Most trucks, by law must stop every 12 to 14 hours and rest as a safety measure.
To assist truck drivers, State Governments have installed truck and car rest stops on the side of the highways throughout the country. Many other travellers including RV and caravanners also appreciate having a place, off the road to rest and take a break.
The dedicated ‘Truck Stops’ are NOT designed as free camp sites and generally caravans and RV’s are not permitted.
In Queensland unless signposted otherwise, overnight stays are NOT permitted.
There are general use rest areas that can be used by trucks, cars and recreational vehicles.
Truck drivers, as regular drivers on these roads, are fully aware of the location of these truck stops and plan their trips so that they can be reached at a certain time to stay within the legal driving periods - otherwise they risk a very heavy fine.
Trucks and B-Doubles need wide and long spaces to enter, park and leave the rest areas. Often the trucks will arrive at the rest areas in the middle of the night when most travellers are sleeping.
As expected, the truck drivers can get very upset if they are driving a long B-Double truck and arrive at the truck stop and find one or more RVs or caravans parked in the middle of the stopping bay.
In some cases the thoughtlessness of the van or RV driver may not allow room for the long B-double to park behind or in front of the van. This may mean the truck driver has to decide whether to drive on to the next stop, however he may not have enough driving hours left to get there.
If you must stop in the truck stopping bays please have the courtesy to park at one of the ends of the bay so as to leave plenty of room for the long trucks that the stops were designed for.
This video explains why -
Caravanners and RV’s should park in close proximity so as to allow uninterrupted space for the large trucks.
Many trucks also have noisy refrigeration motors and air brakes that will not make the truck stop a pleasant place to sleep in a van or RV.
Don’t complain as the truck stops are designed for trucks to stop at, not caravans and RV’s, so if you are woken by a refrigeration motor beside your van, you only have yourself to blame.
Remember the trucks also need plenty of turning room, so don’t park in any turning bays or areas and allow plenty of space for them to turn into and out of the truck stops.
Simply have a good look before stopping and blocking someone else.
“The police were called to one truck stop when it was full of caravanners and no room for the truck driver to take his regulated rest. He couldn’t drive any further and couldn’t pull of the road to stop. The police cleared the truck stop in the middle of the night so that the truck driver could rest.”
There are plenty of places an RV or caravan can stop without blocking the trucks from their designated stopping bays.
Being Truck Friendly will help ensure all get a peaceful rest so we can all stay safe on the roads.
Below is an open letter from the publisher Ken Wilson regarding Truck Stops. This was published on several truck and caravan related Facebook pages 10.01.20.
Written by Ken Wilson 08.01.20
TRUCK STOPS ARE IN THE NEWS AGAIN.
It can be very frustrating for long distance truck drivers who must by law stop at regular intervals to rest when they are not able to find a place to park their large rigs or find them filled with other road users who often have far more alternative places to park.
The different levels of Government and many roadhouses have placed large rest / park bays to accommodate the large B-Doubles who have very limited turning ability and need long bays to accommodate their extra-long length.
A fully loaded semi-trailer can be up to 19 metres for an average single trailer or up to 26 metres for a B-Double semi-trailer. When you drive out west and in the Northern Territory, you will often come across larger road trains which can be up to 53 metres long which is over 4 times the length of the average car/caravan combo.
I think that we will all agree that there needs to be far more rest areas for all vehicle types and I have lobbied for better signage on existing truck stops and general rest areas to help avoid the confusion that currently exists between frustrated truck drivers and the Caravan and RV community.
While most signage is general in nature there are many that designate Truck Rest Area and should be respected as ONLY for trucks.
Caravanners often stop for the day at midday or in the afternoon and find a rest area that seems relatively empty and assume that they have the right to camp there for the night.
The problem, however, arises when the long-distance truck drivers leave their depot in the afternoon and are due for their legally required rest stop at 1 or 3 am in the morning. They plan their trips around stopping at the rest areas they know are there specifically for them only to find them filled with campers parked all over the place leaving no place for them to park a 26-metre B-Double. They leave no room for it to safety turn in or out of the area without taking out the caravan parked at the entrance or exit.
We have all gone past rest areas and seen several caravans, RV's or cars strung out along the whole length of the rest area with space in between but leaving no long areas for trucks to pull in safely. It is just inconsiderate.
I do not understand why caravanners and RV drivers want to take up truck stops and risk a very noisy B-Double with a refrigeration motor running 24/7 pulling up beside them at 2 am in the morning.
One truck driver reported that he was woken by an angry caravanner in a truck stop at 2 am with a banging on his truck door and asking for him to turn off his refrigeration motor on his load as it was keeping the caravanner awake. As you can expect the conversation went bad pretty quickly and the caravanner threatened to call the police to have the noise stopped. The truck driver begged him to call the police as it would have been the caravanner who would have been told to leave the truck stop.
Other truck stops have been cleared by police in the early hours when there was no room left for the trucks.
Legally the truck driver must stop and if he cannot pull off the road to rest because of illegally parked caravanners and RV drivers then the police will be on the side of the truck driver every time.
Such is the arrogance and lack of respect that some caravanners have for the law and other people.
I am very pleased to say that the vast majority of caravanners want to and do the right thing. The problem is educating the minority that give other caravanners and RV drivers a bad name. We, unfortunately all get tarred with the same brush.
Please lobby your politicians and others for more signage on rest stops and roadhouses to help avoid the confusion and frustration that currently exists.
There are also few roadhouses that have signed caravan park bays and they leave little options for caravanners to park anywhere else but in the long bays which may or may not be signed for trucks.
If there are no other options than to use one of the longer bays then I ask that respect is shown and where practical park at the ends of the bay so another caravan can park behind you instead of taking up two long bays.
We need far more separated rest areas but where all road users can share common facilities like toilets, tables, seats and shelters so that all can have a quiet rest and maybe share a cup of coffee, cake and chat with a truck driver who is away from family and friends working.
There are many female truck drivers on the roads now and we should show them courtesy by having proper toilet facilities at truck stops instead of expecting them to squat beside the truck.
Respect is earned, so if caravanners, RV drivers and truck drivers want to be shown respect then we all also need to start showing some respect for others.
It won't happen overnight and we won't educate all, but we can make a big difference to the safety, enjoyment and stress of our trip by showing respect for other road users.
Below is a link to the Truck Friendly web site page on truck stops which includes a video link on using truck stops presented by a truck driver, Rod Hannifey. Well worth a watch.
Stay safe everyone and stay truck friendly.
Truck Friendly caravan road safety program