A career in the military led DSR Mary Kile to a life as a professional truck driver.
“When I joined the U.S. Marine Corps, I didn’t even know if they had women in the military,” said Mary. “I also didn’t know they had different jobs; I thought everyone ran around with a rifle all day. When they asked me what I wanted to do I didn’t know, so they reeled off different jobs and working in the motor transport pool just sounded fun. I enjoyed learning about the different types of engines and how they operate. When I got out of the military, I saw that truck drivers made pretty good money, so decided to do it for a little while. I got hired by Con-way Freight in 1989 and they pay very well so I just sort of stayed here.”
As someone who has been driving professionally for more than two decades, Mary has seen a lot of changes. Two of the biggest are an increase in traffic, as well as the number of distracted motorists.
“You need to have very good defensive driving skills and constantly stay alert because it seems like today everyone has a cell phone and is either talking or worse, text messaging, while driving,” said Mary. “There are more cars on the road, and more people not paying attention. You need to be very aware at all times.”
Mary credits reaching two million miles of accident-free driving to a few different factors, including her fellow drivers.
“I think your coworkers definitely help — we help each other by chatting on the CB radio. I don’t think I am necessarily a better driver than anyone else. It’s little bit of luck and some skill, like driving defensively. I try to lessen the risk by paying attention. When I drive, I’m always watching the traffic way in front of me, not just two or three cars, but as far as I can see so I’m always ready. If I see someone braking, I just brake; I don’t wait to see what it is. You always need to pay attention and figure out the worst possible scenario so you can be ready.”
Mary is based out of Con-way Freight’s Sapulpa, Okla., service center and is a resident of Broken Arrow, Okla. She is only the second female driver in Con-way Freight history to reach the two-million-mile mark. Her hobbies include golf and home repair.