When you’re on the road, it’s important to be prepared for any situation that may come up. New drivers are often underprepared because they simply don’t have the experience and aren’t aware of all the things they need to keep in their semi-truck to ensure a smooth trip. There are some essential items that all truckers should keep on them to make life on the road a little bit easier.
DOT triangles, or emergency triangles, need to be available for every truck driver on the road. These are used when truckers need to make an emergency stop on the shoulder of the highway or any other road. They provide a way for oncoming traffic to see the truck more easily, especially during times of low visibility, such as at night, during storms, or in thick fog. It is required for truck drivers to carry three emergency triangles at all times, but it is always a good idea to have one or two extras in case any are lost or damaged while you’re on the road.
It is also a good idea to carry flares in your truck, as well. Sometimes these are a better option if you’re not confident that the triangles will be seen at a significant distance due to current conditions. They are also a good backup if your triangles become lost or damaged.
It’s scary to think about, but any vehicle has the capability to catch fire. When you consider all of the extra electrical wiring semi-trucks often have to support small kitchen appliances, TVs, gaming systems, and other electrical equipment, the chances of a fire occurring are a bit higher than with standard vehicles. Don’t just buy a fire extinguisher and stuff it in a corner—place it somewhere that is easy to access, make sure you don’t block it off with large items or furniture, and get fire extinguisher training to ensure that you know how to use it during an emergency. Hands-on training will give you the confidence and knowledge that you need to act decisively when panic is threatening to take over.
Truly, everyone should have a flashlight in their vehicle in case of an emergency. Make sure to keep spare batteries on hand, too. A flashlight can make all the difference in the right situation, and it doesn’t take up a lot of extra space.
We live in a modern world where our phones are our lifelines. Every truck driver should have a phone charger for their truck in order to keep their phone charged and ready to use, no matter the situation. These are important for handling a lot of everyday tasks on the go, as well as staying connected with loved ones and the world outside your truck. Spending extended hours on the road can make that connection all the more important.
Another good item to keep on hand is a dash-mounted phone holder so you can operate your phone hands-free if something comes up and you need to use it while driving. Remember that phones are considerable distractions while you’re driving and should only be used in emergencies or once you’re parked.
The outside world is noisy, and your truck isn’t soundproof. Veteran truck drivers know the importance of good-fitting earbuds that they can wear comfortably while they sleep, but new drivers might find themselves wishing they’d invested in something more robust. Don’t just go for the cheapest earbuds you can find since these could leave your ears feeling sore and may not properly block out the noise happening around you. Spring for custom-fitted earplugs that will be comfortable to wear for hours and will effectively block out much of the noise.
First Aid Kit
Like the trusty flashlight, every vehicle should be equipped with a first aid kit. You can purchase a store-bought one or make your own—both are completely acceptable. If you purchase a store-bought one, however, look at what’s in it and add anything that you think is missing. This includes any medications you take, an Epipen if you require one, and any other items you need to keep on you to maintain your health. Don’t forget to replace items as you use them!
A quality pair of gloves can save your hands while you’re on the job. You’ll be glad you have them to protect your hands while handling cargo, and they can also come in handy when the winter weather hits.
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