It seems that among other safety tips, personal safety on the road is very neglected. Truckers need to take care of their vehicle conditions, breaks, and speed limit, but very little attention is paid to their own security.
Even though people still imagine truck drivers like those in the movies and think they are a threat to others (which is complete nonsense), the first question that should be raised is whether truckers feel safe? As the answer is known, the next question is why not.
Truck drivers are constantly on the move, traveling through different and unknown places. They can’t always feel safe. The fear of the unknown is present either consciously or unconsciously. Unfamiliar surround during dark hours or snowy nights reminds us of the terrifying things we hear or read about in the newspapers. Ok, it’s not the same as in horror movies but attacks on trucks and truck drivers do happen.
There are drivers that don’t feel fear unless there is a real threat. However, many strange situations happen that create a feeling of unease. Different places, unfavorable weather conditions, unknown surroundings, and various sorts of people drivers encounter are not the things that can or should be neglected.
Rest areas are stops where truck drivers meet most people during their routes. Needless to say that all of them are unknown and you never know who you’re dealing with. The world is full of people with different psychoses and no one can guarantee the one with a serious diagnosis isn’t mingling around the rest area. Not that we expect Michael Myers to show up out of the nowhere but we can never know where the threat is coming from.
It’s true that attacks can also happen at your place of residence, without a doubt. It can actually happen anywhere but a person is more liable to be the subject to an attack when he or she is in unknown territory. That way things get more difficult for the victim giving more space for the perpetrator to manipulate the situation and do what he has in mind.
In the US, truck drivers are very often victims of assaults and robbery. Those that are solo drivers are great targets of criminals because they are assumed to carry important and valuable cargo.
It’s too much to identify roads with battlefields where truck drivers are tortured. It would be nothing else but a poor generalization. However, we just can’t and mustn’t neglect that truck drivers are facing occasional attacks as other people in other industries. Just because it is also happening to the others, it doesn’t mean it’s fine.
Now let’s see what truck drivers can do to protect themselves:
Scan The Surrounding
Take a deep look at all sides of you. If there’s anything suspicious that’s making you uneasy or if you sense danger, look out for a safer place, get into a restaurant, gas station, shop, or any other close object with more people in there.
Wearing reflective clothing at night can prevent many bad things. Except for reducing the risk of getting hit by a vehicle, if you’re in any kind of trouble, reflective jackets will make you visible and somebody can reach out to you and give you a hand. However, the most important thing at this point is that being visible will discourage a potential assailant because nobody wants to be seen while doing any attack.
Don’t Park Anywhere
A rule of thumb, don’t park in random strange areas. Large, busy truck stops are far more secure than small rest areas. Small and not very visited areas are more prone to attract attackers because there’s little chance to be seen or caught by other people. Even though this might not be possible in some situations, whenever you can you should avoid truck stops with smaller parking sports. Walking between trailers could also be dangerous.
Do some online research or collect your colleagues’ experiences to find out what areas have high crime rates along your routes. You might not be able to avoid them all the time but at least you can be more cautious.
Don’t Discuss Your Freight
Do not discuss your freight with others. Starting a conversation with a stranger is not a rare occasion. Loneliness on the road justifies this step because very often truck drivers are in need to exchange a few words with other people. However, never discuss your freight with anyone. You might be a target if you’re carrying high-value items.
Being prepared and alert will decrease the chance of being a potential target. The danger lies everywhere, not only on the road but if there are certain precautionary measures that can minimize the chance of being a victim, take them.