Logistics Blog | Total Distribution, Inc. in Jacksonville, FL
Real Female Truck Drivers Women in Trucking

When an 18-wheeler deftly backs up to your loading dock, you might think that’s nothing out of the ordinary. However, you might have a moment of surprise when you see a 5’3” grandmother step down from the cab with a 4-foot steel pipe in her hand.

Andrea Prohl, an Owner Operator at Grimes Trucking Company, has been driving big rigs for 17 years. Like many people in the trucking industry, she has family ties to driving. Her sister has been an owner operator since the early 1980s. Prohl grew interested in trucking when, single with grown children, she met a trucker and became his once-a-week trip companion. He taught her about the business and continued as her trainer after she finished driving school in 1999. For her first three years, Andrea was an Over the Road (OTR) trucker, driving long hauls.

Andrea Prohl: A Real Female Truck Driver

For Prohl, being a female truck driver new to life on the road was not without its challenges. Her first solo trip to Elizabeth, New Jersey was more of an adventure than she hoped it would be. She got lost and ended up in a restricted area of New York City, with five violations for her trouble. Prohl wishes her transition as a woman into trucking had been easier, but that experience taught her a valuable lesson. She now plans every trip carefully and integrates technology into her navigation process whenever possible. She even uses overhead views in Google maps to plan how she will get in and out of her destination. Though she adapted well to life on the road, after three years Prohl left the long haul behind to help care for an elderly family member. As an owner operator for Grimes Trucking Company, Prohl enjoys the regional routes and now hauls only in Florida and Georgia. Sharing a truck with her husband, Prohl drives the truck Monday through Thursday while her husband drives the rest of the week.

Day in the Life of a Female Owner Operator

What’s a typical day like for a female owner operator? On a usual day, Prohl loads up early in the morning and drives to places like Tampa and Orlando, or takes a load of beer to Georgia. Then she heads back to homeschool her granddaughter. When asked about the challenges of being a female in a male-dominated industry, Prohl says she’s had no problems. “It’s simple,” she says, “I don’t hang out at truck stops.” She says some guys laugh about women in the business, but they are the same ones who laugh at new truckers who are still learning how to back up and negotiate corners. She doesn’t pay attention to them. Andrea has some pointed advice for women who want to get into trucking. “Be careful,” she says. “There are some crazy guys out there.” To save money, Prohl also stressed the importance of learning how to handle simple repairs on your truck yourself. This lady trucker carries a full toolbox and supplies in her truck at all times. If a hydraulic line breaks, she can fix it on the spot.

Can Women be Truck Drivers?

Can women be truck drivers? Though Prohl acknowledges that trucking has its challenges, after talking with her you get the impression that if she had it to do all over again, she would still jump right in. Life on the road suits the lady well. About the steel pipe: Andrea carries it to unjam troublesome trailer doors. It’s a handy tool for short people.

Women in TruckingGrimes Trucking Company supports its female owner operators and truck drivers and is a proud member of the Women in Trucking organization.

Editor's Note: Of the more than three million truckers in the United States, more than 200,000 are women. It is expected that women will make up about 10 percent of the freight hauler’s population by the year’s end. Women accounted for 5.8 percent of the U.S. truck drivers in 2014. The number of female truck drivers has steadily increased over the years and today there are more women truck drivers than ever before.

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