Updated: May 17
The trucking industry is one of the most male-dominated industries in the country. But these days, more women are getting involved in trucking and making their mark on a drive that men have historically dominated.
While there are many benefits to being a female trucker, there are also some things that men wish women knew about their jobs and the industry as a whole.
We asked several veteran male drivers with 15+ years of truck experience to give women drivers some advice.
1. Safety First
Build a strong rapport with the dispatcher, shipper, and receivers. Make sure all communication is accurate and up to date. For example, you do not want to arrive at an address and then find out it is closed, or they no longer receive freight at that location. This could be a recipe for disaster. What if there is no more time on your clock, and hours of service have run out? It is dark, and no one is around. This can be a safety issue for anyone, especially a woman truck driver.
Simple communication can help women drivers stay safe while out on the road
2. It Isn't An Equal Playing Field
One of the drivers felt strongly about the following statement. Go where you are appreciated and celebrated. Some trucking companies may not value the female driver, and it reflects in pay home time and miles. Logistics is a male-dominated industry, but women deserve the same pay benefits, etc has a male drive with the same seniority. Equal pay for equal work. Don't give up! The trucking industry is for you.
3. Plan out your trip/route
-Make Sure You Have Food For Your Trip
As a women truck driver, make sure that you have enough food for the entire trip. You do not want to go into a restaurant or drive-through and order because of the amount of time it takes. If you have to wait for your load, you can be there for hours before it is ready. The better choice would be to pack a lunch and healthy snacks, so you do not waste your time going out and getting something to eat.
You want easy food to prepare in your truck. Make sure you have air fryers, hot plates, and slow cookers. Also, make sure the carrier that you are hauling for has company-paid inverters to eat healthily and safely on the road.
- Bring Plenty Of Wipes!
You want the comforts of home. Pack adequately, not needing to make frequent stops because you didn't plan out your time. Make sure your hygiene is a priority, and bring plenty. You may not want to get your endless supply from home, but bring enough for any situation.
Be prepared if you do not have a shower when needed. Or you do not feel safe at the truck stop
4. Don't Just Stop Anywhere
Plan your route. Be responsible and proactive. One male driver said there are plenty of tricks he has learned along the way. One of these is knowing where to park when they want to get some rest. In addition, there are plenty of trip planning apps that can be downloaded to your cellphone. You do not want just to stop anywhere.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Park in a secure well lit area
At night, o not walk in between trailers
Always secure your truck from the inside when parking for the night
Pullover somewhere safe and make sure you have got everything ready before going to sleep! The last thing you don’t want to do is a park in a strange place where there could be trouble, like on a bridge or overpass or in the middle of a highway.
5. You Will Get Dirty And Sweaty—A Lot!
Truck driving is cool and exciting. You will drive through some gorgeous landscapes and swap stories. The pay isn't too shabby, either. But at the end of the day, this is a job like any other. So if you expect to hop in your truck every morning and have a clean, air-conditioned, luxurious place to work all day, you will be sorely disappointed!
You will get dirty as a trucker, whether from grease on mechanical parts or mud flung up by tires. Also, you will get sweaty as a trucker because it gets hot inside that truck during the summer months! And it's not just your body that will get gross; your clothes will start smelling after weeks on the road without being washed... but don't worry about that for now! There are deodorizers available for your truck if things start to smell bad enough that even you notice them (and trust me: if even you can smell them, they are BAD!).
The point here is simple: don't expect this job to be glamorous all the time.
6. Report Sexual Assault Immediately
If you are being sexually assaulted, you need to focus on getting away from the perpetrator. Then, immediately contact 911 (or pull over and ask someone else to call) and report the crime. If you can document any injuries with pictures and secure witnesses who could testify about what they saw, that would be helpful.
Do not wait until after your trip is over or until after you are back home. If possible, go directly to a police station, which means a police car will come and get you to preserve your evidence for the investigation. If this isn’t possible, at least do it as soon as possible afterward so that there is less chance of contamination of the evidence or deterioration of physical injuries.
Another way female truckers can protect themselves against sexual assault from other drivers is by taking some classes in self-defense tactics taught by local law enforcement officers, such as those offered through community centers and gymnasiums run by city recreation departments in various cities across America.
Here are some more tips to help you stay safe on the road
Don't drive when you are tired or distracted.
Use your turn signals, so other drivers can anticipate what you will do.
Check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
When driving in bad weather, keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you to have enough time to react if something happens ahead of you.
Driving at night, make sure your headlights are clean and bright!
We need and want women in trucking. However, it is crucial to Rig on Wheels that we keep women safe. We want women not just to get into trucking but to stay in trucking. It is not the big things that will help women be safe, but the small things will keep you safe.
Keep Trucking, Ladies. We love you and need you. Girls Rock !!
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