Being Female On the Road and What to Expect

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May 29, 2020
Posted by: Suppose U Drive

Trucking can be quite the boys club, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable career for women interested in the industry. While the percentage of women truck drivers is a low 7.89% of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, according to the Women In Trucking Association, the percentage is slowly growing.

Like men, women truck drivers are attracted to the career largely due to the flexibility it offers. Having the ability to work alone and make your own decisions is appealing to independent and entrepreneurial spirited individuals, regardless of age or gender. However, the long hours and time away from home is often discouraging for women who juggle the responsibilities of being wife, mom, and caregiver to elderly parents.

While female truck drivers often face certain difficulties that their male counterparts are exempt from, there is no injustice when it comes to pay. Unlike many professions where salaries aren’t equal between men and women, truck drivers are paid impartially based on hours, mileage, and/or loads.

Read on to learn about some of the challenges that female truckers encounter, as well as suggestions on the best ways to deal with them before, during, or after they’ve happened.

Difficulties Female Drivers Encounter

At times, life on the road isn’t just lonely, it’s downright difficult for men and women alike. And in addition to dealing with things like poor health and the long jaunts away from loved ones, women have to overcome issues such as safety, intimidation, sexual harassment, and chauvinism.

Although women have been operating semi-trucks and heavy industrial equipment for generations, the trucking industry is still predominately male. In this day and age, when discussions on the importance of equality are part of our daily existence, you’d think there would be limited encounters of men criticizing women. But, unfortunately, dealing with derogatory comments is very real, at times. Likewise, on long hauls, when the only options for food and rest are in the parking lots of truck stops, safety for women is exceptionally challenging.

Women drivers have learned to take extra steps for maintaining safety, such as wrapping the seatbelt around the door handle, and oftentimes sleeping with a baseball bat.

Maintain safety by being prepared

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A safety survey conducted by Women in Trucking, revealed that women rated truck stop safety as a 4.4 out of 10. Fortunately, there is a push for these businesses to enhance parking lot safety with improved lighting, fencing, and security monitoring.

The key is being vigilant and attentive to your surroundings at all times. Avoid questionable areas, and walk away from confrontation whenever possible. By taking time to plan road trips in advance, you will stay safer and healthier on future road trips and have a more positive experience.

  • Research pit stops in advance. The more you familiarize yourself with amenities such as bathrooms, rest stops, showers and food options along the route, the more confident you’ll be. As often as possible, choose places that are well-lit. Check out online reviews, or if any coworkers are familiar with the route, ask for suggestions.
  • Keep your doors locked. Get in the practice of locking your truck doors, whether you’re inside or out. A predator can slip into the cab in a matter of seconds, so take precautionary measures.
  • Prepare your own food. Making advanced preparations that allow you to prepare your own food may seem like a chore, but it will enable you to eat healthier, save money, avoid fast food, and not succumb to limited choices on the road. There are a variety of options available for equipping your sleeper cab with energy efficient kitchen appliances including an oven, microwave, mini fridge, and so on.

There’s no denying that female truck drivers have unique challenges on the road, but the incidences are not constant. Many women drivers never encounter such transgressions and others have very infrequent confrontations for several years.

Female drivers are leading the way

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PHOTO: FreightWaves

For the most part truck drivers, regardless of gender or age, practice camaraderie and watch out for one another. For example, solo truck driver Tami Clark, shared with USA Today, that she “knows to count on a continuous blast of her truck’s horn to summon other drivers to her aid.”

Every career has pros and cons, and trucking is no exception. The demand for truck drivers is bigger than ever, and the industry is making strides to become more attractive to all genders, especially females. Interestingly, many of the younger female truck drivers view it as an opportunity to play an important role in improving the working environment.

Undoubtedly, it is a profession that takes dedication and hard work, but trucking companies are constantly making improvements in employee compensation, benefit packages, and safety. The business offers independence, and in comparison to a college degree, the training required to become a truck driver is faster and much more cost efficient. Being a contributing member to the back bone industry of America’s economy, offers advantages that far outweigh the negative aspects and it can be a very rewarding and lucrative career.

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