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Low Cost Self Defense for
Professional Truck Drivers


If you as a truck driver were attacked, would you have the self defense products and techniques at your disposal to successfully escape the encounter? What if even your best efforts toward home security failed and someone broke into your "home on wheels" while you're in it? On this page, we address low cost (or no cost) options that you can use to protect yourself -- whether inside your truck or out.

Disclaimer: We deplore violence and bloodshed. However, if someone breaks into your truck to attack you, we believe that you have a right to defend yourself. Of course, what we believe is not the issue.

According to Wikipedia, "In the United States, the defense of self-defense allows a person to use reasonable force in his or her own defense or the defense of others.... While the definitions vary from state to state, the general rule makes an important distinction between the use of non-deadly and deadly force. A person may use non-deadly force to prevent imminent injury, however a person may not use deadly force unless that person is in reasonable fear of serious injury or death."

There is the matter of intentional, willful or pre-meditated use of force. The information on this page shall not be construed as legal advice. In all matters involving the law, you will want to consult a qualified attorney.

We much prefer preventing problems than having to deal with them. It is your responsibility to make sure that the self defense products you choose or techniques you use are legal in the areas where you run and meet the restrictions set by your trucking company.

Although we have listed a number of self defense products below and have even embedded videos, 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.



Firearms as Self Defense Products

Sign declaring no firearms or weapons.The problem with interstate or international professional drivers carrying and using any type of firearm -- like a gun, stun gun or Taser -- is that laws vary between political subdivisions. Laws vary between states in the USA. And the last we knew, guns were prohibited in commercial motor vehicles in Canada. Customs officials may scan your vehicle and also do a hands-on inspection of the contents of your truck.

The extent to which one might have to go to be licensed to carry a firearm in every place one might potentially travel could be so large that it would not be a prudent investment of time to pursue it.

Furthermore, you may run into situations where even if a firearm is legal in a jurisdiction, it might not be allowed on a customer's property. The sign pictured at right -- which was taken at a customer's location -- reads "NO FIREARMS OR WEAPONS ALLOWED ON THIS PROPERTY".

We find this ironic since quite literally, one's hands can be considered deadly weapons. Furthermore, there are some items that a professional truck driver carries with him or her to use in the course of his/her work that can be used as a weapon (which we will describe below).

Sign stating notice, vehicles subject to searchSome customers have signs posted that indicate that every vehicle that enters the premises is subject to being searched. The customer may look for products being smuggled out of their location and not weapons, but don't count on it.

While there are differences between the two, both a Taser and a stun gun can be considered types of firearms. If you use one, do so only with the greatest of care. Beware of restrictions of use where you travel.

Some folks might prefer to use a weapon for self defense at a distance rather than one that can only be used at close range. However, bear in mind that any weapon that can be used on an intruder can also be turned around and used on you!

If you are unfamiliar with how to use firearms, in the heat of an attack you could end up fatally shooting your attacker. You may be subject to the laws of the location where the shooting occurred, as well as the recurring thought (perhaps a guilty conscience) that you killed someone. Bear all of these things in mind before using a gun.





Work-Related Tools and Striking Weapons for Self Defense

There are tools that many professional truck drivers use in the course of their work that can also be used as a weapon when it comes to protecting your home security.

Pictured at right are three different types of tire checkers on sale at a truck stop. Notice that the one on the far right looks like a short baseball bat.

The photo below shows rubber mallets and metal-headed hammers, also on sale at a truck stop.

Tire checkers on sale at a truck stop.
Rubber mallets and metal headed hammers on sale at a truckstop.

Speaking of the tire checker that looks like a baseball bat, there is no law that we know of that prohibits you from carrying a bat in your truck. However, if you are pulled over, your truck is searched, and someone finds a baseball bat, it will look far less suspicious if you also carry a baseball and glove with you.

One of the drawbacks to carrying a bat in your truck and using it as a home security device is its length. You may not have the room necessary inside your truck to deliver a powerful enough "swing" to disable an intruder. Then again, it may be useful to "jab" at an intruder or block a blow that is being delivered to you.

Along the same lines as these, some drivers carry a broom in their trucks to sweep out trailers from time to time. Depending on the configuration of your truck, you may be able to store a broom handle horizontally on the floor along the front edge of your bunk and the broom head separately under the bunk, accessible from the sidebox. Alternatively, you can store the broom handle vertically in the corner behind the passenger's seat. A broom handle can be used as a striking device in self defense.

Baseball bat
Baseball bat, ball and glove.

We also recently became aware of a device called the "Unbreakable Umbrella" from Real-Self-Defense.com. We do not own one of these and note that they are expensive (much more so than a compact or folding umbrella one can buy at Wal-Mart); but the product looks to be worthwhile as both a weather shield and self defense product.

In its listing on Amazon.com (a link which is unavailable at the time of this writing), the Unbreakable Umbrella has the following features:

  • Legal to carry everywhere
  • Has no unusual parts, no more metal than an average umbrella
  • Does protect from rain just like the best umbrellas
  • Does not cause strange looks--unlike a walking stick--when carried by an able-bodied person
  • Carried by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of the Philippines President

There are two different models of this umbrella, which Vicki describes as "the hook" (like you would see on the head of a cane) and "the knob."

Vicki has been thoroughly impressed with the videos she has seen about this product, including the one embedded below, which shows in some demonstrations someone defending himself against an attacker with this weapon in hand.





Spraying Devices for Self Defense

You may have seen an email circulating that recommends using a certain type of pesticide as self defense. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever do so. As the EPA states on its website, "It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling."

