I am a female truck driver, or at least I used to be. I am retired now. I drove a tractor trailer for 15 years….thirteen years, team driving with my husband and two years by myself.
I also teamed up with other men during one of those 2 yrs. My husband and I worked for a union company and our first year there, they separated us. I was on what they called an extra board and worked as needed. I was called to do whatever was available…. it could be line haul, roughly 300 miles out and back, or team driving, with whoever was up next.
I can truthfully say that I only had one out of about 10 different men that I could just not get along with. This being said, it still didn’t change the way I handled myself or my driving.
Yes, it did make it more difficult to relax and sometimes when I did get in the bunk, I would think alot about about what he had said or we had argued about.
You see, this driver didn’t like women drivers. He said it was disrespectful to his wife that he was forced to drive with me. He also said it was against his religion. I never understood where in the bible or any religion that it said a married man couldn’t be alone with another married woman. Crazy! We did argue about that, and the fact that he thought I wasn’t as accomplished as he was as a driver, which in fact, I had far more experience than he did.
Not only had I been driving big rigs longer, but had driven in all kinds of weather and terrain, in all the U.S. and Canada too. He had only been a local truck driver in Houston, TX, for only about 3 yrs, till he started driving team.
But since I was a woman, I was still inferior, in his opinion. He didn’t believe women should be in trucking. Unfortunately, I let him ‘get to me’. We drove together quite often. We did our jobs and rarely talked to one another, which is not a good thing.
But enough about him, I experienced nothing but praise from all the other men I drove with and we all got along just fine. My husband and I started driving together, as team drivers, after our sons grew up and were out of school. He had 30 years of truck driving experience by then and I had only driven school buses for 10 years.
Our first 6 months driving as a team, were terrible. We were not used to being together for such a long time and it took awhile to get used to it. We fought about how I should do my job, but the better I got at driving, our relationship started to improve . After he could finally relax and get some good sleep, all was well.
We drove together for 13 years and only retired now because of an accident he had at work. He fell from a loaded flatbed trailer head first onto the trailer floor.
I miss trucking sometimes when I see a big rig go by, but my husband says after 46 yrs of driving he doesn’t miss a thing!!!!!
He taught me some great tips about driving with a partner.
- How to close a door when you get out so you don’t wake up your co-driver
- How to shift nice and easy and take curves smoothly so as to not jerk the truck around.
- How to not have the CB on too loud
- Wearing headphones to listen to radio
- How to turn down the volume on the phone so the ringing doesn’t wake him up
- Also how to not talk so loud when on the phone or CB.
All these things make for a more rested co-driver and this makes everyone happier and safer. Team driving can be a good thing if drivers are considerate of each other. I would do it all over again with or without my husband.
But and that’s a big ‘if’…. it would have to be with another good, caring and considerate truck driver.
S.T.G. Comments: Mary. An excellent list of tips for truckers driving team! If drivers would learn to ‘work’ with one another when driving team, there days would be much easier!
Sounds you and your husband had an excellent driving career. I’m sorry it was ended so abruptly with your husband’s accident. That sounds like a pretty serious fall.
All the best to you.
by Mary Watts