Driving a semi-truck can be a taxing job; you’re on the road all day, spending the majority of your time within the confines of your vehicle possibly hundreds of miles away from home. Before taking off on a big trip in your semi, you want to make sure that your truck is fitted with everything you could need or want in the case of an emergency or delay.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a list of the items we find most helpful and comforting to keep on-hand in your truck with a brief explanation for why we find it useful. Every driver is different, so feel free to use this as a starting point, but be sure to make your own on-hand list based on your needs.
In Case of Emergency
There are several items that we view as being absolutely crucial to have in your truck in case of emergencies. If your semi breaks down, you want to be sure to have your necessary tools on hand, as well as a way to contact help if it’s needed and a first aid kit in case you injure yourself in the process (burns, cuts, etc.).
Tools and Equipment
You should always be fully prepared with all your necessary equipment, tools, and even spare parts that you may need to service your vehicle should the need arise. Most likely, your company has or will provide you with a list of equipment they expect you to keep on you, but we suggest the following:
- spare lights
- DIY windshield repair kits
- battery testing kits
- supplies for tire changes
- fire extinguisher
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has more information available on the various tools that are necessary to keep in your cab, but you can always ask your company for their recommendations and requirements as well.
As a truck driver, you’re on the job for long stretches of time over many, many miles. You never know what might happen, so it’s good to have a full first aid kit and fully-stocked supply of medicines you may need. We recommend you include the following:
- bandages of all types
- antibacterial cream
- supplies for makeshift splints
- cotton swabs and gauze
- medical tape
- instant ice packs
- antihistamine cream
- over-the-counter pain medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.)
- antihistamine eye drops
- lubricating eye drops
- burn ointment
- list of allergies, medications, and conditions
It’s crucial that you keep watch on your medical supplies to ensure everything is in-date and fully stocked. You also want to make sure to include any prescriptions you need or could need.
In addition to tools and medical supplies, there’s also several items you should have on hand in case of an emergency to help ensure your comfort, health, and safety. We recommend keeping the following items in your vehicle at all times in case of any emergency:
- undergarments and socks
- bottles of water (if there’s a safe way to store it)
- unperishable snacks (nuts, dried fruit, jerky)
- emergency flare
- hat and sunglasses
For Additional Comfort
As a truck driver, you’re away from home for long periods of time and that means that your often away from your comforts and loved ones. Keeping some items on hand can help ensure your comfort, even if the trek grows longer than expected. This is one area that will be much more customized to the unique individual, but we suggest the following:
- comfortable pillow, sheets, and blankets
- clothing for all weather
- phone, computer, or tablet for streaming shows
- soft lighting options (lanterns, adhesive battery-operated lights)
- pictures of loved ones or favorite places
- a book or journal
Driving a semi-truck can mean long grueling hours and a lot of time away from the comforts of your own home. We hope that this list has helped you start your own list of necessary on-hand items to keep in the cab of your semi. For more ideas, we recommend joining groups on social media, reaching out to other drivers in your company, or ask your employer for their recommendations.