The trucking industry has evolved over the years. Although males still dominate it, many female truck drivers are now drawn to a truck driving career than in decades past. And that's because truck driving provides them with many of the same advantages that men truckers enjoy—a flexible schedule, an independent lifestyle, and the opportunity to visit new places.
Whether they want to escape the boredom of their homes or the routine of a traditional office job, women truckers look at truck driving not just as a job but a real lifestyle where they see themselves as their own boss. Their trucking jobs allow them to enjoy a sense of freedom and the opportunity to visit new places too. And since a lot of companies struggle to fill their needs for truck drivers, these jobs also offer real earning and future growth potentials for many women who decide to pursue a trucking career.
However, being a woman trucker in a male-dominated trucking industry is not always a walk in the park. Challenges about the job, safety, and hygiene are things you have to deal with differently from a male truck driver. But if you're dedicated, passionate, and very much willing to drive the miles and do the job, the pros will always outweigh the cons.
A lot of woman truckers have shared how they dealt with these drawbacks. And they all agreed that to stay safe, healthy, and productive while on the job, one must observe one important thing—the right preparation. If you’re a newbie woman truck driver, here are some useful trip planning tips to help you get started:
Organize your ‘area’ in the truck.
Truck driving requires you to be on the road for hours and days at a time. And since it serves as your second home, you might as well organize the area that you will consider ‘yours’ inside the truck.
Truckers are often provided with a standard-sized sleeper, but if you're lucky enough, you might be driving a truck with an 'apartment' sleeper, which is more spacious and comfortable. Make sure to keep your 'area' clean and free from clutter. It will not only make you feel less stressed and distressed, but it will also help you get much better sleep and rest once you reach your maximum number of allotted driving hours for the day.
Plan your route ahead of time.
Planning out your route can help you save a lot of time. But doing this involves more than merely knowing which roads are best to take. It would help if you also considered where and when to stop to eat, rest, and refuel.
When planning your route, make sure to take a careful look at your trip's total distance. Use the 38 mph rule when calculating the total distance and the estimated time that should be allowed to get to your destination. This rule often provides accurate estimates since the calculations allow for variables, such as bathroom breaks, traffic, weather, eating, fueling, and border time crossing.
After you have calculated the total distance of your trip, decide on which routes to take. You may use various sources, such as Google or Apple Maps and Atlas, to look at the locations where you'll pick the loads and where you'll deliver them. Be sure to take note of obstacles along the route, including road closures, ongoing construction, border crossings, and tolls, and create a workaround to save you from major setbacks.
Schedule mandatory breaks and overnight stops.
Truckers are often on tight deadlines, so some don't always take breaks as they should. This, however, should not be the case—make sure to schedule mandatory breaks and overnight stops before or during your trip. Doing this is not only about complying with the new hours of service rule but also about your overall safety and well-being.
Some truck stops, however, are not as woman trucker-friendly as the others. Although truck stop managements are taking measures to improve conditions and become more women-friendly, they can’t control how other truckers and characters lurking around would behave.
As a safety precaution, lock your doors even if you are just stepping outside for a breather. Also, make sure to have something handy in case you need to protect yourself when walking through the truck stop. And always stay in or near lighted areas where more people can see you.
Be extra mindful of your hygiene.
Unlike men, women truckers will have more specific hygiene concerns, and unfortunately, some male drivers and truck stop employees may be unsympathetic to these issues. Always carry a shower bag with you when you go on a trip. The bag should include your basic hygiene essentials such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a washcloth.
You may also keep a bathroom spray in your bag. Although most truck stops are well-maintained and cleaned, it pays to be extra cautious of your surroundings because germs lurk around almost everywhere. Spray the toilet or sink before you use them. If you don't have a spray with you, using wet wipes makes a good alternative.
Another essential item you might want to consider taking with you is a 32- or 40-oz. cup with a lid. When nature calls and your co-driver is not taking a stop anytime soon, you'll thank yourself for bringing this essential item with you. Simply go back in the bunk, close the curtains, get your wipes, grab that big cup, and you're good to go.
Being a truck driver, and a woman at that, may pose a lot of challenges, but with the right preparation, you can avoid many obstacles, easily overcome setbacks, and prevent untoward incidents from occurring.
Also, before you go on any trip, be sure to check your rig for any worn, damaged, or missing components. FinditParts offers a vast selection of heavy duty truck and trailer parts for your truck repair and maintenance needs. Simply use our quick lookup feature or contact our customer service department to find the exact part that you need.