You know those times that you are traveling with your family or you are on a business trip and you have to find a bathroom NOW? You gotta go! If you are in an area you aren’t familiar with, it becomes a guessing game where the cleanest and quickest place to stop is.
Put yourself in a 75 ~ 80′ tractor and trailer. We can’t just wheel into the next convenience store and park at the door. We not only have to find a truck-friendly location but we have to park – sometimes quite a way from the door. And many times it gets to be a mad bathroom waddle to just make it in the door. But it’s life (just not the easiest).
Restrooms aren’t just a challenge to find while driving down an interstate, but they have become difficult for drivers while parked waiting for hours at a shipper or receiver. Prior to COVID we were faced with quite a few restrooms that were less than desired in cleanliness. And a few shippers and receivers used porta-potties with the dreaded unknown of what was behind the door.
No matter what season and what the weather, many times we had no choice. Since the COVID pandemic and its restrictions, restrooms have been shut down at 80% of shippers and receivers to drivers while we wait crazy long hours at their docks.
A few weeks ago I waited 7.5 hours to unload pinto beans. There was one porta-potty for 17 trucks waiting to be unloaded. That meant there were 16 other drivers needing a bathroom along with me. At 19 degrees and winds that knocked me off my feet, I still chose to wait more than 7.5 hours before facing the cold plastic seat and howling winds of the portable throne.
Those of us waiting and killing time shared our stories from across the country. The lack of facilities has become the “new normal” in today’s world of shipping and delivery. The sad part was that none of us could come up with any other ideas to rectify the problem other than that the shippers and receivers should have to provide drivers with clean, adequate and heated restrooms! But we know sadly this will never happen. They don’t have to!
Another big red flag is the type of bathrooms being provided…and their cleanliness, especially with so many drivers using facilities behind each other. We live being pounded with messages to wash your hands, don’t touch surfaces and don’t touch your face, wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart … blah blah blah. The restrooms we use could very well be some of the biggest culprits of transferring germs that we are being warned about and that people get sick from. (Not to mention that they look like something out of a horror film.)
The next issue is asking and expecting us to wait hours to use the restroom and the health concerns that presents. As drivers, we are at the mercy of the industry that once sought to work alongside us, not against us. What’s happened to those days? This is how it feels when it has now come to something as simple as using the restroom!
Careful where you potty and hopefully it isn’t a porta -potty!!