Our Top 8 Tips To Keep Your Truck Safe At Truck Stops
To most truck drivers out on the road, seeing a truck stop is like a breath of fresh air after a long day. Truck stops give drivers a chance to relax, refuel, get some rest, stretch their legs, clean up, and get some food.
A truck stop is also a place one could incur damage to their vehicle if you don’t take proactive measures.
8 Tips for flatbed truck drivers to keep your truck safe
1. Pick long-term neighbors
The easiest way for truck drivers to avoid damage to their trucks is to pick good neighbors. If truck drivers seem to be settled in for the night or at least seem to be staying in one place for awhile, parking between them is your best bet.
2. Look for natural blockers
By avoiding possible accident areas and choosing natural blockers, truck drivers can help protect their vehicles. This is why parking next to stationary objects may be the best option when searching for the right spot. In addition, parking next to poles or guardrails can provide a natural barrier between trucks so that the risk of an accident is much lower.
While it can be challenging to control parking neighbors, finding a curb to park beside can give truck drivers a feeling of safety and only require them to focus on one neighbor instead of two.
3. Avoid high-traffic areas
One of the best practices to avoid accidents is to purposely avoid high traffic areas. When approaching a truck stop, truck drivers need to assess their surroundings to determine where the highest and lowest volume of truck traffic will be to help prevent potential damage. Try to park away from spots close to food, shops, or other public buildings, and avoid the path to enter and exit the truck stop itself. When in doubt, park in the very back end of the lot. Most of the traffic occurs in the front third of the lot closest to the buildings.
4. Don't abuse fuel islands
Many truck drivers make the mistake of stopping for fuel and, when done, decide to take their break right then and there. Abusing fuel islands can irritate other drivers since fuel islands tend to be one of the most popular areas at truck stops. This is why it's best to stay there only as long as you need to. Make sure to move from the fuel island as soon as possible and choose a spot away from traffic.
5. Utilize your dashcams
While precautions can be taken to avoid damage and hit-and-runs, sometimes these things can still happen. There is only so much a truck driver can do to prevent accidents. However, having a dashcam can help hold the responsible party accountable or, at the very least, have evidence that the damage was not the truck driver's fault.
6. Take note of your neighbors
It’s not a bad idea to note who is parked beside you, just in case. You can take a quick photo with your phone of the company name, license plate, and unit number of your neighbors.
7. Take a moment before refueling
Stop before you pull into the fuel bay and ensure the area is clear and that your trailer is lined up. This is the time to check the canopy height if you have an overheight load before driving beneath it. While you are refueling, this is an excellent opportunity to do a quick visual inspection of your truck.
Before leaving the fuel island, take a quick mental note of the turning points so that you can avoid clipping the fuel pump. Your trailer should clear the fuel area before you turn.
8. Be mindful of time
If possible, settle down sooner rather than later, especially if it is an overnight stay. Proper trip planning may allow you to park early in the day and allows the driver to have their pick of the lot since they'll have the ability to see the truck stop’s layout and plan accordingly. Trying to park too late in the evening can leave a driver with limited options, and the spots that minimize damage will likely already be gone.
Truck stops were designed to be a resting place for all truck drivers, and with the rise of ecommerce and the need to move more goods, the number of vehicles that need to use these areas has only increased. Unfortunately, this also means that the dangers of vehicle damage have also risen. Safety is always the number one priority in any industry and that is no different for trucking.
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