Truck Stop Do’s and Don’ts

It is a dark and stormy night. You're grateful that you were able to pull off the highway and find a parking spot at a truck stop before the heavy rains started. You stretch out on your bed in the back of the cab and turn on your TV to doze off to your favorite crime show. Suddenly, you hear a knock at your driver’s side door. Questions race through your head like: Who is knocking on the door in this rain? Did I even lock my doors and shut my windows? How can I signal for help if I need it?

Here’s a list of truck stop do’s and don’ts to avoid questions like these when you park at a truck stop… Do plan ahead: The American Transportation Research Institute reported that the most popular times for truckers to pull over and stop are between 4 and 11 p.m. There are many truck drivers in the United States, but not enough designated parking spaces for each of them so try to take your breaks during office hours and plan your day accordingly. Look for a large, well-lit parking lot like a Walmart or a casino that has plenty of activity when you can’t find a spot at a truck stop. Reach out to dispatch to see if they can help you locate a safe area.

Do be mindful of disclosing cargo information to others: Truck drivers carry everything from electronic equipment to luxury cars. It’s important to be discreet about the items being carried to avoid this information getting into the wrong hands. Cargo theft is an ongoing threat among drivers.

Do park your cab facing the same way as all the other cabs at the stop: This allows for easier communication with other drivers in case there is an emergency.

Don’t keep your windows and doors unlocked when you're in the back of the cab: Sleep with your windows up or have window screens to prevent hands from reaching into the front of the cab. Tie bungee cords and seat-belts on doors to make them even more secure.

Do signal for help from truckers parked nearby when you need it: Flash your lights and honk your horn if you’re in trouble and need help.

Don't keep valuable items in the front of your cab: Store items such as money and jewelry out of view in the back of your cab. Expensive things in plain sight will tempt thieves to try to open the door or window.

After going through the list of do’s and don’ts in your mind, you have relief that you followed them. Your doors are locked and valuables are tucked away in the back of your cab where no one can see them. You know how to get another driver’s attention if you need it. The knocking stops. You can now roll over and shut your eyes, feeling safer and more assured.