Mum is only female trucker in Bermuda
A mother who wanted to develop her skills is understood to have become Bermuda’s only female tractor-trailer driver.
Christy Taylor followed in the footsteps of her parents when she embarked on a career in heavy vehicles as a teenager and was taught how to operate a crane truck by the man she went on to marry.
The 33-year-old wanted to learn more and went for her tractor-trailer licence, which was thought to make her only the third woman on the island ever to have held one.
Ms Taylor said: “I like to keep learning new things because, eventually, I get bored.
“About ten years ago my friend started to teach me how to drive a tractor-trailer but there was never any opening for me to pursue it.”
However, the opportunity came up recently during her employment at Joe Vieira Trucking.
Ms Taylor explained: “You need to be working for a company to get a heavy truck or a tractor-trailer licence.
“We had talked to my foreman, he needed a tractor-trailer driver and was willing to teach me.”
She added: “I’m probably the third woman ever to hold a tractor-trailer licence on the island, from my understanding.
“Currently, I’m definitely the only tractor-trailer driver that is a female.”
Ms Taylor, mother to one-year-old Charlie, was no stranger to women working large vehicles.
She recalled: “My mum used to drive a heavy truck and my dad is a heavy equipment operator so I learnt all of that from young.
“When I went 18, I actually couldn’t drive a car, it kept cutting out. One day my mum’s truck was available and we used that to practise. The instructor said, ‘from now on she’s driving the truck, because she drives it 100 times better than the car’.”
Ms Taylor, from Smith’s, said her mother always supported her decision to go into heavy vehicle operations but her father was more hesitant.
She recalled: “Knowing the way guys talk on job sites, how rowdy they can get, I think my dad was a little worried for me. But I have the mouth of a sailor and I will tell you where to go and how to get there, real fast.”
Ms Taylor, whose husband Peter-Paul works for D & J Excavation and is a colour sergeant in the Royal Bermuda Regiment, said she was among “very few” women in the industry.
She added: “Most of the female heavy truck drivers that I know only drive trucks, they don’t operate heavy equipment as well.
“I like being outside and it’s something I’m naturally good at, so I enjoy it.
“It’s hard being one of very few females in an industry because sometimes you do get those people that say you can’t do this job because you’re female.
“They will tell you that you can’t get in their driveway because you’re female. You nod your head and prove them wrong.
“There are a lot of older guys that feel that women are built differently and that there’s no way they could possibly do the same job.”
Yet driving tractor trailers has been a whole new learning experience.
Ms Taylor said: “I really like it. The big difference is when you back up a car or a truck and turn the steering wheel to send the car or truck left, the trailer actually goes right, so that’s the hard part.
“I can back up, but it’s something that takes time to learn how to do it well.
“A lot of the guys make it look really easy but they have been doing it for so long.”