Have you ever almost fallen asleep behind the wheel? We’ve all been there. . It’s an inescapable part of being human, and truck drivers are no exception to this rule. It’s crucial that truck drivers safely operate their commercial vehicles. Because fatigue has been linked to accidents, the government has enacted strict guidelines that truckers must follow to get adequate rest. This article will share insights about where truck drivers sleep, what it's like, and other interesting sleeping tidbits related to the life of a trucker.
Where do Truck Drivers Sleep and Rest?
Where a truck driver sleeps is dependent on several factors, including which career path a truck driver has selected (over the road, regional, or local), and the type of truck they drive (one with a sleeper berth or one without, known as a day cab).
Thus, long-haul drivers have a sleeping cab while local drivers do not as they are home by the end of the work day. This type of truck is commonly referred to as a day cab.
Due to regulations related to sleeper berths and required rest, if a local driver happens to be on an extended trip, where they are required to be away from home a day or two, they are not permitted to sleep in their day cab trucks. Usually, their company will arrange for them to stay at a motel in these rare instances. This is because truck drivers are required to take a break after driving for 10 hours straight.
A basic sleeper berth will include a bed large enough for the driver to sleep on, a bunk heater for cold weather, and shelves or cabinets for storing personal items. Sleeper berths come in various combinations and may include extra comforts, such as a television, satellite television, refrigerator, and microwave.
To provide power for electrical items, a sleeper berth will also include a power inverter that boosts the truck’s electrical system. Additionally, some trucks are equipped with an auxiliary power unit, which functions like a small generator. This unit eliminates the need for truckers to idle their truck to power their air conditioning, heater, and electrical appliances.
When there are two truck drivers, the sleeper berth is commonly equipped with bunk beds so that each driver has their own bed when they are both off duty.
“Where a truck driver sleeps is dependent on several factors, including which career path a truck driver has selected (over the road, regional, or local), and the type of truck they drive (one with a sleeper berth or one without, known as a day cab).”
Sleeper Cabs: Fast Facts
- Sleeping cabs are the most common type of sleeping arrangement for truck drivers, especially for drivers who spend multiple days on the road
- It tends to be a small room located behind the driver’s seat.
- Truckers usually park their vehicles in company facilities, rest areas, and truck stops along their route.
- Modern sleeper cabs carry most of the conveniences of home, but a bathroom and/or shower is still a rarity seen only in very expensive custom-built trucks.
Where do Truckers Park to Sleep?
When their shift is over and it’s time to park for the night, drivers have several options for a place to park. The safe options are rest areas (also known as rest stops), truck stops (also known as travel plazas), a company terminal if one is available, and in some instances, at a customer’s facility.
Safety Tips for Parking:
Park only in designated truck/rest stops
Avoid the shoulder of roads and interstate ramps. Many fatal accidents have occurred because of a truck parked overnight in these locations, and many jurisdictions in the United States now prohibit this sort of truck parking.
Pay attention to the area where you plan to park
Some areas of the country have a reputation in the trucking community for being unsafe. It’s a good idea to stay alert and familiarize yourself with areas that have been deemed unsafe by the trucking community.
Familiarize yourself with your route
In case you need to stop for an emergency or a short nap before continuing your trip, make sure you are familiar with your route and know about places you can stop along the way.
Lock your doors
Although security at truck stops and rest areas is better than it has been in the past, it is still important to keep your doors locked at all times and follow your company’s procedures for load security.
Do Truckers Sleep in Hotels?
Truckers do not usually sleep in hotels because it is too expensive on the average driver’s salary to spend every night in a motel or hotel. Occasionally, splurging for a thirty-four-hour reset at a motel provides an OTR driver a chance to get out of the truck for a little while.
OTR and Regional drivers usually sleep in their sleeper berths. They will occasionally be on a route that takes them close enough to home where they can stop by for a night’s rest before continuing on their journey. As mentioned earlier, local drivers almost always spend every night at home.
Where Do Truck Drivers Shower? Where do Truckers Go to the Bathroom?
From both a health and business standpoint, good hygiene is essential to a successful and healthy career as a truck driver. So, where do truck drivers shower, go to the bathroom, and tend to their hygiene?
