So many women are climbing into big rigs and taking to the open road, it’s not even a novelty any more. They are very successful as drivers but with the influx of women over the open road, it introduces a challenge. We have to be our own body guards and create our own safe trucking environments. In short, we must be our own knight in shining armor.
Let me first say that while violence could occur most any place on earth, most of the time all truckers are in safe environments. That being said, we as lady drivers must take responsibility to ensure our safety.
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up during my years over the road. Drivers have different experiences out there. I can only speak for my own.
Safe or Unsafe?
Large Cities Have Higher Crime.
Therefore, truck stops in or very close to large cities place lady drivers more at risk than one even twenty miles outside that city.
The Middle of Nowhere Could Be Your Friend.
I have never had an issue spending the night at a rest area or mom and pop truck stop in the plains of Texas. Those up to no good usually won’t travel far. They congregate where all the people are.
Your Instincts Are Usually Right.
If you feel uncomfortable, listen to that. Don’t stay. Go somewhere else!
Tell Somebody You Feel Unsafe.
I cannot tell you how many times Big guy truckers have been overly protective of me, not because I was at risk but because I’m a gal. They want to protect us. If you feel vulnerable, tell them. They’ll keep an eye on you.
How to Be Safe Out There
Plan! Plan! Plan!
Did I mention plan? Trip planning when going into high risk areas is critical to your safety. Plan your trip so you stage outside the higher crime areas. If you deliver tomorrow morning in a big city, plan your trip so that you can get close but outside the perimeter. Starting your clock in the morning is much better than defending yourself against someone trying to break into your truck.
Your Phone: Don’t leave home without it!
Never leave your truck without your cell phone. Never! You also need to check it before you leave the safety of your truck to make sure you have coverage. If you don’t and it’s not necessary to get out of your truck, just stay put.
Use Your Seatbelts!
Seat belts aren’t just for driving. When you’re stopped for the night, loop your seat belts through your door handle on both sides and click them. Even if someone broke your windows, they can’t open the door.
Square Your Shoulders!
When you are out of the truck, suck it up buttercup and act like the tough lady Highway Diamond you are. Walk with a purpose. Look like you’re going to rip someone’s head off. Act like… well, a guy, not like a frail member of the opposite gender. Most would-be evil doers are lazy and are looking for easy prey. They are NOT looking to tangle with the Tasmanian Devil. They’ll pass you and go looking for a cream puff.
Being a lady trucker over the highways of our great nation is rewarding, inspiring and patriotic. And, for the most part, you can go your entire career without being subjected to violence. If you run your truck with safety and security foremost on your checklist and plan around high risk areas, you’ll be able to avoid putting yourself into a vulnerable situation and you’ll show the bad guys who’s boss. There’s a new sheriff in town: The safety conscious Highway Diamond!
-Written by: Prime Driver Reba Hoffman