The Importance of Rest Areas

Caravanner and RV users in comparison to truck drivers have abundantly more options available to them in regard to fatigue management and where they choose to stop and rest.

Unfortunately, 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 they could have pre-planned and found a caravan park or one of the many designated areas being provided by councils and towns.

The Co-Exist website is designed to educate, inform and encourage caravanners / RV users to consider pre-planning their rests-stops and fatigue management.  The majority of Australians want and intend to do the ‘right thing’ and hopefully keeping this message ‘front of mind’ will remind us that Co-Existing supports safety, our economy and our truck drivers.

This is not to say that caravanners / RV users cannot and should not use rest stops if needed but additionally, many RV users don’t always use rest stops in either a safe manner or in the way that rest stops were intended to be used.  Examples include not following the posted signs, thereby blocking areas designated for heavy vehicle drivers or forcing heavy vehicle drivers to unnecessarily reverse their vehicles or manoeuvre around the parking area.  Another issue is the parking of RVs in rest stops for far longer than they were envisaged to be used.

Rod Hannifey explains the need to share road side parking bays and their facilities among caravaners, campers and heavy vehicles.  Watch this video for some helpful tips and hints on how we can all better CO-Exist and make the roads a safer and happier place.

We would like to acknowledge and credit Whiteline Television as the creator of the videos in conjunction with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle road safety initiative.  We appreciate their support and believe Working collaboratively is in the best interest of road and public safety and seeks to reduce competing messages and advise.

23 Responses to “The Importance of Rest Areas”

  1. Maureen K says:

    Maybe more signage needs to be put up telling everyone that they need to park so everyone can get in and out when they need to. Common sense will not work anymore, Need a sign for everything.
    Even a sign saying this area is for Semi Trailers and other travellers so Caravaners and other travellers know that the rest area is be shared with big trucks and all hopefully will think before parking.

  2. Ger says:

    Great information – not only do we have insufficient rest areas but I have noticed that most are positioned where there is absolutely no shade available in W Australia. Given Australia’s excessive heat there is no way these rest areas are suitable to stop for a quick nap while in your motor vehicle in the middle of the day, given the excessive heat build up within a couple of minutes – even with the air con operating. I make a couple of long road trips per year with animals in the car with me and have been forced to continue driving until a suitable SHADED rest area in the next remote country town has been located (and even these are few and far between).
    I beleive this is a major factor in our country road fatalities. Until we get smart, plan, provide or locate cooler, shaded parking areas for motor vehicle travellers – country road deaths will continue. No matter how well you plan your trip, travel tiredness can and does strike at any time. My trips are planned that I reach my destination lunch time, early afternoon but even with this on the odd occassion I have still been caught out tired after multiple hours of driving. Rest stops should not just be viewed as somewhere to stop for an overnight rest. Road statistics may prove that country road accidents caused by tiredness are not only occurring overnight but can and do occur in daylight hours, early to late afternoons.

  3. JOHN CARPANI says:

    Terrific video Rod I have not started the grey nomad experience as yet but researching all facets of travelling and equipment certainly will remember your points of sharing rest areas.

  4. Steve Wright says:

    Love your work there Rod. Simple, to the point, great examples with the vehicles’ positioning’s and totally iced via your WANT TO WORK with the Caravaners+. If there’s any petitions going around that need signing to present to Government in respect to more and better serviced “Rest Areas” then, you’ve got my authorisation to place my name on it. Happy driving and all the best.

  5. Anne says:

    There is definitely a shortage of rest stops. We found NSW to have quite a lot and most of them with plenty of room for trucks and caravans to share. Victoria on the other hand has very few. We have travelled much of this state and nearly always have to find somewhere in a town to rest. Which means there is also very few places to pull in and check your load or your caravan. That becomes a safety issue. We need more, larger Rest stops. We need caravanners to read the signs. We need them to be considerate of trucks and park as far out of their way as possible. As for caravan parks when your travelling, they are expensive and most of them require booking in. It’s not always possible to plan your trip that well and really, Who wants to go to caravan parks or can afford to go to caravan parks every night.?

  6. Ray Beard says:

    It would be money well spent if the Gov’t would air these videos on the telly. The occasional inconsiderate truckie is far outnumbered by car drivers who don’t know,;some don’t seem to care, just how hard they can make it for the truck driver who is just trying to do his job. I surprised many a caravan combo by having a polite conversation. Works wonders, and both drivers feel better for it! A simple “thank you” can mean a lot. Some car drivers/van towers, are dead scared of trucks. A polite request can make all the difference. It does work both ways. Just another grey nomad these days, getting a look at the other side.

  7. Tom says:

    Well said Rod. We travel in a motorhome & being an ex-driver know the importance of a good nights sleep. We recently stopped overnight at New Italy, NSW, in front of the tourist building which is well off the road. Without exaggeration, 80% of the trucks travelling north & south blasted their horns as they passed. This behaviour does not ensure that RV’ers & caravaners get a reasonable rest. The lady in the cafe told us next morning that this has been going on for years. If you believe this is a bit far fetched Rod, please take a trip to this place & spend the night there. I’m sure you will be surprised .

  8. Leslie Jessen says:

    Yes its not that hard, simply call up a yruckie on Ch 40 and ask what they would like to do when overtaking. Certainly dont slow down until the truck has pulled out and beside you, then let the driver know either on the radio or light flash. Happy vanning

  9. Vic Blizzard says:

    Well done Rod. We really need to get this message out. As a NEWBY caravaner, I am totally aware that many caravaners are completely ignorant of the requirements of large trucks and their drivers. It is not just truck stops that cause angst. Caravaners traveling in a convoy, below the posted speed limit and without allowing enough distance between them to enable trucks to safely overtake is another issue.
    What I have found int trying to plan our upcoming trip in Queensland is that it is very difficult to research overnight stops. Where possible, we will use caravan parks, showgrounds etc. However, some distances between our planned stops are more than we wish to make in a day and it would be extremely beneficial for our local councils and state governments to produce a publication, preferably something digital that one could refer to when looking for these stops.
    Keep up the good work Rod; we need more education for all drivers.
    Safe vanning-safe trucking and our authorities need to recognise the benefits of providing more and better-planned rest stops.

