View Full Version : Motorway services

28-10-2013, 23:30
I don't know if any of you have had the same problem; but I have found in difficult to park in many of the motorway service areas! It is sometimes quite difficult getting into the car parking area; and even more difficult to find a place to park! I just managed to find a gap with two spaces at M1 Leicester Forest recently; but sometimes entry and exits can be difficult; and it can be a worry on occasions! I often wonder if it would be ok to park in the coach park area; but parking is a bit abigous in service areas of motorways! Any ideas or advice on motorway service area parking?

28-10-2013, 23:49
We had a transit van which would fit into car parking spaces but we always parked with the lorries :wave:

29-10-2013, 00:35
Always park with the lorries , as long as u don't roll the canopy out with table&chair coffe book BQ, then no one will bother u .

29-10-2013, 05:41
Why are you trying to park in the Car Section anyway ?

Go to either the HGV or the Car & Caravan area and you won`t have any problems plus access will be easy.

A lot of the Motorway Services do not like you parking in the Coach area because they tend to be close to the main building and designed for Coaches.

The reason the bays are on an angle is so that when the passengers get off the coaches they alight straight onto the footpath and then into the building.

The last thing they want is for 50+ people aimlessly wandering about like little lost sheep all over the parking area.

29-10-2013, 11:28
I would advise not to park a Motorhome in the coach bays...It really irritates the coach drivers (ex-coach driver) and can create a danger. As explained above the coach bays are designed to be easier for reversing out and near the building for safety reasons...young people desperate for a toilet break tend to forget about road safety.

John Thompson
29-10-2013, 11:51
Why are you trying to park in the Car Section anyway ?

I was advised by Moto not to park a Motorhome in with the HGVs because they carry dangerous loads. I was told it was not permitted to park Motorhomes in the Coach parking area (It would be clamped). Motorhomes should be parked in the car parking area.

When I gave them my vehicle dimension's they replied.

I should use the dedicated bays for Caravans where provided. When I queried what to do if they were full they were at a loss to give advice and advised moving on to the next service area.

The signage for the Caravan parking area is often very sparse and you could finish up back on the motorway trying to find it.

Department for Transport Guidance to Motorway Services operators
DfT Circular 01/2008
Department for Transport
Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR


62. Picnic areas are attractive to many drivers who would like to stop and take a break without leaving the motorway but who prefer to bring their own food rather than purchase it. All new MSAs and MRAs are required to provide picnic areas.

Requirements for motorway rest areas
73. A facility designated as a Rest Area must be open for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
and provide the following facilities:
• free parking for up to two hours for all types of vehicle at half the level required
for MSAs (see Annex B);
• free toilets and hand-washing facilities for all road users, with no obligation to
make a purchase (see Annex B);
• parent/carer and child facilities containing baby-changing amenities;
• access to a signed, free, private breastfeeding area;
• access to a cash-operated telephone (card phones alone will not suffice);
• a free picnic area (meeting the criteria set out at paragraphs 64 and 65 above);
• free play area for children;
• the site must also comply with all current and future equality legislation.
74. Access must be permitted for up to two hours for those carrying out emergency repairs
to broken down vehicles.

Parking for disabled travellers
79. Parking bays for disabled users of all types of vehicle should be located in close proximity
to the main entrance of the amenity building.

Parking for caravans, motorhomes and other light vehicles towing trailers
81. Parking for caravans/motorhomes and other light vehicles towing trailers should not be
located within the HGV parking area. A safe walking route from the parking area to the
amenity building should be provided. Further, the parking area should not be situated
such that manoeuvres cause a safety issue for other customers (see paragraphs 45 and
46). Parking bays should be laid out in a drive-through pattern so that caravan,
motorhome and light vehicle trailer towing drivers are not required to reverse to exit.
82. A minimum of two parking bays suitable for caravans/motorhomes and other light
vehicles towing trailers should be situated close to the amenity building for the
convenience of disabled users of such vehicles (see Annex B).
83. Operators may provide overnight parking facilities for caravans and motorhomes.
Facilities for the supply of fresh water, electrical hook-up and the disposal of foul and grey water may also be provided.
However, caravans and motorhomes should not be
permitted to stay on site for more than a maximum of twelve hours.
84. Operators are also expected to provide parking for vehicles towing all types of trailer
(including horseboxes and trailer tents).

