Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Create a Truck Driver's Emergency Survival Kit, because you never know when you will drive upon an accident on the road, when your truck will breakdown, or get stuck in the middle of the interstate for several days. Being prepared is always a good thing.
Not long ago roadways in Atlanta, Ga were shut down due to a snow storm.
As a driver, I need more than my fingers and toes to count how many times I have been stuck on the side of the road. As you venture into the world of trucking, you will also have your truck break down and then have to wait for hours on the side of the road for on a repair man to drive all the way from Timbuktu.
Make sure your as prepared as can be, emergencies happen all the time.
If you're not sure what you need or just would like to add to your list, read on. Here are some suggestions to help you survive a day in the trucking world.
We will discuss
1. Required Emergency Equipment for Commercial Vehicles.
2. First Aid Emergency Equipment
3. Tool Kits
4. Communication Devices
5. Food and Water
6. Flash lights, batteries and candles
Required Emergency Equipment for Commercial Vehicles.
A gator is trucker talk for a piece or all of a blown-out tire laying in the middle the road. I use to think that they were talking about a real alligator in the road. I would look for miles, not finding a live alligator, eventually I caught on to the fact it was just pieces of a blown tire.
A big concern for a driver whose truck broke down on the side of the road is being seen by other traffic.
If the oncoming traffic cannot see you or the vehicle, as you walk around the truck trying to determine what happened, it is a very high possibility that you or your truck could be hit by passing traffic.
According to Cornell Law School, the Department of Transportation (DOT), requires certain emergency equipment for all commercial vehicles, including trucks, tractors, and buses, expect when towed being towed.
The minimum Equipment Includes:
1. A fire extinguisher, the size and rating are determined by the cargo being transported. The fire extinguisher should be placed in an accessible place. It must also be mounted securely, so that it does not slide around the truck. Many trucks have a fire extinguisher mounted beside the driver’s seat and the door.
2. Spare fuses, there must be at least one spare fuse for every type of powered piece of equipment needed to operate the truck. If your not sure what you need, ask your maintenance department.
3. Warning devices are set outside of the truck, providing other drivers a visual signal, as they approach a vehicle. A signal that the vehicle is not moving and that there may be people walking around.
I know you have seen the orange and red reflective triangles sitting behind a broke down truck. You will need to have at least 3 emergency triangles, that are reflective on both sides.
Fuses or flares may also be used, depending on if the cargo is hazardous materials or not. You need to have 6 or more fusees or 3 liquid-burning flares. It would not hurt to have a few more, just in case you use the ones you have.
While there are other warning devices that may be used in addition to triangles or flares, the DOT requires as least 3 emergency triangles, 6 fuses, or 3 flares.
First Aid Emergency Equipment
You can buy prepackaged First Aid kits at a Walmart shopping center along your route, or you can order one online at Amazon Prime and have it delivered to your front door. These kits are nice, they seem to have a lot of everything, but not a lot of the items that I seem to use most.
I suggest getting a red backpack or a storage box to put emergency First Aid Supplies in. A red backpack can easily be seen during an emergency. If you have other backpacks, buy a different color.
Make sure to put your First Aid Kit Backpack within reach and make sure it is not buried under everything else in the truck. My truck has an overhead compartment above the drivers seat where I store my kit.
I buy my main items separately. This way I know that I have more of the things I seem to use a lot.
My list consists of:
Band-aids in different sizes.
A bottle of Peroxide. Peroxide is good for cleaning wounds.
A bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol for cleaning medical supplies that may be used in the event of an accident. I don’t really like using it for cleaning wounds, it really stings, but if I have nothing else, I will use it.
Benadryl or a Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride Antihistamine for allergy symptoms and colds.
Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment to place on a small wound.
Medical Tape to hold the gauze in place.
Medical Scissors to cut gauze, tape, clothing and other items. This would be a good item to clean with the Isopropyl Alcohol.
A pair of Tweezers for removing splinters and other items embedded in the skin. This would be a good item to clean with the Isopropyl Alcohol.
A box of latex gloves. It is always recommended to wear latex gloves when helping others that have been injured.
A pair of googles will help protect your eyes.
Face masks will create a barrier around your mouth that will keep you from breathing in toxic chemicals and other airborne particles.
An up-to-date First Aid Manual will help provide information to help in an emergency situation.
Disposable instant cold packs are great when you are unable to get an ice pack.
An Emergency Contact List.
While these are a generalized list, you can always add more to your kit.
Disclaimer: I am in no way providing medical advice.
Although many companies do not require you to work on your truck or trailer, it is a good idea to have a set of tools that can help you maintain your truck. With just the turn of a screw driver or the preventing tap of a hammer, many maintenance issues can be prevented.
