When you think of truck drivers, do you picture a flannel-wearing man who looks like Jerry Reed from Smokey and the Bandit? It’s a common image that’s been around for decades. While the majority of truck drivers are men, the number of women who slide behind the wheel of a big rig is steadily increasing.

Here are a few things for women to think about when it comes to starting a career as a truck driver.

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Go for Automatic Transmissions

A large part of male dominance in the trucking industry in the past was simple physics. Big rigs were only manual for decades and had some pretty rough transmissions so wrestling the gears into place took a lot of upper body strength.  On average, women have about half the upper body strength of men, so this may have deterred some women from pursuing the career.

Fortunately, modern trucks, like the ones at Carter Express, have automatic transmissions that smoothly and easily navigate through the gears. Couple that with other technological assists like advanced power steering, and the physical strength it takes to drive a truck is much more comparable to driving a passenger vehicle.

Think about Your Physical Safety

Being a trucker means traveling long stretches of road by yourself. You want to keep yourself as safe as possible, especially if you’re going to be sleeping in your truck. This is a concern for all truckers, but women should pay a little extra attention to it.

When you sign on to work with a company, see what their driver liaison recommends. Drivers have all sorts of tricks, like always locking their doors when in their cab, wearing a whistle around their neck, or stopping a little earlier at night to get a good parking spot in a well-lit area. In general, truck driving is a safe career for women, and a little preparation adds that extra layer of safety.

Choose the Right Carrier

The single best thing you can do as a female driver is to choose the right carrier. The corporate culture plays a key role in how women are treated in any company, and that’s still true when it comes to trucking companies. The right company will always be there to support you and create an environment where you can feel safe to concentrate on your job.

A good place to start is by looking at the company’s reputation, especially among its drivers. Another good sign is the presence of an unbiased driver liaison who will work with the drivers to make sure everything’s going well. Finally, check to see how many women they currently have working there. This is a good indicator of the quality of the work environment.

At Carter Express, our percentage of female drivers is almost three times the national average, and with good reason.  We believe that drivers are the most important part of our business, and make it our mission to hire and support the highest quality drivers, regardless of their gender.  Contact us to find out more about opportunities to drive for Carter.