Every job comes with its own occupational hazards, and truck driving is no different. For instance, truck malfunctions can pose a health and safety risk. And just like a homeowner, a truck driver also has to take security precautions against vandalism, robbery, and similar criminal events.
Here are some of the basics of security concerns and precautions for truck drivers.
Why You Should Take Notice
Truck driving means that you’ll be isolated a lot of the time, and your truck will often be carrying valuable cargo. This can make criminals such as robbers consider you a worthwhile target. If thieves come after your cargo, you could sustain injuries in addition to suffering the financial loss of being robbed.
What Tools Can Help Improve Security
Improving your security on the road starts with awareness. According to the FBI, cargo theft incidents may cost up to a total of 30 billion dollars annually. Awareness of how cargo thieves and robbers operate can help you to keep your eyes open for any fishy scenarios and inform you of what to guard against.
Some tools to help you improve security include monitoring tools, locking tools, planning tools, and emergency tools. For example, GPS tracking is a monitoring tool that can help keep track of your truck at all times. It can be invaluable if your truck is ever stolen. You can also have GPS installed separately on the trailer of your truck in case thieves take just the trailer.
Other tools that can improve overall security include:
- Camera systems that can catch video footage of traffic incidents or robbery, which could help apprehend criminals
- Apps that provide community feedback on truck stops and parking locations, so you can choose the safest places to stop
- Alarm systems for semitrucks that can provide sirens, panic buttons, starter kill switches, and other tools to fight truck theft
Combining several of these tools can provide a lot more options to not only prevent thefts but also help catch thieves if they do target your truck.
Which Precautions and Habits Can Thwart Criminals
Simple security precautions can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations and keep your truck from looking like easy pickings. In addition to using tools to enhance security, you can improve your situational awareness and establish habits that will help protect your truck from criminals.
Some examples of precautions and habits to use include:
- Choosing only truck stops with a good reputation
- Locking up securely every time you step out of the cab (including when you refuel)
- Carrying plenty of insurance on your load
- Parking your truck tail to tail with another truck so thieves can’t open the doors
Tandem driving may also help reduce vulnerabilities. When you have a second driver along, one of you can stay with the load at all times and thus avoid situations where your truck is unattended. In addition, you’ll be less isolated if you tandem drive.
Why Being Prepared for Emergency Situations Is Important
Your vehicle could be an easy target for cargo robbery if you end up stranded in an isolated location. Staying on top of emergency preparedness can help you avoid being stranded alone on the side of the road for long stretches of time.
The better prepared you are with tools and equipment, plus knowledge and technique to help you quickly get back on the road, the less likely you are to present an obvious target. So keep your toolbox well-stocked at all times in case your truck ever needs minor repairs, and make sure you have contact information ready for a reliable truck recovery company.
You should also be prepared for situations where someone else asks for emergency help. Never leave your truck to help someone out, since it could be a trap to lure you away from your cargo. Instead, offer to call 911 or a roadside assistance company. Criminals sometimes pose as stranded drivers in order to scam or even rob other drivers on the road.
What to Do if You Experience a Theft
Security advice often focuses solely on how to avoid being targeted for criminal activity. However, you should also prepare for the (hopefully very small) possibility of actually undergoing a robbery. If someone actually does target you and steal some of your cargo, your first priority should be personal safety: don’t do anything that would put you at risk of bodily harm.
However, if you ever do find yourself in this situation, there are several things you can do that could help bring the criminals to justice later. For example:
- Watch and listen carefully so you can give the police a helpful statement later
- If the criminals have a vehicle, check for a license plate number
- Call 911 first, even before calling your dispatcher, as soon as the criminals leave
While truck driving will always come with some security risks, these steps can help you to bypass or minimize many of them, providing better protection for yourself and your truck. If you’re looking for a protection plan, get in touch with Arrow Truck Sales to discuss the extended warranties, roadside assistance plans, insurance, gap protection, and other plans we offer.