Female road warriors are creating quite a stir in the trucking industry these days. Trucking has opened its doors to women, despite being a field that has been mainly dominated by men. Today, there is one female driver for every 10 male drivers on the road. Lillie Drennan first paved the road for women back in 1929 when she was the first female to be issued a CDL license. Since then, women have become increasingly involved in every facet of the industry. As more women enter the trucking industry, it is important to focus on some of the challenges women often face while hitting the slab.

The market for women and trucking doesn’t come without concerns about health, wellness, and safety. Coping with stress, being away from home and kids, dealing with hormones, personal hygiene care, and safety are just a few obstacles they face everyday. Below are tips to help women just like you become more empowered behind the wheel and out on the open road.

Safety:

We all pay attention to warning signs out on the road, such as a dip, curve, slippery when wet, and traffic light signals. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could receive the same courtesy warnings when it comes to our safety?  Women can be targets out on the road.  Trucking is considered one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs for women. According to other female drivers, one of the best ways to remain safe while driving is to always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t get distracted by cell phone usage, use the buddy system when possible, carry some type of legal protection such as mace, and if possible own a dog.   Many women drivers depend on their four-legged road companions to alert them and help ward off potential danger.  When driving with the opposite sex, keep yourself safe against sexual harassment.  Know and keep certain professional boundaries and report any incidents to superiors.

Self Care:

Let’s start loving our bodies and minds and have overall positive outlook on life.  The number on the scale should not be a reflection of how much self worth and love we deserve.  With that said, don’t underestimate what you are capable of and understand the power of good health.  Make small changes to your diet and lifestyle to become more focused on the internal benefits.

A great starting point to improve your health is monitoring your diet and water intake.  Start each day by fueling your bodies with good, dense, nutrient-based foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds) that will help keep your head focused and immunity up. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates! Just make sure you are eating the fibrous, nutritious, kind and limit simple sugars such as sodas, donuts, and any other pre-packaged high-sugar foods.

It is equally important for women to stay hydrated while on the road.  Adequate water intake is crucial to good health.  Your daily water intake should be ½ of your body weight in fluid ounces (150 pounds divided by 2 à 75 pounds. So drink 75 fluid ounces a day).  This can pose another issue, as frequent urination can cause a bump in the road.   But, there are solutions to this issue, such as making frequent stops or investing in a portable potty chair.  They can be a little pricey but well worth the investment.

Last but not least, learn how to effectively cope with stress.  For many female drivers, their problems tag along with them on the road.  These could be things like family issue that are going on back home, money, lack of sleep, the list can go on and on.  It can be hard not getting to sleep in your own bed each night.  Try getting on a regular sleep cycle and limiting your stimulant intake during the day.  Meditation and other techniques are helpful to calm the mind and help get a better nights rest.  Put down all electronic devices at least one hour before hitting the hay.

Hormones and Personal Hygiene: 

Keeping good personal hygiene while on the road is crucial in protecting you from illness. Make sure that you are diligent each day in washing your hands, body, and teeth to help lower your chances of infection. Being out on the road subjects you to many viruses, bacteria, and even parasites, which can all cause serious health issues.  So be sure to wash up each day and lower your chances of illness.

Hormones…PMS, menstrual flow, and even menopause can become a tricky situation when driving 24/7.  Sometimes when Satan moves in and sets up shop for a week and you are in close quarters with a co-driver, things can get downright dreadful.  During your monthly cycle, try to find ways such as controlled breathing, listening to music to de-stress, and exercising to help control outrages or disagreements.  If you drive with a co-driver and feel comfortable, let them know that you need extra space during that time.

Many women put important testing (such as mammograms or yearly OB-GYN appointments) on the backburner.  Don’t go long periods of times without getting the necessary testing done.  Yearly check-ups are more likely to put your mind at ease, knowing you have a clean bill of health.  This is also helpful because if a doctor does find an issue, they will have caught it in time and can be more treatable.

 

Times have definitely changed.  There have been many milestones met but more to be conquered. While women face a different set of challenges on the road than men, it is rewarding to see women celebrated into this ever-growing profession.

 

NOTE: TCA’s Driver of the Year Contests will be closing Friday (November 10) at 5 p.m. EST. We encourage women to apply! See link for more details: www.truckload.org/DOY17