HOWEVER the crunch comes that these are may, not must, provision and that if the operators do not consider there to be a demand they need not provide facilities. It's what they call "hands off government"

There is only one MSA with a Toilet dump, no drinking water available . Another provides a drinking water tap on the services and a toilet dump at the campsite it also owns. That is the UK provision for Motorhome visitors.

29-10-2013, 12:04
Considering they charge £25 now for lorry parking over 2 hrs, one wonders who on this forum would pay what they would ask for EHU, water and waste facilities.:rolleyes:

29-10-2013, 13:26
We usually go into the picnic areas anyway, car or van. They tend to be less crowded & we don't want to eat or dring in an M-way services café. Cook a quick meal (ignore the "no cooking" nonsense as they don't stop people lighting cigarettes out in the open) cup of tea or coffee, walk the mutt & on we go.

29-10-2013, 13:43
It depends on the van.

If you have a small van under about 6.0 metres, less than 3.5 tonnes, they expect you to park with the cars.

If bigger than that it will have to go with lorries or caravans.

The bit about dangerous loads and lorries is bollox; they are just trying to fob you off. I have parked with lorries or caravans if car park is very busy. Never had a problem so far, and if I did, I'd be prepared to challenge them that it wasn't possible to park with the cars and I needed a break.

You have to sidestep the red tape and take it straight to them!

29-10-2013, 13:54
As a coach driver i'd say park with the lorries as they have much more space usually but as a motorhomer i wouldnt....dangerous loads and it usually stinks as they open the cab door to pee in the night! Let common sense prevail! I was driving a coach into the small Scotch Corner coach park to find it full....5 coaches 2 motorhomes and a caravan. The motorhomers kindly up sticks and left making room for my coach (it got hilarious as while i was waiting patiently for them to vacate another caravan came in and considered gong in the space being made for me).

29-10-2013, 14:19
Not really sure what all the fuss is about, I just head for the area marked 'Caravans'. Never had a problem. My Hymer is 7.0m long and I wouldn't dream of parking anywhere near a car driver, who tend to just 'arrive' and not bother parking neatly. As for the HGV park, there is a very high percentage of Eastern Block drivers let loose on our roads, and in many cases driving English trucks. Many of these HGV drivers have gained their licence by driving a tractor and trailer on a farm or similar in their own country, and standards leave an awful lot to be desired! Many of these are working through Agencies, and providing they have some form of licence their abilities remain largely unchecked, until of course they have an accident, which is when the questions tend to be asked.
This may be a good time to also remind everybody not to cruise alongside a foreign truck.... wait until there is room to overtake completely and then go for it, if you are running along by his side you may be in his 'blind spot' making yourself very vunerable if he decides to pull out.

Regards Rog

29-10-2013, 14:26
This may be a good time to also remind everybody not to cruise alongside a foreign truck.... wait until there is room to overtake completely and then go for it, if you are running along by his side you may be in his 'blind spot' making yourself very vunerable if he decides to pull out.

Regards Rog

I never did understand why people do that. With LHD trucks it is a disaster waiting to happen. I like a good stopping distance (especially if I have a nutter in my boot) & like to either overtake & pull in if traffic is reasonable. If it's 3 lanes nose to tail, I try to drive so that I have a space on either side to pull into if there is a crash. You can only do this by slowing down a little to drop behind the car in the outer (or inner) lane. At least in the slow lane, there is always the hard shoulder for dodging into if there is a crash just in front of you. So many people seem to assume that the traffic will just always keep going - which, of course it does MOSTLY!

29-10-2013, 14:30
This may be a good time to also remind everybody not to cruise alongside a foreign truck.... wait until there is room to overtake completely and then go for it, if you are running along by his side you may be in his 'blind spot' making yourself very vunerable if he decides to pull out.

