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Truck drivers are a sub-culture to normal society. We have our own language, we do not work nor live to the same schedules as folks who stay at home, and we live in the public eye. One of the most difficult things a new driver faces is adapting to the lifestyle of trucking.

Individuals entering trucking have culture shock, as they may not be able to shower every day, and do not have the luxuries of being able to access facilities at home or at times anywhere, every time they are needed. The new driver hears other truckers speaking and do not know what a ‘binder’ is or some other word or term that they have never heard before. Or that it is hard to live in an eight by eight box 24/7. Probably the hardest to deal with is the loneliness as they adjust to being away from friends and loved ones, some for the first time in their life.

Trying to adapt to the lifestyle of trucking can lead to a new driver becoming more isolated than need be and to become depressed. As we older drivers know, those things can make just doing the job much harder than it need be. Stressful as it is putting training to practical use for the new driver, anything that adds to the stress is not safe nor productive.

All of the above costs the trucking industry drivers when some do not adapt quickly enough, or do not find help to do so, and they leave the industry. As older, more experienced drivers, it is up to us to ease the new driver into the lifestyle of trucking. We can do that by participating in social media groups such as the Women In Trucking Association’s Facebook group and providing information, support, and friendship for the newer drivers. We can also take a little time to speak to a newer driver or at least smile so they feel they can approach us if they need help or to ask a question.

To help themselves, new drivers need to be open to offers of help from others when they are having problems doing something, or not be afraid to ask for help. If they hear a word or term they do not know, they need to politely ask what it means; most drivers will not mind explaining. The new driver should maintain old friendships and develop new friends, or find a mentor in the industry that understands the lifestyle, who can guide them. Most importantly, new drivers needs to give themselves time to adapt and understand that at first, the job itself is overwhelming. It all will get better as time goes by.

Truck driving is not only a sub-culture; it is a community whether we admit to it or not. They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. In trucking, it takes a whole community to help make a good truck driver.

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Bonnie J Neal - Friday, October 07, 2016

Not all humans actually enjoy machines, tools, camping, travel all in one. Truckers are humans with all these points and then some. Being female is not an exclusion to those points. I came into truck driving as a child, being my daddy's first born and liking all those big tools worked in my favor. Being a daughter did not deter him from teaching me whatever I asked him to. Being female did preclude him from getting to teach me to drive a truck. We had good times learning to drive cars. It took years to finally get behind the big wheel, Daddy had passed on, but I still follow all the instructions I could remember from him. It has been over 40 years, still driving, still enjoying it. I do not enjoy the hastiness drivers(4wheelers and big rigs) push themselves into. You will get the load there ladies, take your precautions, think ahead of the front bumper, remember the trailer is just the back seat further out and it does not turn with you. Remember the load in that trailer is very important to the customer and eventually the persons waiting to use it. All those drivers around you in their little cars/pu's do not usually have a clue what they are supposed to know about safe maneuvering,and you are in their way!

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