Is ‘The Princess and the Peterbilt’ the wrong perception?

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Interesting article online the other day, via CNBC. I think it caught my attention because there was a picture of a mutilated elf on a shelf attached to it, but when I actually read it, I felt like there had been some fairly broad statements made about the safety factor and general ability of the fairer sex.

(That was absolutely not an intentional pun, and I just realized the implications of using the word “broad” in a sentence about female drivers. Because I have a habit of being snarky, I’d like to clarify here and say that I meant “broad” in the sense that they are far-reaching and that I would never, in any way, refer to a fellow female as a “broad,” unless I’m highly intoxicated or writing a fictional dialogue.)

Anyway, I felt like the article made a big ol’ deal about something that’s really not that big a deal anymore. I don’t think people gawk at female drivers any more than they gawk at male drivers who insist on wearing shiny track suits three sizes too small — it all depends on how you present yourself, male or female.

“If you haven’t see a dude wearing one of these in Spokane, you’ve never been there.”“If you haven’t see a dude wearing one of these in Spokane, you’ve never been there.”

That being said, I am not a driver. I merely watch them and comment on their lives. I can’t qualify to say if the women in the field feel singled out. So I went to our Facebook page, where once again I got extremely thoughtful and useful comments. I’m going to have to brag on the community we’ve gathered over there, again. They’re really good about offering helpful information, don’t waste time bashing one another, and seem to be a really awesome group of people.

First, a few responses from the ladies actually doing the job:

Nicole was pretty straightforward with her comment of “This idea that trucks have to be ‘female-friendly’ is b.s. A truck is a truck. The more you cater to idiots, the more you’re going to attract swh instead of professionals.”

Jennifer says, “Honestly … I’m a little offended by this article. It seems they are just trying to soften the serious matter of being a professional driver. Idk it just seemed to rub me the wrong way….”

Janean responded to the article with “I think with only 6% of drivers being female, that the data on ‘safer driving’ may be skewed some. I know I enjoy trucking and am definitely in the minority as a flatbedder. Most believe I am not as strong as a man and can’t secure my load like they can. I do make it work, I just have to be inventive and modify the techniques to fit my physique and quirks. And yes, I get double-takes all the time. ‘Oh holy cow! That’s an old lady driving that big truck!’  :)  I actually kinda like it and smile and wave when they stand there with their mouths hanging open.”

Maura had this to say, “I’ve never encountered another driver shocked that I’m a driver, male or female… they make more out of this than they should.”

The men who responded were surprisingly agreeable about the information.

George S. replied with, “Actually women have proven themselves as welders, mechanics for decades. Women tend to have better fine motor control skills and pay attention to detail. Women have already proven that they can drive trucks. There were lady drivers in the late eighties and early nineties while I was working fuel desk. Any job is only as difficult as you choose to make it!”

Larry says, “It’s not gender, it’s temperament and attitude.”

Kenny gives his team driver wife props with this: “My wife has been driving for a lil over 4 years and she handles our truck better [than] half of the drivers out here, I trust her with my life driving, nothing wrong with a woman driving.”

And Walter, who has a bit of experience with 32 years under his belt, summarizes with this: “In 32 years of riding around the country, I noticed most women were a lot more interested in getting the job done and safer. They listened to older drivers better and understood their suggestions better.”

All in all, I think most professional drivers don’t really care what your gender is, as long as you’re out here doing the job right. Kudos to any professional, be they male or female, for representing the industry in a positive way.

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