Overnight Safety as a Driver — Do’s and Don’ts
Get essential delivery driver safety tips you need for safe driving while working. Learn how to avoid carjacking and collisions as a delivery driver.
Want to finish your day an hour early and spend less time on the road? Check out Circuit Route Planner. Circuit optimizes your delivery routes so you can finish early and get back home safe.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way.
A report from USA Today shows that you’re more likely to die on the job as a delivery driver (24.7 annual deaths per 100K workers) than as a police officer (14.6 annual deaths per 100K workers).
It’s one of the most dangerous jobs out there.
That’s some heavy boots right there — major bummer material.
And while most crimes take place during the day, serious crimes are more common at night.
The fear of being attacked or robbed on the job is a reality for many delivery drivers.
Plus, driving at night lowers visibility, which can result in vehicle accidents and driver fatigue makes defensive driving more difficult.
Now, for the good news:
You can take steps to protect yourself and stay safe on the job — no matter what time it is. Plus, you might even earn more money for taking on those night shifts
I help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of overnight safety as a delivery driver.
Do these 5 things to keep safe while delivering at night
There are a few safety concerns that should be on your radar when you’re delivering at night.
For example, car accidents are a major issue — day and night.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021, a 10.5% increase from 2020.
And since 2012, the number of crashes involving delivery vehicles has majorly increased.
And the numbers are even more concerning at night.
The National Safety Council says that “while we do only one-quarter of our driving at night, 50% of traffic deaths happen at night.”
Another potential safety threat is carjacking and robbery.
Food delivery drivers and rideshare drivers are especially prone to this type of attack.
When delivery drivers hop out of their vehicles to bring delicious food to their customers, criminals seize the opportunity.
And unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop there. In March 2021, Mohammad Anwar, a 66-year-old Uber Eats driver, was carjacked and killed by two teens.
Pizza delivery drivers are a common target for robberies. Like this Pizza Hut delivery driver who was robbed at gunpoint.
These are some of the safety concerns you should keep in mind while making your deliveries.
Let’s take a look at the things you can do to help keep yourself safe.
1. Stay aware of your surroundings
Anyone who has ever worked a late-night shift knows that it can be a bit eerie. The darkness seems to amplify everything, and strange noises can seem downright sinister.
For delivery drivers, this can be especially true.
After all, you’re usually working alone and sometimes in unfamiliar territory.
One thing that can help is to make sure to familiarize yourself with the delivery area before your shift.
Get to know the high-crime areas, so you’ll be able to identify them when you’re out making your rounds.
You also want to stay aware of your surroundings while driving. This means keeping your eyes peeled for any potential dangers.
Make sure your windshield wipers and fluid are in good working order to keep good visibility, no matter the weather conditions.
Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles or people, and don’t hesitate to call emergency services if you feel like you’re being followed.
Trust your instincts.
If something feels off, it probably is.
2. Park close to your delivery site
There’s a reason nighttime is considered to be more dangerous.
There are more places for criminals to hide at night, and when you’re carrying a few packages, it can make you a prime target for robbery.
When you’re tired after a long day of work, it can make you less alert and more vulnerable.
You can help mitigate some of this risk by parking close to your pickup or delivery site and shortening how far you have to walk with your packages.
Parking close to your destination also means that you won’t have to wander around in the dark looking for your customer’s house.
And be sure to keep your delivery vehicle in good working order to avoid breakdowns in inconvenient places and at inconvenient times.
3. Light the way
You always want to park in a well-lit area, like under a streetlight.
This helps make sure that you can see the address clearly and that your vehicle is visible to passing traffic.
Make sure you have your headlights on when you’re driving.
This is a basic of driving safety for a reason — sadly, Batman’s night vision isn’t a thing available to delivery drivers yet (or so I’m told).
It’s also a good idea to turn on your headlights to help light the way as you walk to the door so you don’t trip and fall.
It also makes you more visible and hopefully less of a target.
A flashlight is a good idea, too. Consider getting a legit flashlight — not just using your cellphone flashlight.
A cellphone flashlight can use a lot of juice, draining your phone’s battery, and you don’t want to be in the middle of somewhere without a way to navigate or keep in contact with your team.
Be sure to keep your flashlight in your hand so you can use it to light your way, navigate dark walkways, see house numbers you can’t make out in the dark, avoid stepping on a road on the way to the side door, and even use it as a weapon if necessary.
4. Lock up your vehicle
At the beginning of this section, I told you about carjackers who are happy to take advantage of an empty, idling vehicle for a quick getaway.
By locking up your vehicle, you deter would-be criminals from taking your stuff or your ride.
