The Trucking Industry today is still primarily a man’s domain. However, these days many women are seriously looking at trucking as a viable career. Approximately five percent of long haul drivers are women. Although in prior years, most women previously had not considered truck driving as a career. Today that is changing as more women than ever before are earning their commercial drivers license(CDL). Women are starting to look at the benefits of a trucking career which include good pay and benefits. Trucking is one industry in which there is no discrimination in pay rates based upon gender. Women earn the exact rate of pay that men truckers earn. Many women enjoy driving and the challenge of being on the road. Trucking companies also realize the value of female drivers and welcome them.
Throughout the years, women have proved that they could compete in male predominate businesses.The trucking industry in no exception. The first female truck driver and trucking company owner in the United States was Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan. (1897-1974). Lillie received her CDL in 1929. Lillie and her second husband Willard Ernest Drennan started a trucking company with one truck which he drove for several years. When they bought a second truck, Lillie began her driving career. They continued to add additional trucks and drivers. After a divorce from Willard Ernest Drennan, she became the sole owner of the company. She went on to successfully run the Drennan Truck Line for close to 24 years.
Similarly, today many women get into trucking because they are familiar with and comfortable with the business. Some of them grew up being able to ride along as a passenger in a truck driven by a parent or grandparent. Many of them developed a love of the road. Other women have a spouse, friend or family member in the business and they are able to observe and learn from them. Women also often ride as a passenger in the truck driven by their friend or spouse. At some point, some of them decide that they’d like to drive themselves and take the necessary CDL Training to be able to do so. Upon passing their states CDL licensing exam they are ready to drive. They will have to make the decision as to whether to drive solo or with a co-driver. This will determine the type of trucking company they choose to work for.
Driver applicants usually have to take and pass a strength test before they are hired. This includes female applicants. They are required to be able to lift between 50 to 100 pounds. There may even be a more strenuous test required for flatbed drivers. Loading and unloading freight does not appeal to many drivers. Drivers can usually avoid this by avoiding driving straight trucks which require the driver to load and unload them. Drivers can instead choose to drive refrigerated (refer) trailers or dry van trailers which are usually no touch freight. The driver only has to pull up to the dock and a warehouse worker will unload the freight.
Many women keep up a physical health routine while they are on the road. Many truckstops have fitness centers which makes it easy for women to exercise. That way they can keep their muscles strong and retain their strength.
Some women opt to drive solo. Typically, if the husband is employed as a solo driver by a good trucking company, the wife will often opt to drive solo for that same company. If the company hires team drivers, these couples often elect to work together as team drivers and usually find it to be a very rewarding experience.
In other cases, the husband may own one truck whereby he is the sole driver for his own small trucking company. In this case the couple may opt to purchase a second truck for the wife to drive and continue to grow their business. Alternately, they may choose to use one truck and work as team drivers and continue to grow their business. One of the primary reasons couples drive as a team is because they enjoy being with each other and working together. They don’t have to worry about getting home often because their loved one is with them. These couples are usually very happy and successful.
Oftentimes, if couples chose to work as employees of a trucking company, they may have a degree of flexibility in choosing their routes. They may be able plan their loads in such a way as to be able to take breaks in locations that they want to spend time in. Certainly, if they are operating their own trucking company, they have total freedom to work as much as or little as they want.
Many couples get into trucking for the first time upon retiring from typical nine to five jobs. They enjoy the adventure of being on the road and the freedom to explore the country while earning money. Grandparents often enjoy taking grandchildren along on road trips as well.
A truck driving has been a very good career for many women and couples. They have been able to see many areas of the country that others have never seen. This has been quite an adventure for these drivers.