I am sure the headline of this blog is generating some ill thoughts from my fellow drivers who have not read beyond the headline. That being said, there are times when I will take my half-hour break on the fuel island or some other places to help out with the parking shortage in some regions of the country.

If I am in an area that is prone to be short on parking spaces while taking my mandatory half-hour break, it seems wrong for me to take one of these valuable parking spots when my fellow drivers are looking to park for their ten-hour break. What I will do in this case is when the fuel island's not busy is to fuel up at the most distant pump from the store. After fueling, I will go into the store to get my receipt along with using the restroom and getting some “to-go” food. I will then stay with the truck to take my break in case something changes in regards to the fuel island. What I don't ever do is leave the truck unattended and take the chance of blocking someone in at the fuel pumps.

Another alternate spot I have found that work’s well is to ask the truck service shop if it would be ok to take my break in front of the exit doors. I have never been denied parking in front of the exit doors. I always ask first and explain my reason for wanting to park there: to not take a parking space from my fellow driver in the truck parking area. This is my go-to spot if I am taking a shower, eating in the restaurant, or taking a longer two-hour break for the eight /two split in the hours of service regulations. Of course, in this case, I always give the shop my phone number in case something changes while I am in their facilities.

Just the other day, I employed another way to save a spot for my fellow driver by parking in front of another truck who had backed in for their ten-hour break. I was going to take a two-hour break to wait out Atlanta traffic, so I pulled around and backed along the side of the lot in front of this truck. After setting the brakes and the four-way flashers, I walked back to ask the driver if this would be “ok” . The driver replied “sure” and added: that was an excellent way to save spots for the other drivers who would be taking a ten-hour break. I gave this driver my phone number in case something changed before going into the facilities to shower and eat dinner.

The important thing in all of this is always to communicate or ask before assuming it is alright to park in an unmarked parking spot or area. I hope that my actions have helped my fellow drivers find a spot to take their ten-hour break, just a little bit easier through these practices.   

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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