Women in Trucking – Challenges, Wellness and Safety
The traditionally male-dominated trucking industry is gradually opening its doors to women drivers. Now there are more opportunities for female drivers in the commercial transportation industry. The good news for females is that pay in the trucking industry is not gender-specific anymore.
While professional truck driving can be a satisfying and rewarding career choice for women, it is not without its concerns and drawbacks. As a female truck driver, you may face unique challenges concerning the job, safety, and hygiene aspects.
In this article, we will critically discuss the challenges faced by women in trucking. We will provide inputs about how to handle the issue of harassment, sexism, and intimidation and manage the safety and wellness aspects while performing duties.
- What is The Scope of Female Drivers in Trucking?
- Challenges Faced By Women
- How to Overcome the Challenges Faced by Women Truckers?
- Safety and Security Tips for Women Truckers
What is The Scope of Female Drivers in Trucking?
Although this industry is male-dominated, the recruitment of female truck drivers has been increasing steadily. More women are choosing this profession due to equal pay opportunities. Data has revealed that women are more attentive and cautious behind the wheel, tend to remain with the company longer, and are involved in fewer accidents.
Some women found the trucking industry safe, while others feel they have to deal with various problems, particularly truck stops, restrooms, and shipper facilities.
Challenges Faced By Women
The women workforce in the male-dominated trucking industry perceives different types of challenges. The issues and concerns often come from safety risks and inadequate facilities in a male-dominated industry. While the industry is becoming supportive of women, more is to be done from their perspective. The challenges faced by women in trucking are as follows:
Women want to feel safe and secure in their working environment, but the trucking industry often fails to ensure this most of the time. Female truck drivers find adjusting to rough environments and lifestyles concerning restrooms, showers, or sleeping options difficult.
Women truckers often try to park vehicles in lighted areas or try to remain around other humans or localities to remain safe. Many carry personal safety products, and some even carry firearms for protection.
Harassment and Criticism
In a highly male-dominant industry like transportation, women generally experience the problem of gender discrimination, and the intensity tends to vary with the nature of the job and peer profiles. Your employer or carrier may not empathize with your problems as a female driver.
The truck drivers have to spend most of their time on the roads, and there is less time spent with their loved ones, which they feel is detrimental to work-life balance. Women are hesitant to such professions where one has to sacrifice home life. The work-life balance may not be as important to men, and female truckers may find themselves helpless by simply adjusting because their male counterparts are not complaining about it.
Health and Hygiene
The hygiene and health concerns of female truck drivers are entirely different from their male counterparts. Unfortunately, sometimes male drivers, fleet managers, or truck stop employees may not be aware of these issues or show unsympathetic attitudes.
Reach Out to Other Women Truckers
Female drivers feel safe and comfortable by reaching out to other women truck drivers but often cannot connect to their women colleagues to exchange views and suggestions about issues they have been facing and how to handle them.
Finding the Right Carrier
You may face problems finding an appropriate carrier or employer having the resources and capabilities to address women’s issues in trucking. Working with a transporter that aligns its culture with your identity, expectations, and aspirations sometimes become far from reality.
Female truck drivers often undergo training with a male trainer for several weeks while facing the uncomfortable situation of the proximity of sleeper berths and personal quarters. The absence of a compulsory same-gender training program increases the perceived safety risks.
How to Overcome the Challenges Faced by Women Truckers?
The trucking industry has offered women lucrative salaries, competitive benefits, and job security opportunities. There are no reasons you should not make your presence felt in the trucking field just because of a few safety concerns and challenges.
You can minimize the chance of a safety threat on the road and deal with challenges in many ways. The following tips will help you enhance safety while working as a trucker.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always be aware of your surroundings while driving or moving outside your truck. Install a GPS device to trace your location continuously and send a signal to the concerned authority if you require assistance. It also allows you to raise alarms or SOS in emergencies.
A dashcam allows you to monitor the surroundings and keep video records of incidents to share with others. Remain updated about the road and weather conditions, and plan your routes using trackers to identify safe parking lots and restroom locations.
Plan Your Journey with Appropriate Information
Ensure to keep updated on the weather conditions you will be driving into and prepare to handle the worst-case scenario. Road conditions can become dangerous during nighttime or the winter season, so women truck drivers need to pre-plan and keep checking their routes. It would allow you to locate the areas accurately where you would like to stop for rest, food, or fuel. In this manner, you can keep yourself safe by not making unnecessary stops in suspicious places.
Communicate with Your Superiors
Maintain clear communication with your fleet manager or team leader to express the requirements to ensure getting the work-life balance you deserve. It would help if you communicated with the recruiter about your priorities, letting you start your career on the right path to a balanced lifestyle.
