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What to pack in an all-seasons truck driver emergency kit

An abundance of survival items are laid out on a table, including a back pack, roll of toilet paper, utensils, snacks, water bottles, utility knife, lighter, batteries, headlight, flash light, bottle of pills, whistle, AM/FM radio, notebook and more.

Regardless of what type of truck driver you are, being proactive and preparing for the unexpected is a must. And although no driver ever wants to find themselves in an emergency, the things that cause them – like bad weather, accidents, personal health problems and traffic jams – are unpredictable and can happen at any time of the year.

While it’s not mandatory, Schneider does encourage its drivers to keep a truck driver emergency kit in the truck with them at all times. It’s especially essential for drivers who are over-the-road, often travel in cold weather and haul freight through high-traffic areas.

When creating your truck driver packing list the next time you’re about to hit the road, make sure you also piece together a separate truck emergency kit.

A few things to note about a truck driver emergency kit

1. It is in addition to your truck driver packing list.

For example, if you are going out for one week, you are going to bring seven pairs of socks – one for each day of the week. In addition to those seven pairs, you should have a pair of very warm wool socks in your truck driver emergency kit in case you find yourself trapped in an unexpected snowstorm. So, you have a total of eight pairs of socks in your truck when you’re out on the road.

2. It is not one size fits all.

There are numerous things that will impact what is included in your truck driver emergency kit because what’s essential for you may be different from someone else’s truck driver essentials. Some factors that may affect what is in your truck survival kit:

  • If you are a solo or team driver: For example, teams would have more food and water in their kit than a solo driver would.
  • If you work in cold or warm climates: For example, someone who is a local driver in Florida and gets home every night, probably doesn’t need a snow shovel in their truck like a driver from Canada or the northern U.S. probably does.
  • If you are a local or over-the-road driver: For example, a driver who stays within 100 miles of their home, probably doesn’t need to carry as much food in their truck driver emergency kit as someone who travels up to 1,500 miles away from home does.

3. It is something you can buy or put together yourself.

There are many pre-made emergency kits for truck drivers on Amazon you can consider investing in. If you do purchase one, you may want to add additional items you feel necessary. Otherwise, putting one together yourself, using a backpack or duffel bag to store the items in, also works just fine.

The trucking company you drive for may also provide some of the elements needed for your kit. Schneider, for example, supplies drivers with fire extinguishers, warning triangles, hand sanitizer, etc.

A grouping of must-have survival items are laid out on a table, including emergency triangles, fire extinguisher, jumper cables and a first aid kit.

Items to include in a truck driver emergency kit

We categorized the truck driver supplies into three basic categories:

Driver survival items

  • Bottles or water or gallons of water.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Nonperishable food and energy bars.
  • First aid kit.
  • Winter clothing – wool socks, winter hat, jacket, mittens, snow pants, winter boots, insulated face mask.
  • Hand and feet warmers.
  • Blankets or sleeping bag.
  • Safety vest.
  • Ice cleats.
  • Warning flag.
  • Atlas.
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Cash.
  • Medication.
  • Matches and candles (plus, a metal can to burn them in to generate heat).
  • Masks and hand sanitizer.

Tools and gadgets

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Snow shovel.
  • Ice scraper/snow brush.
  • Breaker bar.
  • Portable phone charger.
  • Fire extinguisher.

Truck items

  • Emergency warning triangles.
  • Tire pressure gauge.
  • Zip ties.
  • Wheel chocks.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Tarp.
  • Contractor garbage bag to cover 5th wheel if bobtailing.

Looking for more truck driving insight?

Read more driver blogs about how to be successful out on the road – from how to deal with road rage to how to get good sleep in a semi-truck and more.

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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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