The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly About Women In Trucking

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Regina S.'s Comment
member avatar

I have a question for everyone. I am interested in truck driving, but before I try to invest in this new career, I would like for everyone to be honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly about driving trucks. I am a former teacher and I found out that it was not for me. I even tried to go into nursing, but it had its own politics and all it did was drain my bank account and I have nothing to show for that investment. I've always liked to drive and take long trips, so being away from people would not be a problem for me. In fact, it would be something that fits me. I'm not antisocial, but when it comes to doing a job, I don't see myself socializing too much and would prefer to keep being social to a minimum. I heard that going back to school for this would cost too much money and has its own issues, but I would like to talk to people who are already in this field to tell me, if you were talking to someone, like me, who was interested, what would you tell them? I'm not asking for an easy career nor a hard one either. Also, with the CDL test, is it very hard? I looked at some practice test questions and I didn't do too bad on them considering I had no training and based my answers on what I've seen other truck drivers to while on the road. I am not here to offend anyone, but I really do need to know these things because I cannot afford to invest into something else only to repeat it in failure. :(

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
December Hopeful's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

You said the question was for everyone. I'm a student at a CDL school. So I can only give you what I know so far and hopefully when the seasoned trucker ladies get time they will give you far more experienced feedback.

You asked if the testing was very hard. My answer is, "Yes". I have found it to be so for me. But I did not grow up on a farm driving at age 14 on private land vehicles that have a trailer attached and learning under the wings of a dad or older brothers. There are guys at my school who have driven for the military, and some have been raised with a monkey wrench in their hands, and they are very comfortable around all the equipment. But, there are guys in there who can't double-clutch as well as me, who have stalled the rig on railroad tracks, and didn't know what a "YIELD" sign meant. One guy knew the Pre-Trip Inspection word-for-word and you know he passed that but he's back on Friday because he didn't pass the road test. I tested first and went home right after, so I don't know if he passed road on Friday or not. Hopefully he did, but he's determined, so I know he would train again this week and try again on Friday. (State law requires you wait seven days before testing again.)

I also know that the life of truckers, male or female, is very challenging. I'm like you in that I don't need office politics and I can't stand catty women who form cliques and won't welcome me for months on end because they have some snooty chip on their shoulder. Pink collar jobs have been for me, a complete dead end. All that being said, I am about to go into my 5th week at school because the 3rd week I was not ready to take the test, so I went home and rescheduled for week 4, Friday. I just passed Pre-Trip Inspection part of CDL testing on Friday, and I'm going back for more backing practice because Lane Change kicked my butt good at 7:30 in the morning. I had spent all day before test in constant rain and wind on the concrete training pad and getting in and out of trucks for my turns on all three backing maneuvers. My body felt like lead jello next morning.

Every morning I wake up thinking about the backing maneuvers. I just am very pressured to get this license. I'm running out of cash. I want to get it all right this time. I don't want to come back a 3rd time to test. I just want that CDL and to move onto the company training. Will it all be for me in the end? I don't know. But I know I have worked very hard in my life and want to try. I want to work hard on this and see where it goes for me. I think I have the mental and emotional stamina, but of course, hope to develop the physical strength and endurance as I go on the road. Working hard in the yard all day at my little rental house for six years cost me over $30,000. I could have paid for that house and the land it sits on for that price. Now I have no home and my stuff is in storage. Staying with friends and family is getting old. I want that CDL and to see what the road has to offer. I'm scared and excited and challenged. Hey, isn't that life?

Soon, you will get some more replies from nice people here on the boards. Let's see what they say about testing, training and driving on the road.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
nomad girl's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I've been driving for three months and like most rookies, the urge to quit is high! The test is not that hard if you practice and do your best. It's the real work that's hard.

Socializing is an important skill. You will have to communicate with shippers, receivers, dispatchers, other drivers, etc. Some people will treat you as an equal, some will be total pricks. On one or more occasion, you'll meet someone on drugs or on a power trip. It's not all daisies. The industry is 95% male. You have to be tough and play it their way.

Second, the money is not that great - not in the beginning. I've had three weeks not making a paycheck because the truck was shut down or ran only enough to make truck payments because we had to go back to a shipper to take off weight because it was over GVW and it took them an additional four hours.

No matter where you work, there will always be politics. The only way to avoid that is to work for a mom and pop or work for yourself.

Driving alone can make you think a lot. Thinking a lot can make you depressed.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
December Hopeful's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

You said the question was for everyone. I'm a student at a CDL school. So I can only give you what I know so far and hopefully when the seasoned trucker ladies get time they will give you far more experienced feedback.

