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Transitioning To More Cross-Country Trips? How Can You Make Your Rig Secure?

If you're an over the road (OTR) trucker who has recently taken on a new cross-country route, you may be excited at the earning opportunity that awaits you. Although these routes don't always permit as much time at home as regional routes, they do offer the opportunity to earn overtime pay at a multiplier of your base hourly rate. However, sleeping in your rig rather than your comfortable bed at home can be an adjustment, particularly if you're concerned about your physical safety while holed up at a deserted truck stop. Read on to learn more about the security measures you may want to put into place on your current rig, as well as some safety options available if you find yourself in the market for a new (or new to you) truck.

What can you do to improve your safety while parked or sleeping in your rig?

Cross-country trips can be exhausting for even seasoned drivers, and with federal limits (as well as some proprietary trucking company limits) on the number of hours you're permitted to drive in a day, the ability to get a good night's (or day's) sleep at a truck stop is crucial. However, you can find it challenging to relax if you're concerned about your physical safety or security while sleeping. By making some relatively minor changes to your rig, you'll be able to ensure you're safe from potential burglars and can even block out unwanted light and sounds. 

Your first step should be to practice exercising caution when selecting a sleeping area for the night. If the nearest truck stop or rest station is abandoned, poorly-lit, or just gives off a bad vibe, keep driving until you find an area in a busier or better-lit part of town. The few extra minutes you may spend on the road can be well worth it in the long run.

You may also want to tint your cab's windows (if they're not already tinted) to the darkest shade permitted under federal law. The more difficult it is for any passersby to see inside your cab (or even determine whether it is occupied), the lower the likelihood that your rig will be targeted for burglary. Window tinting can also help slow any fading of the upholstery in your cab and even reduce the amount of skin damage you may experience from the UV rays passing through your rig's windshield and side windows.

One safety feature that can provide you with some peace of mind is the installation of a locking door between the cab and sleeping area. Even if you are diligent about ensuring that your rig's door locks are deployed when you settle down to sleep, this won't prevent you from becoming vulnerable if a would-be assailant breaks a window for access. By installing a door or panel that locks from the inside, you'll provide yourself with an additional layer of security from anyone who does manage to gain access to your cab. This interior "panic room" can keep you (and any valuable belongings) safe from harm. 

It is important to ensure that any lock used on this door can be easily unlocked to allow egress during a fire or other emergency. Certain types of locks (like hook and eye or chain locks) can be difficult to maneuver in an emergency, especially a situation like a cab fire where you may be unable to see.

What safety options are available on newer semi trailer models?

If you're finding that implementing these recommendations on your current rig is difficult -- or if you already had plans to upgrade and are reluctant to sink money into improving a vehicle you're planning to sell or trade -- you may be interested in some of the enhanced safety features available on newer models. These include perimeter alarms (which can sound a warning beep if any passersby draw too close to your vehicle) and even exterior surveillance video. 

For more information and options about newer semi trailer models, contact a commercial truck dealership or visit websites like