That being said, there are certain sprays like pepper spray that are intended for self defense and make excellent personal security and home security devices. We think you can imagine, however, the problems associated with using this inside your truck. Still, if you're being attacked, it's better than nothing.

Pepper spray cartridge with holder.

One professional driver we know carries a spray canister of 18% pepper spray in a keychain holster, as shown on the left.

This particular pepper spray was acquired at a flea market in Georgia where no identification was required to conduct the transaction and cash was perfectly acceptable as a payment method.

The trucker ended up buying four canisters of the 18% pepper spray, which is supposed to be the strongest concentration available and also the concentration that law enforcement uses.


Home security pepper spray, black holster, in package.The driver showed us one of his unopened packages of Cheetah pepper spray.

At the bottom of the front of the package, pictured at right, you can see the words "Maximum Strength."

The description of the product reads:

  • Multiple blasts;
  • Causes no permanent injuries;
  • Simple to use;
  • Used by law enforcement;
  • Identifying dye;
  • Super compact;
  • Made in USA.

The holster has a keychain-type ring on it so that it can be used as a keychain or placed on one.


The back of the package contains more information:

"This Pepper Spray is most effective when it makes contact with the assailant's eyes, nose and mouth. Wind and other conditions such as rain may effect [sic] the spray's range. Do not spray into the wind if possible, to avoid getting the spray in your own eyes."

Home security pepper spray, back of package.

"HOW TO USE:

1. Unlock the red actuator button by sliding the flat red tab to the right so the red tab aligns with the small cut out of the black cap. CAUTION: Pepper Spray is now armed.

2. Point the pepper spray release hole toward the face of the assailant or the target.

3. Push down firmly on the red tab marked press using short bursts. Pepper spray will squirt about 8 to 12 feet in stream.

WARNING:
STRONG IRRITANT UNDER PRESSURE. DO NOT PUNCTURE.

FIRST AID:

AVOID CONTACT WITH EYES AND SKIN. IN CASE OF CONTACT FLUSH EYES AND SKIN WITH COLD WATER. CONSULT A DOCTOR IF IRRITATION PERSISTS.

DO NOT CARRY PEPPER SPRAY ON COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT.

DO NOT EXPOSE TO HEAT, FIRE OR IN DIRECT SUNSHINE. DO NOT STORE ABOVE 120°F."





Cutting or Stabbing Devices for Self Defense

When you are being attacked, think survival. Items that can be used to cut or stab can also be used in an attack against you. They may range from an ordinary Swiss army knife to a switchblade, from a table knife to a steak knife.

When Vicki took a self-defense course years ago, the instructor said that even an ordinary ball point pen (the kind one writes with) can be used against an attacker. There are, of course, places on the body where delivering a blow can be downright disabling or deadly. Exercise caution when using one of these.



Hand-to-Hand Moves for Self Defense

When you have been confronted by an attacker or intruder, it is useful to know some maneuvers that can disable him, especially if you have no weapons readily available.

You may recall that Mr. Spock in "Star Trek" and James West of "The Wild Wild West" had a tendency to use a person's pressure points to disable others. A search that Vicki did for information on such topics as "Mr. Spock pressure point" or "pressure point disable someone", brought results from which she could theoretically learn all sorts of bare-handed self defense techniques.

It must be noted that you may require some training to find disabling pressure points, one of which is shown in the video embedded below.


The following video shows how to get an attacker to release a choke hold, whether from the front or behind.

And this last embedded video shows how to apply a "wrist lock."



Calling for Help

Many professional drivers carry cell phones with them so that they may call for help in emergency situations. Depending on many factors, help may be unlikely to arrive for at least several minutes following such a call.

Obviously, for a cell phone to work, it must be kept charged. When in the truck, we kept ours charged by using an inverter, either a 12-volt outlet inverter or one connected directly to the batteries.

An alternative to let others know that you need assistance (or to help chase intruders away) is a very loud whistle like the one shown at right. It is best to have one that can be used year-round (even in cold climates) and has no moving parts.

Another alternative is to use your truck's air horn to signal your distress. We've never heard anyone (or heard of anyone) doing this, but then again, we've never been near anyone whose truck was invaded.



Conclusion

Obviously, there is a difference between offense and defense. We hope that you never have to use any of the self defense products or measures described on this page. Being prepared is critical. You may wish to employ multiple strategies to avoid being targeted (some of which we describe on our home security page). But if you are targeted, we have provided some self defense options.

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)(link). While 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.






truck drivers money saving tip icon

concentric circlesMoney 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 the layers of self defense in terms of concentric circles, like many layers of guards in place around a great treasure (you being the treasure). For ourselves, we would want to dissuade or fend off an attacker as far away from us as possible.

With the right training, it is possible to disable an attacker or intruder with common everyday items such as those you use in the course of your work, household items you have in your truck or your bare hands. As the embedded videos show, the size of the attacker is not as important as the way you leverage your body or where you strike your attacker.

Some self defense products require only a one-time purchase (such as a non-firing weapon) whereas others may require ongoing expenses (such as a spray or firing weapon that requires bullets). While weighing your options, consider all of the costs that will be involved in the short term and long term.








Return from Low Cost Self Defense for Professional Truck Drivers to our Health and Wellness page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.







Mike and Vicki Simons wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.


Taking a Thanksgiving trip?

Need a frugal in-truck
Thanksgiving dinner?

A Thanksgiving Prayer
for truckers























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