Lessons from the Road: Conversations with Women in the Trucking Industry

It’s National Women’s Month! In honor of women everywhere, today’s post explores some of the vital roles women play in our frontline workforce, keeping world economies moving by fulfilling duties in logistics, warehousing, trucking and dispatch. 

WorkHound’s own Head of Marketing Katie Oliver recently took a trip out on the road with a professional flatbed driver named Jennifer from one of WorkHound’s customers, who drives her truck on a dedicated route up and down the east coast.

At WorkHound, we read comments from truck drivers day in and out, but any time we can get first-hand experience to better understand the industry—and the joys and pains that come with it—we jump at the chance.

We connected with Katie after her ride-along to hear more about her experience and what she learned from it. 

When she first met Jennifer, Katie was immediately impressed by the driver’s collected attitude. She was confident and cool, and clearly in charge of her rig: a semi-truck with a 48-foot flatbed carrying about 22,000 lbs. of construction materials. And Katie wasn’t the only one impressed. At each delivery, workers at the job sites they visited were visibly awe-struck to see two women pulling up with their materials. 

“I absolutely loved looking at the astounded faces,” Katie remembered. But after the initial shock wave passed, they got to work, making the scheduled deliveries and unloading the goods before heading to the next stop. Jennifer and Katie made six deliveries in all that day, hitting cities in Florida and Georgia.

Lessons from the Road

While she had an academic understanding of how the trucking industry works thanks to trend reports and WorkHound’s own data, Katie’s experience on the road with Jennifer gave it all context. It opened up her eyes to the integral role that truck drivers play in the country’s economy, and showed her valuable lessons from a whole new perspective.

1. It Starts with Respect

Respect is a central theme for truck drivers. First, there is respect for their equipment. “If your truck is down, you’re down.” Next, it’s about respecting yourself. Katie saw this firsthand with Jennifer, who takes great pride in the work she does, which in turn, commands respect from others. Finally, there is respect for the road. Truck drivers live on the road and deserve more respect from other drivers.

2. Everything is Interrelated and Dependent

Mileage is obviously a primary part of the job, but trucking is not just about driving from point A to point B. It involves various components, like finding freight to move and haul, planning the route, loading the truck, delivering to the customer, and more. Each component and part of the job impacts other parts of the job and ultimately shapes the big picture. For example, if a loader doesn’t consider exactly how the driver will be delivering the goods, unloading may become unnecessarily difficult. It can also contribute to weight and balance problems, which can cause delays and safety issues. Understanding these dynamics is a crucial part of understanding how truckers live and work. 

3. The Road is Their Office

Truck drivers spend most of their time on the road hauling goods from one destination to another. This means their everyday work day is filled with constant interruptions from other vehicles cutting into their path or causing risks to themselves or others around them. That’s a pretty intense way to work! How would you feel if someone cut off your steady flow of thinking while you’re in your office?

4. We All Have Blind Spots

Literally and figuratively, blind spots exist. We all have them. And that’s why we need tools that help us with visibility, whether that’s a mirror or an extra set of eyes on the road. This is one of the many benefits of the WorkHound platform — illuminating issues for employers before they become problematic, thereby showing you problems you might have otherwise been blind to. Every piece of feedback is an opportunity to improve. 

5. Show Gratitude

Truck drivers are often underappreciated — despite playing an absolutely essential role. They are responsible for keeping our daily lives running smoothly by transporting medicines, food, supplies and raw materials to stores and sites across state borders every day. They rarely receive praise when things go right, blending into the background hum of modern life. But they sure hear about it when things go wrong. Showing gratitude towards these unsung heroes can make all the difference for people who deserve all our praise and then some. 

At WorkHound, we’re dedicated to giving frontline workers a voice, helping companies get a true understanding of the worker experience as told by the workers themselves. For more information about how WorkHound is helping companies in trucking, logistics, warehousing and more, get in touch today to schedule a demo

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