Truck and heavy goods vehicle drivers spend long hours on the road, so stopping for a good night’s rest is recommended when driving long journeys. Since November 2017, HGV drivers are expected to rest in designated rest areas instead of cabs. This led to the development of more truck stops and service areas since truck drivers cannot park in lay-bys due to DVSA fines. Drivers who need a moment to stretch their legs and relax can even find overnight truck stops in the UK. While many locations in the UK lack facilities for truck drivers on the road, there are some amazing truck stops in Britain.
What Is a Truck Stop?
A truck stop is a service area with various facilities suitable for heavy goods vehicle drivers. Truck stops provide a place to park, eat or shower before continuing the journey. Unlike traditional fuel stations, truck stops are larger, with sufficient parking spaces for large vehicles.
Highway truck stops have separate fuel pumps for refuelling and longer lanes that allow large trucks to manoeuvre more easily. Regular RV and motorhome travellers can also use these service areas. Besides large fuelling stations, the facilities have amenities for weary drivers. For instance, drivers can find truck stops with showers, large convenience stores and restaurants. Truck stops are created to be one-stop shops for drivers, enabling them to get everything they need before hitting the road again. A lorry park is often considered a truck stop, but it’s just one of many facilities that truck stops or service areas offer.
There are various categories of truck stops, including:
- Motorway truck stops: These are signposted from the motorway.
- Trunk road truck stops: These are usually signposted from a trunk road (non-motorway road).
- Non-signposted truck stops: Smaller but still provide some convenient facilities for truck drivers.
History of Truck Stops
Before the construction of motorways, A-roads were lined with facilities for drivers, such as cafes and restaurants. The cafes and hotels made extra cash by providing truck drivers with affordable accommodation. The construction of motorways didn’t eliminate the presence of cheap accommodation along these roads, but the government developed an interest in HGV parking. Motorways service areas were introduced for heavy goods vehicles but were designed for short-term stays. Shortly after, sleeper cabs were introduced, which prevented drivers from deviating from their routes, as they could park anywhere and spend the night in their sleepers. However, due to the risks associated with parking along the roads, commercial truck stops were introduced. Commercial truck stops are larger than traditional facilities, providing truck drivers with better facilities and security. The commercial truck stops had parking areas, fuel stations and cafes for heavy goods vehicle drivers. New regulations in 2010 led to the introduction of motorway truck stops.
Facilities Available in Truck Stops
Some of the facilities available in a truck stop include:
- Showers: Most truck stops have showers for cleaning up after driving long hours. Drivers who want to maintain a regular shower schedule can do so by stopping at a truck stop for a refreshing shower. Some truck stops have free showers, while others require payment.
- Laundry services: Drivers travelling for extended periods may run out of clean, wearable clothes on the road. Truck stops have laundry services equipped with washing & drying machines and folding tables. Drivers can rest in the lounge area while waiting for their clothes to be washed.
- Fuel stations: Long-distance truck drivers have to stop multiple times to refuel. A truck stop is ideal since the driver can avoid unnecessary stops on the roads and get everything they need under 1 roof.
- Ample parking spaces: Truck stops have large parking spaces. Drivers can park and take a nap to avoid sleeping on the road.
- Restaurants: Drivers can stop at truck stops to enjoy a bite to eat. Truck stops offer many restaurants, so drivers can find everything from fast-food chains to sit-down restaurants with healthy snacking options.
- Truck service station: If a driver experiences mechanical troubles on the road, they can pull over at a truck stop to resolve the issue. Most truck stops have shops equipped with mechanic tools for the repair and servicing of vehicles.
Top 7 Truck Stops in the UK
The top 7 truck shops across the UK include the following:
1. Chippenham Pit Stop
Heavy goods vehicle drivers driving through South Wales can find this truck stop in Wiltshire. The Chippenham Pit Stop is located just off Junction 17 of the M4 Motorway. The truck stop has a filling station and a lorry park with 87 parking bays. Parking spaces are large enough to accommodate the largest HGVs and are free for the first hour. Drivers have access to 3 fuel islands with high-speed pumps for diesel, AdBlue and gas oil, plus EV charging points. Truck drivers also have access to hot showers and clean, modern toilets at the truck stop. The restaurants provide a range of food options, from locally sourced delicacies to fast food venues.
