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Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Stay Safe at Truck Stops

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By Jim McCormack

Staying safe at Truck Stops

Driving a truck as a profession can be fraught with peril, and many times it comes in the form of accidents caused by fatigue or poor preparation.  Even the most seasoned of drivers can fall prey to the dangers of the road, not the least of which can be found in truck stops.  When you pull over for a rest break, you may find clean, well-lit, and properly maintained (and stocked) facilities frequented by friendly patrons.  But these are few and far between.  You are much more likely to stop in a remote area that could best be described as shady, peopled by scary characters who might just as soon steal your truck as shake your hand.  But if you practice proper safety precautions, you can come out of a truck stop relieved (in more ways than one) and ready to get back on the road.

1.       Double check the parking brake.  This is especially important if you’re going to be doing any maintenance on your truck.  If your eighteen wheels start rolling when you’re not behind the wheel, you’re going to be hard pressed to stop it.  And it can easily roll right over you (or others) before running into an object solid enough to bring it to a halt (causing even more damage).  So check and double check the brake before you exit the cab.

2.       Lock up valuables. Don’t leave any part of your truck unlocked when you leave it and be sure to keep valuables (cash or other items) in a separate lock box hidden somewhere in the cab.  It couldn’t hurt to have some kind of alarm system, as well, to let you know if someone is tampering with your rig.

3.       Be confident and alert. Don’t act nervous or people will suspect you have something valuable that you don’t have the means to protect.  Instead, carry yourself confidently as if you have nothing to worry about.  Bullies are less likely to pick on someone who looks like they could hold their own in a scuffle (or like they know something that tip the outcome of such an encounter in their favor).  And keeping track of what is going on around you could help you to avoid an undesirable situation in the first place.

4.       Carry protection. This statement can be taken any number of ways (and probably should be), but it always pays to have some pepper spray on hand.  Remote truck stops could be frequented by wildlife, and there is always the chance that someone wants to jack your truck (or just mug you).  So keep some spray on your keychain and keep your keychain in your hand any time you’re away from your truck.  It will stop anything from a mountain lion to a gang of hoodlums when sprayed in close proximity to the face (and the radius of its effect spreads, so take the opportunity to run away).

5.       Practice proper hygiene. Not all threats are readily apparent.  Some truck stops are not well maintained and there will certainly be times when you find yourself pulled over by the side of the road because there are no toilet facilities anywhere nearby.  So make sure that your cab is stocked with TP, hand sanitizer, and a flashlight, just in case.

6.       Women truck drivers are many times more vulnerable than their male peers. Women should avoid parking in secluded areas or areas that are not well lit. Also, it is best when entering the facility, to give the impression that they are traveling team and that their husband or co-driver is asleep in the truck.

Jim McCormack writes for Cheaper Car Insurance where you can compare rates and the find the best deals on auto insurance.

© 2010, AskTheTrucker. All rights reserved.


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