Winter is a whole different ball game for truckers. Icy roads and reduced visibility means you need to be ready with the right gear. As a pro trucker, the safety of yourself and the cargo is a top priority especially when winter gets nasty.

That’s why we put together this list of the best tools to have with you during the cold months. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a rookie on the road, these are must-haves for your winter travels.

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Don’t get left in the cold – make your own winter trucking survival kit

Every driver on the road will tell you, a survival kit is one of the first things they pack. That being said – every trucker’s tool kit is different. You may not need everything on this list, or you may need something not on this list. These are a good starting point for a “truckers tool kit”!

Basic Kit

A basic tool kit with wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and a flashlight can be a lifesaver when minor mechanical issues pop up in remote areas. Cold temperatures can make parts brittle, affect battery performance, and tire issues. Having trucker tools to do quick fixes can mean the difference between being stuck in sub-zero temps and making it to the next stop or service station.

Safety glasses

Your vision is the top priority when navigating the open road. Beyond the weather and road conditions, there’s also the occasional need to inspect or repair parts of the truck, often in not-so-ideal circumstances.

That’s when safety glasses prove themselves. Designed to protect your eyes from debris, chemicals, and even oncoming headlight glare, safety glasses are a must-have for any serious driver.

Metal dowel rod

It may look simple in design but this cylindrical metal piece has many uses that can be a lifesaver for drivers on the road. Made from sturdy metals like steel or aluminum, these rods are built to withstand heavy pressure and are corrosion resistant so it’s good for emergency and regular use on the road.

In the unlikely event of cargo doors jamming or mechanisms failing, a metal dowel rod can be used as a lever to open or adjust parts without damaging them. Though easy to overlook, the metal dowel rod is proof that sometimes the simplest tools are the most effective and worth having in your OTR driver’s toolkit.

Wrenches on black background

Crescent wrenches

The value of the crescent wrench goes beyond its multi-functional design. For truck drivers, space is always at a premium, and being able to carry one tool that can do multiple jobs is a big plus. Whether it’s adjusting mirror brackets on the truck, tightening loose bolts on the trailer, or doing routine maintenance checks, the crescent wrench is ready to help.

Combination wrenches

The open end of a combination wrench gives you the flexibility to turn nuts and bolts in tight spaces where movement is limited. The box end with its enclosed design gives you a better grip on fasteners and reduces the chance of rounding them.

This is especially important for truck drivers who may encounter bolts that have rusted or weathered over time. The 12-point box end also allows for easier positioning and can accommodate a wider range of angles for better maneuverability.

Testing tire pressure

Tire air pressure gauge

Pre-trip inspections are always important but it’s even more important during winter. Low tire pressure can leave you stranded in the cold, not only delaying your load but putting your safety at risk. A good tire pressure gauge can mean the difference between safe delivery and long delays. Do tire pressure checks daily and you’ll always be aware of your tires and truly ready for the long haul!

Tire depth gauge

Like the tire pressure gauge, a tire depth gauge can also help you on the road. Blown tires not only can cause an accident but can also damage the cars around you. You don’t want to get 300 miles down the road and find out your tires are bald and you’ve been at risk. This is even more important during winter as the road conditions are always changing and can get slippery anytime. Protect yourself and the four-wheel vehicles by using a tire depth gauge during your pre-trip inspection!

Flashlights on white background

Small LED flashlight

In trucking, where the unknowns of the journey come alive after sunset, having a reliable source of light is not just nice to have – it’s necessary. Enter the small LED flashlight, a compact powerhouse of light that has become an indispensable tool in every driver’s toolkit. Despite its small size, this flashlight packs a big punch providing bright light when you need it most – during nighttime inspections, map reading, or roadside repairs. As a truck driver, you won’t want to hit the road without it.

First-aid kit

For truck drivers who are often miles away from the nearest medical facility, having immediate access to basic medical supplies can be lifesaving. Whether it’s dressing a minor cut, treating a burn from a hot engine part, or addressing an unexpected allergic reaction, the first-aid kit is your first line of defense.

With items like bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and more, it allows you to respond quickly to common medical issues. In case of a more serious situation, the contents of the kit can provide interim relief until medical help arrives.


In the hands of a truck driver, a lighter can be a quick source of heat for tasks like shrinking tubing on electrical repairs or sealing frayed ends of ropes and cords. It can be used as a temporary light source in tight spaces where bigger lights are cumbersome. In emergencies especially in colder climates, being able to start a fire for warmth can be a lifesaver making the lighter an essential part of your emergency kit.

