Parking Wisely

Davie was nearing the end of his fourteen hours on the road. He was hungry and exhausted. Every other driver must have felt the same way because the truck stop parking lot was almost completely full. There was another rest area a few miles up that usually had a lot of spaces available, but they didn’t have a restaurant on premises. He managed to squeeze between two semis halfway down one of the aisles. His car carrier, fully loaded with new vehicles, stuck out several feet beyond the trucks next to his, and the SUV on the headrack several feet beyond that. However, Davie saw the parking lot was well-lit and there was little risk of a passing truck hitting the cargo. He knew that he should just grab something to eat and drive up the road, but when he finished supper, all Davie wanted was to close his eyes. It was midnight and he was fast asleep in seconds.

Three hours later, a huge jolt shook his sleeper. Davie jumped out of the tractor just in time to see the white semi that had been parked across the aisle from him drive to the exit and leave. He looked up and saw the SUV on the headrack was dented, scraped, and the rear windows were shattered. The semi that had backed into the SUV was now long gone and there was no hope of identifying the tractor trailer or its driver. Davie knew that the cargo repair bill was coming right out of his paycheck and he was about to have a tight month.

Lessons Learned:

The average length of an auto transporter is 75 feet (plus front and back overhang), whereas the average length of a typical tractor trailer combination is approximately 69 feet. This presents a hazard unique to auto transporters, as other tractor trailer drivers may not think about the additional length of your car carrier when maneuvering through parking lots. When you pull into a parking lot, keep the following guidelines in mind:
• Select parking spaces on the perimeter of the lot when available
• Do not park in spaces that have another parking space across the aisle or that back up to another spot
• Consider moving spaces if the tractor trailer next to you is damaged, as that driver may be careless
• If it is dark, park near a streetlight and make sure any overhanging cargo is clearly visible
• When possible, leave several empty spaces between you and the vehicles around you

Remembering this advice will help you prevent avoidable and expensive cargo and physical damage claims.