Getting dressed for the road in the winter isn’t as much about what you wear while behind the wheel as it is about being prepared for when you have to leave your cab. It may be a balmy 70 degrees in your truck’s interior, but outside, it’s in the teens or lower.
So, do you put on some moon boots and a snowmobile suit and hit the highway? Of course not. You need to be both comfortable while you drive, but ready when you stop for loading, unloading or (knock on wood) if you get stuck in the snow.
There is a basic list of things a semi-truck driver should have on board in case of inclement weather. Aside from emergency items, like flares and extra food, it’s important to have clothing on hand if you need to spend time in the cold.
Boots – The boots you wear day-to-day in the winter while in the truck may be waterproof – but are they insulated? Are they designed for having to spend a long time in the cold snow? An extra pair of warm, waterproof boots is an excellent addition to your emergency clothing kit. You never know when you’re going to need to pull over, put on chains or God forbid, leave your truck on foot.
Gloves – Again, light gloves are great for driving when you first get started in the cab. You can ditch them once things warm up inside. But once you open that door and have to fuel up, unload, load, unhitch, hitch, etc. you need WARM waterproof, heavy duty gloves. Your hands will be useless if they get too cold or wet.
Hat – Winter is not the season for “trucker hats.” It is the season for warm, insulated, heavy-duty hats that keep the heat in! Wear a ball-cap all you want behind the wheel, but when you have to venture out, have an actual winter hat available – preferably one with ear flaps and an optional face covering. Remember, if you’re going to put together an “emergency winter clothing kit,” make it worth your time.
Insulated Workpants/Overalls – If you find yourself on your hands and knees crawling around the trailer or under it dealing with tire chains, you’re going to want heavy duty, waterproof workpants. Overalls are a great option, because you can put them over your clothes (hence the name).
Emergency Clothing – In addition to the things you pack in case you have to be outside in the cold, you should always have some reflective gear on board so you can be SEEN by other drivers. Visibility in winter weather can be almost non-existent. If you’re having to get out of the cab on the side of the highway, you need to be wearing some kind of reflective clothing.
Layers – It is always best to dress in layers when the possibility of outdoor work exists. Even while driving, you can always take a layer off, or add one as needed. A T-shirt under a long-sleeved flannel or sweatshirt is a good place to start.
We’re in Michigan, so we know how bad it can get out there! We look for high-quality, affordable heavy-duty clothing to keep our trucker family warm out on the winter road! If you think of something you do don’t see here, contact us online or chat with us now!