Safety is one of the most important aspects of being a professional driver. As a trucker, you probably hear a lot about how to safely secure a load, safely work with hazardous material, and how to drive safely. But something that isn’t talked about as much is personal safety, especially for female truckers.
All truckers have to pay attention to their personal safety. All truckers often find themselves alone, in the dark, with no one around. For women in the trucking industry, this is a particular concern.
According to Statistica, female truck drivers make 6.6% of the total of 3.5 million truckers. While this number is small, women are slowly but surely pushing their way into the trucking industry. In 2018, there were 2% more women in trucking than in 2010.
Women are finding their place in the trucking industry, and the industry is making room for them. Unfortunately, safety is still a major concern. In a survey conducted by Sawgrass Logistics, female truckers rated a 4.4 out of 10 on how safe they felt at their job.
A 4.4 out of 10 for feeling safe isn’t OK, and it’s time for that to change. If you are a woman trucker and are looking for more safety tips or are part of the trucking community and concerned about this issue, read on.
Safety Tips for Female Truckers
While nighttime and sleeping arrangements are typically the riskiest considerations for female truckers, it’s important to consider your safety and well being at all times.
Here are some tips you can use at night or during the day to make sure you’re looking out for your own safety and comfort.
1. If you can, invest in a self-defense class. It’s usually quite easy to find a local self-defense class, and a course will provide you with great tips and techniques to defend yourself if you have to. Taking a self-defense class can also give you a great confidence boost and help you feel more secure.
2. Plan your route before your trip. Plan out where you will stop, park, and sleep.
3. Check-in with a friend or family member. If you can, share your route plan with a friend or family member and update them each night. You can share your location and check-in with them periodically, so you know someone is looking out for you.
4. When walking to your truck at night, walk with your keys in your hand. This allows you to get into your vehicle as quickly as possible, and you can use your keys as personal protection if needed.
5. If someone approaches you or you feel unsafe, make as much noise as possible. Draw attention to yourself and the person bothering you.
6. Consider carrying a whistle with you. If someone surprises you, or you encounter a situation where you need to call for help, a loud whistle is very useful.
7. Walk with confidence. It may sound silly, but if you look confident and assured, people are less likely to bother you than if you project nervousness.
8. Stay alert. Never have headphones on, spend too much time absorbed in your phone when walking to your truck, especially at night. Be aware of your surroundings.
9. Trust your intuition. If someone tries to talk to you and you don’t feel comfortable, it’s OK to walk away without answering. If a rest stop feels dangerous to you, go to the next one. It’s important to trust your intuition so that you can stay safe and feel comfortable.
Securing Your Truck Overnight
Sleeping in your truck can be nerve-wracking, particularly as a woman trucker. Often, you have to park overnight in an isolated spot with few or no people around. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, and it can be unsafe.
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to safely sleep in your truck.
10. Always lock your doors and roll up your windows. While it can be tempting to leave a window open when the weather is nice, this can make you more vulnerable to unwanted attention and potential break-ins.
11. After you lock your doors, use something to secure them. This can be a seatbelt, a ratchet strap, a bungee cord, or another similar device.
12. Always park in an open, well-lit area. If you are parking at a rest stop, park as close to the building as possible. If you can park in a well-lit area, do so.
13. When you get out of your truck, make sure the windows are unobstructed. This way, you can look in before you reenter. This ensures no one can get into your vehicle and hide while you’re away.
14. When you are inside your truck, have something to cover all the windows. Don’t have any open windows where someone may be able to look in and see you sleeping.
15. Never leave your truck at night, even briefly, if possible.
16. Invest in a portable toilet or another device, so you don’t need to leave your truck to use the washroom.
17. Keep your phone charged and your phone charger handy so you don’t run out of battery.
If the Worst Happens
Even with all these safety tips, female truckers are still at risk for break-ins and other unwanted attention. Although it’s unpleasant to think about, it’s essential to be prepared if the worst happens.
18. Sleep within reach of your phone. You can add 911 to your speed dial. This is the fastest way to call 911 in case of an emergency.
19. If you see someone approaching your truck or someone knocks on your door at night, do not open the door or roll down the windows. Call 911 immediately.
20. If you are parked near a rest stop, diner, or other open business at night, have their contact information on hand. This way, you can alert someone close by if you need help.
21. Your air horn is an excellent tool in case of emergency. If someone breaks into your truck, blow your air horn if possible. You can run a rope, fishing line, or other cord from your air horn lanyard to your sleeping area. This way, you can blow the air horn from your sleeping area in case of an emergency.
22. Invest in some personal protection. Before you do this, check state laws to make sure your personal protection is legal. In some states, pepper spray and mace are legal; in other states, they aren’t.
Luckily, there are products that work like mace. You can use hair spray, perfume, Windex, or even aerosol deodorant. Have one of these handy if you are walking at night and one readily available in your truck. It’s a good idea to have these products on you or within reach, especially at night.
23. If you must leave your truck at night and someone tries to talk to you, do not engage. If they persist, make as much noise as possible. Blow your whistle, yell, dial 911.
24. Don’t second guess yourself. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Even if you’ll look a little silly yelling in a parking lot, your safety is the priority.
Seek Support and Safety in Your Community
Finding a network of female truckers is a great way to share safety tips, swap experiences, and check in on each other. It’s also a great tool to fall back on when you need a reminder that other people share your experiences as a woman in the trucking industry.
26. Many women truckers are starting to share their adventures and experiences on Youtube. This can be an excellent resource for learning new tricks, as well as a support when you’re feeling stressed or alone.
27. Reach out to other truckers you meet. This can feel intimidating, especially if you are new to the trucking industry. But connecting with other truckers you meet, especially women, can be a great way to create a community of female drivers who look out for each other on the road. That being said, be careful of who you reach out to. Don’t invite people back to your truck, and don’t tell strangers where you parked or where you’re going. Be safe and trust your intuition.
Stay Safe on the Road
Being a female working in the trucking industry can be challenging, especially when it comes to your safety. But if you stay alert and aware and keep these tips in mind, you can look out for your well-being.
Share these tips with other female truckers and continue to update your arsenal of information and tools. Knowing the dangers of the job and how to prevent them from happening are the biggest steps to keeping yourself safe.
After your personal safety, you want to make sure your truck is safe, secure, and well-maintained. Keeping your truck well-serviced means avoiding unexpected breakdowns and getting stuck on the side of the highway by yourself.
At Kelly’s Truck, we offer a variety of services, from routine maintenance to small and large scale repairs. With our roadside assistance, you can depend on Kelly’s Truck even if you have a breakdown on the road.
Contact us today, get a quote online, or stop into our San Leandro location. Stay safe out there.