Commercial truck driving puts you in the cab and over the road, but your trip never has to lack for comfort. Even if you slip in and out of day cabs, never in the same cab twice, you can take with you plenty of accessories to make the ride enjoyable and uniquely your own. If you are fortunate enough to lease your own tractor or have a dedicated route, you can customize your tractor to your heart's content with some totally cool cab accessories.
Dress It Up: Must-haves for Truck Drivers
To avoid dinging any fuel bonus your company may offer, avoid weight: leave your collection of Civil War-era cannon balls (interesting as they are) in storage. Consider instead items to make your daily drives easier without bulking out the scales:
- Sunglasses - Hardly an accessory, a good pair of polarizing sunglasses prevents fatigue, headaches and eyestrain; expect to go through, break, and lose a dozen or so a year.
- Work gloves - You go through almost as many work gloves as you do sunglasses, so always keep a few pairs around. A lot of drivers prefer leather, but not leather racing gloves, which are usually too tight for real work; leather cowboy gloves give a breathable, comfortable fit.
- First aid kit - Trucking companies usually squeeze stock kits into the cab somewhere, but the last time it was stocked, the Crimean War's own Florence Nightingale herself rolled the bandages that are in it. No, do not be surprised when a mishap happens, and have a quality first aid kit on hand whose contents you know and can trust.
Whip It Up: Cooking on the Road
Truckers have reputations for poor diets, and you need not wonder why. Wacky schedules, irregular mealtimes and unpredictable roadside food quality make dinner on the road a road hazard in itself. Bring meals with you:
- Slow cooker - The food you cook for yourself almost always tastes better than the meals you buy. With a slow cooker you can start your day stocking it with fresh vegetables and a pot roast in Albuquerque and by the time you get to Phoenix, lunch is ready.
- Mini-fridge - Keep fresh fruits and tasty vegetables on hand for healthier eating. Hold onto leftovers from the slow cooker to avoid waste and keep the good tastes rolling. Keep cold drinks cold, even in the warm California sun.
Heat It Up: Accessorize Your Comfort
Police officers and truckers know never to be hungry or cold. An accessory for overnight comfort is an electric blanket, because even the best auxiliary power unit (APU) cannot completely banish the winter's chill when you are parked in an overnight spot in Fraser, Colorado (home of the nation's lowest average year-round temperatures).
Pump It Up: Protect Your Investment and Keep Rollin?
Tire monitor systems are partly cab accessories and partly tire parts. The sensors mount on the truck tires, the monitor sits in the cab, and the repeater boosts the sensors' signals. Prevent high temperatures, blow-outs and costly delays by knowing the temperature and pressure of every tire so equipped. Though not cheap, tire monitors can prolong expensive truck tires and reduce the frequency of replacing them.
Clean It Up: Your Image Matters!
A shower kit is useful, not just for you and your driving partner in the crowded quarters of a cab, but also for conveying the right image of the trucking company that issues your paycheck. A small kit of toiletries and grooming aids takes minimal space and helps you stay fresh as a daisy even through long, hot summers.
Crank It Up: Be Entertained
The loneliness of mandatory rest periods is easily banished with connectivity. One of the best and least expensive accessories you can have is an over-the-air digital television antenna. Tap into 1080p HD signals for free, for life.
Besides free HD TV you can also look to these awesome additions:
- Game console - Keep in touch with your family by playing video games with your kids, even when you are in Washington state and they are in Washington, D.C.
- Mobile wireless internet hotspot - You need not rely on a truck stop's iffy Wi-Fi if you buy your own nifty mobile Wi-Fi. (That exact sentence is used as a roadside sobriety test in 13 states.)
- RAM laptop mount - Your livelihood depends on accurate records and up-to-date information, usually from a laptop. The RAM laptop mount needs no bolts and keeps your laptop nearby and off the floor.
- Mobile satellite dish - If you have a DIRECTV, DISH Network or Bell ExpressVu receiver, you can watch your favorite shows on the road with a King Connect dish.
Source: Advance Technology Institute