Safety At Truck Stops / In General As Well

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Andrew's Comment
member avatar

So I have been researching about the life of a trucker and I can not find much information on safety. I am exmilitary and I am aware I tend to over think it at times, even so I am curious for some tips on the topic in regards too:

  • Gun possession (keeping a gun in view or hidden in the cab) possible repercussions.
  • How safe are truck stops at night
  • How to be as safe as possible
  • Tips to limit losses
  • When parking alone, safety precautions.
  • Any horror stories anyone would be willing to share that I could learn from
  • Any good advice on anything regarding safety in a truckers lifestyle OTR

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

mountain girl's Comment
member avatar

So I have been researching about the life of a trucker and I can not find much information on safety. I am exmilitary and I am aware I tend to over think it at times, even so I am curious for some tips on the topic in regards too:

-Gun possession (keeping a gun in view or hidden in the cab), possible repercussions. -How safe are truck stops at night, how to be as safe as possible, also tips to limit losses -When parking alone, safety precautions. -Any horror stories anyone would be willing to share that I could learn from. -Any good advice on anything regarding safety in a truckers lifestyle OTR

I've not been over the road (I'm a total newbie) but I can share what I've learned in school. I am former military as well, so I know, some of these things you will totally get. Always secure your keys before leaving your seat for any reason. Never, ever drive out of the stop without doing another pre-trip inspection. Check your gas cap, check your fifth wheel, locking pins, release handle, and be danged sure that your trailer is secured to your tractor. I've heard of stories where nasty people will release the release arm and the trailer falls away from the tractor once the driver has gone down the road. Check your trailer doors to be sure they're securely fastened shut and be sure you don't have any hitchhikers inside. Basically, do a top-notch inspection before you leave the truck stop. Never openly discuss the nature of your load or allow anyone to overhear you discussing it while you're communicating with dispatch etc. You never know who might be very interested in the contents or where you're going. Always use a padlock on your trailer doors whether its empty or full. You don't need hitchhikers, or thieves and keep 'em guessing as to whether it's full or not. If you're leaving the stop and you believe you're being followed, the chances of someone continuing to follow you decrease, the further you go. Remember, you have very large fuel tanks so you could probably drive 350 miles without having to stop whereas smaller vehicles would probably have to stop for more fuel. Just keep going till they give up but if you truly believe you're being followed, the last thing you want to do is pull over. Also check company policy on this kind of situation.

I know you're not going to like this and I know there is quite a debate going on about this but check your FMCSR and company policy on firearms. I don't think it's legal to carry. Other truckers on this forum will know the answer to this but I believe I'm correct. Whether or not you choose to make your own decision on that is none of my business and personally, I wouldn't blame anyone for wanting to protect themselves. I just don't know the true answer and there may also be different interpretations of the law but be very sure you know what those laws are. FMCSR is federal and we are under federal law as CDL drivers, so I believe those laws over-rule state and local laws.

I believe I covered some basics. You will learn more in school and once you go over the road with a trainer. Even during training a couple of weeks ago, an instructor and I stopped for fuel and a short break. Before we left the truck stop, we walked around the tractor trailer, did our tire-thumps, checked the fifth wheel, trailer doors and I swear we checked the gas caps. Sure enough, a few miles down the road, we were stopped at a traffic light and a pedestrian at the light told my instructor that the gas cap on his side was loose. Actually, he thought the guy was a former student too because he called my instructor by name (odd coincidence) but the cap was loose and I know they both were tight because I personally put them on and tightened them when we refueled before that break.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Chris M's Comment
member avatar

I am new to the industry as well but I asked a lot of the same questions as you. As far as carrying a firearm, that is a big issue due to crossing state lines. Definitely a no-no. Some tips I've heard regarding a way to defend yourself is to give yourself plausibility for whatever you have in the truck. Like for instance if you wanna carry a baseball bat, carry a glove and ball as well. As far as parking I would say its as simple as not leaving anything in plain sight that might even appear valuable. One guy I spoke to has a sticker on his window of "his" dog that he put up to help as a deterrent by making someone think the dog may be in the truck. Other than that, try not to park way out in the back corner of a lot by yourself. Try to park with a group of trucks. If you have to park alone maybe make it in a parking lot of a business that allows truck parking. That could mean that security cameras are monitoring the lot. I have actually been surprised that really nobody that I've talked to has had any real horror stories. I'm sure there are people on here that can chime in way better than I can tho. And welcome in!