2. Route 74 Truckstop
Route 74 Truckstop is located in Lesmahagow, around 26 miles south of Glasgow at South Lanarkshire in Scotland. The truck stop is along Junction 10 of the M74 and mainly caters to heavy goods vehicles. Drivers can find various amenities, from car wash facilities and toilets to showers open 24 hours. The parking facility is large and can accommodate up to 150 trucks. While the truck stop is for heavy goods vehicles, it is open to the general public. Drivers looking for fresh-made food can find hot and cold delicacies at the on-site eateries. The car wash is fully automated, and drivers can also service their trucks.
3. Tebay Services
Tebay Services is the ideal truck stop for heavy goods vehicle drivers travelling from Heysham to Dublin. The truck stop is located in Perinth, off Junction 38, on the M6. It’s a family-owned truck stop with amazing facilities for truck drivers and the general public. With 24-hour CCTV and patrolling warden, you can safely park heavy goods vehicles in this compound. Tebay Services has dedicated disabled parking spaces, as well as overnight parking facilities for HGVs, motorhomes and caravans. Truck drivers also enjoy waste disposal and electric charging services at the truck stop. The kitchen here serves fresh, homemade food, and drivers can even relax in the bar. Other facilities include fuelling stations and showers.
4. Ashford Truck Stop
The Ashford Truck Stop in Kent is off Junction 10 on M20. It is one of the best truck stops in the UK. It’s strategically situated near Folkestone and the port of Dover, providing a great place for truck drivers to stop over along the road. Ashford Truck Stop has impressive security, including motion sensors, CCTV cameras, barbed wire fences and security patrolling the area. Drivers can access over 389 parking spaces, but they need to book online. On-site accommodation can be included in the parking fee, and drivers also have access to laundrette and shower facilities. The restaurants serve various delicacies, and the convenience shop is available for 24-hour shopping.
5. Formula Services
Formula Services in Ellesmere Port M53 is the best example of a modern truck stop with the best facilities. The truck stop is along Birkenhead and Liverpool ports, providing the best stop before getting on the ferry. Formula Services is tailored to meet the requirements of truck drivers with an inviting environment for Formula 1 enthusiasts. The parking facility provides parking spaces for 110 vehicles. The 24-hour manned patrol and camera make the place secure, so truck drivers can pack their HGVs without worrying about theft. Getting an overnight parking ticket gives drivers full access to the site’s facilities. Drivers can find all the necessities, from showers and toilets to truck wash and fuel stations. They can also find leisure facilities, like game rooms, free massage chairs and a fitness suite. Trucks with mechanical problems can be serviced at the facility before drivers leave.
6. Ulceby Truck Stop
Ulceby Truck Stop is located off the M180 Immingham and Lincolnshire and provides basic amenities to truck drivers. Unlike many other truck stops, Ulceby doesn’t have any luxurious amenities. Still, the truck stop offers a secure parking area with over 75 parking spaces and adequate parking areas for large trucks or trailers. Drivers can refill diesel trucks at high-speed pumps and service their trucks. While there is no convenience store, showers and an on-site café are available for drivers.
7. Trucker’s Rest
Trucker’s Rest is located along the A5 in Staffordshire on M6. It is a great facility with amenities for drivers to regroup before continuing their journeys. Trucker’s Rest is a popular stop for truckers travelling through the Midlands. The parking facilities can host over 110 trucks and large vehicles. Parking is free for the first 3 hours, while overnight parking comes with a meal voucher and a free shower. The truck stop has a fast-food eatery for takeaways and a restaurant for dine-in meals.
Life on the road can be challenging for drivers. While drivers are trained to endure long hours on the road, it is important to take a break and recharge. Truck stops provide the best facilities for resting and servicing trucks. Truck stops in the UK are available on major motorways, and drivers can find them by searching for nearby truck stops using their favourite app or GPS device..
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