Grey nomads still stopping at truck-only rest areas

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Grey nomads and truckies on road together
Grey nomads and truckies need to co-exist with each other. PIC: Co-Exist

New research has revealed that 25% of caravan and recreational vehicle users have previously stayed overnight in truck rest areas … and it is causing major issues.

Hot on the heels of the research results, a new safety campaign has been launched to help truckies and grey nomads co-operate with each other on the open road.

The Co-Exist campaign is a road safety initiative of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia designed to inform and educate campers about interacting with trucks safely while on the road.

It says that many heavy vehicle drivers, particularly those travelling long distances, are arriving at rest stops only to find Recreational Vehicle (RV) users have taken spaces designated for them, when the leisure travellers could have pre-planned and found a caravan park or one of the many designated areas being provided by councils and towns.

Association chief executive Stuart Lamont said all road users had equal responsibility for road safety.

“Caravan and RV users value safety so this information will help them to understand how to share the road with heavy vehicles, particularly in understanding how such a large vehicle behaves,” Mr Lamont said. “Our campaign promotes simple information that can reduce frustration, such as the use of UHFs for improved communication between drivers, maintaining speed and road position when being overtaken.”

Mr Lamont said grey nomads and other RVers should make sure they are aware that truck drivers may need to use the dedicated stops to manage their fatigue hours, so they should plan their stops ahead and not use designated truck parking.

The new campaign also highlights how important it is that truck drivers can manage their fatigue and legal responsibilities.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, said informed and responsible drivers would contribute to safer roads and less accidents.

“I urge caravanners to take advantage of the great facilities at camping grounds and caravan parks and give truck drivers the space to stop at roadside rest areas to ensure they have their proper break,” he said.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s surveyed 554 caravanners or RV drivers who had used a rest stop in the past year showed that 60% had used a rest stop more than once; more than 75% made the decision to use a rest stop when their trip was underway; and more than 25% spent more than nine hours at the rest stop.

View the Co-Exist website here.

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44 Responses to Grey nomads still stopping at truck-only rest areas

  1. All the evidence points to a severe lack of rest areas and the poor quality of most of them. Rather than fighting with each other or pointing fingers and blaming each other truckers and RVers should band together to lobby governments to install more, bigger and better rest areas around the country.

    • Too true.
      There is a complete and total inadequacy of rest areas in the whole country for anyone. I have driven trucks and roadtrains and have known guys in isolated areas to pull up on the road hazard lights on and warning triangles out sleeping because they can not find an area to pull over
      In my job I drive a lot in a car. Same problem not many rest areas. Something so simple to clear and level an area on the roadside to stop. Doesn’t need to be bitumen or have a big facility, just a pull over area.
      Every year there are more vehicles but not more pull overs

      • Totally agree with Andy. We need more rest areas throughout Australia. I have travelled for 4 years around Australia and sometimes you have to drive tired to reach a rest area. You can plan as much as you want but you can’t plan fatigue. Let’s do something about it in Every state.
        I personally have never stopped in a truck only area and respect the truckies on the road. Let’s get this sorted once and for all.

    • We have been travelling for nearly four years with our caravan and there is no need to park in Truck Stops!!!! Truck drivers are working and haveto stop at certain times. Nomads have all the time in the world to plan their trip and find suitable stop overs.

  2. I’m pretty sure that if I were a truck driver and slowed intending to stay at my favourite overnight spot only to find it crammed with caravanners, I’d be annoyed too! I am a caravanner and try hard to consider other road users and people who frequent road side stops. Unfortunately, we do have to take into consideration those who think that they have a right to stop (and drive) where they please. (Those who leave their rubbish and other debris at road side stops is yet another issue!)

  3. Truck Only rest areas. You’re not a truck, don’t go in.
    Common sense.

  4. Yes definitely not enough rest stops or places to pull over and let people pass, let alone if you have to pull up quickly because something is falling off or broken. Lets not even start on the state of the Bruce highway.Stevo.

  5. Truckies seem to think that all rest areas are truck only. They are not.

  6. Never stay at a truck stop. Truckies are working and thats there areas. I do, however, stay in rest areas that allow caravans, and stay in show grounds or sports grounds. Yelgin rest stop in nsw is a good place to find people parking in truck bays. There is designated areas for both trucks and caravans and cars. Majority of people follow the rules but there is always the few that ruin it for everyone. The police should come around at night and fine all those in truck bays. End of story.

    • One of the best rest areas we have seen & regularly use is on the dreaded Bruce Highway. It is Waverly Ck about halfway between Rockhampton & Mackay.As you pull off the highway, it’s trucks to the right & cars & caravans to the left, simple. We have a 6.5t motorhome but still try to leave truck stops for trucks.

    • My sentiments exactly Rocket. Give all road based authorities the authority to issue on the spot fines to thos selfish self opinionated drivers of RVs and caravans whompark in truck only stops.
      I have been a truckies and I have travelled Australia extenselively over the past 20 years as a caravanner and an RV driver.
      I never pull into truck only stops. The state of roads, lack of roadside stops in some areas, or simply lamecexcuse that there was ‘no where else to park’s is not a reason for a non truck driver to use truck only spaces.
      The roads are being increasingly used by these selfish travellers as their own far too much.

