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Why Overnight RV Parking At Truck Stops Is A Bad Idea

There’s a popular belief among many RVers that it’s OK to take advantage of free overnight RV parking at truck stops around America. If you’re too cheap or broke to pay for an RV park and a big box parking lot is out of your way, overnighting in a truck stop parking spot might seem like a good idea—but the long-haul truckers of the highways disagree, and with good reason.

RVs are not wanted at truck stops.

RV Parking at Truck Stops
Rene Agredano

Like most frugal RVers, I also thought it was OK to park our rig at truck stops. We never had too many issues, but the last few times we parked at truck stops we got jammed in-between dozens of idling, noisy big rigs with only a few feet between us. Truck stops are more crowded than ever and there’s a good reason for that.

Parking shortage leaves truckers out in the cold

According to this Wall Street Journal article, North American truckers are running out of places to park. There are two obvious reasons for this:

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  • Cheap fuel means more companies are shipping via long-haul trucking companies
  • Federal labor laws requiring more trucker rest periods mean that truck stops are busier than ever as drivers are forced to take more breaks.

As more truckers compete for limited overnight parking spaces, they aren’t happy about seeing RVs on their turf. We used to be clueless about trucker’s attitudes toward RVers at truck stops, but then one evening while overnighting at truck stop, a trucker made it clear—he nearly took out our slide!

Forget RV parking at truck stops.

RV Parking at Truck Stops
Rene Agredano

We thought we were being polite by not extending our slide into another parking spot, but we were wrong. I wrote this blog post about the incident and it sparked reality checks from real-life truckers like:

“We can’t pull those big commercial rigs over just anywhere and enjoy a park or the river or the view or the wind in the trees or a historical site or whatever. We have the truck stop.

And, when you pull into a truck stop to spend the night as a “civilian” you could be preventing a trucker who needs that shower or laundry and rest from getting it done and having her (his) normal. A truck stop isn’t a place to camp or a place to slide out your slideouts unless you want to lose them. I’ve known “drivers” who actually get a thrill from ripping off the sides of slides….The trucker who pulled in beside you was sending you a message and you would have been wise to roll it up and move on.”

If you’re a frugal RVer and always on the lookout for free overnight RV parking spots, do yourself a favor and bypass the truck stops. Look for other acceptable and safe free places to park your rig—there’s plenty out there for recreational vehicles like ours.

8 thoughts on “Why Overnight RV Parking At Truck Stops Is A Bad Idea”

  1. What about the idiots who park their fricken CAR in the truck/ RV slips at a rest area.
    Those people should be pee’d on!!!

  2. Totally agree with you about slide-outs Rick. To clarify, we don’t ever put ours into another parking space and in this instance, our slide was NOT in a designated space–the trucker MADE that area into a space. Probably wasn’t clear enough about how that went down. Thanks for your feedback though!

  3. “while over nighting at truck stop, a trucker made it clear; he nearly took out our slide!”

    I don’t know what possess people into thinking that it is OKAY to slide anywhere that is not a campground!!!

    I see it in rest areas, truck stops (front lot not truck lot) and Wal*Mart.

    If you want enjoy the spaciousness of your rig… spend some ^&%(%#$ money a PAY for a space at a campground or get a hotel room.

    I cannot tell you how annoying it is to pull into a rest area and find out that the ONLY available spot is inaccessible because some rude individual is taking up TWO (or worse, 3) parking spaces!

  4. Yes some truckers are rude. I have stayed overnight in truck stops in the states on my way back to Canada, because campgrounds in the states shut down after the September long weekend and not only that some campgrounds are so far off the mainstream where are you suppose to stay at. Rest stops they kick you out of and not allowed to spend the night there. What I do at truck stops is I find some lonely spot where no trucker wants to park at basically a spot they have a hard time getting into. I take a spot that is far away from the mainstream of the truck stops to which this allows trucks to park wherever they want and out of the way. Some RVers are rude also and have this entitlement attitude of parking wherever they want. How about being courteous yourselves and not being arrogant when you park. I have seen that lots from rivers especially the old timers who have this sense of entitlement even youngsters. There is no respect any more

  5. I only stay at a truck stop for the night or a few hours rest when nothing else is available. I always ask the manager before staying. I have never encountered a problem. I always try to be courteous and help truckers pass me when on the road, as I am going slower. I always buy fuel or gasoline at the truck stop If R O N. I Also buy food and other items while there.

  6. One thing I have encountered, long haul drivers, have the worst road rage and keyboard rage. They are a vocal minority that think because they drive nonstop they are somehow not only better drivers, but superior. Calling you a “civilian” is proof of that that. Everyone is a civilian unless you are in the active military.

  7. Correct me if I am wrong, if the truck drivers are upset about RV’s parking at truck stops, they should voice the issue with the owner of the property. It is the owner of the property that welcomed the RV owner to use the lot also. I agree that an RV with slides should not use more then one parking spot but if the truck driver does not like the rules, nothing is stopping him from rolling down the road and finding something more to his/her liking.

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