Driver Ambassador: August Post-Trip Inspection

by Kellylynn McLaughlin, on Sep 2, 2020 11:11:32 AM

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As those in the trucking industry know, the Post-Trip Inspection is a time to check and see if anything has changed with your equipment since you began your trip and if there are any items that need to be addressed before continuing on down the road. It’s a time to assess, reflect and plan what’s next. 

REFLECT

 

I consider my teaching role to be “a finisher” for the new Schneider drivers as I help them learn what it takes to be safe, efficient and successful on the road. This month I had two male new hire trainees working with me during two separate weeks - both of which were incredibly hard working, safe, pleasant and respectful gentlemen and we had a great week! 

We had a couple of surprising and a little bit funny encounters while we were out running loads which left us shaking our heads and thinking “We still have a way to go in making women in trucking the norm while we work side-by-side with men.”  

ASSESS

The first situation was at a customer. The representative at our customer refused to acknowledge or talk to me and my student picked up on it right away. The rep would only address my student even though the student told him I was the trainer and would defer to me. I viewed the situation as a personal challenge to see if I could break through his truck driver stereotype and help him be comfortable interacting with me. When it was time to retrieve our paperwork and get out of there, I went to him and reached out my hand for the paperwork. He held the paperwork up to his chest, scooted around me, walked around the truck to hand the paperwork to my male trainee!  I had to laugh and give to him - he really wasn’t going to accept me as a truck driver and I had to accept defeat that day! The situation sparked great open dialogue between my trainee and me about working with challenging customers.


A week later while stuck in a merging traffic jam with my second trainee at the wheel[1], I noticed the truck driver in the lane to our right was gesturing at us. I rolled down my window and asked him if he wanted in and he just motioned for me to lean back so he could lean forward and talk to my trainee. I was annoyed that he wanted to talk past me in traffic and was gesturing for me to move out of the way. My response was to let him know I’d be happy to ask my trainee to let him. It really was quite funny and we had a good laugh! Once again this situation sparked great conversations about how to break through stereotypes using a positive and non-confrontational attitude. I am a firm believer in killing with kindness.

When I started working in this industry the percentage of drivers that were female was around 3%. According to FreightWaves WIT Index the percentage of professional drivers that are female is now at 10.2%. That is a promising and impressive increase in a short period of time. I see more and more female drivers on the road every day now and it just makes me smile.  I always send them a friendly wave if I can catch their eye. Overall I am less frequently confronted with sexism while performing my duties these days and can see a positive changes in the industry for women.

[1] I wish folks would learn to merge like zipper so traffic wouldn’t get so bunged up!

PLAN

 

My plan?! Well ladies (and gentlemen) we still have work to do! I wish it was just a matter of getting the word out that this industry is a viable career option for women but not surprisingly more needs to happen.  

I plan to prove that ladies belong in the trucking world as professional drivers! I will continue to work hard to be the best professional driver and advocate for females in the industry. I intend to share data driven information about our safety trends and opportunities to encourage women to join the industry as I work to change the public’s perception of who professional drivers are.   

There is power in numbers and together we need to continue to build new roads for women in the transportation industry.  We can do that together by:

  • supporting each other
  • celebrating our successes
  • collaborating with like minded companies
  • sharing our stories with audiences outside of the trucking industry
  • engaging the younger generation
  • exuding professionalism
  • putting safety first
  • getting involved with trade organizations
  • participating in the processes in which decisions are made that affect drivers
  • standing up for ourselves
  • striving for leadership positions

I want to stress that most days and encounters I have while working are business as usual and I love my job and my ambassador role! I have learned so much about myself and this country by working in the transportation industry. These two experiences I am relating are simply reminders that we can’t get complacent. I want to encourage each man and woman in our industry to put their best professional self forward, work diligently to break down the negative stereotypes that persist and bring HERO status back to being a professional driver!

Topics:Professional DevelopmentDriver AmbassadorDriver Perspective

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About Women In Trucking

The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.

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