Andrew's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

So I have been researching about the life of a trucker and I can not find much information on safety. I am exmilitary and I am aware I tend to over think it at times, even so I am curious for some tips on the topic in regards too:

-Gun possession (keeping a gun in view or hidden in the cab), possible repercussions. -How safe are truck stops at night, how to be as safe as possible, also tips to limit losses -When parking alone, safety precautions. -Any horror stories anyone would be willing to share that I could learn from. -Any good advice on anything regarding safety in a truckers lifestyle OTR

double-quotes-end.png

I've not been over the road (I'm a total newbie) but I can share what I've learned in school. I am former military as well, so I know, some of these things you will totally get. Always secure your keys before leaving your seat for any reason. Never, ever drive out of the stop without doing another pre-trip inspection. Check your gas cap, check your fifth wheel, locking pins, release handle, and be danged sure that your trailer is secured to your tractor. I've heard of stories where nasty people will release the release arm and the trailer falls away from the tractor once the driver has gone down the road. Check your trailer doors to be sure they're securely fastened shut and be sure you don't have any hitchhikers inside. Basically, do a top-notch inspection before you leave the truck stop. Never openly discuss the nature of your load or allow anyone to overhear you discussing it while you're communicating with dispatch etc. You never know who might be very interested in the contents or where you're going. Always use a padlock on your trailer doors whether its empty or full. You don't need hitchhikers, or thieves and keep 'em guessing as to whether it's full or not. If you're leaving the stop and you believe you're being followed, the chances of someone continuing to follow you decrease, the further you go. Remember, you have very large fuel tanks so you could probably drive 350 miles without having to stop whereas smaller vehicles would probably have to stop for more fuel. Just keep going till they give up but if you truly believe you're being followed, the last thing you want to do is pull over. Also check company policy on this kind of situation.

I know you're not going to like this and I know there is quite a debate going on about this but check your FMCSR and company policy on firearms. I don't think it's legal to carry. Other truckers on this forum will know the answer to this but I believe I'm correct. Whether or not you choose to make your own decision on that is none of my business and personally, I wouldn't blame anyone for wanting to protect themselves. I just don't know the true answer and there may also be different interpretations of the law but be very sure you know what those laws are. FMCSR is federal and we are under federal law as CDL drivers, so I believe those laws over-rule state and local laws.

I believe I covered some basics. You will learn more in school and once you go over the road with a trainer. Even during training a couple of weeks ago, an instructor and I stopped for fuel and a short break. Before we left the truck stop, we walked around the tractor trailer, did our tire-thumps, checked the fifth wheel, trailer doors and I swear we checked the gas caps. Sure enough, a few miles down the road, we were stopped at a traffic light and a pedestrian at the light told my instructor that the gas cap on his side was loose. Actually, he thought the guy was a former student too because he called my instructor by name (odd coincidence) but the cap was loose and I know they both were tight because I personally put them on and tightened them when we refueled before that break.

Great information thank you for your time.. I am now looking into FMCSR as well, appreciate that tip

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Andrew's Comment
member avatar

I am new to the industry as well but I asked a lot of the same questions as you. As far as carrying a firearm, that is a big issue due to crossing state lines. Definitely a no-no. Some tips I've heard regarding a way to defend yourself is to give yourself plausibility for whatever you have in the truck. Like for instance if you wanna carry a baseball bat, carry a glove and ball as well. As far as parking I would say its as simple as not leaving anything in plain sight that might even appear valuable. One guy I spoke to has a sticker on his window of "his" dog that he put up to help as a deterrent by making someone think the dog may be in the truck. Other than that, try not to park way out in the back corner of a lot by yourself. Try to park with a group of trucks. If you have to park alone maybe make it in a parking lot of a business that allows truck parking. That could mean that security cameras are monitoring the lot. I have actually been surprised that really nobody that I've talked to has had any real horror stories. I'm sure there are people on here that can chime in way better than I can tho. And welcome in!

Thank you for the tips, I will become a baseball fan for sure when driving lol.. As for the dog sticker thats smart as well.. Im sure there are many people on here with horror stories.. even small ones like mountain girls where the gas cap was loose, that could have been a major loss..

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

David's Comment
member avatar

No firearms. It's to much of a hassle and most places have signs posted on site with no firearms...

And Mountain Girl said it all in the first post..

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

There's nothing in FMCSR's or any State Regs that govern the possession of a personal firearm in a CMV (other than State Laws concerning firearms in vehicles IN GENERAL).

ALL COMPANIES and most shippers/receivers do prohibit them as a matter of policy - which would be cause for dismissal. This is as much a "liability issue" for the companies - as, if you are forced to shoot someone, while "acting as an agent" for that company - the company could be held liable also.

That aside - one would need to become well versed in the laws of various states with regard to handguns in vehicles.

As a "for example" - my Florida CWP is reciprocal in 36 other states - which would make it legal for me to have on my person, CMV or not. It's the "yankee states" in the NE, and West Coast (Cali, etc.) where it would be illegal to have one "accessible", and most of these states ignore Federal Interstate Compact, with regards to transporting "securely encased firearms" through their jurisdictions.

