Oh, the weather outside is getting frightful, which means it’s that time of year again – time to start thinking about being safe on the road in the winter.   

Last year, we gave you some tips for managing the treacherous roads that winter brings, which you can read here. This year, we’re here to tell you about 14 essential items that every truck driver should keep in their winter driving kit. Every region is different, the weather can be unpredictable, and you never want to be caught unprepared.  

  1. Blanket or sleeping bag – this is a no-brainer. A heavy blanket or two will work, but a nice, camping-quality sleeping bag will provide the best warmth.  
  2. Water and food – what are the best food items to keep in your vehicle? Pick something nutritionally dense that won’t spoil – something like granola bars, crackers and peanut butter, or jerky. Keep a gallon of water on hand as well! 
  3. Extra clothes – even if you aren’t an over-the-road truck driver, extra gloves, hats, and socks are smart to have in your truck for cold weather travel. A pair of quilted coveralls, an insulated jacket, or an insulated pair of snowpants would also be super helpful! 
  4. First aid kit – an inclusive kit is so valuable if you become stranded and basic first aid is needed. You can buy a ready-made kit or you can craft your own. The Red Cross recommends that first aid kits contain gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointments, and antiseptic wipes. Stocking up on medical supplies is also a good reminder that the kit should include personal medications and the phone numbers of your emergency contacts. 
  5. Hand warmers – air-activated or battery-operated warmers can produce heat for up to 24 hours and are an excellent addition for any emergency kit. These are especially useful if you need to make car repairs in frigid temps. 
  6. Glow sticks – these can be purchased at department stores, drug stores, and dollar stores. They can alert your presence to other motorists or safety personnel. 
  7. Flashlight with extra batteries – get a large, bright flashlight to keep in your vehicle, and most importantly, make sure it works and you have extra batteries!  
  8. Jumper cables – invest in a good set. Look for heavy-duty steel clamps and an extra-long cable length. 
  9. Reflector triangles – these can be placed in front of and behind your car to alert other drivers. They signal a roadside emergency and can help keep you and your vehicle safe until you can get back on the road. 
  10. Portable power unit – the best part about investing in one of these is that it can be used at home in the event of a power outage, or while camping, tailgating, etc. 
  11. Tools – look for tools that are brightly colored to make them easy to find in low visibility conditions. Multi-use tools are also an excellent addition to any emergency kit. Other essentials: pliers, duct tape, screwdriver, and hammer. 
  12. Battery-powered radio and paper maps – if you’re planning to drive a long distance through more rural areas, it might be smart to keep a current atlas and a battery-powered radio in your travel gear kit. Cell phone chargers can get lost and GPS units are not always guaranteed a signal.  
  13. Shovel and ice pick – a long-handled ice scraper, an ice pick and snow shovel can also come in handy. If you can afford the room, stock a full-size shovel in your truck. A spray de-icer can also help you save some time and is usually available at most auto parts stores.  
  14. Sand or kitty litter – sprinkling a layer of sand or cat litter can provide some traction if you’re stuck. Common sandbox sand works well and is usually available at any home improvement store. If you choose to keep kitty litter in your vehicle, pick up the non-clumping kind. 


We know that this seems like a lot of extra things to keep in your truck, but it is so much better to be safe than sorry out there on the roads this winter!  

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