What home security systems, products or measures can professional truck drivers — who work and live in their trucks — use in their “home on wheels” to help prevent an attack or intrusion?
On this page, we address only those things that you can use in or on your truck to protect yourself, your possessions and your truck.
We deal with self defense separately.
Disclaimer: We much prefer preventing problems than having to deal with them.
It is your responsibility to make sure that the personal protection you choose is legal in the areas where you run and meets the restrictions set by your trucking company.
Although we have listed a number of home security products on this page, we do not necessarily endorse any of them.
We have listed them for educational and informational purposes only and bear in mind that they may be useful for both male and female drivers.
Prevention is a Critical Component of Your Home Security Strategy
The old saying is still true today: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Lock Your Truck Doors
Many years ago, people in some communities in American never locked the doors of their homes.
They didn’t have to.
Neighbors knew their neighbors and trusted them.
In sharp contrast, professional truck drivers (especially regional and long haul truckers) often have irregular routes. Sometimes they don’t even know first thing in the morning where they will park that night — let alone know the people whom they will be parking next to.
There is, to be sure, a certain thrill and adventure associated with taking on the unknown; but there is also potential danger.
Those who travel far from home can become targets for theft. A nice looking truck may be considered “fair game” or “an easy target.”
You can help prevent crime by making it a practice to lock your truck doors.
Lock them when you get in your truck. Lock them when you leave.
Carry your keys with you at all times. Don’t make it easy for someone you don’t know to gain entry.
Don’t Advertise That You’re Worth Robbing
Some folks want to be seen as successful — whether consciously or unconsciously — and therefore flash jewelry, leather jackets, big wads of cash, fancy electronic devices, etc.
Perhaps you use your cell phone or laptop computer when you go into a truck stop.
Just be aware that people are watching — and that not all of them have good intentions.
Watch Where You Park
Avoid stopping or parking in remote, isolated or abandoned areas.
Numerous truck stops that used to crawl with lot lizards or opportunists looking for trouble have cleaned up their facilities.
Some facilities even have security cameras or on duty safety patrols.
Learn which places — even though they may be safe and legal — to avoid parking overnight.
Prevent Fuel Theft
One aspect of home security for a truck driver might be preventing fuel theft.
Here’s a Test: Spot the Thief
Were you able to spot the thief?
Active or Passive Home Security Measures
Perhaps this is an over-simplification of the situation, but once past prevention, we categorize other home security measures in either active or passive forms.
Passive Home Security
An example, in our opinion, of a passive form of security is a simple truck alarm.
It doesn’t actively do anything after being installed except monitor the truck for breaking and entering situations.
The alarm goes off when it is triggered but it doesn’t actively block the intruder. (There may be alarms that do more than this.)
We’ve never heard of a company truck being equipped with a truck alarm, although custom rigs driven by owner operators (like the one pictured here) may have them.
Active Home Security
An example of an active form of security is any weapon used upon an intruder.
It must be handled or otherwise used by the would-be victim after the unwanted person is already inside the truck.
An example of a hybrid home security device — that is, one classified as passive turned active — might be a pet who merely barks at an intruder when the truck is being tampered with, but bites the intruder once inside the truck.
We would not want to be around a dog who snarled at us and appeared aggressive, as the one shown here.
Where Is A Home Security Product Used?
There is also a categorization of a home security product being used depending on whether you are in or out of your truck.
If a product can be used only when you’re in the truck, can it be used whether the truck is idling or not?
For example, depending on the setting assigned, the truck alarm mentioned above can be used when someone is outside the truck, but what about when someone is inside?
Now let’s describe other options…
A device that can only be used inside a truck is one pictured here.
The driver literally has a heavy security chain looped through the handles of his truck’s doors and (we assume) locked together on the inside.
Not dependant upon electricity, a security chain can be used whether the engine is running or not.
(Note: a metal chain may not be legal, so consider the use of a strap instead.)
A door-to-door security device does not prevent someone from picking the lock or breaking a window, but it sure makes it harder for someone to get in the truck.
An example of a hybrid home security device that prevents a truck from being started is a “kill switch.”
The location of this device may be known only to the driver and his/her trucking company.
This device can be set while the driver is in the truck, but left in its “disabled” setting when a driver leaves.
It is not the same thing as a “battery disconnect,” but it is designed to keep the truck from being started.
It does not protect you personally, but when activated keeps your rig from being stolen (unless, of course, the intruder knows how to reset it).
Mike drove a company truck for awhile that was equipped with a Magtec unit.
The keypad and warning label of this unit is pictured here.
Although probably oversimplifying its function, we know of two uses for this device, which can be used whether the driver is in or out of his/her truck:
- to slow and eventually stop an in-transit truck that is being hijacked once the driver enters the panic code; and
- to prevent a truck from starting up unless the proper code is punched into the keypad (which is helpful for drivers pulling “high value” freight).
The use of the home security products, systems or measures described on this page may be your first line of defense.
Being prepared is critical.
You may wish to avail yourself of multiple strategies to avoid being targeted, but then if you are targeted how you will defend yourself.
We will be frank that there is not much that a driver can do when someone shoots at you through one of your truck’s windows, as Jason Rivenburg was in 2009 (link)(timesjournalonline.com/details.asp?id=20508″ no longer online).
We have outlined a number of safety precautions you can utilize to minimize your risk. Work out the plan that is right for you in your situation.
Money saving tip: Think proactively rather than reactively regarding your own protection.
Work to prevent problems rather than try to solve them once they arise.
Think of layers of home security in terms of concentric circles, like many layers of guards in place around a great treasure (you being the treasure).
For ourselves, we want to dissuade or fend off an attacker as far away from us as possible.
Some home security ideas may require a one-time purchase (such as a strap and a lock) whereas others may require ongoing expenses (such as a pet).
While weighing your options, consider all of the costs that will be involved in the short term and long term.
In matters of self defense and preparedness, remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”