Many of the women truckers I know not too long ago worked in banks, hospitals, as stay at home moms, and they have one thing in common - they knew nothing about trucks. The funniest part is many of them had no desire to know anything about a truck. One day their significant other just came home and said: “Honey, let’s go drive a truck.” What I admire about them is their gumption to say, “I am willing to give it a try” and get over their fear of driving a large vehicle. And some women become truck drivers for the income potential and the variety of jobs available from local, regional, or long haul.
I listened to these women as they talked to others about what it is like to drive a truck and how they go about their daily job. Some talk about how they got over their fear of driving on narrow two-lane roads, in between Jersey barriers, and the genuine struggle to get in and out of their truck due to the height of the steps. Many of the women will go on to talk about the specs of their trucks and why they are spec’d the way they are.
Some of these women shared with me the fears they had of driving before they got into their first truck, and now I look at them with pride knowing what they have mastered and how they now mentor other women as well as men. I think they also surprise their spouses with the knowledge that they readily share with others about their job, their abilities, their truck, and how to live in a truck.
Over the years, I have attended many truck shows and have been asked an amazing amount of questions about being a woman truck driver. There are a lot of misconceptions or misunderstandings out there about living on the road and about being a woman truck driver.
You may be surprised to know that:
- Truck stop showers are private with locking doors, and most of the showers are well kept and clean
- There are healthy food choices at the truck stops, we just have to look for them
- The truck stop parking lots are usually very well-lit and secure
- Customers are used to seeing women truck drivers and often think nothing of it
However, being a woman truck driver comes with additional safety concerns that men may not have to worry about as much. Some safety tips include:
- Leave your purse locked in the truck – just carry what you need in your pocket
- Leave your cell phone in your pocket so as not to distract you
- Do not walk between trucks and trailers – stay on the lit roadway
- Do not make it obvious that you are leaving your truck to shower
- Walk to the back of the truck and go down a couple of spaces and then walk to the truck stop
- Keep your doors locked
- Dress appropriately as a professional truck driver
- Walk with a purpose with your head held high
Women truck drivers have now become a more common sight. There are a lot of Facebook groups and websites to communicate and network with other women drivers. Whether you’re team driving or driving solo, get in the habit of networking with other drivers to share knowledge and keep learning about our profession.
What I like most about being a woman truck driver is that the steering wheel and the dock have no clue who is driving, male or female, and in that sense, we are all equal. Trucking is about getting the job done without consideration of gender or age; it is really about the ability to deliver someone’s cargo safely and on time.