CONCORD, Ont. – Whether it be slick road conditions or a reckless four-wheeler, truck drivers will always have dangers to contend with on the road.
But what about off the road at truck stops when they’re (literally) taking a load off? How often do drivers witness crime during their daily stops?
Truck News dropped by the Pinecrest Restaurant and Truck Stop to find out how safe drivers feel at truck stops.
Hit and runs are one of the biggest problems at truck stops according to Chris Blodgett, an owner/operator from Ajax, Ont.
“I’ve seen guys hit other trucks and just take off. If nobody jumps out of the truck they hit, they’re gone.”
Blodgett says the most important thing to remember is to be aware of your surroundings.
“You have to be smart about it. Just don’t park in the back corner and expect that everything will be alright.”
Brad Larson, a driver for Romeo’s Trucking in Saskatoon, Sask., is thanking his lucky stars he hasn’t been personally victimized by crime at a truck stop. But some of his co-workers haven’t been so lucky, with two tractors at his lot in Saskatoon broken into two weeks ago.
“Fortunately there’s a bit of a camaraderie between drivers,” he said. “If something were to happen, these guys would help you out.”
Kevin Tobin’s father was a truck driver, so he’d heard all the truck stop crime stories long before he hit the road. He hasn’t seen much crime other than the odd fight during his time driving and isn’t usually concerned about lighting or security when he stops somewhere.
“Usually truck stops like (Pinecrest) are actually quite calm and relaxing,” he says.
Mississauga, Ont.-based driver Ted Hawkes has seen hit and runs and trucks stolen during his many years on the road. The owner/operator who hauls locally says Toronto isn’t the way it used to be, and neither are the thieves who live there.
“Crimes are happening all over the place,” he says. “A lot of guys have the secure feeling because they drive a big truck, thinking it won’t go anywhere. Well, no. They’ll take the whole works and just dump (the trailer) somewhere.”
Dave Woodman, a driver with Yanke Group of Companies in Saskatoon, Sask., says common sense goes a long way when choosing your stops.
“You don’t park in an empty parking lot, in the middle of nowhere with no light,” he says.
He also says that crime at truck stops in Canada is significantly less compared with our neighbours to the south.
“When I drove in the States, theft was bad. We had trailers being towed all the time,” he says.
“In some places in the states, you’d have (hookers) knocking on your door at three o’clock in the afternoon looking for a fix. It’s pathetic, really. But in Canada it’s very rare.”