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.
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