While trucking is still a male-dominated profession, female drivers now make up, at last count, over 6% of truck drivers and number around 200,000. We ladies of the road are also getting the reputation for being very safe drivers. According to one study, lady truckers are three times less likely to get into a serious accident than their male counterparts and five times less likely to be found in violation of the trucking regulations.
But what is it really like to be a female driver? Is it a lifestyle that will appeal to the average woman? Well, that depends on the woman.
If you are a woman who doesn’t like to get dirty (or skip a daily shower), has never carried more than 25 pounds, isn’t handy with tools, and gets worried easily about being in strange, dark places in the middle of the night – I would advise you to stick to an office job.
On the other hand, if you dislike office politics and cubicles, can climb as well as any guy, likes to use a screwdriver, are not a very fearful person in strange surroundings, and lifting fairly heavy things is no big deal – you might just be cut out to be a lady trucker with us.
Don’t get me wrong! You don’t have to turn into a guy, and spit and swear, to drive a truck. Just be a strong woman and learn to deal with situations requiring you to use that strength.
Not all trucking jobs are alike, of course. Pulling a van trailer requires less physical strength when you pick up and deliver a load than does a flatbed. With a van, you will mostly drop one loaded trailer and pick up an empty to go get your next load, or simply back into a dock and wait while they unload you. Of course, there are some loads that call for “driver assist”. I once found myself rolling, individually, 548 boxes down a roller device, starting at the back of the trailer and ending at the very nose. The boxes were not heavy, but they were stacked to the ceiling and there were 548 of them!
I have a friend who drives a flatbed. She regularly has to climb up, pull a heavy tarp over the load or throw chains across it, and tie the load down. She is one strong woman, and yet she is as feminine looking as any woman in her “dress-up clothes”.
I suggest that women in trucking keep their physical safety in mind, and be careful and aware of their surroundings when parking. But that is just common sense. I park in well-lit areas and look out for bad people. I have never been made to feel afraid.
I also suggest that women outfit their truck with things for their comfort and safety – not to mention a good tool kit and first aid kit.
Only you can decide if being a lady trucker is for you.
, Truck Driver
, Trucking Life