Women in Trucking - A Woman Driver's Guide

I think it rather pointless to say you want to be a truck driver with one breath and with the next tell how you don't want to leave home! Yet I hear this with ever class I teach.

In part it is due to ignorance of the field they are getting into, and in part it is just unrealistic. But a point many never think about is that local driving is far more dangerous. It is also much more work and generally goes to those who have earned it by paying their dues with their time out there on the road. It is very arrogant to just presume that as a complete newbie you should get the choice jobs--and local jobs are choice in that the driver is home daily. Not that they are easier, but the tradeoff is generally worth it.

Most reputable companies are not interested in new drivers anyway. The minimum experience is usually two years. And they could not be more right. Driving in inner city traffic looking for new locations and fighting rush hour twice a day makes it more likely you will be involved in a collision.

Those that will take you as a newbie may have decided if you screw up they will just replace you, or they will make you do dock work for years or forever to pay them for the privilege of working local or line haul. Remember, you are still getting used to the truck, the maneuvering of the truck in traffic, tight corners, small spaces and blindside backing. Oh, no one mentioned there would be a lot of that? Then there are the really rotten directions, or no directions, the dock foremen that apparently don't like anyone, the miscommunication about the time, the date, the trailer, the product you are supposed to be picking up, dropping off, etc.

As an over-the-road driver you only have to worry about that a few times a week rather than maybe a dozen or more times a day. You can't be wasting someone else's time learning how to back at each stop, or figuring how to get around the corners, landscaping, curbs and stupidly-parked cars at each stop. And then there is the paperwork to keep up with, multiplied by each stop. There are more chances to make mistakes, and when those mistakes go on your driving record they will follow you forever and affect what jobs you can get.

My advice is, don't set yourself up to screw up. Go out there on the road. Get so familiar with your truck that you know without trying if there is room to maneuver and you can always see the safest way to do it. Driving between cities gives you a lot of time to do that. Parking several times a day in the truck stops without the customer waiting is easier, and tighter.

Stay safe, tell me what you think.