As a long-haul trucker, you know the level of dedication and hard work needed to get the job done right. You know what it means to spend most of your time on the road and traveling long distances, often overnight. So you also know how important preparation and safety are.
Long truck rides won’t allow you to take the comforts of home with you, but at least you can make your trip easier and more convenient by preparing for it. If you prepare a day or two – or more – before your trip, you’ll feel safer staying on the road for hours without having to worry about the nearest emergency roadside assistance available.
Spending more time on the road than off can also test your patience, independence and confidence. There will always be the possibility of road hazards and other obstacles, and if you are not prepared for such situations, you can put yourself in serious danger.
While patience, self-reliance, and confidence come from good training and years of experience in long-haul trucking, it’s still essential to have a checklist you can draw on to prepare. on any trip.
The following is a list of what you need to do or have before jumping into the driver’s seat for your next long-haul trucking adventure.
Checklist for your next long-haul trucking trip
1. Is your itinerary ready?
If you work for a company, they will likely provide you with your travel details. Nonetheless, having a list that you can refer to from time to time will help you plan your trip to avoid road hazards, know when and where to make a pit stop, and avoid stressful situations.
Using Google Maps is great, but it’s always better (and safer) if you know your trip (and route) details before you hit the road. Planning is always a good option.
It will also help if you know how to use your truck’s GPS device.
2. Prepare your truck.
It’s standard procedure to check your vehicle before any trip, and it’s even more important to do so when traveling long distances. Here is a list of what you need to do to prepare your long-haul truck for your next trip:
Make sure there are no fluid leaks anywhere, especially oil leaks, which can lead to serious problems if left unattended.
Make sure your headlights are working perfectly, as driving at night in low visibility can be dangerous for approaching vehicles.
Your brakes must be in perfect working order; check it several times to make sure it’s not underperforming.
Check your truck’s tires, especially traction and treads. You wouldn’t want to drive a truck that’s hard to maneuver and control, would you? If you’re driving in the winter, make sure you’re using the right tires.
Make sure the driver’s seat of your truck is properly adjusted to your preferences. You need easy access to controls and pedals, among other things. Comfort is key when driving long-haul trucks.
Your truck’s windshields and mirrors must be clean to ensure 100% visibility. Driving long distances with poor visibility will put you and oncoming vehicles in danger.
Finally, make sure you have a complete truck tool box on board.
3. Prepare your basic needs.
In addition to preparing and protecting your truck, you also need to be prepared. Here is a list of the items you will need:
-Comfortable clothing – include a jacket or whatever to keep you warm in the cold months
-Wool cap for the winter season
-Blanket – an electric blanket if the weather is freezing
-Sunglasses (polarized, if possible, to help prevent or limit headaches and eye strain)
-Personal first aid kit (keep it up to date and replace it)
-Change of clothes
– Bathroom essentials including toothpaste, toothbrush, soap and shampoo, mouthwash, deodorant, shaving cream and razor
-Comfortable, sensitive and sturdy shoes and socks – be sure to bring several pairs
-Emergency items such as heavy-duty or rechargeable flashlights, extra batteries, map, compass and road atlas
-Truck essentials such as extra engine oil, windshield washer fluid and emergency triangles
-Regular medications or prescriptions (if applicable)
-A small or personal fridge where you can keep water and soda bottles and food (like leftovers)
– Foods that are easy to prepare and easy to eat
You should be able to rest and sleep inside your truck as comfortably and safely as possible. Getting enough sleep is essential if you want to stay active and alert throughout your trip and avoid accidents and similar issues.
4. Bring entertainment.
If you have a portable TV, put it in your truck. If you like watching YouTube videos while relaxing, make sure your cell phone or tablet has an internet connection. Bring playing cards, books, magazines, or a camera if you consider them your sources of entertainment.
5. Know and understand road signs
Since you will be traveling for hours and driving to different destinations, it is important to know and understand the road signs. Knowing what the different road signs you encounter mean is key to staying safe throughout your journey. Make a habit of checking road signs, especially in unfamiliar territory.
Check online sources if you want to check your knowledge of traffic signs.
Follow the suggestions and tips above if you want to ensure that your next long-haul trucking trip is safe, comfortable, productive and memorable.