Higher traffic volumes during four-day holiday weekends mean delays and an increased level of risk for trucking professionals. However, heavier traffic is not the only thing that can create problems for motor carriers and drivers during extended holiday periods.
Organized crime rings are notorious for targeting transportation companies, shippers and manufacturers when holiday weekends cause shipments to be unattended for extended periods of time.
There are, however, precautions drivers can take to help prevent what could be a devastating loss:
Before leaving, confirm that the receiver’s hours of operation for the holiday weekend are consistent with scheduled delivery times.
Remain aware of your surroundings at all times, whether parked or driving, and be particularly observant at night. Don’t talk about your cargo or trip details with anyone. Be on the lookout for vehicles following you and report any suspicious activity to authorities immediately.
Do your best to have sufficient hours and fuel to drive an extended period after picking up a load. It is often not worth the time, money or effort for criminals to follow you for multiple hours, and they may turn their attention elsewhere.
Vary your route to avoid becoming predictable. Thieves have been known to monitor the behavior of drivers with high-value loads on multiple runs to determine the most opportune time to strike.
When stopped in traffic, leave enough space in front of you so you can pull away quickly if trouble is spotted.
Remain aware of possible hijacking ploys to obtain your vehicle.
If you must park a loaded trailer, only park in a well-lit, heavily traveled lot, preferably with security cameras and/or guards. Also use the surroundings to your advantage by backing your trailer up against buildings, fences or other trailers to make it difficult or impossible for thieves to get inside.
Remove the keys from the ignition and survey the outside of the truck before exiting.
Do not allow the tractor to idle unattended.
Lock your tractor doors and keep windows rolled up; padlock trailer doors and use kingpin locks. Use high-security theft deterrents for added layers of protection.
Carry information on your person concerning the identification of the tractor and trailer(s) or chassis and containers you are pulling (license numbers, container numbers, descriptions).
Know emergency contact numbers in the areas in which you travel.
In the unfortunate event you do become a victim of cargo theft, contact local law enforcement immediately and then report the loss to your insurance company.