It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s something that’s often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of making deliveries.
It can feel like an inconvenience to have to lock and unlock your car every time you make a delivery, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind and safety that comes with it.
5. Use cameras
If you can, consider installing a camera on the dashboard of the vehicle. This will help to record any damage, theft, or other incidents that may happen while you’re making your deliveries.
The police and your insurance company will be thankful for the footage if something does happen.
Having video evidence can be incredibly helpful in getting any insurance claims processed or in helping the police track down the perpetrators.
Plus, it can just offer some peace of mind in knowing that you’re being proactive about your safety.
It’s a good way to keep an eye on your surroundings and have a record of what happens if something happens to you or your vehicle.
Avoid doing these 5 things while delivering at night
There are a lot of do’s when it comes to safety.
You can practice safe driving by wearing your seatbelt, following the speed limit, and mastering defensive driving techniques to avoid collisions.
You can take steps to protect your health and safety during the pandemic by wearing a mask or taking a safety training course.
It’s always good to know what to do.
But it’s also really powerful knowing what not to do.
There are some things you should avoid doing while delivering at night for your safety.
1. Don’t deliver in unfamiliar areas
Your delivery service should ideally give you a list of all delivery customers, addresses, and delivery instructions.
No weird last-minute addresses should be texted to you in the middle of the night.
No sus phone calls with a last-minute stop.
When you’re making a delivery, it’s important to be familiar with the route you’re taking.
This way, you can get there quickly and safely.
Sitting idly or asking for directions are some of the top causes of carjacking.
Make sure you use your GPS for areas you don’t know. This can help you avoid getting lost or stranded in an unfamiliar area.
You can also use Circuit Route Planner to help plan out your route before you even hit the road.
Circuit optimizes your delivery route so you can make the most efficient use of your time.
But it also helps you know what to expect on your route, so you don’t end up on the wrong side of town.
This way, you can avoid any potential surprises and make sure that you get to your destination as quickly and safely as possible.
2. Don’t carry a ton of cash
When you’re out making deliveries, it’s important not to carry a lot of cash on you.
Even if you’re just making a few stops, it’s best to deposit any cash you’ve earned into the bank as soon as possible.
That way, you don’t have to worry about losing it all if something happens to you.
It’s a good idea to have a debit or credit card-only option after a certain time.
This will help make sure that you’re not carrying a lot of cash and also help speed up the transaction.
Plus, it’s just one less thing to worry about while you’re out making your deliveries.
3. Don’t deliver to unoccupied homes or businesses
This is because criminals may target these locations as they know there’s a higher chance of not being caught.
They may also be looking for an easy target and fewer witnesses, so by avoiding these locations, you’re less likely to become a victim of robbery or theft.
There are several signs that you can look out for to determine if a home or business is unoccupied:
- Unkempt yard
- No lights on in the windows
- Window shades pulled down all the way
- Broken windows
- Chipped or faded paint
- Structural damage
- Doors are unlocked or open
If you see any of these signs, it’s best to avoid the location.
4. Don’t deliver to hotel rooms
There are a few reasons you shouldn’t deliver to hotel rooms.
For one, the person who ordered the food may not be in the room when you arrive. This means you’ll have to wait around or come back later, which can eat into your time and profits.
Another reason is that hotel rooms can be a prime target for robbery, or they may try to force you into the room.
One delivery driver on Reddit says, “Ask the front desk person to ring the room and have the customer come to the lobby. If they refuse to call the room, leave the food there, text the customer, and leave.”
It’s best to deliver only to the main desk to avoid any potential issues.
5. Don’t wear a delivery uniform
Delivery uniforms can make drivers stand out and be easily recognizable.
However, it also means that drivers are more likely to be targeted by criminals.
They know that drivers are likely to have cash on them and might be carrying food or other items that they can steal.
Many drivers choose to wear casual “everyday” clothes with a small company logo.
This makes them less recognizable and less of a target. It also allows them to blend in with the rest of the population, which may make them less noticeable to criminals.
Save time delivering at night by planning your routes with Circuit Route Planner
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified “delivery driver” as one of the most dangerous jobs in America.
That’s why occupational safety should be a top priority for any delivery driver.
By following the tips above, you can help keep yourself safe while on the job.
One of the best things you can do is plan your route in advance so, you avoid potentially dangerous areas.
Circuit Route Planner makes delivery planning easy and can help you avoid any potential hazards on your route.
Circuit optimizes your routes, so you’re always on the fastest, most efficient route.
And with faster routes, you can save up to an hour a day delivering.
This means less time spent on the road, which is less risk to you, and more time doing whatever else you want with your day (or night).