A female trucker’s view from behind the wheel
It’s a bit of a rarity to find trucking news on the frilly pages of a women’s magazine. But there is Lindsay Slazakowski’s experience as a young woman truck driver right smack in the national pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.
Ms. Slazakowski unveils 13 things that she wishes she had known before signing on as a long-hauler. Among them, she points out that driving trucks seems more a lifestyle choice than a regular job. “This is not the kind of job where you’ll be home for dinner every night,” she says in the article. “You stay out, driving shipments for weeks at a time, then get a couple days off. It’s impossible to have a real life because you’re always on the road….It’s a very harsh lifestyle.”
Slazakowski drove the first 10 months on her new job before convincing her boyfriend to get his commercial driver’s license and join her in the truck. That enabled the pair to team truck drive. “This is pretty common,” she notes. “Especially for women truck drivers, who feel more comfortable having someone with them.” Slazakowski drove while her boyfriend slept, and vice versa, allowing them to motor non-stop to their drop-off destinations, saving big chunks of time and, consequently, earning more money.
According to the American Trucking Associations, women constitute only 5.8 percent of the truck driving industry, but that was enough to warrant the predictable cat-calls and sometimes flagrant sexism thrown her way out on the highways. “It’s awful and it’s gross,” says Slazakowski, “but it’s too common to ignore.”
Slazakowski also cites the ever-present danger of driving a big rig on the road. “Each year, trucks account for thousands of fatalities….Even if you’re a perfect driver, it’s challenging to operate a vehicle this big.” She also advocates audiobooks to help pass the time. “Radio is the no. 1 thing truck drivers listen to, but it’s tricky, since you’re constantly passing through new airwaves and can’t listen to the same radio station for very long.”
Though pitfalls dominate most of her concerns, there is one area of trucking, she says, that can’t be beat: “The views from the driver’s seat beat any office window.”
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