You asked if the testing was very hard. My answer is, "Yes". I have found it to be so for me. But I did not grow up on a farm driving at age 14 on private land vehicles that have a trailer attached and learning under the wings of a dad or older brothers. There are guys at my school who have driven for the military, and some have been raised with a monkey wrench in their hands, and they are very comfortable around all the equipment. But, there are guys in there who can't double-clutch as well as me, who have stalled the rig on railroad tracks, and didn't know what a "YIELD" sign meant. One guy knew the Pre-Trip Inspection word-for-word and you know he passed that but he's back on Friday because he didn't pass the road test. I tested first and went home right after, so I don't know if he passed road on Friday or not. Hopefully he did, but he's determined, so I know he would train again this week and try again on Friday. (State law requires you wait seven days before testing again.)

I also know that the life of truckers, male or female, is very challenging. I'm like you in that I don't need office politics and I can't stand catty women who form cliques and won't welcome me for months on end because they have some snooty chip on their shoulder. Pink collar jobs have been for me, a complete dead end. All that being said, I am about to go into my 5th week at school because the 3rd week I was not ready to take the test, so I went home and rescheduled for week 4, Friday. I just passed Pre-Trip Inspection part of CDL testing on Friday, and I'm going back for more backing practice because Lane Change kicked my butt good at 7:30 in the morning. I had spent all day before test in constant rain and wind on the concrete training pad and getting in and out of trucks for my turns on all three backing maneuvers. My body felt like lead jello next morning.

Every morning I wake up thinking about the backing maneuvers. I just am very pressured to get this license. I'm running out of cash. I want to get it all right this time. I don't want to come back a 3rd time to test. I just want that CDL and to move onto the company training. Will it all be for me in the end? I don't know. But I know I have worked very hard in my life and want to try. I want to work hard on this and see where it goes for me. I think I have the mental and emotional stamina, but of course, hope to develop the physical strength and endurance as I go on the road. Working hard in the yard all day at my little rental house for six years cost me over $30,000. I could have paid for that house and the land it sits on for that price. Now I have no home and my stuff is in storage. Staying with friends and family is getting old. I want that CDL and to see what the road has to offer. I'm scared and excited and challenged. Hey, isn't that life?

Soon, you will get some more replies from nice people here on the boards. Let's see what they say about testing, training and driving on the road.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

You said the question was for everyone. I'm a student at a CDL school. So I can only give you what I know so far and hopefully when the seasoned trucker ladies get time they will give you far more experienced feedback.

You asked if the testing was very hard. My answer is, "Yes". I have found it to be so for me. But I did not grow up on a farm driving at age 14 on private land vehicles that have a trailer attached and learning under the wings of a dad or older brothers. There are guys at my school who have driven for the military, and some have been raised with a monkey wrench in their hands, and they are very comfortable around all the equipment. But, there are guys in there who can't double-clutch as well as me, who have stalled the rig on railroad tracks, and didn't know what a "YIELD" sign meant. One guy knew the Pre-Trip Inspection word-for-word and you know he passed that but he's back on Friday because he didn't pass the road test. I tested first and went home right after, so I don't know if he passed road on Friday or not. Hopefully he did, but he's determined, so I know he would train again this week and try again on Friday. (State law requires you wait seven days before testing again.)

I also know that the life of truckers, male or female, is very challenging. I'm like you in that I don't need office politics and I can't stand catty women who form cliques and won't welcome me for months on end because they have some snooty chip on their shoulder. Pink collar jobs have been for me, a complete dead end. All that being said, I am about to go into my 5th week at school because the 3rd week I was not ready to take the test, so I went home and rescheduled for week 4, Friday. I just passed Pre-Trip Inspection part of CDL testing on Friday, and I'm going back for more backing practice because Lane Change kicked my butt good at 7:30 in the morning. I had spent all day before test in constant rain and wind on the concrete training pad and getting in and out of trucks for my turns on all three backing maneuvers. My body felt like lead jello next morning.

Every morning I wake up thinking about the backing maneuvers. I just am very pressured to get this license. I'm running out of cash. I want to get it all right this time. I don't want to come back a 3rd time to test. I just want that CDL and to move onto the company training. Will it all be for me in the end? I don't know. But I know I have worked very hard in my life and want to try. I want to work hard on this and see where it goes for me. I think I have the mental and emotional stamina, but of course, hope to develop the physical strength and endurance as I go on the road. Working hard in the yard all day at my little rental house for six years cost me over $30,000. I could have paid for that house and the land it sits on for that price. Now I have no home and my stuff is in storage. Staying with friends and family is getting old. I want that CDL and to see what the road has to offer. I'm scared and excited and challenged. Hey, isn't that life?

Soon, you will get some more replies from nice people here on the boards. Let's see what they say about testing, training and driving on the road.

Hang in there Angi you will get through everything! I will be praying for you as the prayers of my friends along with solid determination on my part got me through my CDL schooling and testing to get my CDL. I am currently in Appleton WI at Roehl's Phase I orientation and made it through the physical assessment this morning but it was hard, I must admit. It is all worth it though and I keep reminding myself of this. I sent you a private message so I hope you got it. If not I will text you tonight.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
December Hopeful's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the prayers, Jolie. I'd also like to pray for Regina S. who needs to make a very important decision to either give it a go for truck training or move onto another endeavor.