Regards Rog

Which is why, for a time, the authorities at Dover Ferry Port were giving away free fresnel type screens to affix on their nearside (but our offside when driving of the left)) to foregin lorries arriving here so that they would be more aware of us when we were overtaking them. Mind you, they drive so fast (ignoring speed limits) that it's hard to overtake them, so I suppose they don't really need any visual aids for driving on UK roads!

Which reminds me: Why don't the authorities here check if foreign lorries have their beams deflected for driving in the UK?

29-10-2013, 14:39
With van and car with trailer we have parked in an out of the way spot in truckers area. I have asked truck drivers if its ok and they are normally pleased that we have been thoughtful of them manoeuvring but never object.


29-10-2013, 14:42
Constantly amazes me the amount of drivers that site in blind spots, some wouldn't have even checked if it a LHD.

29-10-2013, 14:57
I have never understood why cars insist on sitting on your offside rear wheel in the middle lane and force you to break or go into the back of the vehicle in front. I thought the two outer lanes were for overtaking.

29-10-2013, 15:41
My VW California (T5) fits into a car space but since some b*stard scratched it badly on the services South of the Lake District last year, I always park in the caravan or coach spaces, or slap bang in the middle of two car spaces if there isn't a spare space in either of the first two categories (I wouldn't ever take the last one). I just don't trust lorry drivers to avoid non-lorries, especially as we're now blessed by ones from the outer reaches of the EU empire with dubious qualifications and/or lack of experience on our roads. In case you think I'm being nasty, last autumn I followed a Slovakian lorry which turned right off a major road and drove on the right of a smaller road for quite a way - my hooting and flashing behind didn't get any reaction, but another lorry coming straight at him did!

29-10-2013, 17:32

29-10-2013, 17:55
I usually go for the car park as my van is only small - unfortunately I can only do that when there is no height barrier.

2nd option if available ( not all MSAs have them!) is the caravan area - but often this is full in summer.

Final choice is the lorry park - preferably not near any lorries.

When I towed a caravan, I have been known to park in coach area in preference to the lorry park providing it isn't busy. One services in particular it is a long and dangerous walk from the lorry area to the facilities, especially in the dark - not good if you have kids with you.

29-10-2013, 19:01
I take your point Dave but unfortunately Driving Instructors these days appear to only be teaching pupils how to pass the Driving Test and not how to drive. It therefore follows that they are not trained to the same exacting standards as airline pilots. As you say, a half decent driver would try to be in control of the whole situation. but I was referring to the point in the situation where you know you have lost control and without thinking instinct takes over.
By the way, hope you and yours are keeping well.

Regards Rog

29-10-2013, 22:47
I learned the hard way about the LHD drive HGV problem. 4 lanes of traffic on a busy morning all doing about 60 mph coming up to the Thelwall Viaduct on the M6. I was in the second lane slowly passing the traffic to the left. Just cleared the HGV to my left and the next thing I know the back end of the car has a life of its own. I ended up doing 60 backwards in front of the HGV that had tried to pull out.

It was a Honda Prelude which is very low. Caused a massive traffic jam. I was on Sally Traffic! Always try to speed past them now but its not always possible in conditions like that.

As for motorway service stations. Avoid them like the plague. If I have to stop in the van Ill pull off the motorway completely and find a village or quiet bit of road.

Older Gurna
29-10-2013, 22:48
Also not sure 'bout this......Last time the 'avoiding instinct' happened, a L/R Disco pulled out from Her Drive, on a bend, right in front of Me......brakes on hard as pos. & instinct was to steer away...........to the right. (Still hit her tho'....)

John Thompson
03-11-2013, 10:01
Considering they charge £25 now for lorry parking over 2 hrs, one wonders who on this forum would pay what they would ask for EHU, water and waste facilities.:rolleyes:

The Services on the M25 charge £5 to Motorhomes to dump their toilet waste. Coaches over 25 seats FOC. No Drinking water available.

I have not had a reply about the dump point at the Chanel Tunnel Services on the M20.

There is no charge as far as I am aware to get drinking water from the services at Tebay on the M6. They also have a campsite available with full services accessible from the services but not part of it. This company is also opening the new services on the M5 at Gloucester and are aware of the needs for motorhome dump points and drinking water.

03-11-2013, 10:19
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