Over 1.5 million tractor-trailer drivers will power across US highways this year, delivering groceries, building materials and specialized freight. Interstate rest stops and rest areas play a large part in maintaining trucker and overall highway safety. A well-rested commercially licensed driver is more apt to avoid accidents. Alert and rapid response is imperative when an “office” on wheels weighs 80,000 pounds.
Unsurprisingly, OTE’s rest area supervisors interact with commercial drivers on a regular basis. The Ontario rest area is no exception—it is a popular stopping point for truckers to grab a catnap and stretch their “cab legs” since it is conveniently located near the state line.
Recently, OTE’s Director of Rest Area Operations, David Patton, found an exercise weight on one of the Ontario rest area picnic tables. Patton looked around to see if he could find the owner and noticed a man working out nearby.
“I found out this man was a trucker from Minnesota who likes to stop at our rest area and get out of his truck to exercise,” says Patton. “He performs a variety of low-impact cardio-style steps and stretches. He especially likes our rest area since truck plazas don’t usually provide dedicated exercise areas. He also has asthma and said that when it’s cold outside, our bathrooms have enough space for him to do his stretches and high-leg lifts. He mentioned how confining the interior of the truck cab can be on long-hauls.”
The conversation with the trucker seemed to synthesize something for Patton.
“Right before my encounter with the exercising trucker, we had one of our weekly OTE rest area conference calls. Rest Area Administrator Heather Swanson was leading the meeting and led off with something called ‘Stretch and Flex.’ She gave us all some easy exercises to practice and one of the handouts was titled ‘Stretches for the Professional Truck Driver.’”
During his encounter with the trucker Patton says “The light came on for me! I realized I had a copy of the exercise tips and asked the trucker if he was interested in a copy. He was genuinely surprised that I would print one out for him, saying, ‘Really? You would do that for me?’”
“As we walked back to my office, the trucker told me that ‘certain people meet for a reason,’ and went on to say how he thinks Oregon Travel Experience is doing wonderful things for truckers, including us taking the time to talk with him. I showed him the location of other OTE rest areas on the map and encouraged him to stop and chat with our supervisors along the way.”
Patton’s visit with the health-conscious trucker has spurred him to consider other ways that OTE can meaningfully connect with commercial drivers. “I’m thinking about constructing some kind of information board aimed at the trucking industry. We could post tips similar to the exercise instructions, or whatever else might be helpful,” Patton says.
OTE’s rest area supervisors are key to providing front-line services for thousands of commercial truckers and private automobiles traveling Oregon highways. Rest area supervisors play an important role in OTE’s quest for excellence in public service. Director of Operations Patton is no exception to the excellence rule—his contributions are not only appreciated by truckers but by all motorists lucky enough to stop at OTE’s Ontario rest area.
To find out where Oregon Travel Experience supervised rest areas and rest stops are located, visit the rest area map page.
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