Truckers’ Life on the Road—Showers, Bathroom Breaks, and Hygiene

Truck stop with fuel prices in the evening

A trucker’s life on the road is dangerous, and it can be quite messy, also. Think about the nearly fifty-thousand miles of interstate highway, in addition to the state routes and back roads that spider web across the contiguous United States. Truck drivers live, work, sweat, sleep, shower, relieve themselves, and more without going back to home sweet home for days or even weeks.

All those miles of roadway have plenty of fueling stations, and a recent report shows that over half of them have diesel fuel—a good reason to pull off the highway. In addition, there are nearly forty-five hundred travel plazas—or truck stops—in North America. There are more than enough places to take care of your personal health with a shower, bathroom breaks, and attention to all your hygiene needs.

We’ll look at all the things you’ll want to be aware of, and what you’ll want to have handy inside your cab to accommodate all your needs.

Where do Truck Driver’s Shower?

Before starting out long-haul truck driving, you must be prepared to present yourself in a professional manner. We all love the shining chrome accents and custom paint jobs on a good-looking rig, but we all need to be more concerned about our health and personal appearance. Knowing a bit about a trucker’s life on the road will help you get along easier and keep you ready to adapt to any extra challenges the highways send your way.

Most driver’s employed in over-the-road trucking will develop a preference for one or two of the big chain travel plazas—Pilot, Petro, Travel Authority, Flying J, and Love’s. That is because they typically have bigger lots with wide parking slots; they offer the best deals on everything a driver could want; and they are serious about consistency between sites. Now, that’s not to say that some independent stops aren’t as good as or even better than the big chains, just that there are some perks available for the larger ones.

Signage for truck driver showers
Use a shower card to get free showers.

Free showers are usually only available at the chains that offer reward cards, so on those days that you do not need a shower, you can load a credit onto your card and use it in the future.

The next time you pull in for the night, or want to start the day off fresh, just make sure to pull into a plaza of the same chain and claim your credit—it’s that easy!

Say you want a shower, but do not require enough fuel for a free one. Don’t fret! All you have to do is pay the average of about twelve bucks.

Now, what do these twelve bucks—or appropriate fuel purchase—get you? The big chains are well-known for reliable rooms with a locking door, one or more towels, a washcloth, mini-soap bar, and some places even leave a mint on the counter!

A lot of these single-shower, private rooms are nicely constructed with tile, plenty of hot water, hooks on the doors and wall for all your gear, electric outlets to recharge, a mounted fan, seat/shower seat, and a spacious trash can for all your refuse.

It’s never a bad idea to consult with other long-haul truck drivers. Ask some questions about which travel plazas they prefer and why? What are the best rewards programs? Who has the best fuel prices? Ask any other question you may have, because we can all entertain very different preferences.

Unfortunately, you’ll find that a trucker’s life on the road isn’t all green lights. It is likely that you will not spend every night at a travel plaza, even with excellent trip planning and an ace of a dispatcher. Sometimes you’ll plan and execute well, but find that your chosen stop is having trouble with their staff, or utilities, or is overloaded with guests waiting their turn to shower.

You may find yourself driving for a carrier that dispatches long-haul truck driving routes that park or dock at their other shipping and receiving sites that may or may not have showers.

Bathroom Breaks for Long-Haul Drivers

There are simple reasons for why a trucker’s life on the road is stressful. Travelling at seventy miles per hour with eighty-thousand pounds is just the beginning. Add in a natural urge and no stops for fifty miles, and we have a situation.

Cologne dispenser
Don’t rely on cologne dispensers to smell nice.

So we’re going to get real here. This isn’t the article to read while you’re eating breakfast.

Ideally, people prefer facilities in which to void. However, that is not always an option, and there are a number of “emergency toilet” items that can provide a comfortable replacement.

Emergency options include, but are not limited, to a camping style port-a-potty, WAG bags, or even small trash bags, bleach wipes, an aromatic aerosol, tissue paper and baby wipes.

There are plenty instances of where you may not want or have the ability to use a truck stop toilet.

Maybe you’re parked at the back of a travel plaza, and you wake up in the middle of the night with an urge, but you don’t want to hike all the way to the station to void your bladder. Or maybe you’re up north during the freezing winter on break, in your PJ’s, and you don’t want to put on your boots and gear to cross the lot. Or maybe you prefer parking on the interstates’ ingress/egress points, and there are no facilities. These are just a few situations for which you will want to be stocked and locked and ready with a roll!

Sometimes the urge hits between stops, with no relief in sight. Everyone will opt to go about their business in a manner most suitable to their tastes. We always recommend the most sanitary approach. In all situations, a truck driver should be a conscious, considerate professional.

That means pulling off the highway and parking on an ingress/egress point. Men will void into a bottle with a closable cap. Women will use a funnel and bottle system, or a trusty, disposable cup with a sturdy lid.

Both sexes will properly dispose of the waste at the next available trash receptacle. Some over-the-road trucking veterans even keep a bag of kitty litter on hand to help with absorption and an abatement of odor.

Hygiene Tips

Overall, hygiene means you watch what you eat and drink. The healthier your diet, the cleaner your insides and thus the cleaner your sweat and excrement. Your health and wellness depend as much on diet as the do on your toiletry bag—which should include everything discussed and more:

  • Port-a-potty
  • Plastic/sterile gloves
  • Bleach wipes
  • WAG/plastic bags
  • Aerosol
  • Toilet tissue paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Floss and mouthwash
  • Razors and foam/gel
  • Aftershave and lotions
  • Talcum powder
  • Nail clippers
  • Bottles of water

A trucker’s life on the road is not like every other job.  This is a fact we stress often. Hopefully this article will give you an idea of how to prepare to be the most sanitary and most hygienic truck driver you can be.

 

About The Author
Contributor: Luke Nold (Experienced truck driver for 5+ years and published writer for Fleet Magazine).

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