  10. David Laing says:

    Thanks Rod, very useful info. Noting that 2021 will be exacerbated with the limit on overseas travel resulting in more road users. More explanatory signs to designate parking locations for vans and trucks would help as many of us, me included, do not understand the dynamics of handling large trucks, some with several trailers.

  11. Ken Fox says:

    I Fail to understand why our motoring organisations are not pressuring government to provide Dedicated Parking Ares for Caravanners and Private Motorists similar to those provided for Truck Drivers. All motorists suffer from fatigue and deserve safe off-highway parking/rest areas between service facilities.

  12. Glenn Boyd says:

    Hi, In the top video, you stated that caravaners need to co-exist with trucks, but it displayed no place for an alternative spot to park. You just placed a big red circle over caravans parked in the wrong spot. It would have been better ,if you also showed a caravan in an acceptable parking bay , with a big tick over it. You showed were we CAN’T park. Please show us where we CAN park.

  13. Russue says:

    We travel long trips, with our caravan, around Australia. With us is an ap on our phones, that helps us find stopovers, so to avoid truck stops. We know and respect the needs of truckies to rest properly, we also need that. So, caravanners, pre plan stops, it works, and everyone’s happy.

  14. David John Philips says:

    Having recently completed an approx 6,000 km trip from Brisbane to Port Douglas, then to Normanton and back to Brisbane via Longreach in a 6m Motorhome, I am appalled at not only the lack of suitable Rest Areas but the condition of the National Highway 1 and roads to Tourist places. Once you get into outback Queensland the road becomes just a strip of bitumen wide enough for one vehicle, and many trucks and caravans do use this route. I can’t believe in the 21st Century such lousy roads still exist. What has the Govt. been doing with our taxes? We travelled from Mt. Surprise to Einasleigh and Forsayth then back up to Georgetown to see the Copperffield and Cobbold Gorges but the road (if you could call it that) was nothing more than continuous corrugations that shook the **** out of us and everything inside the MH. With the REST STOPS, so many are nothing more than a spot where you could pull over and conceivably check any load you were towing (I wasn’t towing anything) but they are nothing more than that; no off-road parking area, just a strip of bitumen on the side of the road. Many proper Rest Areas are inadequately signed and you don’t see them until you are right on them and it’s too late; many also don’t have facilities or any shade and are sometimes 100m km apart. I saw some excellent ones in northern NSW earlier in the year which have excellent facilities, grassed areas with BBQ facilities and even a children’s play area. That is what ALL Rest Areas should be like. Yes, it costs money to make these but it is money well spent if (and I am sure it would) it helps reduce the road toll. It should be the job of a National body to build and maintain rest areas, not up to states and local councils. As to caravaners taking up spots that make it difficult or even impossible for heavy vehicles to safely pull up for driver rest, I think much of it is simply a lack of education on the caravaner’s part. However, signs telling them where to park to allow heavy vehicles to safely pull in wouldn’t go amiss. There is much that can be done to make the roads a safer place for everyone and Rest Areas is just one of them. I have also experienced the inconsiderate truck drivers who like to blast their horns as they pass Rest Areas where people are trying to get some sleep. To those few inconsiderate drivers, take your horn and shove it up your ****!

  15. Gerd Mosch says:

    if you show respect to the trucks they are very respectful to you I had a flat tyre on my van in a tight spot and a few trucks have stopped and asked if I need any help one would not take a no for an answer and did help me. What a gentleman

  16. Peter Garlick says:

    Hi Rod,
    Thanks for the insight into truck drivers pulling into rest areas in the middle of the night.

    I’m considering the grey nomad life and hadn’t thought about the possibility of several trucks pulling into a rest area late at night.

    I will most certainly keep your comments in the fore of my mind when using rest areas.

  17. Roz says:

    Maybe simple signage “Caravans/RVs park to left” or whatever is appropriate for the area would help? As caravanners for only 4 years we do our best to assist truckers (our son is one) but still cop occasional abuse from a trucker who hasn’t communicated with us prior to the abuse. It works both ways.

  18. fran smith says:

    Too many selfish people. They only think of number one – no consideration for other campers or road users!

  19. John Staker says:

    Unfortunately toilet breaks are a necessary thing at times so the first spot we come to that I can stop, is where I stop. However I always pull up as best I can to not limit a truck pulling in, even though my stop there is only a few minutes. “When ya gotta go, you gotta go”!

  20. Mika says:

    We recently spent 10 weeks traveling around SA. So many towns provide a free or very low cost RV stop. It’s usually a couple of acres or a recreation ground. Some with just a rubbish bin, some with water and a toilet nearby. These are a fantastic idea for those who don’t have the funds nor the inclination stay at expensive caravan parks. (Which usually require you to book in advance, pay around $45 per night and then unhitch even for just an overnight stop).
    If the councils allowed more of these places instead of listening only to the caravan parks who claim they are losing money, there might be less caravans and motorhomes trying to stop in truck bays. And FYI, we live near a main interstate highway and it isn’t caravans we see parked in the middle of truck rest bays, it’s motorhomes and campers and often cars. Right in the middle instead of at one end.
    No wonder truckers get frustrated!

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