Think You’re Ready to be a Mother Trucker??
Originally published in the Layover.com August 2016 newsletter.
Women have been truckers since Luella Bates and Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan jumped behind the wheel in the 1800s. In any industry, we know that it can be rough going at first—landing a job, learning the ropes, climbing the corporate ladder. This is why my heart is so full when I see more and more female truckers and female-owned trucking companies popping up across the country each year. These ladies have mastered their craft, and they are taking care of business!
An old boss of mine from Australia used to tell me how he preferred hiring women truck drivers. He had his own reasons, but some of what he said got me thinking about the women who are currently considering trucking as a career path, and how they could use what professional or personal traits they already have going for them to their advantage to break into the industry and be successful truckers:
Are you always early? Hate to be late?
Great! Because reliability and timeliness are definitely attributes when it comes to trucking. It will always be appreciated when you consistently arrive at the yard or your assigned destination on time.
Accustomed to filling out paperwork and forms?
Sure! You’ve had to do it a million times for the kids’ schools, at the doctor’s office, and at previous jobs. Your dispatcher, office managers, and customers will require your logs and load/unload paperwork are completely filled out and turned in by the due date. Also, you will need to make sure that your paperwork matches the loads and locations before delivery. The trick is to not let paperwork pile up and overwhelm you.
Does everything need to have its place? Love The Container Store?
Organization is key. Understand that you are living on the road, and you your truck cab is your domicile. Paperwork needs to be easily accessible, and your personal items have to be carefully stored so that you can retrieve them quickly during down time. If you love keeping a clean home, your truck will be the same. It’s like a tiny, tiny house!
Are you an excellent driver?
You’ll need to learn about D.O.T. driving regulations and abide by most of the individual state driving laws, but if you hate getting tickets and always pay close attention to the speed limit during your daily commute, you’re in a good place to take it to the next level. Motivated by challenges?
Maneuvering an 18-wheeler around is no joke. Gears, and air brakes, and trailers—oh my! An excellent driving school will teach you what you need to know to get that baby on the road, and if you love new experiences and pushing yourself in unfamiliar territory you will eventually master truck driving. I promise!
Mechanically inclined, or curious?
A good percentage of truckers have learned the mechanical workings of the big engines they turn over every day. You will also conduct pre- and post-trip inspections of your truck. Eventually, you will learn the truck so well, that you’ll know if something isn’t quite right, or if repairs are needed.
If you have a gypsy soul and love traveling, you will get to see it all! Snowdrifts, deserts, lakes and oceans are all out there ready to be explored. One could do worse than seeing the country from the seat of a big rig. You will also meet all types of people from all different walks of life.
If any or all of this sounds appealing to you, you may be an up-and- coming lady driver. Obviously, a significant career change is not to be taken lightly, I did it myself when I gave up teaching for trucking. However, we could always have more women out there joining the ranks, and you may already have what it takes!
Hope to see more of you on the road, ladies!