At the end of a long day, all a driver wants to do is find a spot to park the truck. This is not always an easy task and when drivers are desperate for parking they may make some bad decisions.

A large percentage of truck and trailer accidents occur at truck stops. Difficult backs, driver fatigue, inattention, inexperience, and yes, even downright stupidity all play a role. Unfortunately, you can only control your actions. It is up to you to park where the risk being involved in parking lot accidents is reduced.

Here are some good practices to help you avoid truck stop parking accidents:

Know where you will stop for the night. Pre-planning your route with designated stops will help you avoid hunting for the last remaining parking space of the night. Knowing where and when you will stop for the night lets you shut down with plenty of time to get a good spot that avoids risk.

Get it done the first time. The more times you have to stop and park the more times you leave yourself venerable to accidents. Plan to fuel, shower, eat, get coffee, do laundry or phone home all at once instead of making multiple stops during the day. Not only do you reduce your risk of accidents, you’ll save time.

Consider parking at rest areas instead. Statistics show that accidents at rest areas occur far less than at truck stops. Planning to overnight at rest areas and hitting a truck stop to shower and eat during the day, when traffic is naturally reduced at truck stops, is a good alternative.

Avoid parking at the end of a row. More traffic flows around the end of a row, therefore naturally increasing the risk of one of those trucks hitting you.

Avoid spaces that will force you to back out when you’re ready to leave. The best option is to choose a pull through spaces. If that’s not an option, try finding a space that you can back into rather than being forced to back out.

Avoid parking across from trucks that will be backing out of their space. Being across from a truck that will have to blindly back out is just an accident waiting to happen.

Take pride in your parking abilities. Park the truck straight. Not only does this reduce the surface area others can hit, it makes it easier for others to park. Be courteous and be professional. Just because it’s the end of a long day doesn’t mean you should make life difficult for others around you.

Be prepared to move your truck. From time to time, a driver will park next to you while you watch in shock or fear. The unsettled feeling creeps in and you just know there is an 80% chance you are going to wake up to see your mirror dangling or your bumper laying on the ground. If you can move your truck, do it. If you can’t move write down the company name and DOT number of the truck.

Park for safety, not convenience. Sure that space at the front of the lot will save you a 10-minute walk through the parking lot, but will it increase your risk of an accident? Choose a spot that is safe for your truck, but also, keep your personal safety in mind. Park in a well-lit area of the lot and remember to walk safely while making your way in for dinner.