Hammer on white background


a hammer can do many things. It can help adjust misaligned parts, remove stuck or rusty parts, and even secure cargo. Beyond its obvious uses, it can be a makeshift tool when other specific tools are not available, proving its versatility in many situations. In emergencies, a hammer’s solid construction can even be used to break free from a stuck vehicle. Its weight and durability make it an indispensable part of any driver’s toolkit, to deliver force or precision as needed.

Wire cutters and electrical tape

Wire cutters with their precision blades allow truck drivers to cut, strip, and manipulate wires as needed. Whether it’s for installing new components, troubleshooting existing connections, or making repairs, the wire cutters provide the tool for the job. Its counterpart the electrical tape then steps in to insulate, protect, and secure those very connections as well as bundle electrical wires. Electrical tape is water, heat, and abrasion resistant and is essential to keep exposed wires or new connections safe from the elements and prevent shorts or malfunctions.

You wouldn’t need to use these and could go to your company maintenance team or wait for roadside support. But sometimes emergency electrical repairs happen and you need to be prepared.

Snow brushes and ice scrapers

As snow falls and temperatures drop two tools become more prominent and become essential tools against winter’s cold grip: the snow brush and ice scraper. Together they are your first line of defense in having a safe and clear journey through the cold months.

A snow brush with stiff bristles is the tool of choice to quickly clear fresh snow from the truck’s body, mirrors, and lights. This ensures visibility and prevents snow chunks from flying off the vehicle and becoming a hazard to other drivers. Next is the ice scraper, a tool with a sharp flat edge to chip away ice that forms on windshields and windows. In the early morning hours when frost forms a crystal barrier, the ice scraper makes sure you have an unobstructed view of the road ahead.

Sunglasses on white background

Extra sunglasses

For truck drivers the world unfolds through the windshield, a 360-degree view of changing landscapes and skies. Amongst this ever-changing scenery, the sun can be a beautiful sight and a blinding glare. Sunglasses in this case are more than just a fashion accessory – they’re a shield to protect your eyes and reduce eye strain. But the true seasoned OTR driver knows the value of carrying not just one but an extra pair of sunglasses, a simple backup that’s more than meets the eye.

Accidents happen. Sunglasses can get misplaced during a stop, scratched, or broken during a long haul. In those situations having an extra pair within arm’s reach means you’re not caught off guard by sudden sunbursts or low-angle sun which can reduce visibility. An extra pair also gives you options. Different tints or polarizations may be better for different conditions, from snow-covered landscapes to a setting sun.

Heavy-duty box knife

Made with heavy-duty materials and designed to be tough the box knife cuts through thick straps, opens secured packages, and trims away unwanted materials. Its retractable blade is safe when not in use and the ergonomic grip allows for consistent cuts even after hours of use. For a truck driver who is always managing cargo, inspecting deliveries, or making on-the-fly adjustments to equipment this knife is a must-have. It’s more than just a cutter, it’s a problem solver, an enabler, and sometimes a lifesaver when time is of the essence.

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Zip ties

Flexible, durable, and super handy zip ties have become an essential tool in the world of OTR driving. Made from heavy-duty plastic zip ties are designed to loop through and secure with a locking mechanism to fasten various items.

For truckers the uses are endless. They can be used to secure loose cables, bundle items together, temporarily fix broken parts, or even as a makeshift lock in a pinch. Their strength and durability make them especially useful in harsh weather conditions so whatever they bind will stay bound.

Emergency Food Supplies

One of the most basic preparations a driver can make is to have sustenance in times of need and that’s where emergency food supplies come in. More than just provisions they’re foresight, resilience, and a driver’s commitment to be prepared no matter what.

On the highways, especially in remote areas, amenities are few and far between. Weather conditions, road closures, or mechanical issues can stretch the time between stops, and having emergency food supplies is not just convenient but critical. These supplies are often non-perishable items such as canned goods, energy bars, dried fruits, and bottled water designed to provide nutrition, energy, and longevity without refrigeration or complicated preparation.

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Extra Blankets or Sleeping Bag

While the cab of a truck is protected from the elements, it’s the extra blankets and sleeping bag that provide a warm cocoon to get drivers rested and ready for the miles ahead.

In areas where temperatures can drop drastically after sunset or during unexpected cold snaps having extra warmth on hand can make a big difference. An extra blanket with its layers of insulating fabric can provide immediate warmth whether draped around you during a quick break or used as an extra layer during sleep. The sleeping bag is a compact marvel of design – providing all-around insulation and keeping even the coldest of winds at bay.

Happy truck driver in front of blue truck

Join the ShipEX Team!

As a ShipEX driver, you can take full advantage of our driver support systems! Our world-class maintenance and safety teams work together to help you be as safe and prepared as possible when you hit the road! Visit our careers page today to learn more!