It often takes awhile for truckers to find this out, but some of the worst damage that can happen to your rig happens in a truck stop parking lot. You wouldn’t think so, but it does. This is because many truck stops were built decades ago, when there were fewer—and much smaller—trucks. The vehicles may have gotten larger and more plentiful, but most of the lots have stayed the same size. The result? Accidents.
Here are some expert tips from us at LA Truck Driving School to help you steer clear of potential truck stop parking lot damage.
If you can, try to park early for the night so that you can have your pick of the lot for the right spot. If you wait to park until too late, the spots will be full and you’ll have to take what you can get. Often this means you’ll wind up with the spots that are the most vulnerable to damage.
Go Way, Way Back
If possible, park at the very back of the lot with the front of your truck nosed into the spot. The “very back” spot reduces your chances of getting hit. However, if you do happen to get hit and you’ve parked with the front of the truck nosed in, the trailer of your truck will be hit instead of the more critical parts, like the engine.
Keep a Sharp Eye Out
This should come naturally to a truck driver, but when parking, be extremely aware of what all the other drivers are doing. Even the best drivers can have a hard time in truck stop parking lots, so keep an eye on everyone around you. Even if you head into a restaurant and can see your truck out of the window, be aware of the activity in the parking lot. You may just spot someone who does damage to your rig.
Avoid High-Traffic Spots
Do your best to park away from spots that are near restaurants, shops, and other buildings. The more high-traffic an area, the more likely your truck is to be hit. As mentioned above, try to park the farthest away from everything possible.
Consider Out-of-Town Stops
If a truck stop parking lot is particularly small or precarious-looking, do yourself a favor and find a bigger parking lot outside of town. There will be less traffic there, and you very well may save yourself from serious damage that can happen in an overcrowded lot.
Block Yourself In
A smart move when parking is to look for two trucks that seem “settled in” for the night and park between them. If they’re planted for the night, it’s a good bet that your truck will be safe between them for the evening. Another good idea is to find a spot that will block one side of your truck, like a spot that has a light pole on one side, or a wall of ivy. This will cut your chances of being hit by 50%.
Invest in a Dash Cam
Dash cams cost around $100, but they are very worth it if you do get hit. Even if the cam doesn’t capture a license number, it can get very helpful information such as what time you got hit or any logo on the other driver’s truck that can help you trace who they are.
When your truck gets hit or damaged, it costs you money. It eats into your travel time, deliveries can be late, and the expenses for the repair, hotel, and tow truck can become overwhelming. While you can’t completely prevent truck stop parking lot damage, there are things you can do to prevent it as best you can. Hopefully these tips will help you!