Get a Proper Training
It would help if you went for the best and most qualified training to improve your capabilities and confidence to operate commercial vehicles. As you undergo training in a school with a healthy mix of men and women participants, your approach toward gender discrimination might change. It would help you deal with the gender-related perceived challenges in the workplace.
Build a Network
It would help if you tried to connect with more women truckers in the industry who can guide you through handling challenges positively by sharing mutual experiences. A strong network of people with similar issues would help you tackle any situation with a collaborative approach and action.
Have Healthy Foods And Water
There may be a lot of options to purchase food on the road, but they are not always healthy. You can pack your healthy food and store it in mini fridges within the truck without the risk of spoiling. It also minimizes the frequency of getting out of your truck and improves safety.
Moreover, you will save some money and find a healthy diet that influences your way of working. Drinking enough water is also crucial to keep you hydrated and ensure your body functions to its full potential. It would also help improve your alertness on the road.·
Take Short Breaks and Exercise
To avoid restlessness and improve your focus on driving, you must take short breaks as per your requirements. While having food breaks, also do some simple exercises that release your fatigue and revamp your energy to drive with more concentration. It would be best not to compromise on sleep because it is vital for health and safety, especially for long-haul driving.
Safety and Security Tips for Women Truckers
Here are some tips to ensure your safety and security as a women trucker.
Keep Yourself Ready with Safety Tools
You can carry some self-defense tools like aerosol sprays, sharp objects, etc., and keep some type of warning device readily accessible to alert others while you move out of your truck.
Keep Your Vehicle Safe
Keep your cab doors locked while at sops and while you are driving. People may try to disturb you when trucks are stopped at stop signs or for inspection. It would help if you kept a watch on your surroundings with the help of technology devices. Select a parking space in a well-lit area at a rest stop. Park as close to the building as possible.
Use the communication devices to stay connected with your dispatcher, friends, or family, who can track your location and movements in real-time. You can check and modify your routes to avoid potential hazards and complete the journey quickly.
Utilize your tracking tools to guide you on routes with fewer hazards and hurdles. Keep your devices handy to access tracking details and send notifications to inform authorities or rescue teams in emergencies.
Do a Research Before You Start
Pre-plan your trip by gathering all relevant information so that you become aware of safe locations for fuel, food, restrooms, or rest breaks on your route. You can also identify suitable parking lots and service stations to make your journey safer, convenient, and hassle-free.
Taking a Self-Defense Training
Training in self-defense classes can give you the confidence to tackle any situation and help you feel more secure. This training will provide great tips and techniques to defend you whenever required.
Connect to Your Community for Support
You must build a network of female truckers who can help you by sharing practical tips, experiences, and suggestions to ensure safety.
Connection with other truckers, especially women, can be a great way to create a community of female drivers who can respond to and support each other in emergencies.
Many women truckers share their adventures and experiences on social networks. It can be an excellent resource for learning new tricks and getting moral support in different situations.
Trust Your Intuition
It is vital to trust your intuition which helps you stay safe and feel confident in any situation. If a place or rest stop looks unsafe, avoid it and go to the next one. Do not second guess yourself, and avail every chance to protect yourself or ask for help. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Technology solutions are available to provide truck drivers and fleet managers with information and resource support that can improve safety. You need to plan correctly, maintain the checklists, and feel confident to handle challenges by following some practical tips regarding safety and security.
The primary requirement for ensuring safety is to allow others to keep track of your locations and movements with the help of GPS-based tracking technology. The Matrack fleet management system uses GPS tools to help you optimize your routes, identify potential hazards, locate roadside assistance, and send signals to get the necessary support in emergencies.
The GPS trackers allow you to set up a virtual boundary to identify a specific zone so that you receive alerts whenever you enter or leave the zone. Matrack system has reliable features that can improve safety while driving and when parked.
Matrack dashcams provide a comprehensive view of your surroundings and guide you to make informed decisions concerning safety. The technological tools and software systems by Matrack with advanced features can provide reliable support in ensuring an efficient, safe, and convenient travel trip.
More female truck drivers are joining the trucking industry as it has opened up opportunities in the last several years. Many organizations are taking initiatives to make the job more engaging and empowering for women. A reliable and skilled female truck driver can easily enjoy high pay, job security, and a flexible schedule.
Certain risks and concerns are there for women truckers, and organizations are trying to address these common issues by offering extra support. Drivers must be alert and conscious about personal safety and health to perform more effectively on the job.
This article will inform you of the issues women truck drivers might face and how to prepare yourself to overcome those challenges with necessary actions and a positive approach.