Please don’t laugh too hard…but as a 50 year old female, it must be asked…
How much physical strength is really required? I’m 5’3″…and a half. I’ve seen pictures of female truckers and my first thought is “I can do this.” But then I see job descriptions that say one must be able to pick up 100 pounds.
I’m hoping I won’t have to load/unload. I just want to drive.
The responses gave a practical view of the labor involved, including insight from female drivers that successfully deal with similar physical challenges. LavenderTrucker shares her experience:
Well, I am a woman… and I am no amazon… I am 5’3-5’4 and around 125 – 130lbs and in my mid 40’s… I am also pulling flatbed… so, the tarps are heavy, maybe around 80lbs, but usually I only have to move them on and off the fork lift, and pull them off my load.
For me I don’t think the work is so much about heavy lifting, but, just lot’s of different steps, Like in tossing the straps over the loads, then securing them.,. The winch bar isn’t necessarily that heavy… only it does seem to be heavier on the last strap than it was on the first.. LOL
For me, since I am pulling a flatbed, I also have to be comfortable and able to climb… on my truck, on top of my load.. so, it helps to be in shape. Usually again the fork lift guy will give you a lift to the top of your load… But, sometimes to, you are climbing up and down a couple of times and they have other things to do… It takes a little muscle and work to secure the tarp with the bungees and all… but again, it isn’t one big heavy lifting thing… it is a lot of tugging, pulling, streatching and hooking over and over…
Preparing for the tough work with weight lifting and strength training can be a crucial advantage, as proven by Texas Nana:
I’m 53, overweight (but I’m losing it by george!), have bad knees, and have always been a delicate little flower of Texas. Seriously, for 10 years I didn’t even put gas in my car…I am that pampered by my husband.
You can do and achieve what you desire enough. I wanted this job. I WANTED it BAD. So eventhough I had a severe leg and hip injury just before moving to AZ I began a work out program, bought a set of cheap weights and began lifting weights.
Last year Swift still had the work well program and we had to meet a higher requirement than just the DOT requirements.
I worked until I could meet the weight requirements of the work-well exam which was:
With a heart monitor on you had to lift 3 times from floor to waist 30lbs, 50lbs, 75 lbs. Then lift those weights 3 times waist to shoulder (placing on a shelf)
Then carry 85 lbs for 150 feet. Then push at least 100 lbs which is done with a gauge device against a block. Then you pull 100 lbs with the same device. Finally you step three times onto a 26″ platform (which they had a bit high so it was actually 30″)
I did it. I had problems with the platform but I did it with the encouragement of other students
Big Don gives a Freight Handling 101 overview on what to expect:
The reality of it is, there are very few truck driving jobs where you won’t be required to load/unload or at least help in doing so. Even companies that advertise, “We are 98 % no touch freight,” still has that 2 % to play with.
In this business, you really never know what you are going to run into, that you will have to handle. When you deal with trucks and freight, anything can, and likely will happen.
Now I’m not trying to discourage you here. Not at all. I just want you to be aware that you are not going to find a job that is “just driving.” You have to be able to slide your tandems, if needed, raise and lower the trailer jacks, and believe me, some of these can be REAL ugly. You also will at some time in your career, likely have to jack up a fully loaded trailer that you have “jumped the 5th wheel on.” A REAL PITA, not to mention embarrassing as the dickens! You will also likely have to throw chains in the winter time, at least sometimes.
However, as Truck Driver said, most of the time, you can find someone to help you out if you are in a real jam. Particularly if you really look like you do need the help.
Most big companies will give you their own DOT physical, and included in that will be a strength test as well as a test of your “staying power.” But if you are really concerned about this, go down to your nearest truck stop and just watch the drivers. You will see folks there, that will make you just know that you will be fine!