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Personal Safety Tips For Truckers - How To Prevent Being A Victim When Trucking

The road is a dangerous place. There are people in this world with no respect for the trucking community, which can create problems for truckers anywhere. If you’ve ever been out on the road for extended periods of time, such as OTR drivers, then you know that safety is key. Every day we hear from truckers who have been victims of theft, stolen property and other crimes. Whether you’re transporting valuable cargo or an empty trailer, it is always best to take precautions. There are a few personal safety tips every trucker should be practicing, to get through their trip with ease.

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Safety Tip # 1 : Park In Well-Lit Areas

While it may not always be possible, it is important to try to park in areas with good lighting, or near truck stops, so that you can increase your level of visibility and safety. When conducting your daily pre or post trip inspection, you should also try to park at a populated or well-lit area, to avoid anything happening. You can even drive to the fuel island and do your inspections there, or anywhere with a well lit area, rather than a dark parking lot. 

Truck stops often have cameras and an added element of other drivers or staff, which can enhance safety. If you have to walk across a parking lot to your truck when its dark, it helps to be in good lighting and in areas where any incidents can be recorded or caught on camera. Many rest areas can be quite dangerous at night time as well, so if you do need to use a restroom either go to one with bright lights, and ensure you lock the door behind you, or use a truck stop and other public areas restrooms, because you are quite vulnerable when using the restroom.

Safety Tip # 2 : Consider What Can Happen Around Trailers

When parked, it is difficult to notice what’s going on around your truck at all times, so it is important to check everything once you stop, and then stay put in a safe place or in your locked vehicle. There are a few hiding spots possible around your vehicle, and it may even be a common area for criminals looking to siphon fuel or steal fuel caps. There are potential hiding spots for others on your catwalk or under trailers, so it’s important to be aware that if you are parked anywhere for an extended time, this can become a possibility.

If you think you hear somebody near or around, start your truck and turn on your lights. You may consider pulling your 5th wheel locking jaw handle to release the trailer, but only do so if you feel it’s needed. Never get out of your truck until it is safe, or you are in a place that is well lit and has others around you.

Safety Tip # 3 : Prepare Your Truck

You can avoid thieves and add an element of safety by preparing your truck as much as possible, in the case it’s parked anywhere. If you don’t have curtains, covering the windows can prevent thieves from scoping out what’s in your truck. Keep any valuable items out of sight of anyone from the outside. When locking your doors, you can also use a seatbelt to loop through the door handle, in the case of someone opening  your truck, they would not be able to get in because the door would be unable to pull open.

You should consider adding additional seals to your cargo, to avoid your freight being stolen or tampered with. Your trailer should be sealed and padlocked at all times, and when possible park with your trailer backing against a wall or pole, to avoid being opened overnight.

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Safety Tip # 4 : Communicate With Management or Dispatch

In order to ensure your own safety, it’s important to continue to communicate with either your dispatch or driver manager. Many trucks have GPS locators in them, and letting somebody know where you are parked will help keep an eye on your vehicle. If you have to park in areas you do not feel too safe in, let them know. Communication is especially important if you are getting loads that are dropping off later than you feel comfortable with. You can talk to them and see if there can be adjustments made, if you do not feel comfortable or safe dropping off that load.

Safety Tip # 5 : Gain Awareness of Your Surroundings

Before entering your truck, inspect around it from a small distance, to make sure that no one is hiding under or near your trailer, as they can grab your ankles and trip you. In order to stay safe, it is imperative that you are always aware of what is going on around you. If you feel somebody’s following you or something is not quite right, it’s important to trust your instinct and get to safety or prepare something to defend yourself with, in the worst case scenario. 

Safety Tip # 6 : Prepare To Defend Yourself

Remember that you can get creative with the type of items you use to protect yourself with, as you can use your keys, padlock, screwdrivers, wrenches and even flashlights’ as an added form of protection. In the case you are walking anywhere, ensure that you have no headphones in, and that you are not distracted by your phone, as you may need to hear and see what’s going on around you. In the case of any activity or attack, make as much noise as possible to alert others of your situation, and don’t forget to yell “fire” instead of “help”, in the case you need somebody who intervene.

Safety Tip # 7 : Always Stay Visible

The most important safety tip you can have, is to stay as visible as possible, at all times. The more out in the open you are, and recognizable around others, the less likely others are to try to steal from your truck or to try do anything to you personally. Reflective clothing, parking in well-lit areas and staying in areas that are populated with either other drivers or staff is beneficial, because in the case of any attacks or issues, you will be visible to someone else who may check to try to see what’s going on.

In the trucking industry, the safety of each and every driver is a top priority. As a truck driver, you are on the road for long stretches of time. You may be traveling across the country to places you may not be familiar with, and you can be alone for long periods at a time. It is essential to stay alert and keep your own personal safety in mind. Never go anywhere you don’t feel safe, and don’t be afraid to communicate your concerns. Truck driving is a difficult enough job, so we want to make sure you have all the insight you need to stay safe and protected on the road.