At Werner Enterprises, safety is always at the forefront of our business. Nothing we do is worth getting hurt or hurting others. But what about safety off the road, like parking at a truck stop for the night or making a delivery at a distribution center? We recently talked with professional driver Debbie W., who has been with Werner for more than five years. We asked her what her experience has been like as a female driver and how she stays safe off the road. The key, she says, is knowing what’s going on around you.
Debbie has been on a few different accounts with Werner, and most recently, Werner’s Western Canada account. In her first ten months with the company, she drove through all lower 48 states. She can recall a time she was on the road for three months, managing to get stuck in seven blizzards. However, Montana is Debbie’s home state, and snow is nothing new. Her natural instincts, combined with Werner’s road measures and policy of “nothing we do is worth getting hurt or hurting others,” Debbie met these challenges like a champ.
When spending weeks in a truck, safety is constantly on your mind, on and off the road. As a woman on the road, Debbie says there are tips she’s picked up to make sure she stays safe.
“When I stop for the night at a truck stop, I always make sure I’m in a well-lit area, and I’m always aware of who and what is around me, even when I’m simply getting out of my truck,” said Debbie. “I always make sure my door is locked. You can generally tell the atmosphere of a truck stop right when you pull up. You learn to pick up on things like that.”
What about if you’re pulling a load and are traveling into a big city? “My transportation manager encourages me to stay on the outskirts if I’m early to drop off a load, just to make sure myself and the freight stay safe.”
Debbie credits “women’s intuition” when deciding if she’s in a safe space or needs to keep moving. “If something feels uncomfortable, or you don’t feel safe, get back in your truck or contact your transportation manager,” said Debbie. The relationship between a professional driver and their transportation manager is vitally important throughout the course of a driver’s career. The transportation manager is your resource for advice and direction while out on the road.
To keep our female drivers safe on the road, Werner offers eTrainers created to teach personal safety and how to defend oneself in a difficult situation. The Company Store also sells safety alarm key chains. In case of an emergency, you pull the pin to sound the safety alarm. The alarm can be heard from 175-225 feet away, depending on surrounding conditions. We also distribute cab securement devices to our terminals for drivers to protect against intruders trying to enter the truck. The device makes sure that both the driver-side and passenger doors can’t be opened from the outside.
Werner encourages drivers to take advantage of our excellent pet policy. Each of our professional drivers can have one dog in their truck, and size and weight do not matter. If you travel with your dog, it can make others think twice before trying to break into your truck. At terminals, there are dog-run areas to help accommodate these animals while on the road.
As our drivers keep America moving, it is important that they all feel safe. We encourage constant communication with their transportation manager and ensure they are ready when they hit the road for any situation.
Your safety is always most important. If you are ever feeling unsafe, when in doubt, call 911.