Accessories & Gadgets All Truckers Need in the Cab
The Essential Trucker Accessories & Gadgets to Put in Your Cab
Life on the road as a truck driver can be hard. Weeks and even months at a time spent behind the wheel without many of the comforts of home can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll on even the most seasoned truckers.
So, before you set out on your next regional or long haul, make sure you’re equipped with plenty of resources to make the drive a bit more comfortable. The accessories and gadgets below — arranged by key categories of life on the road — are a good place to start:
Gadgets for Driving
Driving is the cornerstone of the trucking industry, so any tools or services that help you perform your job more efficiently and effectively should be on your wish- list.
Once a nice-to-have, the right GPS is critical for navigating the highways and byways of this great land. You can always use an app like Google Maps or Waze on your cell phone, but you’re better off investing in a truck GPS. Why? Because a GPS that’s designed specifically for truckers provides routes based on the weight, height, length, and dimensions of your truck. It also offers real-time data on traffic, routes, and speed traps. Investing in one of these dedicated directional guides can make your trip a lot more enjoyable — and save you some time, too.
No accessory is more synonymous with and essential to life on the road as a CB radio. CB radios began gaining popularity in the trucking industry during the 1970s and have remained a staple in the big rigs of truck drivers ever since. Even though units have grown more powerful and sophisticated over the years, the main purpose of CB radios remains the same: to provide a simple, cost-effective way for truck drivers to communicate while on the road.
Weigh Station Bypass
If you’re like most drivers, weigh stations can be a hassle that consumes valuable driving time as you wait to have your load weighed. Using a weigh station bypass solution can save time by highlighting bypass opportunities at hundreds of fixed weigh stations and mobile inspection sites across most states and provinces.
Accessories for Food and Beverages
Diesel keeps your semi-truck rolling, but these gadgets to help fuel your personal engine while on the road are some of the most essential trucking accessories.
Chances are you don’t want to spend all your time and money in diners and truck stops when you’re away from home, so a portable refrigerator is a must-have for your cab. You can store drinks, lunch meats, fruits and vegetables, and a wide range of other simple foods in a heavy duty mini-fridge, which can help you save a few dollars and eat a bit healthier than you often can when dining out. Popular portable refrigerators can range in size from roughly 0.5-2.5 cubic feet, and you can choose from units that run off DC, AC, or both.
The fastest, easiest and cheapest way to heat, reheat, or cook food while on the road is using a microwave. There are plenty of microwave makes and models to choose from, so look for the size, price, and style that best meets your needs and budget. To avoid electrical and safety issues and get your portable kitchen up and running quickly, be sure to select a 12-volt unit.
With the challenge of staying alert throughout long hauls and night driving, mugs and jugs filled with coffee are mainstays in the cabs of most rigs. Since it isn’t always convenient to stop when you need a cup of coffee, you’ll want to purchase a 12-volt coffee maker for your cab. There are options abound, from the capacity of a traditional electric brewer to the portability of a single-serve maker.
What You Need for Comfort and Convenience
Any reasonably priced accessory that can make doing your job more comfortable and convenient is an accessory worth having.
You spend more time in the driver’s seat of your truck than anywhere else when you’re on a long haul, so it only makes sense to invest in a quality seat cushion. Today’s best models provide the additional support you need to more comfortably. Ergonomic seat cushions are designed to alleviate the pain and fatigue that often accompany long hours sitting behind the wheel.
Whether it’s to stay in touch with your dispatcher, family, or fellow drivers, communication is critical when you’re on the road. Wireless headsets and audio devices offer a safe, reliable, and compliant way to stay connected while you drive. Many bluetooth headsets also have noise-canceling features, making them a popular accessory for most anyone who lives behind the wheel.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has long urged professional drivers and trucking companies to use in-cab camera systems to help protect themselves, their trucks, and the cargo they’re hauling. Although truck dash cams vary in price and sophistication, most are used to record traffic incidents, identify negligent driving, and reduce liability for drivers by recording footage of the road ahead, in the cab, and around the vehicle.
When it comes to comfort and convenience, the gadgets above aren’t the only options to consider. Here are a few more:
- Seat organizer to keep your things stowed safely and securely
- Chargers to keep all your devices ready to go
- Phone mount to make answering and making calls easier and safer
Accessories & Gadgets to Keep You Entertained
Whether by choice or compulsion, you’ll inevitably find yourself searching for ways to entertain yourself during over-the-road (OTR) downtime. These gadgets will help keep boredom at bay:
Buying a TV for your cabin is one of the best purchases you can make if you frequently use your rig as your home-away-from-home. Technology has evolved to the point that 12-volt televisions are compact, affordable, and high quality. Coupled with a DVD player and a streaming service, your truck’s TV can transform your sleeping area into a mobile entertainment center.
Although it isn’t a necessity, having a laptop or tablet when you head out on an OTR is never a bad idea. You can use your computer or tablet to organize your finances, planning, schedules, and records of your trips and run routing and mapping programs. Plus, either one can double as a viewing device to stream shows and movies.
Audiobooks are a great choice if you’ve listened to all the true crime podcasts you can stand or if you’re seeking more constructive uses of your time than watching Ice Road Truckers. Plus, you can rent titles from truck stops and libraries or download from Audible, Audiobooks.com, and other services.
What You Need for Safety
Safety is priority number one when out on the road. To help you and other drivers stay safe, here are a few must-have accessories.
Heavy duty gloves are an easy way to protect yourself from the potential injuries that come with hooking trailers, loading, unloading, and more.
Emergency Road Kit
These types of safety kits often come with first-aid essentials, reflective vests and triangles, flashlights, tools, and more. You never know what situation you may be in where emergency supplies are needed. It’s best to be prepared for anything.
A Final Word on Tools of the Trade
Truck driving isn’t for the faint of heart. Days are long and conditions can be extreme, but with the right tools of the trade, time behind the wheel can be the next best thing to home for those who view life on the road as their calling.