Female Truck Driver Talks Safety to Change the Negative Image of Truckers
by Maya Sieber
(Chester NY, USA)
Trucker and Model Maya Sieber
Here’s my contribution to changing the trucker’s negative image.
I am a 26 year old female truck driver. Two years ago I made my dream of driving an 18 wheeler a reality. I can remember as early as the age of 5 that one day I will be sitting behind that wheel rolling down the highway.
Any occupation you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve worked as a sales associate in a supermarket, I was a mechanic, car saleswoman, interior decorator, cashier, chef’s assistant, bartender, swimsuit model and receptionist at a law firm.
I stand 5’4” at 110 lbs and every day I face the dangers and challenges out on the road because of non-educated drivers on sharing the road with a tractor trailer.
Some people are naive, some people don't care, and some simply just don't know. Some think the bigger the truck the faster it stops. Yep, someone actually thought that.
My perception of sharing the highway is a total lack of respect and courtesy of cars (4 wheelers) to trucks. Simply because most just don’t know about trucking, what we do, who we are and why we’re here. Unfortunately only the bad stereo-typical image of truck drivers are exposed.... Most view us as dirty, raunchy, uneducated and overweight. Well doesn't everything in America have a good image and a not so great image? Most people don't even know what a truck really is and what the purpose of trucks are in the first place. Most just think of trucks as a big slow machine in their way slowing them down to get where they have to get.
Here’s the reality.
We keep America moving. The clothes you’re wearing, the food you buy in the supermarket, the prescriptions you need for health, the mail you receive from the postman, that nice big plasma TV in your living room, if you have it, a Trucker brought it. Boats bring goods to trains and from the trains the goods are put on a truck and the truck brings the goods to the stores.
Ever honk your horn impatiently and try to squeeze by a truck backing off the road into a supermarket dock? Good god, we’re delivering what you need and what you buy! Did you ever stop and ask yourself, how did these goods get on these store shelves? Why the total disrespect?
If I walked up and handed you the keys and asked you to get the job done better and faster than me, you'd change your attitude pretty fast. It is not easy. We are trying to make a living, and frankly without trucks and its drivers, America would stop. When you look at that 80 foot long 80,000 pound 18 wheeler next to you that takes the size of two football fields to stop, think about the male or female behind the wheel of that truck and the complete disaster and lives you will kill by cutting two feet in front of that truck and then hitting your brakes.
People forget, there’s a PERSON driving that truck delivering what YOU NEED to survive. We are not put here solely to slow you down or aggravate you.
Truck drivers are said to have a bad attitude. Well maybe because we are misunderstood. We deal with so much stupidity and lack of respect on the road daily it’s hideous. Understand that our job is not easy and it takes a lot of skill and courage to drive and maneuver a tractor trailer. It takes a very long time for us to stop, when we turn we have to turn wide due to trailer “off tracking”, in rain or snow we cannot hit the brakes hard due to the brakes locking up and causing our trailer to “jack knife” and the list goes on…
A few simple things you can do to make our experience of sharing the highway a better and safer one. Please, use your signal so we can prepare for your move. As I stated above, it takes the size of two football fields to stop and we have what we call “brake lag”. By the time we hit the brake and the air travels to the brake chambers to actuate the s cams which then finally push the brake pads on the drums, there’s a few seconds of delay.
With that being said, please give us plenty of room before moving in front of us and use your signal so we can begin to slow down before you make the lane change. This is saving your life, our life, and many other people’s lives around us on the highway if you were to cause a pile up for a stupid move.
Truck drivers are just like anyone else and then some. They work to support their family, they are professionals, they have tons of skill and they’re full of wisdom. Truck drivers spend a lot of time alone, especially if they’re an over the road driver. It’s sad that the only bit of socialism they get is disrespect and lack of courtesy from non CDL drivers. That little bit of respect from a car, we will go above and beyond to help you.
If we’re in traffic and instead of squeezing in front of us just stick your arm out and politely show that you’d like to get in front. Believe me, show us a little respect and recognition and you’ll make both our day.
I know it makes mine!
As a local truck driver, I meet dozens of people on a daily basis and because of me being a non typical truck driver people ask me questions about why I drive a truck. Every day I get the question “isn’t driving that big rig hard?” “No, not anymore” I reply. A challenge? Absolutely! But that’s why I do it.
Even after 2 years of driving more than I walk, talk and sleep I am still learning something new out on the road. This is my calling, my dream, and something I just can’t live without. It’s freedom, it’s liberating and it’s what keeps America moving.
Try what I mentioned, it will make you feel good!