Posted on 10/09/2015 at 04:17 PM by Dena Boelter
Believe it or not, one of the most common claims submitted by motor carriers are crashes or incidents involving parked vehicles. These losses are usually preventable and when a motor carrier investigates the cause of such incidents, often times it can be traced back to the driver's decision on where he/she decided to park.
Here are some tips to share with drivers on selecting a safe location to park:
- Never park on the shoulder of a highway for non-emergency reasons, such as tire checks, cargo checks, and nature breaks.
- If parked on the shoulder for an emergency, activate the emergency flashers right away. Drivers should also place their emergency warning devices, such as triangles, within 10 minutes of stopping, per FMCSA regulations.
- Be aware of hazardous ground around the truck. Soft and/or icy shoulders are parking traps that can cause the unit to lean or tip over. It can also sink and get stuck requiring the added expense of being towed. Also be mindful of ice on the shoulder. Trailers have been known to slide off the shoulder and into a ditch. These conditions are also a hazard to the driver, so encourage the use of proper footwear, 3-point contact getting in/out of the vehicle, and wearing a reflective vest to alert traffic of their presence.
- Be mindful of parking on/near grass, weeds, and leaves. In extremely dry conditions, the hot undercarriage and exhaust components on the truck can spark a fire and jeopardize the entire unit and its cargo.
- Never leave units unattended in unsecure parking areas, especially if hauling hazardous materials. Lock the truck whenever parked, even for short stops, and never discuss routes or cargo with strangers.
- Before dropping a trailer, always ensure the ground below will support the trailer's landing gear, especially if the trailer is loaded. Use dunnage, if necessary.
- Clear the truck of accumulated snow and ice after being parked for an extended period. This will make the vehicle more visible to others and give the driver more visibility of the traffic conditions outside.
- To avoid getting hit by other vehicles in a truck stop or rest area, avoid parking on the end of the row or in the front.
- Always set the parking brakes on both units when parking, even for short stops.
- Look for any signs nearby that indicate no parking for commercial vehicles. Avoiding towing costs is another form of loss prevention.
By Leo Hughes, Senior Safety Representative, GWCC