From flat bed drivers to freight haulers, and everyone in between, preparing your truck for a trip is essential to keep yourself safe and comfortable while you’re on the road. Whether you’re a regional or OTR driver, you’re truck should be equipped with everything necessary for a trip, no matter what the duration.
In response to National Preparedness Month and the hurricanes that have been greatly affected the U.S., we have developed a checklist for truck drivers, so they can be best prepared for the unexpected. We gathered information about trucker supplies from popular trucker forums, blog posts and official government websites to create and in-depth checklist for you and your drivers. Double check your trucker emergency kit to see if you have everything to stay safe. You might not have even thought of some of these items that can make your life a little easier!
What are the Basic Must-Have Supplies for Truckers?
- Road Atlas: Depending on your personal preference and experience, you can decide which type of road atlas is best for you to have in your truck. If you purchase a paper road atlas or use free ones from state truck stops along the way, you could save money. However, there are laminated road atlases that are a little more costly, but are more durable and can survive spills that might happen. Regardless of which type of map you use, you’ll want to have a non-digital way to navigate in case your GPS or phone malfunctions or dies.
- Dry Erase Markers or Sticky Notes: After you decide which atlas you want (paper or laminated), you’ll want to purchase the sidekick for your atlas, which is your form of making notes. The laminated atlas gives you the option to write your directions or notes directly onto atlas pages, and erase after to keep your atlas pristine. Sticky notes are a great option for the paper maps. You’ll need a pen for this, but you should have a pen for your log book anyway.
- Window Cleaner Wipes: No one likes to look through a dirty windshield. Keep these stashed somewhere for when the sun hits your window in the right way for you to see all the dirt and smudges that have accumulated. It’s so satisfying to get rid of all of that. Bonus: You can write directions with your dry erase marker on your window to quickly see where you need to go!
- Gloves: Any trucker will tell you how important it is to have gloves. Not only are they obviously useful for cold weather months, but they keep your hands protected while your working on your truck, adjusting your load, or even just touching something dirty.
- Shower Bag: It’s a lot easier for you to transport all of your clothes, towels, toiletries, etc. in and out of rest stops if you have one bag for it. Plus it’ll keep your clean linens from getting dirty in case of a spill or accident. Don’t forget extra shampoo, soap and some laundry detergent in case the truck stop doesn’t have any.
- Flashlight: You want to be able to see at night right? This one is a little self explanatory, but don’t forget a flashlight (maybe even one you wear on your head) in case you break down at night.
- Water Bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re on the road, even though it might force you to make more frequent restroom stops. Driving all day is a whole lot of sitting, and water keeps your body functioning. If you bring your own refillable water jug, you’ll be able to save money by refilling it and you won’t have to waste space stocking your truck with dozens of waters.
- Cooler: A small to medium sized cooler can make your life a lot easier on the road. If you stop for food or want to bring your own, you’ll have a place to keep it cool. This might even help you eat healthier because you can keep veggies, fruit and dips cold, for a quick snack. Consider getting a soft sided cooler so you can store it flat when it’s empty to free up some space in your cab.
- Various Tools: It’s a good idea to have screwdrivers, wrenches and extra nails and screws in case you need have something break on your truck that you can easily fix. Make sure you have duct tape and electrical tape as well while you’re on the road; those both can really come in handy.
- Extras: You’ll want to add to your list a gladhand air hose, CB radio, funnel, spare bulbs and headlights.
What Should Truckers Have for Emergencies?
Whether you’re driving in California, Texas, North Carolina or anywhere in between, you’ll encounter less than favorable road conditions or obstacles at some point. As the winter season approaches and the U.S. continues to recover from summer storms (like Hurricane Harvey and Irma), you’ll want to be prepared for any emergency you might encounter while hauling your load. As an owner-operator, you want your drivers to be safe and as a driver, you want to feel safe and ready. Be sure to have these different types of supplies for truck driver emergencies:
- Canned food (fruit, vegetables, beans, tuna, etc.)
- Can opener
- Protein bars
- Sleeping bag
- Copy of your CDL
- Contact information of emergency contacts
- Extra clothing: winter boots, sweaters, insulated pants, winter gloves, wool socks, snow hat and rain boots
- Sleeping bag
- Whistle to signal help
- Pocket knife
- First aid kit
If you already have an emergency kit, well done! But, use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need and double check dates and quality of the kit. We want you to be as prepared as possible, check out which apps can help you while you’re on the road. As an owner-operator in the transportation industry, we understand that you are responsible for your own well being, which is why we offer services on your terms.
Maybe someone you love is a trucker, and you need some gift ideas? This list is a good place to start, but here are more gift ideas for truck drivers!
Learn more: What is a freight factoring company?