Getting cargo safely and reliably across the country matters now more than ever as supply chains change faster than the nation can keep up with. And as the world grows more and more connected, CDL driver jobs are growing in response. There are many reasons you should consider a career as a truck driver, including independence, scheduling flexibility, and benefits. 

However, if you’re a woman thinking about becoming a truck driver or taking CDL training courses, you might still be hesitant to take that first step. Because truck driving tends to be a male-dominated industry and involves late nights, long travels, and dark roads, sometimes female truck drivers are worried they’ll experience sexism, harassment, or worse during their jobs. Read on to learn some special tricks of the trade for women truck drivers.

Pick the Right Trucking Company

The number one thing female truck drivers can do to ensure they feel safe is pick a trucking company that cares for their well-being. So before you sign on just anywhere, do some research. Look for trucking companies that are dedicated to supporting women in trucking and providing resources for women who are just getting into the industry. If you’re getting unfriendly signals during the interview or hear an unpleasant remark or comment about your gender, body, or anything else, you have every right to choose another company. Many modern CDL training programs provide useful job connection opportunities during and after program completion, so take advantage of this if it’s available to you.

Up Your Self-Defense Skills

While both female and male drivers have to pass a rigorous exam to get their commercial driver’s licenses, women truckers can also benefit from another skill set they didn’t learn in CDL training — self-defense. Many free or low-cost self-defense classes are offered at local gyms, through programs on college campuses, and at dojos and other martial arts spaces. There are even online self-defense training and remote learning courses available so that you can get useful safety tips from the comfort of your couch.

An added perk of regular self-defense training? You’ll be spending time working out, which is hard to do when you’re sitting and driving all day. Learn more about staying in shape as a truck driver.

Even though learning to defend yourself against an attacker may feel unnerving, as if you’re training for the inevitable, remember that you’re training to know what to do just in case. You may not ever need to know how to fend off physical harm from another person, but if the time ever comes, self-defense training could save your life. 

Self-defense can also come in the form of carrying a self-defense keychain, blinding flashlight, pepper spray, air horn, or other portable solutions. Depending on what your state allows, you may be able to carry a veritable arsenal of self-defense tools in your pockets that can help you stay safe no matter what.

Your Comfort Zone Matters

What do you need to feel safe at your job? A common mantra for anyone starting a new job is “step outside your comfort zone!” While this advice is great for trying new foods, attending social gatherings, and other “safe” scenarios, if something you’re being asked to do at work makes you worry that you won’t be safe, pay attention to your gut. Be open and honest with your supervisor about what you would prefer. If you don’t want to take a certain night shift, you’re having trouble with harassment at a particular dropoff point, or something similar, pay attention to your comfort zone. Being upfront about your needs doesn’t just help you stay safe; it also helps your company better understand its employees.

Stay Ready for Anything

This piece of advice doesn’t just apply to women truckers; it can actually benefit anyone in the trucking industry. Just like the Boy Scouts say, be prepared! Being an excellent truck driver is about getting goods from point A to point B (and C, D, and E) as quickly as possible while still being safe and efficient. That means you should invest in these must-have items if you’ll be driving a truck for any distance at all:

  • Portable charger/power bank and charger cable for fast on-the-go charging. Look for one that can recharge your phone multiple times.
  • Backup battery if applicable for your GPS, older style cell phone, laptop, etc.
  • Flashlight with a strong beam that can be stowed in a small space.
  • Sunglasses for sunny weather on the road.
  • Change of clothes, including extra warm clothes. Don’t forget a rain jacket or poncho!
  • First-aid kit and necessary medications
  • Work gloves for repair or other dirty jobs on the go.
  • Toilet paper — you’ll thank us when that convenience store bathroom is out!
  • Shower shoes to stay hygienic at truck stop showers.
  • Hygiene necessities if you’ll be skipping the truck stop showers (such as wet wipes or baby wipes, baby powder, dry shampoo, and toothpaste tablets).
  • Portable toilet, sometimes called a female urinal. This can be a lifesaver when there are no bathrooms around for miles, or you don’t feel comfortable using a particular bathroom.
  • Extra snacks and drinks, especially water. You should carry at least 5 gallons of water per day you’ll be expecting to travel.
  • Paper road maps or other printed maps in the event that you can’t get a signal. You can also download offline maps on many smartphones ahead of time so that you don’t need an internet collection or mobile data for directions.

Communicate Often

While good communication is part of essential trip planning for any truck driver, female truck drivers who are just starting or feel unsafe on their route may benefit from extra communication. Whether this looks like more frequent calls to a supervisor or coworker, or just occasional messages sent to family or friends during bathroom breaks, it can provide peace of mind knowing that other people know where you are at all times. These days, you may not even have to touch your phone to contact your loved ones in an emergency. Many smartphones have location-sharing services and emergency safety apps that automatically dial pre-selected contacts if a specific trigger is activated.

Be Proud!

While a greater number of female truck drivers are entering the workforce now than ever before, you’re still part of a relatively small minority — and that means you should be proud of yourself. You’ve worked hard to get where you are, so don’t let anyone take that away from you. Hold your head high and be confident, knowing that you’re made of strong stuff — and your trucking career is only just beginning!

Get in Touch With TQM Logistics

If you’re thinking about a career in trucking or are a business owner looking for transportation solutions, TQM Logistics is your next stop on the highway to success! Contact us today to learn more; we’re looking forward to hearing from you.