  7. I suggest common courtesy should always apply but I’m confused as I’m sure other grey nomads are. A heavy vehicle is defined as 4.5t GVM or greater. My Land cruuser is 2.6t kerb weight, my 20ft van is 2.5t ATM so combined is greater than 4.5t so this means I’m allowed to use heavy vehicle rest stop? Or Not??.

    • Malcolm, you answered your own question- Heavy vehicles > 4.5 tonne GVM = Gross Vehicle Mass, not GCM- Gross Combination Mass. So, your car and van are not classified as a heavy vehicle. If it was classified as such you would have to enter heavy vehicle checking stations. So, no to using heavy vehicle rest bays!
      When I am caravanning, the last place I would want to stop for a sleep is in a heavy vehicle rest area- many trucks don’t stop for the whole night, so start up at all odd hours.
      On the flip side I have experienced having to squeeze a semi into a heavy vehicle rest area full of caravans, with barely a metre between vans and the truck. Who would want to be in a van when the truck starts up at 2 or 3 in the morning?

      • Many thanks for the clarification Paul. I’ve never stopped overnight at truck stops, preferring to stop in caravan parks but I do admit having occasionally stopped in truck stops for a short break, generally due to lack of alternatives. I’m guessing we need more rest stops, more common courtesy and better education, perhaps sign posting stating heavy vehicles only.

        • Malcolm, agree 100%, more courtesy, and better education is required. Also many more rest stops need to be built.
          In the heavy vehicle industry there are several people lobbying governments for improved rest areas and conditions- a huge task.
          Around the country there are some rest areas designated for heavy vehicles only and some for cars only. The majority of the signs state `rest area` and as others have mentioned here, stay up the back of them and leave plenty of room for the heavy vehicles.

      • Hi Paul what about motorhomes which are increasing in popularity some of these are like trucks large and heavy. They don’t have space issues unlike car and van.

        • David, Motor homes are a different story by their classification under various state transport regulations- basically, a motor home with GVM greater than 12 tonne is classified as a non fatigue regulated heavy vehicle, so there is no requirement to fill out a work diary ( log Book), however, there is a requirement to pull into heavy vehicle checking stations and , if directed to stop at roadside inspection points. Some checking stations have a sign saying ` heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonne ( or 8 tonne) must enter` , together with an open or closed sign. A few years ago I was driving a truck mounted 23 tonne GVM motor home and was pulled into inspection stations many times.
          Technically, a large motor home is a heavy vehicle, so if you wanted to split hairs, could stop in a heavy vehicle only bay, but why would you want to have your sleep disturbed by trucks coming and going all night?
          Happy Travelling!

    • so therefore you should be using a log book. same rules as the truckies.?

      • Log Books, or Work Diaries, ss they are now called, are to be used when driving a heavy vehicle for hire or reward.

      • Steve, not necessary to use a log book, as motor home is, by definition, a “ non fatigue regulated heavy vehicle”. Fatigue related heavy vehicles are those with GVM greater than 12 tonne. Some States consider a vehicle over 12 tonne GCM as being fatigue related, thus requiring log book to be filled out. This is straight out of the information pages in the log book, or work diary as they are know known. It MUST be registered as a motor home for this to apply, and there are concessions in cost compared to a truck. Some state transport depts have recently tightened up on their definitions of what qualifies as a motor home.

  8. Unless specifically signposted rest areas are NOT allowed to be used for overnight camping. Unfortunately many people who add rest areas to apps like WikiCamps identify them as (free) camping areas and I’m sure this is a major reason why many travellers camp there when they shouldn’t.

  9. A lot of roadhouses have truck parking areas along with trucker only dining areas. Truck drivers, knowing their start and end points and knowing the location of rest stops can plan their trip and where to stop. I myself usually have only a loose idea of where to overnight. It depends on when I start and how often and long I stop during the day. So I stop at the first suitable spot I reach after about 3 o’clock. I have seen some magnificient stopping areas, but there needs to be more of them, especially along the B roads. And what is the problem with the Bruce Highway? Compared to the Peninsula Development road or the Telegraph track it’s heaven.

  10. Allot of truck stops have dirt areas at the back off the main truck strip or dirt tracks leading back away from the road, the truckers don’t mind you parking there as long as it isn’t in their way. The truckers need to have priority in these areas.

  11. Well said Rocket hit them in pocket.

  12. If caravan parks would start to have reasonable prices we would use them but $40 plus can’t do

    • That is a big problem, CVparks are going up and up in price as they realise there are so many more people taking to the road. Stupid, if they reduced prices they would be full all year. These Parks have stopped me f fom travelling as I cannot afford the prices they are now charging, particularly as it has to come out of my pension. Impossible. One place I love to stay at north of Grafton, went from $23 to $38 overnight and afriend told me they were almost empty.
      I know reading is becomming a problem these days, but what is it that people don’t get when it says…trucks only !!!