Just as with the First Aid Kit, you can buy tool kits already put together or you can put together your own tool kit.
Screwdrivers, among the most popular are the Philips head that has a cross slot and a flat head.
A set of Allen Wrench set for tightening different fittings on the truck.
A hammer to pull a nail out of a tire or I have used one to help close the trailer doors. When I could not get the handle completely in the latch, but close, I take a hammer and tap the handle until it falls in the slot.
A Utility Knife can be used to cut plastic wrap on a pallet of freight, cut holes in a mud flap, and if you need to fix a sandwich with.
A Flashlight can help you see in the dark, provide passing traffic with a signal that you are out walking around the truck, or even be used as an SOS signal. Make sure to keep plenty of batteries, you never know when you will be in the dark.
Wrenches come in all kinds of sizes and with many different attachments, just like a screwdriver, many parts on a truck need a wrench to make them turn.
In today’s world almost everyone you see has a cell phone, most of the time it is held to their ear while talking, they are reading text while walking or driving, and preoccupied doing something else. Aside from cell phones, a few other communication devices include a CB radio, and an emergency radio.
However, cellphones are an important piece of equipment to have. Very seldom do you see an old fashion payphone on the corner or attached to the wall of a convenience store.
Most people do not even have landlines in their homes anymore. Why pay for two phone services, when you can buy a cellphone that can be used almost everywhere.
Cell Phones - Always keep your cell phone charged, you never know when your truck will break down in the middle of nowhere.
Get a backup battery pack.
The larger ones will charge an iPhone 6-7 time.
Most women trucker's do not like talking on a CB, but in an emergency they can be very helpful. If you don't want to listen to it all the time, turn it off, but it is a good have it for emergencies.
A CB is similar to a walkie-talky. You hold down a button and speak into the mic. Most truck drivers keep their CB on channel 19, so that they can communicate with each other.
A CB user can tell other drivers of accidents ahead, smoky bears (police), gators (pieces of a blown tire), weather conditions, and even if the passing truck has passed their truck so that the passing truck can move back over in the lane.
A CB radio can be very helpful when your cellphone is dead and you are in the middle of nowhere. Of course, there has to be other truckers nearby with their CBs on. The other truckers can either stop to help or call help for you.
Emergency radios are not a means of two-way conversations. But you can listen to weather alerts, warnings, and other news, when you have no other communication with the outside world.
Food and Water
A girl never knows when her truck might break down on the side of the road or when she will be stuck at a shipper or receiver all day long.
What do you do in a time like this where you have to sit for hours with no nearby stores, truck stops, or even rest areas? And what if Aunt Flo shows up unexpectedly?
Keep canned goods, prepackaged dry goods, such as crackers or chips for a snack. These items can help tide you over until you can get somewhere to eat.
If you already eat most of your meals in the comfort of your truck, you probably have everything you need for a long day of waiting.
Make sure that you have bottled water. You can buy gallons of fresh water or buy a case of 20 oz bottles. Always keep water in the truck, not only for you, but also in case you truck is low on water.
Many trucks will shut off, if the water level gets to low.
I would keep old gallon jugs to store water in for the truck, but do not drink the water for the truck, yourself.
Flash Lights, Batteries and Candles
Always keep a flash light or two with in easy reach. A flash light will help you see in the dark, during pre-trip inspections or when you are breaking down on the side of the road. An added benefit of a flash light while outside of your truck is it signals to other vehicles on the road that something is up ahead, be careful.
Although the one pictured is a rechargeable flashlight, if you have one that needs batteries, it will not work. The same goes for your emergency radio above. Keep different size batteries in a box that you can find easily.
Almost every woman likes candles. Candles are also great for a light source, but a candle can be light inside of a truck when it is cold outside. If your truck will not run to produce heat, the candle can provide some heat while help arrives.
I would recommend carrying several in the jars, then you do not need something to hold the wax in.
And don’t forget to have a lighter or matches to light the candles with.
I have provided you with several different ideas centered around emergency survival supplies that you can use in quite a few different situations. From the heat of the sweltering desert, strong winds from a hurricane or tornado, snowstorms that create mayhem out on the roads, this list of items will surely help out.
From required Emergency Equipment that must be in the truck, to supplies to create your own First Aid Emergency Kit. You can add more tools to the list I have provided, but these are the ones that I find I use the most.
My communications list is limited, I am sure there are other ways of contacting someone for help, besides sending smoke signals.
If you any ideas, please leave a comment below.
Don’t forget to carry a supply of nonperishable food items and plenty of water, a flashlight, batteries, lighter, and a few candles.
No matter if you drive close to home or across the nation, these emergency survival tools while help you when you least expect it.