There are few people as integral to the functioning of a consumer economy as truckers. They transport goods from one place to another, allowing trade to exist between cities and states. They also play an integral role in making sure that highways are maintained and small town businesses stay afloat; without truckers needing their services, truck stops, gas stations and rest areas might all fall into disrepair.

Nevertheless, despite their value, truckers tend to be painted with a wide brush. Here are a few commonly-held beliefs about truckers, and why they’re wrong:1.) All truckers are men. In fact, there are about 200,000 female truck drivers, a number which is steadily increasing. They aren’t all butch lesbians, either; many female truckers are wives and mothers that work away from home, and others are single working professionals. Of course, many female truckers are lesbian, but the two things don’t have to go hand-in-hand.2.) Truck drivers are a rough crowd. You’ll see this stereotype in action when a vacationing family stops at a gas station; parents might steer their kids away from the truckers, or wives might stick close by their husbands. Along with bikers and construction workers, truckers often get painted as rude, crude and potentially dangerous. Although this type of personality can exist in any profession, there’s no reason that truckers should be particularly rougher than anyone. Many are consummate professionals and quite a few, if not most, have families of their own.

3.) Truckers cause car accidents. Of the 45,000 fatal auto accidents each year, only 9 percent are caused by commercial vehicles, and the vast majority of these accidents are caused by the non-commercial vehicle. Truckers drive for a living; they’re some of the safest and most skilled drivers anywhere on the road. Truckers cause less than 2.9 percent of all auto accidents in the country each year.

4.) Truckers pick up hitchhikers. A pivotal plot point in horror movies, this rarely happens in real life. Many agencies don’t allow the practice at all due to liability concerns, and most truckers aren’t willing to put their jobs on the line to give somebody a ride.

At the end of the day, truckers are people just like everyone else. Sometimes they need freight bill factoring. Their job is unique, but it doesn’t define them. Before you disregard trucking as a profession or shy away from a truck stop, give truckers a second glance. What you find might just surprise you.