There are a few hurdles for everyone who wants to enter a career in truck driving—CDL school, driver training, and then researching and applying to companies you feel would be a good fit. Then there are the challenges drivers discover in the first year of driving—being away from home, finding time for family, and learning how to maneuver a big rig to stay safe and accident-free.
Women in trucking, however, face a few additional obstacles both when obtaining entry and throughout their careers. We discuss a few of those challenges and ways to overcome them.
Safety in Numbers
One of the biggest myths about women in trucking is that women should choose an easier, safer job and stay closer to home. Says who? Well, friends, family, and society to name a few. But are they right? Not necessarily.
While a well-meaning family member may express concerns about a female’s safety and wellbeing as a regional truck driver, NTB would like to dispel some of that concern.
Truck drivers tend to take care of each other—no matter their sex. If safety at a truck stop or parking lot is a worry to your mom, dad, or spouse, reassure them that while every driver (and women even more so) needs to be mindful of potential dangers, the fact that there are other trucks and drivers nearby is a good thing. Safety in numbers is very real at truck stops.
Just over a year ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a study to evaluate the occurrences of harassment and violence against women and minorities in the trucking industry. Survey responses were collected through March of 2020 and we now await the results of the study. The findings will be used to help develop training programs designed to address Crime Prevention for Truckers.
Though we would like to think that women are not targeted more than men in the industry, we must face the reality that in some instances, they are. NTB recommends two ways to keep safe—participate in a self-defense course and be vigilant about your surroundings at fuel stops and rest areas.
Being prepared to fend off an unwelcome intruder is a good idea for anyone in any trade, but especially so for women. A self-defense class can be taken online, in person, or even made into a new exercise in the form of moving up the levels in martial arts. There are certain moves and maneuvers that, once learned and practiced, can save yourself from harm.
Know your surroundings. Make a mental note of the exact location where you stop to sleep. Share your location with your spouse or a trusted friend. Make eye contact with and greet those around you. Walk confidently and stay aware when using the facilities or putting fuel in your truck. These steps are not intended to make you feel paranoid but are good actions to take at stops.
Get Out of Your Own Way
Women can even get it into their own mindset that trucking isn’t a job for a female even though that’s what they want as a career—an imposter syndrome of sorts. Trucks are big and many women aren’t taught at a young age how to do minor repairs even on a small car. Remember, you are as capable as anyone if you have the will to do it.
Confidence comes with practice. If you are in driver training, the first time out is daunting. This is true for guys as well as women. Tell yourself again and again that you’ve got this. Be your own best advocate when it comes to learning the tricks of the trade. Most importantly though, is practice at every opportunity.
Most repairs on NTB trucks are done by the maintenance teams. That being said, having some knowledge about certain issues will go a long way to keeping you on the road and earning money. If there’s something you don’t know, look it up and practice.
Ask lots of questions and find a mentor to help you along the way. When you become a veteran driver, some other young woman will be coming to you for guidance and that alone is worth its weight in payback.
At NTB, we are happy to hire women drivers. So, buck the trend and fill out an application.
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