My thought is, you will always wonder if you never try it. Yes, you want to gather as much info as you can before you make that leap. The instructors at Roadmaster are clear in their attitude: If you can be taught, they will teach you. If you know it all and won't listen to them, you're not going very far. I'm here to say, from what I've seen, that's true. We have men from other countries in our school as students. Quite honestly, some of them are really not getting it very quickly because they get offended and can't handle the authority of other men. Not true for all, but some.

Looking forward to other comments on this thread. Everybody be safe. God's Hand of Blessings on you all. Thanksgiving is soon upon us.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Karen H.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't think that there is any good or bad in truck driving.

It totally depends on your way of learning truck driving.

So, don't feel bad just try it. :)

nomad girl's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I've been driving for three months and like most rookies, the urge to quit is high! The test is not that hard if you practice and do your best. It's the real work that's hard.

Socializing is an important skill. You will have to communicate with shippers, receivers, dispatchers, other drivers, etc. Some people will treat you as an equal, some will be total pricks. On one or more occasion, you'll meet someone on drugs or on a power trip. It's not all daisies. The industry is 95% male. You have to be tough and play it their way.

Second, the money is not that great - not in the beginning. I've had three weeks not making a paycheck because the truck was shut down or ran only enough to make truck payments because we had to go back to a shipper to take off weight because it was over GVW and it took them an additional four hours.

No matter where you work, there will always be politics. The only way to avoid that is to work for a mom and pop or work for yourself.

Driving alone can make you think a lot. Thinking a lot can make you depressed.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
nomad girl's Comment
member avatar

In this industry, you need a lot of patience. You have to be self motivated and you have to be committed in keeping a positive attitude when things aren't going the way they should be. You are pretty much out on your own.

This is the toughest job I've ever trained for - mainly because my mentor was so hard on me and I still get a little nervous driving because it's a lot of responsibilities for one person to handle.

Still, I remind myself that if I quit, I have to go back to a boring job that I wouldn't enjoy. It's fun being on the road and seeing the country.

D G.'s Comment
member avatar

I have decided to take the first step to enroll in school...I have looked at a few here in Georgia area due to me currently having a job.I have had my own authority going on for years now and feel as though I am not complete without having my CDL as well.I know the paperwork side I have negotiated freight and contracts . I have two guys running under their trucks under the authority until I can get in gear. I work nights...nothing stressful which would allow me to basically study most of the time. I have a random drug test program in place an licensed business but just don't have the driving skills.I been reading the post but at almost 50 wondering if it would be beneficial to me to start now...any suggestions ?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Heidi's Comment
member avatar

OMG forgive me if this shows up elsewhere. I had my reply all typed out and bumped something and it disappeared. I hate computers.

Anyway, I just finished an 8 week course here at my local community college on the 14th. I was very, very fortunate to have received grants for everything! So I highly recommend any of you look into that. I wasn't willing to go back into debt at this age (turned 40 on the 20th) but I desperately wanted to change careers. I took and passed my road test on the 17th. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had it all played out in my mind. I encourage all of you to move forward with this if you truly think you'll enjoy it. Best wishes ladies!!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Mindy L.'s Comment
member avatar

OMG forgive me if this shows up elsewhere. I had my reply all typed out and bumped something and it disappeared. I hate computers.

Anyway, I just finished an 8 week course here at my local community college on the 14th. I was very, very fortunate to have received grants for everything! So I highly recommend any of you look into that. I wasn't willing to go back into debt at this age (turned 40 on the 20th) but I desperately wanted to change careers. I took and passed my road test on the 17th. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had it all played out in my mind. I encourage all of you to move forward with this if you truly think you'll enjoy it. Best wishes ladies!!

Hi All, I just joined this group and have so enjoyed reading both the questions and the comments back. Lot's of great info and insight. I am 52 years old, and I along with my 22 year old daughter will be starting classes in January. We are looking at team driving once we complete classes and also find the right company. I have so, so many questions, but I will only ask a couple of them here. :-) 1. Where did you find the info on the grants? Would you be willing/able to share? 2. What are some of the better companies to work for? I have been reading some of the comments on other forums, and I am sad at the number of drivers that talk about the low pay; having to fight for everything/anything. It seems as though most companies take better care of the office staff than they do their drivers. Is this really the case, or, is it like so many other things in life, that people will shout loudly about the bad things, but not share the good things nearly as often or as loudly? I would love to hear from women that are driving who can speak about what they like about this job, (career), and be honest about the things that aren't so nice, along with what they do to make things work out for them.

Thanks in advance for any and all information, opinions and input. Mindy

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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