Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_top position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_bottom position below the menu.

Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.

By RoadPro Family of Brands

Everyone who drives for a living has had the experience of needing a certain something on the road and not having it. Whether ‘it’ is a dry pair of shoes, a fuse, a pair of pliers or a cooler, having the right gear can make the difference between a safe, comfortable trip and a difficult, unpleasant one.

To learn what gear is most important to have on the road, we asked veteran truckers what they would advise a new driver to pack. There were so many replies that we grouped them by category: 

Tools and spare parts

A flashlight, good for checking under the hood or in the corners of a dark trailer, was mentioned more than anything else; and was followed by a tool kit for emergency repairs and replacements. Drivers specifically mentioned hammers, tire thumpers, tire gauges and tire plug kits, side cutters, multi-tools, 5th wheel pullers, jumper cables, vise grips and air hoses for glad-hand connectors. WD40, duct tape and electrical tape also are must-haves. For winter driving, make sure to have additives that liquify gelled fuel and thaw out frozen fuel filters.

Tools and spare parts often go hand-in-hand. Drivers recommended carry extra fuel filters, fuses, light bulbs, replacement headlights, marker lights and even an alternator. 

Clothing

The requirements here depend on the time of year and where you’re driving. If it’s winter up North, pack as if you might be stranded in the cold because that’s a possibility. That means a winter coat, warm clothing and even thermal underwear. A sleeping bag can keep you warm as well.

Regardless of the weather, work boots (insulated or not) are always a good idea. Bring an extra pair of footwear in case one gets wet. Packing a pair of tennis shoes makes it easier to get in a workout.

One or two pair of good work gloves (one rubberized) is another necessity, drivers said. And a reflective safety vest can save your life in a dark terminal or by the side of the road. 

Electronics/appliances

For over-the-road drivers, the cab is home and outfitting it for maximum comfort and efficiency is important.

Our respondents singled out the CB radio and a high-quality Bluetooth headset as must-haves. A power inverter to power appliances and electronics is another recommendation.

More truckers are preparing and packing food in order to eat healthier and save money, so it’s not surprising that appliances were on everyone’s list: mini-fridges, 12-volt ovens, crockpots, microwaves and coffee makers.

Miscellaneous

Sometimes, the little things make a difference.

Though virtually every truck and cell phone is equipped with a GPS, several drivers still recommended packing an old-fashioned road atlas for those times when electronics fail.

Things bounce around in trucks, so it’s a good idea to pack some bungee cords and zip-ties. Glass cleaner and paper towels keep your windows clean and hand-cleaner, soap and disposable towelettes can do the same for you.

A first-aid kit is a good idea, as is additional food and water.

But the most important thing to bring on the road, according to many drivers, is common sense or, as one trucker put it, “Don’t forget to pack the brain between your ears.”

Whether all the items listed here can even fit into a sleeper cab is questionable and there probably isn’t a driver on the road who carries all these items, but it’s a good start from which drivers can make their own list according to their own needs and circumstances.

Current News

Retention for the Future of Trucking

As we look ahead, we recognize that retention is a critical component of the trucking sector’s business model and success in retaining a strong workforce. At a point where we have a skilled worker shortage, we cannot afford to lose our assets: our driving force who keep the economy moving and our businesses growing.

We have companies with varied turnover rates and those rates result in dollars lost. We have companies that have varied hiring practices, which inevitably result in varied retention rates.

The reports indicate that the skilled worker shortage will continue to increase as we move toward 2024. It’s time to reinforce our retention practices so we can reduce our turnover rates – resulting in strong retention practices.

It is a topic worth considering. We need to put the same level of effort into retention as we do into recruitment. Why is retention a challenge? What areas are we missing that create this barrier to stronger retention rates? Do we accept high turnover as the cost of doing business?

Let’s take a step back. The loss of one driver can have a potential cost implication of up to $5,000 (this may be low for some companies) to replace the professional driver. Lose 10 drivers and suddenly you are at a loss of approximately $50,000. In a sector where margins are tight, can we afford those types of losses without exploring why and how we can do better?

Understanding why we lose people in our sector can be challenging. Even the best exit survey strategies do not always yield the information we need to remove barriers and retain the individual or offer insight into what we can do differently; however, the survey is an essential tool that provides an opportunity to learn... it just needs to go beyond the surface. We need to go to the beginning at the point of hire.

The first thing I think about when looking at retention is trust. Is there trust being built at the recruitment stage – at a level that can be delivered beyond the promises made at the point of recruitment. Can we deliver the pay, home time, benefits, flexibility and everything else that we have promised?

Trust is a deal-breaker for many of us. If you promise professional development in the first year of an employee’s career and then do not offer it, you have broken trust. If you promise a raise after a three-month probation period and do not provide it, you have broken trust. If you promise a professional driver that they will be able to be home for special occasions and you do not get them home, you have broken trust.

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