In simple terms - you would be arrested regardless.

I drove a tour bus (my own) all over the country for a few years while managing a band. I carried in states where I had reciprocity, hid it in states I didn't (and did a lot of PRAYING) and even made 2 transits in/out of Canada (different entry/exit points - so I couldn't "check it" at US Customs). Seriously risky, and very foolish.

That being said (legalities versus company policies) - I would NOT CARRY onboard a company vehicle. Much as I am a Lifetime NRA member - and have been a daily concealed carry for 25 years - it's just not worth the (legal) risks.

Aside from the original posters "general safety tips" - there is NO LOAD that is worth my life. They are INSURED. If someone has a weapon and wants it - GIVE IT TO THEM.

Rick

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Bart's Comment
member avatar

For a bunch of "newbies" you guys covered it pretty well. About the only thing I would add is carry yourself with confidence. Try not to look like you can be intimidated. I tend to like the back corners of tbe lots. Usually much quieter less traffic and it forces me to get a little much needed exercise. I also think you will find that as truckers we tend to look out for one another. I know this is not always the case but I have met some exceptionally nice folks out here. The will always be the occasional d-bag but mostly good people. In any case good luck and let everyone know how this all works out for you.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Folks, remember, we use diesel. It's not called a gas cap it's a fuel cap. :)

And we could drive about 1,000 miles before needing fuel again, depending how how you drive/terrain.

Also, carry a tire thumper with you. Just in case you need something to swing around.

But it's really not that dangerous around here. Just use common sense, don't walk in between trailers at night. I've never felt unsafe and I'm a small-framed guy.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Folks, remember, we use diesel. It's not called a gas cap it's a fuel cap. :)

And we could drive about 1,000 miles before needing fuel again, depending how how you drive/terrain.

Also, carry a tire thumper with you. Just in case you need something to swing around.

But it's really not that dangerous around here. Just use common sense, don't walk in between trailers at night. I've never felt unsafe and I'm a small-framed guy.

Yes Daniel is the size of a 9 year old boy and he does not get messed with. rofl-3.gif

While it's partially true about being governed by federal law you also are governed by local and state laws also. Customers and companies post no firearms on their property. You have to respect their right not to have it on their land. More and more truck stops are also starting to post no weapons on their property also. The property owner's rights supercedes your right/freedom to carry a weapon on their property.

Then there is the securment laws when traveling through different states which is impossible to abide by in a big truck due to the simple fact that the firearm and ammo must be stored separately and not reachable from within the confines of the passenger compartment. Even the outside storage boxes can be accessed from inside the truck under the bunk. No place to legally store it. Besides making you feel good and safe knowing it's near how useful is it if it's locked away and someone walks up to your door and has their own gun? Might as well have left it at home.

Let's say you know every law for every state for every possible situation that may pop up. Okay fine. Of course your not walking around with it in your hand. It's in the holster where it should be. You will not know you need it till its to late. If someone is intent on robbing you at gun point then they already have their go out making you gun such a unless piece of motel weighting down your side.

Sure we all would like to think that you could draw that gun and bring it into play before they could shoot you but the simple fact is you more than likely will be shot or dead before you could draw your weapon out.

Of course gun nuts(meaning those fanatical bozos that claim to be sticking up for their right) say it can help prevent people that use knifes or other weapons from robbing or hurting you. I say a responsible gun owner does not go looking for trouble and also avoids areas that might lead to trouble and only draws as a last resort and only in defend of themselves or of someone else.

In 16 years I have never felt I needed a gun of any kind out here on the road. I have common sense and street smarts that keep me out of trouble. If it feels bad then leave and go somewhere else. Simple as that. Never force a situation to develop whenever possible. If you see a group of mildly retarded neanderthal look a likes giving you the "stink eye" you don't keep going towards them knowing you have a right to be there.

The same thing that kept you safe before trucking will keep you safe while trucking. Common sense. Use of the gray matter inside of your skull.

Sure things have happened out here in the past but mostly those stories start out with "While walking between trailers......" or "A driver parked in an abandon parking lot...." or better yet "While a driver was a sleep in a no parking zone....". You see that is how the news stories on TV and in the newspapers start out but had the drivers used a little bit of common sense or listened to their gut instinct nothing would have happened.

The problem is people want to use an easy excuse not to have to think for themselves. People stopped thinking for themselves. So they blame the law regarding HOS. True you are not supposed to drive longer than what the law allows but if you run out of hours would you park in the middle of Cabrini Green projects in Chicago? I sure the hell would not. Police don't even go there without 3 to 4 cars worth of backup. It's all about common sense. Sure you may get a ticket for going over the hours of service but guess what? At least you will be alive to pay the fine.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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