Emergency truck kit essentials: how to pack a great kit

March 15, 2023 Christina DeBusk

Essentials kit with everything laid out

You can face any number of emergencies as a truck driver. You could be involved in an accident or witness a serious collision between other vehicles. You might even be going about your day, as usual, and have someone in your path have an emergency.

Having the right tools can help you respond to all these types of situations. This is where an emergency truck kit comes into play, and here are some essentials for packing a great kit.

First aid supplies

Rendering first aid in emergencies can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. And if you’re the one who needs first aid, having the right supplies in your truck can give someone else the ability to help you when you need it most.

The American Red Cross has a variety of first aid kits you can buy, and some are designed specifically for keeping in your truck. You can also make your own. Items to include in your first aid kit include:

  • plastic gloves
  • hand sanitizer
  • bandages of varying sizes
  • gauze dressing pads and tape
  • antibiotic ointment
  • antiseptic wipes
  • alcohol pads
  • emergency blanket
  • eye drops and a sterile eye pad

If you know how to do CPR, keeping a mask in your kit helps you perform mouth-to-mouth safely. Though, now this lifesaving action is also taught with just chest compressions, making this another option if you either aren’t comfortable with giving breaths or don’t have a mask available.

Items to protect against the weather

In a perfect world, emergencies wouldn’t happen in the middle of blizzards, ice storms, rainstorms or heat waves. But this is not reality. In fact, more than one in five vehicle crashes are weather-related according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Most of them (70%) occur on wet pavement, with just under half (46%) taking place during active rainfall.

This suggests that if you face an emergency on the road, you’re likely to also be dealing with adverse weather conditions. Having the following items available in your emergency truck kit can help protect you against them:

  • raincoat or poncho
  • umbrella
  • hand and feet warmers
  • pair of warm, dry socks
  • hat and gloves
  • winter boots
  • warm face mask
  • blanket

You might also keep a snow shovel and extra ice scraper in your truck. The shovel can be helpful if you or another driver happens to slide in a ditch, or if you face large snow drifts and need to dig your way out. The extra ice scraper can be invaluable if yours breaks, allowing you to clean your windshield once again.

Food and drink

Some emergencies are longer lasting than others. If you go in the ditch in the middle of a snow whiteout, for instance, you could be there a while before someone can reach you, pull you out and get you moving down the road again.

That’s why it’s important to have food and drink in your emergency kit. You’re able to keep your body fed and hydrated until the situation is over. Items to put in your kit include:

  • bottled water (or even gallon jugs)
  • energy bars or granola bars
  • trail mix
  • nuts and seeds
  • dried fruit
  • beef jerky
  • any other nonperishable foods

Swap out these items regularly so you’re not in the middle of an emergency with food that is beyond its expiration date, making it potentially unsafe to consume.

Items for use at night

Should an emergency occur while driving at night, you’ll want a few items that not only help you see but also make you more visible to other drivers around you. Items to include in your kit for this purpose are:

  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • warning flags, cones, or triangles
  • light sticks or flares
  • reflective safety vest

Emergency items for your truck

Some items to put in your emergency kit are more for your truck than for you. Having these things accessible enables you to respond to a situation swiftly, which can help either get you back on the road more quickly or—at a minimum—reduce further damage to your delivery vehicle.

Items in this category include:

  • fire extinguisher
  • jumper cables
  • extra tarp
  • tire pressure gauge

Miscellaneous other emergency items

There are a few other items that, while they don’t fall into one of the other categories, could still be helpful in an emergency. Some to consider adding to your kit are:

  • any medications you take, in case you run out while on the road
  • extra set of eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • whistle, to get other people’s attention, if needed
  • “HELP” banner that you can affix to your truck
  • printed map or atlas, in the event you don’t have a good connection and are lost
  • portable phone charger, for when your battery is low or if you’re in a longer-term emergency and using your phone heavily

Including these items in your kit can help ensure that you are prepared for an emergency, should one arise. In some instances, it might even turn the emergency into more of an inconvenience—all because you had the foresight to pack a great emergency truck kit.

Want more safety tips? Download our free driver safety guide here.


About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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