??????????????????????As the temperatures start dropping and the days get shorter, your risk of a breakdown increases significantly.

Freezing, wet weather isn’t just challenging to drive through; it takes a toll on your rig, decreasing the amount of air pressure in your tires, reducing your battery’s ability to hold a charge and negatively affecting your fuel efficiency.

If you pay attention to the speed limit and always drive defensively, you can protect yourself and your cargo, but sometimes these “best practices” aren’t enough to get you from point A to point B. In snowy or icy weather, it’s easy to hit a patch of black ice and slide off the highway. If you’re on a mountain pass or out in the middle of nowhere, it can take hours or longer to get help. Therefore, it’s critical to have an emergency kit on board, just in case.

If you’ll be hauling cargo throughout the winter, make sure your emergency kit contains the following items:

Jumper cables, road flares and several spare tires. The majority of breakdowns occur due to easily preventable problems such as dying batteries or punctured tires. If you find yourself unable to continue driving, make sure you have basic equipment like spare tires, a backup battery and jumper cables in your cab. In addition, pack some flares. That way, if you breakdown at night, you can guide other truckers or the authorities to your rig. Flares can also alert other drivers that your rig is down and unable to operate at full capacity.

Several gallons of water and non-perishable snacks. If your car breaks down on a mountain pass, it may take hours to get in contact with people who can help. Make sure you have several gallons of water, as well as non-perishable snacks such as beef jerky, granola bars or canned soup. If you end up stranded, these items will allow you to stay hydrated and fed.

Warm clothing and blankets. If your truck breaks down due to engine problems, you won’t be able to run the defroster or heat. High-altitude areas often experience temperatures well below freezing. To combat Father Winter’s harsh winds, snow and ice, pack plenty of items to keep you warm, including blankets, mittens, a coat, a hat and a sweatshirt.

Taking a few moments to pack a winter kit could end up saving your life if you get stranded. What items do you keep in your rig during the winter? Visit our Facebook page and let us know.