I can’t take credit for this article, but thought it was one of the best comments on parking bays, truck and rest stops on highways, particularly from the perspective of a road train driver. We need to share the road and be considerate to all users, day and night.
I found this on Exploreoz.com and it was written by a bloke (I assume) going by the name of Twocrowsdown
I am a road train driver (and 4WD enthusiast) and I travel around 11,000km every fortnight in a triple road train transporting food and other essential supplies from Perth to towns and mines in the north-west of WA. This means I get to witness the annual migration and sometimes the debris left on the side of the road by those unfortunate enough to come to grief along the way.
The problem I have been encountering lately, of which I hope this feedback will raise awareness, is the practice of caravan and campervans setting up for the night right in the middle of the parking bay – equal distance from the entrance and exit and effectively rendering the parking bay useless to a vehicle the size of mine, especially if the parking bay was already on the small side as many in the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Murchison are.
If you observe the parking habits of most long distance truck drivers you will find they will try to park as far forward as they can in the parking bay and as far to the left as possible. This leaves the maximum amount of room free for additional vehicles (be they road trains or caravans) to pull in behind and get some sleep and it also leaves an unobstructed exit free in the “right lane” so if any vehicle wishes to leave before the one(s) in front it is not blocked in. It is a simple system that has worked for many years.
There is another issue related to a much smaller subsection of the transport industry, it is my specialty – refrigerated trailers. Refrigerated trailers run 24/7 while loaded with all the frozen peas, ice cream, milk, lettuce, apples, etc that people expect to be able to buy anywhere in Australia. If I park my noisy trailers next to you at night it’s not because I’m an inconsiderate and aggressive truck driver hell bent on ruining your nights sleep.
Consider this: truck drivers hours are regulated by law – when our hours have run out for the day we must pull over or face prosecution (some think it’s closer to persecution but I won’t go into that). I’m sorry if it happens to be your parking bay I take my mandated rest break in. Everyone will be a lot sorrier if I continued driving and fell asleep at the wheel.
Also, triple road trains are bloody big! There are limited places we can safely pull off the road for our rest breaks. Parking bays just happen to be ideal for the task, especially after significant rainfall – no driver in their right mind would pull off the road into anything less than a bitumen or heavily compacted gravel area (parking bay). To do otherwise usually results in immediately becoming bogged with, considering the size and weight involved, limited means of recovery.
So please keep these points in mind next time you are looking to pull up for the night or even just stopping to make a sandwich. If you are the sole occupant of a parking bay the chances are somebody will pull in behind pretty soon – are you positioned to give them easy access? I am happy to share parking bays with all road users but everyone has to apply a bit of common sense and consideration. I will always try to minimise the impact running fridge motors may have on anyone I’m sharing a parking bay with. Parking nose to tail with other vehicles instead of side by side is an effective way of do this – park in front of me and you are a minimum of 20ft from my lead fridge motor, park behind me and you are at least 45ft from my third fridge motor. Park beside me or force me to park beside you and you might be as little as 5ft from it. I’ve gotten used to the noise, in fact, I find the constantly running fridge actually masks other irregular noises which would normally wake me. Such as irate campers yelling at me to shut it off ;)
I know there are people out there who are just not right in the head and certain concepts never seem to take hold. On behalf of all the sensible truck drivers I apologise in advance for the actions of the, thankfully, few truly stupid individuals that may at some point in their life write “Truck Driver” on their tax return.