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Future of Transportation

Lisa Kelly Gives Advice to New Truck Drivers

In a conversation with Lisa Kelly of “Ice Road Truckers,” she talks about the best advice she’s been given, her start in trucking, and her late driving partner Darrell Ward.

How did you first start a career in the professional truck driving industry?

My career kinda found its way to me. I started delivering pizza and found out I love not working in the same building but rather getting out and driving around.

My parents are also in the medical field so from dinnertime conversations I decided quickly what I didn’t want to do. Once I decided on driving trucks I set out to find jobs that provided a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The first CDL started in the form of driving a school bus. Then I just applied at truck driving companies only until someone finally hired me. They taught me to drive and gave me years of experience.

What advice would you give to women who are entering this line of work?

I would give all drivers, male or female, to keep learning and ask questions. Don’t be a know-it-all and act like you don’t need help. People who are good drivers never stop learning.

Do you have any advice, tips or best practices, etc. for staying healthy on the road?

Pack healthy lunches and eat those only. Stop to do tire checks every few hours and do sit ups and whatever. It helps keep you awake as well. And don’t skimp on the water. But I know that one is easier said than done especially in cities. I have the advantage when I’m in the middle of nowhere.

What is the best price of advice you received that has helped you succeed as a professional truck driver?

Well, never stop learning. And you can learn something from everyone. I was also told a real good truck driver only meets incoming trucks where he/she wants to meet them. That has taught me how to control situations around me. The last advice I’ve gotten that has really helped my mentality is, “It’s always the truck drivers fault.” Sounds negative but really helps you plan on how to anticipate other drivers’ moves.

If you could choose one famous person to be your driving partner, who would you choose and why?

Well, I think I would pick my friend Darrell Ward. He [was] an excellent driver. And if he was with me then he wouldn’t be gone anymore. There is so much I could still learn from him and he really knew how to make me feel important and not dumb. And I really miss him.

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