One of the unsung heroes of commerce is the truck driver. They spend the day behind the wheel of a vehicle, a beast in its own rite. Without their long miles on the highways, 71 percent of the freight tonnage hauled in the U.S. would come to a screeching halt.
For produce, trucks haul refrigerated trailers (dubbed “reefers”) with temperature-sensitive produce from the growing regions to keep us all enjoying a year-round supply of fruits and vegetables. For some produce items like leafy greens and anything fresh cut, it is critical for temps to remain at 34 degrees; for every 30 minutes these items are kept at temps above 40 degrees, a day of shelf life is lost.
It goes without saying our produce drivers are a special kind. The shipments they load are cut from the field usually the day they load. Sometimes it means a longer wait than items that can be warehoused for more than a day. Also, they have to be sure their reefer is cold and stays running and at the right temp, or the load may be lost.
This is often a thankless but critical job when it comes to moving a highly perishable item from Point A to Point B on time. Yet what better time to make an effort to celebrate these workers than during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which is going on now.
We also wanted to have a little fun, so to give you an idea of what makes the miles just a little bit smoother for these truckers, here are a few must-have things that come in handy on the road:
1. Jumper Cables
If you’re living depends on horse power generated by an engine, then you also depend on the sparks that gets the whole thing fired up. The refrigerated trailer has its own unit separate from the truck that always needs to be fueled and running at all times. Always be prepared and pack a pair of jumper cables with you to keep things running.
2. Pulp Thermometer
It is good practice to have your reefer cold when produce is loaded but also to check the temperature of the load. All you need is a pulp thermometer to stick into the produce to check its temperature, making sure you leave the probe for three to four minutes for an accurate reading. If you have a bagged, fresh-cut product, fold the bag over the probe instead of puncturing the bag.
3. Satellite Radio
You’ve got your CB for communication, but in the areas where there is not regular radio reception, a satellite or Sirius/XM radio comes in handy. Be sure to make sure your rig has one on board!
4. GPS / Navigation
Another must have device is on-board navigation. GPS will help you keep your routes efficient, help you avoid traffic and any other unnecessary delays. This Garmin is built with the unique needs of a trucker in mind.
5. 12V Refrigerator / Cooler
Eating fresh foods on the road can be a challenge. Stow away a 12v refrigerator in the cab to keep drinks cool along with a few groceries to save on food costs.
6. 30-Ounce Coffee Tumbler
Coffee is truly the fuel for any road warrior. Keep it piping hot in an insulated tumbler. Rtic has a great line of insulated coolers and gear at a fraction of the cost.