Fuel for Thought

No Wake Zone

By Greg Huggins
Posted Feb 14th 2023 6:26AM

Anyone that has been in a boat on a lake or river has no doubt seen the No Wake Zone signs and buoys when approaching a docking area. These are there to let boaters know to slowly ease into the dock area so as to not create a wake that would otherwise rock all the other already docked vessels violently against the dock. 

Perhaps truckers could use a similar sign at the entrance to truck stop parking lots. A No Wake Zone, as in a No Unmuffled Jake Brake Zone to help control some of the unnecessary noises in the parking lot. All too often some son of a gun will roll into the parking lot in the middle of the night, spouting off loudly at the exhaust. I understand the purpose of having such a brake yet I cannot see any reason to need to use it at what should be a low speed in a parking lot. Sure, use it when you exit the interstate and have to descend a steep off ramp. Why would you need to use it in a parking lot? Either you are traveling too fast in the parking lot and need to use it or you just want to announce your highness’ presence. Either way, it is unnecessary and quite annoying to everyone else in the parking lot who might be trying to get some much needed rest. There is quite enough noise in truck stop parking lots from idling trucks, reefer trailers and APUs running, no one needs to hear your unmuffled cry for attention. That’s all it can be. A “Hey everyone, look at me” sound. Whether you cannot drive the proper speed and need to use a Jake brake in a parking lot to avoid hitting someone or something (“Hey everyone look at me… the idiot”) or you just want to make everyone look at your new chrome or new lights (Hey everyone look at me… the narcissist”), the other drivers would most likely prefer that you treat the parking lot like a quiet zone or a No Wake Zone. You do not need to announce your arrival or your departure to the parking lot. Although in the case of your loud departure, we are glad when you are gone.

How about a little courtesy for your fellow drivers? Many of you have already figured out who these culprits are, since new trucks all have muffled Jake brakes. If your truck only sounds like a downshift when you apply your Jake Brake, this is not directed at you. To those who feel the need to use Unmuffled Jake Brakes in truck stop parking lots, could you just slow down and use your service brakes or trailer brakes? If you just want someone to look at your truck, it can be seen in the morning light after drivers have had a good night's rest. 

An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.

- Walter Bagehot

See you down the road,