Stephanie Klang established a lot of firsts during her 35-year career driving big rigs from coast to coast, but perhaps one of her proudest accomplishments occurred when she became the first female for Con-way Truckload (now XPO Truckload) to achieve 3 million mi. of safe driving. She also served a stint as a captain with the American Trucking Assns. Road Team from 2013 to 2014 as an industry ambassador at a variety of public events.
During her nearly 28 years at Con-way and XPO, Klang has served as a healthy living advocate for the company’s long-haul driver corps, sharing tips from her many years on the road about how to maintain physical fitness along with mental well-being in the often rough-and-tumble world of freight.
“You can’t control the weather, the traffic, the load, or delays at the dock,” she explains. “You can control what you eat, your living area on the road, and use of downtime for exercise.”
While on the road, Klang prepares her own meals in her fully equipped tractor, shopping at grocery stores as needed—an effort that saves her money.
“Drinking water while avoiding soda plus other caffeinated and carbonated beverages is really important,” Klang adds, noting that removing stimulants such as sugar and caffeine from her diet promoted more regular and restful sleep cycles, keeping her mentally sharp for the long hours spent behind the wheel.
Klang also exercises at every opportunity, using two 5-lb. dumbbells with an 8-lb. weight ball to help keep her muscles in shape, jogging in place in her truck cab, and getting outside and walking at every opportunity. A favorite activity is trail walking at truck stops and other locations wherever she finds herself parked for off-duty time.
“You need to see the positive in being stuck, as I like to say,” she notes. “We sit too much as truck drivers. That’s why getting out of the box and outside is important—not just physically but mentally as well.”
She started driving at age 21 because her then-husband, a long-haul trucker, would be gone for a month or more at a time. Klang says she grew to love truck driving and stayed in the career after her divorce, eventually working for Contract Freighters Inc. (CFI) and then for Conway Truckload, which acquired CFI in 2007. Now she continues to drive for XPO Truckload, though she’s been off the road for a stretch as her truck gets rebranded with XPO signage.
Altogether, Klang has recorded 3.5 million safe driving miles to date, and because of that, Con-way tapped her in July 2014 to haul “Christina’s Smile.” This mobile dental trailer, which is sponsored by the motor carrier, travels around the country 12 times a year to provide free dental care to children.
With years of safe driving behind her, Klang has no intentions of stopping. “How I [acquired 3.5 million safe mi.] is through a lot of patience,” she explains. “With the weather, traffic, and scheduling we face, I paid a lot of attention to detail and patience.”