Truckers should try to be like Boy Scouts on the nation's highways and byways: always prepared. Especially in the winter, you never know what the conditions will throw at you over the course of several hundred miles, so it's important to have plenty of supplies on hand to help you weather any issues that arise.
That includes the following items you should always have on hand in the winter months - and sometimes beyond:
1) Extra wiper fluid and blades
Your windshield wipers can take a real beating in the winter between snow and ice and frequent use to clear accumulated road salt off the glass, according to CDL Jobs. For that reason - and because high visibility is a must behind the wheel - you need to make sure your wipers are always in good shape, and you have plenty of wiper fluid under the hood. When you run out, you need to have extras in your cab ready to go, rather than hoping to make it to the next rest area or gas station.
2) Fuel additives
In frigid temperatures, your diesel fuel can become gelatinous, and that's obviously a big problem as you try to get from Point A to Points B, C and D, CDL Jobs advised. Having some fuel additives that prevent that from happening is a must. You can usually get a jug of these additives for less than $100. It's a worthwhile investment for any trucker.
3) More layers of clothing
You never know when you're going to have to get out of your cab and do some work on your truck - from something as simple as adding more wiper fluid to replacing a tire - and you need to dress appropriately, according to Trucker's Training. While you probably don't want to bundle up in your truck itself, it's important to have a heavy jacket, high-quality winter boots, gloves, a winter hat and so on somewhere in your cab. That way, you're ready for any winter weather.
4) A flashlight and batteries
It gets dark early and stays dark longer in the winter, so a good light source is a must any time you're moving around your truck, inspecting it and so on, Trucker's Training cautioned. While there are plenty of flashlights that are crank-powered and shine brightly, if you have a battery-operated option, you need extra batteries in your truck to make sure you're not going to run out when you need power most.
5) Air compressor
It's common for tires to lose air in colder temperatures, which can affect your traction and fuel mileage, according to American Trucker. For that reason, inspect your tires carefully before each trip and refill them as needed. A high-powered air compressor is a must to getting the job done right.
6) An emergency kit
You never know when you might need to stop for hours - or even days - at a time, American Trucker noted. In these situations, you need to have some extra food, water, medications (if you take them) and other necessities on hand, just in case.
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