En­cour­age­ment for Swedish fe­male driv­ers

Swedish truck driver An­dreá Ped­er­sen was handed the keys to a Sca­nia de­spite lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence. Now she’s driv­ing an R560 across three coun­tries.

Owner Driver - - Front Page - Greg Bush

An­dreá Ped­er­sen is not only a truck driver for Sca­nia Trans­port Lab­o­ra­tory (STL), she is also as­sis­tant traf­fic man­ager.

On the day Owner//Driver called into STL in Södertälje, Swe­den, An­dreá was filling in for the traf­fic man­ager who had been called away for a meet­ing.

De­spite her fa­ther be­ing a for­mer truck driver, An­dreá ini­tially had lit­tle de­sire to take up the pro­fes­sion. How­ever, her road to get­ting be­hind the wheel of a Sca­nia was fast-tracked, an al­most un­heard of sce­nario for would-be Aus­tralian pro­fes­sional driv­ers.

“My fa­ther used to work for Sca­nia,” she says. “Ev­ery­body who lives in the area has par­ents who ei­ther work for Sca­nia or As­traZeneca, a med­i­cal com­pany. They are the two big­gest com­pa­nies in this city. So it was des­tined to be.”

An­dreá was still at school, study­ing to be a car me­chanic when a call came through from STL.

“A girl who went to the same school I did and works in the of­fice called our teach­ers and said, ‘Do you have a good driver you can rec­om­mend?’ … and they rec­om­mended me.”

With lit­tle train­ing, An­dreá was put un­der the wing of one of STL’s em­ploy­ees, who quickly taught her to con­nect a prime mover up to a trailer. Then it was time for a quick drive.

“I was su­per fright­ened be­cause I’d never driven out­side of school with­out my teach­ers be­fore. Then sI at down and drank some cof­fee; I was sup­posed to go and col­lect my ac­cess card.

“And I was like ‘can some­body drive me?’ and our traf­fic man­ager said, ‘Take this car, go by your­self’.

Nowa­days An­dreá is one of a num­ber of driv­ers tak­ing Sca­nia truck parts from Södertälje to Copen­hagen and the Nether­lands in pla­toon for­ma­tion. The con­voy’s trucks can of­ten be haul­ing two trail­ers, al­though one trailer has be dropped off at Malmö in Swe­den’s south due to re­stric­tions on the Öre­sunds­bron, an 8km bridge that links Swe­den with Den­mark. It’s a lengthy ex­er­cise, al­though it fits in well with the driv­ers’ two day’s rest.

An­dreá’s reg­u­lar rig is the Sca­nia R560. “It’s pow­er­ful, but it’s not hu­mungous … it’s per­fect,” she says.

And there’s also an oc­ca­sional run be­hind the wheel of a Sca­nia CNG-pow­ered truck.

She says some of her for­mer school friends view her ca­reer choice with sur­prise. “But most of them are like, ‘oh, that’s really cool’ or ‘I would never be able to drive that big of ve­hi­cle’. It’s ac­tu­ally quite funny to see the re­ac­tion, but they’re very pos­i­tive.” For An­dreá, how­ever, driv­ing is not the end of her ca­reer jour­ney. “I don’t want to do this for­ever,” she ex­plains. ‘I’m ac­tu­ally plan­ning on study­ing to be­come an en­gi­neer. But this was a so­lu­tion for now but I want to de­sign trucks in the end.

“And now I have an ad­van­tage be­cause I have ac­tu­ally driven the trucks. I know how they be­have on the road, I know how much space you need, and what you would want in a truck.”

STL driver and as­sis­tant traf­fic man­ager An­dreá Ped­er­sen

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.