When it comes to winter driving, there is no such thing as being over prepared. Winter brings about unpredictable weather that can challenge even the most experienced drivers. Whether you are a new CDL holder or have had decades of experience, it is important to have the correct supplies with you to help you succeed in winter driving. In addition to the items you should have in your truck year round, here are ten seasonal items that will help you get through winter weather.
1. Heavy Coat and Insulated Coveralls
One of the best ways to keep warm during winter is to invest in a heavy, insulated coat and coveralls. While most of your time out on the road will be spent inside your truck, the time you spend outside the protection of your truck can be bitter. During pre-trip inspection, chain ups, and any time you are outside, you should be wearing a water repellant and reflective coat to keep you protected from winter elements.
2. Winter Boots
Cold, wet feet make for a very unpleasant day, so it is wise to wear waterproof winter boots that will keep your feet dry and warm. Look for boots that have good insulation, traction, and comfort and pair them with a wool sock to keep winter out of your shoes.
When your hands are cold, your fingers may experience a lack of mobility and sense of touch, which can make it difficult to perform pre-trip inspections or other light maintenance tasks. Waterproof gloves will keep your hands dry and ready to work. Tip: layer a pair of thin, warm gloves underneath your waterproof gloves for added warmth.
4. Extra Blankets
With the severe drop in temperature during the winter months, it is a good idea to bring extra blankets, in addition to any regular bedding you may have in your truck. Dark, cold winter nights require extra layers and you won’t regret having an extra blanket or two.
5. Ice Scraper
Don’t be stuck waiting for your windshield to defrost. An ice scraper will get you back on the road in no time! Using an ice scraper is the easiest, quickest way to remove ice or frost that has built up on your windows overnight. Look for an ice scraper/snow brush combo so you can be prepared in any situation.
If your route ever passes near or through mountains or is in the northern half of the U.S., it is likely that you will encounter snow en route this winter. When driving through snow, it is always smart to have a small shovel on your truck in case you need to remove snow from around your wheels.
With the reduced daylight hours that come with winter, a flashlight will come in handy more often than it would at other times of the year. We suggest finding a flashlight that you can set on the ground and point in different directions so you can use both hands to work and see, while still being seen by others.
Parts and Supplies
8. Chains and tools needed to put them on
Putting chains on your wheels is an important skill to have during the winter months and can be very difficult if you do not have the proper tools. All company trucks are equipped with chains, but during your pre-trip inspection, make sure you have other chain materials such as bungee cords, a T-handle cam tool, a tarp, gloves, and any other tools that will assist you in properly chaining up.
9. Rock Salt, Sand, or Kitty Litter
Don’t let ice put you in a slippery situation! Always keep rock salt, sand, or kitty litter with you during winter months so you can create more traction and lessen your risk of slipping on ice.
10. Extra food and water
We all know winter weather can be quite unpredictable, so be sure to always pack extra food and water with you in case the weather stops you from moving. Store extra water bottles, canned fruits, and protein-rich snacks like beef jerky, nuts, or peanut butter on your truck throughout the entire season.
Remember that this winter season, it is better to feel over prepared and ready for even the most challenging situations, than to be caught off guard by the winter elements. Keeping these ten items on your truck all of the winter season will help you to be well equipped for the great open (and snowy) road this winter.