It is not all the time that we drivers pull into empty truck stops and get a choice of whatever spot we want to park in. Quite the contrary, it is usually the exact opposite this day and age, with the ever-worsening parking shortage we all face. Taking a quick look around the lot prior to parking can be helpful in many different ways when determining where the best open spots may be. Whether it is preferable to be in close proximity to restaurants or showers because of frigid cold, or even just having a spot that is easy to pull in and out of, being aware of your surroundings at a truck stop can be a big deal in picking the right spot. One thing I always make sure to scope out is where the “safest” spots are, especially if I am loaded with freight!
A lot of factors should be considered when trying to find the safest spot on the lot, since no one spot in any lot offers guaranteed safety. I have pictured here a makeshift diagram of a truck stop I frequently make it through showing the basic layout. You will notice that I have highlighted light post locations with yellow to emphasize where the well-lit spots could be found. Lighting plays a major part in my spot choice, as thieves are more likely to prey in the dark where they are less likely to be spotted. Not only does a well-lit spot deter the crooks that lurk in the shadows, it also offers better sight for those that plan on trying to back in next to you. It is all too often I have seen a dark spot lead to someone getting a trailer ding, truck mirror clipped, or bumper corner torn off. In the second diagram, I took the liberty of highlighting in orange some of the spots you may want to take as a last resort, which seem as though they would leave your rear, once backed in, susceptible to tampering.
There are a lot of things I look at when pulling into a truck stop for the night, more so when loaded, but nonetheless even when empty. Since a lot of truck stops are known to attract vagrants and criminal activity, I watch for shifty characters as well. I look at the other vehicles and people wandering around the area and make sure they are not in the area around where I am parked. There have been more than a couple occasions where I have had to call the authorities for suspicious activities around where I've parked, which the authorities typically take seriously for the safety of the general public. Just like I do when securing my load overnight with high-security locks, making sure I am staying in a safe place for the night is a tactic in making myself the least likely target for theft or vandalism. Like the scenario where a crook is more likely to break into a trailer with a small padlock rather than a crossbar lock, the criminals are also more likely to target someone in a dimly lit space away from entering and exiting traffic and frequently used roads. Consider analyzing where you park a little better the next time you pull in for the night and remain as safe as you can by making sure to pick the best open parking space available!