Elon Musk might want to do away with the entire trucking industry by building autonomous electric big rigs but for now, truckers make up an essential part of the global economy. Take a look around any house and just about every single piece of furniture, clothing, and food was, at some point, in a shipping container being pulled by a tractor-trailer.
Trucking is a hard profession that takes its toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. Long stretches of road and days, if not weeks, away from family and friends can be challenging for just about anyone. But out on the road, the truck stop is an oasis of amenities that truckers rely on day in and day out.
Truck stops have earned a questionable reputation in popular culture, to be sure, but truckers know that truck stops have secrets the rest of the world won't understand.
15 On-Site Chiropractic Adjustments
Driving a big rig all day every day can be seriously taxing on the body. Most semi drivers aren't doing themselves any favors with their choices of food and lack of exercise, either. It should be no surprise that back problems are common in this profession, though it may be a slight surprise to learn that many truck stops have a chiropractor on-site to help out with the pain.
Much like a chiropractic session can help out with some of the physical pain that long-haul truckers endure, a good massage definitely helps ease those aches and pains, as well. Many truck stops offer massage services, though the sign above may be for a type of rubdown that only a select clientele base will enjoy.
13 Barber Shops
Truck drivers spend most of their lives on the road, so taking care of the necessities becomes a part of their routine. While there might not be many people to impress on the long-haul circuit, plenty of truckers find time to get their haircuts in at truck stops, so barbers and barbershops are actually pretty common.
12 "Dubious" Parking Lots
Truckers hate having to go anywhere that's a tight squeeze for their trucks. Not only do small parking lots present problems and raise stress levels, but there's a greater chance of silly car drivers causing problems, as well. Truck stop parking lots are famous for lots of dubious behavior, but parking in them is a luxury that truckers will take up at every opportunity.
Anyone who has gone on a long road trip knows that somehow, driving for ten or twelve hours straight can lead to a lot of perspiration and surprisingly dirty clothes. Truckers don't have time to swing by the laundromat nearest their destination, though; they've got a time table to keep to. For this reason, laundry services are very common at truck stops.
10 Rewards Points
Credit card commercials on television seem to be in a constant battle to prove which company is willing to offer the best cashback or points deals. Much like gas station-affiliated credit cards, many truck stops offer rewards points to drivers who frequent their facilities. And given all the money that truckers spend at truck stops, those points can add up quite quickly.
Truck stops offer truck washes and laundry service to clean trucks and clothes, respectively, so they definitely have to offer showers to clean the men and women who live in the trucks and wear the clothes. While showering at a truck stop may sound scary to many average drivers, many trucks stops actually have surprisingly clean facilities—and even offer free showers with large gasoline purchases.
8 Dental Services
Truck stops have to offer just about every form of maintenance that humans and machines have to deal with. Much like changing the oil, cleaning out the air filters, or topping off a truck's coolant, truckers have to take care of their bodies in the same way. Dentists may not be the most common sight at truck stops but there are enough out there on the roads that truckers can keep their pearly whites as clean as their trucks.
The stereotypical image of truckers as slovenly slobs comes from a very real subset of the population. But plenty of truckers take care of their bodies or, at the very least, perform just enough maintenance to keep aches and pains away. Many truck stops now have gyms for those truckers who feel the urge to get a few reps in before sitting in the driver's seat for hours on end.
6 Postal Services
Going to the post office is a bland enough waste of time even for average people who drive tiny cars. Now, imagine trying to make time to get to the post office while having to maneuver through town in a huge truck. Truckers still need to pay bills and post mail, though, so many truck stops offer postal services, as well.
At certain truck stops in certain locations, big rig drivers can be tempted to try their luck at games in casinos. Slot machines are the most common attraction, though, since setting up some no-limit Texas hold 'em might require a little too much in the way of logistics. Given the wages most truckers earn, though, gambling is probably not a great way to spend downtime.
4 Free Audiobooks
The long stretches of road that crisscross the globe can get pretty tedious—especially when you're a trucker who has driven the same route hundreds of times before. There's only so much music anyone can listen to, also, and audiobooks can help pass the time quite well. Many truck stops offer free audiobooks to truckers, ranging from educational content to the latest hot thriller.
3 Cash Discounts
There are probably still plenty of old people out there who carry cash on hand to buy gasoline in town, though millennials would never take the time to do so. But most gas stations, especially out in the middle of nowhere, offer cash discounts. For truckers, who often buy hundreds of gallons of gas at a time, cash discounts are a big-time must.
2 Family Activities
One thing many average drivers don't realize about truck stops is that they're not just for truckers. Anyone can pull into a truck stop for a quick break from the tedium of driving, to grab a bite of food, or to use the facilities. While the idea may sound a little like slumming, truck stops are often better equipped than average gas stations in the middle of nowhere.
Truckers often have to drive across long stretches of barren wasteland, devoid of human civilization and, even worse, cell reception. Keeping in touch with friends and family can be a challenge out on the road, so many truck stops offer free wifi for anyone who stops in for a rest.
Sources: Wikipedia, Digital Bookmobile, and Wilson Post.