Life on the Road for Female Truck Drivers
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
By Jake Krough
Recently, it has become more common to see a female behind the wheel of a big rig. However, there is still a lot of room to grow in this area of the industry. Associations like Women In Trucking are continuing their push to introduce more women to trucking and break some of the norms in an industry that has long been dominated by males.
I spoke with long-time Women In Trucking member and Team Run Smart Pro, Linda Caffee, and asked her some questions about life on the road for female truck drivers. Linda has been driving as a team with her husband Bob since 2005 but has been driving trucks for many years longer than that. After our conversation, I was left feeling encouraged, knowing that we have women like Linda representing females in the trucking industry.
What is life like for female truck drivers?
When I first asked Linda about what life is like as a female truck driver she responded with “Awesome”. She went on to explain that women are a viable force in the trucking industry and that the number of women entering the industry continues to grow. Overall, Linda explained that life as a woman truck driver is not that different than life as a male truck driver. This is because the truck and the freight don't care who is driving, as long as it gets to where it needs to go.
However, I did learn that women tend to do things a little differently. One of the main differences is that women tend to drive with more finesse, while men tend to drive a bit more aggressively. This is not always true but is a common trend that Linda has noticed.
Another thing women do a little differently is talk to each other more compared to men. Women being more vocal is part of what has attributed to the number of women in the industry continuing to grow.
Ultimately, Linda explained that it’s all about a woman's attitude and the way they carry themselves that will define what life is like for them on the road.
How has the industry changed for female truck drivers?
Overall, the trucking industry has become a lot more accepting of female truck drivers. Linda explained that some in the industry used to not be accepting of women truck drivers but now that sentiment is starting to change.
Another big change is the way the new trucks are built. Trucks used to not fit people who were too short or too tall, but now they are built to be adjusted for anybody. This used to be a big disadvantage for women to be able to drive a truck. For example, Linda used to carry around a pillow to sit on in order to fit and be comfortable in the truck.
Lastly, truck stops now have showers that can be used privately by both women and men. When Linda first started, someone would have to guard the door while a woman would shower. Now, not only are showers private, but they are also more homey and comfortable.
Overall, the industry has changed to be more accepting of women drivers and other truckers have been embracing the change.
What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of being a female truck driver?
Linda brought up that a lot of women thinking about getting in the industry are scared about being on the road because they might not get to see their family as much. It’s true that you may not be able to attend special family events due to scheduling conflicts, or you may be away from home at a time when your family really needs you. However, in some circumstances, you may be able to see your family more than you would in other professions. Also, truck drivers are almost always available to talk to friends and family on their headset while driving.
Another advantage that was previously mentioned is that in terms of the work that needs to be done, there is no distinction between who is driving. When you are choosing a load, nobody knows whether it is a man or woman who is driving, and the pay is the same. The load and the truck don’t discriminate.