ensure that you get a parking space and keep your stress to minimum.

This tip may be an obvious one, but it’s one we heard again and again from the truckers and carriers who answered our survey. Having a plan for where you’ll park at the end of your shift before you start your day can ensure that you get a parking space and keep your stress to minimum. As one trucker from our survey said, “Plan for parking ahead of time, don’t wait until the last minute. You will be tired with no hours and no place to park.” Planning ahead includes knowing where and when you’ll need to stop and getting on the road early so you can park early. Keep in mind that you can search for free and paid parking in the Trucker Tools driver app.

5. Park Where You Load, Unload

Several of the truckers who answered the survey reported that they’re able to park during their breaks and overnight at shipper and receiver locations. “I usually park where I load or unload.” Another trucker advised, “Make friends with shippers and receivers to park at their businesses.” Be sure to check with your shippers and receivers first to see if they allow drivers to sleep onsite, as some have restricted parking access since the pandemic started. If you’re a carrier dispatcher, you may want to consider asking about parking for drivers when you book the load with the broker or shipper.

Be sure to check with your shippers and receivers first to see if they allow drivers to sleep onsite.

6. Put Safety First

Our final truck parking tip from drivers working in the industry is to make safety a top priority when you’re deciding where and when to park. One person who answered our survey put it simply: “Don’t park where you do not feel safe.” Others recommended that you park only in places where other trucks are present so that you’re not alone and potentially vulnerable. Choosing parking locations with good lighting is important as well. When searching for parking spots in the Trucker Tools mobile app, you can see what security features are in place at the location, including fencing, security guards and locked gates, which can help you make safety a priority. No matter what option you choose for parking, said one trucker, “keep safety in mind.”

When searching for parking spots in the Trucker Tools mobile app, you can see what security features are in place at the location, including fencing, security guards and locked gates, which can help you make safety a priority.

For more insights and tips from our truck parking survey, read Results from Trucker Tools’ Recent Truck Parking Survey. To download Trucker Tools’ free mobile app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/.