Can RVs Stay at Truck Stops?
Truck stops are made for the convenience of truck drivers, to help them rest up from long journeys and they often present a mini-city full of opportunities. Staying at truck stops is, as the name suggests, reserved for truckers and their trucks. But, is that always the case?
Can RVs stay at truck stops?
It depends on the truck stop, but generally, the answer is yes. If the one you’re planning to stop at is Flying J or Pilot (now one company, but still appearing as two different brands), you shouldn’t have any issues. These are very RV-friendly, which is also visible from their websites.
If the road is taking you toward one that isn’t Flying J or Pilot, it’s best to actually call ahead and ask directly. Most will be confused you’re even asking, but some will require you to have a special permission to stay overnight. Some also have a limit of how long you can stay parked, which does seem a bit counterintuitive. So, definitely check first.
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RVers and Truckers Have Similar Goals
While truck stops are created for the purpose of providing a safe haven to the truck drivers, RVers usually have the same goals for staying overnight. They want to freshen up and get some rest before moving on with their journey. There’s also the fact that truckers need to have a mandated rest after 11 hours of driving.
RVers At Truck Stops Are Controversial Topics
The main issue with anyone, and not just RVers, staying at truck stops is lack of supply. The need for overnight parking space is omnipresent, but it’s increasingly difficult for truckers to actually find a place that’s convenient for them and doesn’t take them away from their travel route. This is why anyone taking up parking space at truck stops is a topic of discussion and controversy.
The RVers’ Point of View (for Some)
Of course, everyone needs rest. That’s why the RVers’ claim that their need for it is very real, though not strictly mandated by law, makes a lot of sense. Since most truck stops are now starting to be known as Travel Centers, this makes them more attractive for everyone to stop it. There’s also the fact that some stops, like Flying J and Pilot, give some benefits to RVers who buy goods at their stops.
Overcrowding Between RVs and Semi-Trucks
The problem arises once the existing RV space is filled and the staff starts directing the RV onto the parking spaces reserved for trucks. Since truckers are mandated to rest up after driving for 11 hours and are also pretty limited in their choices, due to their route, they tend to get upset when their already scarce parking space is taken.
The problem can be even greater at truck stops with no separated RV and truck parking space.
There also an added complication of RVs being parked next to trucks: it’s difficult for the truck not to damage the RV slides while parking next to them. So the frustration is understandable.
On the other hand, since staff directs the RVs to park there and the truck stops seem to want them as customers, it’s no surprise that RVers won’t budge when protecting their rights to the park where they were told.
Solutions to the Conflict
While RVers do have the right to stay at truck stops if they please, it’s important for them to acknowledge that truckers actively rely on these parking spots in order to earn a living. RVers, on the other hand, have some other options.
Staying overnight at no cost is possible in parking lots of Walmart, Home Depot, K-Mart and similar stores. It might be necessary to check local legislation because states with high rates of homelessness are passing laws against overnight stay at such places.
There are some phone apps that might be useful to plan an overnight stay, like the Oh Ranger Park Finder App, which will help you find public parks. Get tips directly from fellow RVers, whose input goes into the apps.
Tips From the Truckers for RVers
If you end up staying in a truck stop, try parking in the front or in the cab the only area. It would also be helpful not to use your slides, as accidents can happen in the dark. Try taking showers and doing laundry before dark, so as to avoid evening crowding. Always stay in the right lane, unless you’re planning to pass a vehicle.
When sharing space with someone it’s always good to gain a sense of community, so mingle and share your food with the truckers and enjoy their stories!
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