Because of size and weight restrictions, most trucks do not have onboard showers or toilets. For most drivers, this means stopping at truck stops, rest areas, or other locations that permit truck traffic to use the restroom.
Showering is a bit more specific. Thankfully, modern truck stops have recognized that amenities for truck drivers are a top priority, and showers are no exception to this competitive environment.
Even small independent truck stops have put a lot of effort into maintaining clean, well-functioning showers. In the large chain truck stops, like TA/Petro, Love’s, Pilot/Flying J, and Sapp Brothers, their showers are as nice and clean as a five-star hotel.
When it comes to finding your next shower while on the road, a little planning goes a long way. A common misperception among individuals not familiar with trucking is that finding showers is difficult.
However, that is not at all the case today. On any given day, when you’re driving hundreds of miles, you will have at least four to five locations to shower along any given stretch of the interstate highway.
Take advantage of rewards programs for free showers
All the major truck stop chains offer rewards programs where they can give you a free card to swipe when you purchase fuel and other items. Depending on which chain you’re using, you get points with every purchase that you can use to make future purchases, discounts, and, most importantly, take showers.
Typically at the major truck stop brands, you’ll get one free shower for every fifty gallons of fuel you purchase. Some like Pilot/Flying J have additional tiers to their rewards programs, and if you purchase enough fuel through them during a month, it’s possible to earn unlimited free showers for a month. If you don’t use a rewards program for your showers, expect to pay anywhere from $5.00 to $15.00 for a shower depending on where you stop.
Plan around rush hours
Just like there is a morning rush hour and an evening rush hour on the highways, there is a morning rush hour and evening rush hour for the showers at busy truck stops. Thus, plan a midday stop for a shower since truck stops are not as busy at that time.
Don’t forget soap and a towel
Although most truck stop showers provide towels and soap, it’s a good idea to carry a towel and soap with you just in case.
Pack a shower bag
A shower bag, small backpack, or hygiene bag is useful for keeping your hygiene items together in one place. It also helps when you need to carry them with you for your shower or to brush your teeth in the morning.
Truckers and Sleep
Sleep is an essential part of a truck driver’s duties. Fatigue continues to be a leading cause of accidents involving big trucks. The goal is always to get back home to your loved ones while staying healthy as a truck driver, and the best way to guarantee this is to get good rest and follow hours of service regulations.
The government takes sleeping seriously when it comes to truck drivers. Some states like Illinois have signs posted at every rest area reminding drivers to take their ten-hour sleep breaks after eleven hours of driving. Every time you are stopped for an inspection by law enforcement, they will inspect your hours of service logs, and if there is an infraction, you will get a ticket.
Current regulations require a truck driver to follow:
- 14 hours of on-duty time
- 11 hours of driving time
- A 30-minute break after eight hours of driving
- 10-hour break after 11 hours of driving
Recently the rules were changed by the FMCSA, and electronic logs are now required, replacing paper logs (which were easily manipulated) so that it’s more complicated than ever to skirt around the law when it comes to rest.
Make the most out of your rest periods:
- Make your sleeper berth as comfortable as possible, using comfortable pillows, sheets, and blankets.
- Make sure your heater and air conditioning are in good working order at all times.
- When parking at a truck stop, avoid parking near the pumps and entrance or exit if possible for a quieter night’s rest.
- If you’re sensitive to loud noises when you sleep, try to avoid parking near refrigerated trailers as these are loud and will run continuously throughout the night.
Getting adequate rest is a requirement for truck drivers and the safe operation of commercial vehicles. Good rest will make your driving time less stressful, more enjoyable, and you’ll be alert and able to avoid becoming involved in an accident or causing one.
The company you drive for can make a huge difference, and selecting one with your health and safety as a priority makes a huge difference in the rest you get and the enjoyment you get out of your career. The more flexibility a company provides, the better it is for you and your work-life balance as a truck driver.
A company like CloudTrucks is an ideal choice if you want the freedom to operate safely and healthily. At CloudTrucks, you are never force dispatched, and they provide you with the tools to create your routes, plan your trips more efficiently, set your schedule, and focus on you, the driver.