After the terrorist attacks of 2016 in Brussels and San Bernardino, in boat transport,safety is ever present on my mind. Especially as boat transporters, always on the roads and in public places, such as busy truck stops, ports, rest areas and marinas, where there are all kinds of people from all over.
I have always tried to consider all people as equals and good people until they prove otherwise. And I still do. However, I have become much more aware of my surroundings and the people around me and what they are doing and carrying. People carrying items that don’t look normal for where they are and heavy coats in warmer weather, people wearing items that disguise their faces, hostile people, etc. all could be a threat to you and others around you.
As a woman it has always been a practice to notice who is around me and make eye contact with a small smile to people I pass. A smile and eye contact says, I see you and I am not a threat and I see you and I am aware of you and what you look like. I think this is a good practice for men, women, and children. The person who is walking along not noticing their surroundings, obsessed with their phone, packages, etc. could be a target for someone wanting to do them harm. I think the best alarm is the alarm on your key remote if you have one. Those things are obnoxious and loud. Also yelling fire when you are in trouble. Folks may not want to intervene in an attack but most everyone wants to see what is on fire! And most times all you need to stop an attack is an audience, right?
As a law abiding people we need to do our part and take action when needed. If someone in trouble either notifying authorities or intervening only if it is clear the person needs help and a first responder authority is not available. Asking the question, “Is there anything I can help you with?” to someone you think may need help can be a lifesaver.
On the road last year at a truck stop, we saw another trucker driver lose his life by being run over by a truck. Safety concerns are not just an intentional threat but accidents as well. In parking lots be aware of vehicles. Make sure they are stopping before you step out, make eye contact with the driver.
Danger can be on the road as well. Truck drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs, with the amount of time they spend on the road and the amount of traffic they endure. Too many fellow drivers don’t realize they are creating road hazards by pulling in front of trucks to close when passing, stopping to quickly without warning in front of big trucks. Drivers who make constant lane changes in heavy traffic are a threat to everyone on the road. But big trucks loaded down heavy, are at more of a risk in these situations because of the extended stopping time required.
So drive safely and consider others on the road with you and around you in those public places.