When you’re a truck driver, spending some time at truck stops is inevitable. They offer a lot of benefits, such as a chance to refuel, take a shower, do your laundry, or get some sleep. However, the truck stop environment has some potential risks. Not only do you have to take steps to keep your truck from getting hit, but it’s also important to ensure your own personal safety as well. Follow these tips for keeping yourself, your truck, and your belongings safer whenever you’re at a truck stop.

Be aware of your surroundings

It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially at night. Stay alert and stick to well-lit areas. If you’re able to, plan your evening routine to limit the amount of time you need to spend outside of your truck at this time.

Drive slowly

There’s a lot of things happening in the parking lot at truck stops. Drive slowly so you can stop quickly if a person or vehicle gets in your path. Follow the correct way to get in and out of the parking lot.

Know where to park

Try to avoid parking at the end of the row or at the end of the parking lot. This will protect you from the higher traffic areas. A lot of times, drivers who are tired after a long day of driving will opt to park in these spots. Parking elsewhere will also help you avoid drivers who are parking when they are tired. For your own personal safety, choose a parking spot that’s near other trucks. Don’t park anywhere that appears isolated or deserted.

Inspect your truck before you move out

A pre-trip inspection should always be part of your routine. However, after you spend time at a truck stop, we recommend you take a quick walk around to check over your truck before you leave. You never know if someone has tampered with your truck and it’s important to be sure.

Secure your load

Make sure your cargo is safe and secure, especially overnight while you’re sleeping. Use a padlock on the door. You can even use a ratchet strap to help secure it. Don’t talk about what you’re hauling in public – you never know who might be listening in.

Do your research ahead of time

Not all truck stops are created equal. When making your route plan, check out reviews for the truck stops you should stay at and which ones you should avoid. Some truck stops have taken extra safety measures like security cameras or hiring overnight security guards.

Protect yourself

Many drivers like to carry something like pepper spray for added protection but even a heavy-duty flashlight can come in handy when you need it. You’ll need to check the rules of your carrier on any actual weapons, as the rules may vary from company to company.

Lock your doors

It sounds obvious, but we can’t stress this enough. Lock your doors, whether you need to step away from your truck or when you’re inside of it. You might also want to pull your blinds down so that you and your possessions aren’t visible.

Follow social distancing recommendations and health precautions

Even though you spend most of your job alone, you’ll likely have to interact with store workers and other drivers at truck stops. Try to stay at least six feet apart whenever possible. Utilize electronic ordering and payments for fuels, food, showers, and anything else you might need to get at a stop. You can also pack your own food and water to minimize what you might need to purchase at a truck stop. Wear a mask, disinfect high-touch surfaces often and wash your hands often.

Do you have more truck stop safety tips to share? Let us know!