It’s not easy for drivers to access facilities at the moment due to the widespread closures. However, support is at hand. Many fantastic independent truck stops out there are working hard to stay open plus there are snack vans, pubs and many individuals performing fantastic acts of kindness.
Nobody should be stuck without access to a shower, somewhere safe to park and a proper meal, but it’s not always obvious where to look and for many the motorway services are usually their first choice. With the lockdown set to continue, the situation is not going to get any easier but there’s no need to be stuck in an almost closed motorway service area paying high prices for parking. There are often truckstops within the vicinity of a motorway services and with the roads being quieter, they’re needing the business more than ever.
The key is to try and plan ahead – especially over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. We recommend phoning ahead of where you think you may end up for the night, and making yourself familiar with the support that’s available online. Here’s some tips.
There are many driver groups on Facebook offering information, advice and assistance. Some have been set up specifically for the task of helping driver during this time. You’ll find information about facilities, truckstop listings, food outlets and there are also fellow drivers on hand looking out for others, offering for example use of their truck microwaves.
You can ask for help, whether it’s finding somewhere to park, somewhere to get a shower or advice on getting groceries or meals when out on the road.
Check out the following groups (if you want your group added let us know):
Truckers -coronavirus drivers support & assistance group
Truck drivers support page
Keep our truckers fed!
The Motorway Buddy App has listings of UK truckstops along with contact details. It’s free to download and easy to use. You can find it in the app store.
Get some kit
There’s always the option of a camping stove and gas for cooking and heating water, but a lot of companies apparently don’t like you using those, so we’ll just go for two electric options here
Get a kettle
Invest in a 24v electric kettle for the truck so you have hot water when you need it. They’re not expensive and will save you a fortune. It may seem really obvious to some drivers, but we’ve had messages over the past month saying things like “My husband has hardly had a cup of tea all week because everywhere is closed.” Kettles are available to buy in a many truckstop shops. Don’t forget a big bottle of water too, it won’t be much use without it.
If you’ve got a microwave built into your truck, that’s great. But many trucks do not have such a luxury. So what’s the affordable alternative? 24v ovens are cheap, but they do work. From personal experience, these things are a lifesaver when hot food is hard to come by. We’ve heard from a lot of drivers that they’ve hardly had a hot meal all week – one of these ovens and you’re sorted. It’s not going to replace a slap-up truckstop dinner, but they come in so handy at times.
Will cook a variety of easy stuff and make it crisp/piping hot. Little pizzas, pies, sausage rolls, chicken goujons, vegetable pakora will all work a treat in a 24v oven. Make sure it has the correct connector on the end. Tip: They cook best with the engine running 😉
Some truckstop shops sell them, Junction 29 has them for sale for just £45.95. There are many different models for sale online too.
Getting to the supermarket can in itself be difficult if you’re limited on time and having to queue. Thankfully most places are restocked pretty well now. You can check on Google when the busiest times are – if you search the supermarket in question it’ll bring up a graph to indicate how bust it might be. From personal experience in the last few weeks, the supermarkets tend to be quieter in the evening, after 6pm, you can sail straight in and out again. Watch though, as most close at 8pm now.
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