  13. Caravans with toilets and showers don’t need caravan parks. It’s time to increase the size of the existing truck and rest stop bays. Time to increase the number of them 2 fold as also by car drivers they are often to far apart.

  14. Safety comes first. If you as a caravaner become fatigued, stop. ie. Find first safe place to pull over regardless of what it’s designation. No trucky or police officer is going to want you on the road in an unfit state. Regardless of designation of your chosen stop, adopt courtesy and park as far out of the way as possible. I don’t want truckies on the road fatigued so are prepared to accept them in my caravan rest area when no other more suitable option exists for them. Common sense, courtesy, no more “us-and-them”.

  15. A few years ago my husband and I pulled into a large unoccupied area atTarcutta in NSW, only to be awakened in the middle of the night to find we were surrounded by trucks! Needless to say, we couldn’t get out of there quick enough, and was a lesson to us to always make sure the stop we were at was for us and not for trucks!

  16. Running north west in roadtrains 20 years parking bays are not big enough for roadtrains and caravans and have no facillities . POLITICTIONS should get off their lazy fat asses and make parking bays big enough so all trucks and caravans can share and have facilities

  17. Works both ways. Just had 2 stops in “no truck” stop and had truck come in and rev for 20 mins then nearly crashed into van driving off at 2am! Also refrigeration unit pulling in at 3am and staying.

  18. Trucks are parking in caravan areas as well. Being a threat.

  19. Recently found the St Kilda Foreshore parking 2 is from the Spirit of Tasmania Port taken up by Winnibagos. They had it cordoned off. 1500 where meeting up in Tasmania. They banged on my window Norfork Rest area. Then called the Police. Who moved me on. It was a Winnibago Area or Grey Water Area. The goverment pays there fee over. They dominate Tassie. And hate Caravans or Those who sleep in their 4WDs as “they” are free to drive into Horbart and find a park . Then return
    They think that’s an unfair advantage. Caravan Parks only allow 6 weeks a year and are in consortium. State and Nation Parks only 6wks a year. Its $100 fine if you fall asleep in you’re car at Byron Bay. Dogs can only be 10kg. Shoulder and Peaks times up to $50 a note. The great Australian dream of driving and sleeping is dead. Fine for sleeping on the beach also

  20. Here is an interesting point.
    It is law in nearly every state and territory, except South Australia that you cannot camp overnight in a roadside rest area unless there is a sign permitting you to do so.
    So by being in a rest area where there is not a sign that permits an overnight stay, you are liable for any legal proceedings against you.
    Currently, there is a push by the Heavy Vehicle Industry to conduct a Federal Government inquiry into Road Transport Safety, including the lack of amount of Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas, and Rest Areas in general, needed and the unlawful use of them.
    Given that a Rest Area costs around $5 million to build, I am sure that strict law enforcement is on the cards to help raise the required revenue to pay for them

  21. Look who did the survey – what other outcome would you expect from that survey? – The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s. They have spent a great deal of time closing down freedom camping areas and limiting the number of showground sites for their own ends.

  22. Stuff the over priced rip off Caravan Parks. Australia is a huge country with billions of acres a valuable for free sleepovers. The government’s need to act.

  23. Unlike most rvers trucks stop different times of the day or night. A short stop for an rver can still be a hinderance for the truckie. DON’T STOP in truck areas.

  24. I never park up in the trucks only and some of the truck only rest areas are poor to say the least being dirt with a bin which RV’rs never stop in. Another thing that is annoying is the RV’rs with toilets that take up rest area’s with toilet making it hard for non toilet RV’rs to get a spot.

  25. Has anyone noticed that as we see more super highways being built around this country, there is no provision of rest areas? Very often old highways are torn up when they could be used for rest area bays at minimal cost! Between the north side of Brisbane and south to Beenleigh there is nowhere for vehicles to stop and rest if staying on the A1. The rest area at Yelgun in northern NSW has designated car/RV rest area & a huge “vehicles over 12T” rest area. When we needed to stop overnight, there were 48 cars/RV’s in the designated area for such vehicles. No-one got any ‘rest’ as we had to park so close together. Only 2 heavy vehicles parked in the appropriate area. Yes heavy vehicles should be given priority, but what about a bit of common sense allowing cars/RV’s to park in the heavy vehicle area as long as they stay out of the way of the trucks (and tolerate the associated air cons/fridges running as required)?? Is it Ok for car/RV owners to drive tired simply because they were trying to obey the rules in this rest area? About time adequate funding was included in budgets for more rest areas I think!

  26. We live on the road full time and free park as much as we can but there is no need to park in truck bays . These guys get fined hundreds of dollars for not able to have there rest times . It is about time cops start booking van for illegal parking and big bucks and points then that would start to stop the problem

  27. Our only concern is that we often don’t have enough room for our car and van – they are 18 metres, in the non-trickies rest areas. They need to be made bigger for big-rigs!

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