In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Are truck stops dangerous? We will discuss how to stay safe while sleeping at a truck stop and give you a few basic tips to enjoy your travel and be protected at the same time.
Are truck stops dangerous?
Generally, truck stops are not dangerous places to rest for a few hours. Still, there are some risks that you must consider, and thus prepare yourself in order to rest. Located just off the road, truck stop areas are convenient places for travellers to use the bathroom, stretch their legs, and enjoy a snack. However, these rest areas are often remote and unfamiliar places, so it is important to be careful when stopping.
- Keep alert – Just stop in a well-lit place. Park and immediately verify that you have cell phone coverage in that rest area. If you don’t have one, keep driving.
- Protect your property – Take your cell phone with you wherever you go but leave your other belongings – such as cash, wallet, purse, and electronics – hidden in your vehicle under lock and key. Carrying these things could make you a potential target for thieves.
- Do not go alone – Walk with someone to the bathroom, vending machines, and other areas. If you are travelling alone, try to avoid rest stops at night. Instead, choose to stop at a gas station or restaurant.
- Never sleep in your vehicle – Sleeping in rest areas can make you vulnerable to attackers. In fact, many states have made sleeping at rest stops illegal. Instead, spend the night in a hotel or camp. These options can cost but the added security is worth the money.
- Plan ahead – Before your trip, research the rest areas on your route to find the safest places to stop. If there are no attractive options, plan stops in the different cities or towns you will pass through. Information about rest areas on interstate highways in the United States may also be helpful.
- Lost items – If you have lost or left items in the area, you can contact the appropriate transportation office in charge of maintaining the rest area.
- Take care of your keys –Thieves can intercept and replicate your key fob’s remote control signals from outside your home. Armed with that code, they could open the doors of your car and even take it away. Store your keys in an inexpensive keychain bag that uses protective material to block the wireless signal.
- Protect your Wi-Fi – If your vehicle has a Wi-Fi wireless access point, hackers could use it to gain access to your car’s electronic controls. Practice the same strict security you use for your other devices: Choose a hard-to-guess password and keep your software up-to-date.
- Track your vehicle – Vehicle tracking systems are widely available and some drivers are even able to track the location of their vehicles with smartphones and mobile apps. Even a simple window sticker announcing the use of a tracking system can deter would-be thieves.
- Invest in an anti-theft device – Car alarms, steering wheel locks, and ignition switches may be enough to convince thieves to reconsider. Contact your insurance agent to see if an anti-theft device equates to a discount on car insurance.
- Remember: the basics work too. While high-tech crime continues to affect the safety of your vehicle, many thefts are low-tech. Don’t neglect the obvious. Never leave your vehicle running unsupervised, close doors and windows, and park in crowded, well-lit areas (or in a garage when possible).
Practice common sense and you will help greatly increase the likelihood that your vehicle will stay exactly where you left it.
6 important tips for long road trips
In addition to the pleasant feeling of freedom and fun that driving in the open field gives you, every good driver should never forget two very important things: safety on the road and accident prevention.
If you are planning a long road trip, you must take a lot of precautions and all the necessary safety measures to have a smooth and safe trip. Here are some important recommendations. Pay close attention!
- Plan everything in advance. Regardless of the distance, you are going to travel, plan every detail of your trip. Investigate the distances, the possible stops, find out about the state of the roads you will travel and the state of the weather in those cities or states.
It is recommended that, before starting your trip, you draw up a route map detailing the travel times, stops and fuel supply points and places where you can rest and eat.
- Prepare your vehicle for the journey. Very important! The car must be tuned and in optimal condition, your safety and that of everyone on the road depends on it. Therefore, do not hesitate to check every aspect of your vehicle and take it in advance to a trusted mechanic workshop.
Some important aspects to check are: The condition of your tires, the oil level, the condition of the engine, the brakes, the windshield wipers, among others. In addition, your car should not lack very important safety implements such as a flashlight with its respective batteries, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, spare tires, jack and keys to replace the tires, among others.
- Mandatory rest. Obviously, it is not advisable to do long hours of driving without resting, in fact, every 2 or 3 hours it is recommended to make a stop in a safe place to rest, drink something or simply “stretch your legs”.
But when we talk about a mandatory rest, we refer to the rest before the trip that every driver (and co-pilot) must take to be able to face the demands of the trip in an adequate and safe way. Before starting a long trip, rest, sleep at least 8 hours during the previous night and try to relax your mind from any stress or worry.
- Luggage. Try to carry what is strictly necessary, do not overload the space of your vehicle with unnecessary things. Bring coats and clothes that can protect you from the elements. It also includes some personal care implements and some non-perishable foods.
- The assistance of a co-pilot. Long trips cannot be assumed alone, it is better to always be accompanied and assisted in driving by a co-pilot who can take control of the steering wheel every certain section or hours travelled.
- Phones and chargers. It is not advisable to use a phone or other mobile device when driving, however, that does not imply the great need to carry and include a phone, a tablet or other devices on our trip.
A telephone helps us to communicate in cases of emergency or to guide us if we have gotten lost, using the various applications that currently exist. But, very important, before using your phone or Smartphone, park your vehicle in a safe place.
The bottom line
If you are on a long trip and need to rest at a truck stop, our final advice is to be vigilant. As long as you don’t give people reasons, you will be safe at any rest area. Read carefully our tips and make sure you are prepared no matter the situation.
If you have any questions or comments about this content, please let us know!
FAQ on Are truck stops dangerous?
When you take a long trip, should you stop to rest?
Yes, when taking a long trip it is recommended to stop to rest, at least every 2 hours behind the wheel or every 150/200 kilometres travelled. In any case, the driver must rest whenever he needs it, even if the hours or kilometres indicated have not been reached.
For how long can you drive?
The maximum daily driving time cannot exceed 9 hours, except twice a week which can reach 10 hours. The weekly driving time will not exceed 56 hours (the period of time between 00:00 on Monday and 24:00 on Sunday will be understood per week).
How to stay safe on a long trip?
To stay safe on a long trip take the time to review everything you need and follow these practical tips:
- Check that your car is in good condition.
- Plan the routes.
- For long routes, try to travel accompanied.
- Do a security “check”.
- Have entertainment for your children.
- Do not get distracted.
- How Dangerous Are Truck Stops? – Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC
- Tips for Running a Safe and Successful Truck Stop – Truckbook
- Truck Driver Safety Tips for Truck Stops – Drive My Way