Team driving: Yes or no?
Team driving for truck drivers is very different from driving solo. There are both pros and cons to team driving. Some training schools require you pairing up with a trainer in order to complete your CDL training, so we are going to talk about some pros and cons and things to look out for.
So how does team driving work? It is pretty much how it sounds, you are paired up with a partner, each driver will have on-duty and off-duty shifts, allowing one driver to sleep while the other drives, which in turn keeps the downtime a truck has to a minimum. The drivers are paid for their combined mileage which averages at a higher amount than when doing a solo drive and most companies like truck driving teams because it maximizes their delivery times.
Pros of team truck driving
- More jobs. Trucking companies love teams because it maximizes their profit margin by keeping their trucks moving around the clock. If you are open to team driving you have a better chance of finding a job quicker, especially if you are inexperienced or a new driver. Driving teams have always been in demand so they could be a good way to start working in this industry because it could open more doors. Team driving also opens more opportunity to work more often and get more mileage.
- Higher pay. The income for team drivers is more consistent because of the frequency of jobs, the drivers can earn as much as they would driving solo, sometimes even more than that, but some argue that job opportunities happen more often which helps them earn more in the end. The lead driver sometimes gets paid a bit more, which motivates more experienced drivers to consider team driving too.
- Husband and Wife teams. Team driving can be especially attractive for couples. Partners usually already know each other pretty well and they trust each other. If they make a good team in life and their relationship, most of the time it can translate into work too, and the money usually goes into the same bank account, which makes team driving a very good way to earn income.
Cons of team truck driving
- You may not like or trust your driving partner. Oftentimes you will be assigned a driving partner, it might be someone you don’t know and don’t yet trust. Driving in a team requires that you spend a lot of time with your partner in a small space. You are driving a big rig that can become very dangerous in the hands of someone careless, so trusting your driving partner is very important. As part of a team you should do your best to be respectful, safe, reasonable, and just someone that is easy to be around, and it is something that you would expect in return.
- Quality of sleep. Even though you get better mileage when you drive in a team, not everyone can sleep while in a moving truck. The noise, the way your partner drives, and just the overall comfort can affect your sleep, which makes it harder to be in good shape for your next shift of driving. The hours of service dictate that you shouldn’t drive longer than a certain amount of hours, and then trying to trick your body and mind into sleeping, while never leaving the truck and getting into a comfortable room with a bed, can be hard.
- Close quarters and breaks. Sharing a space with someone can be very difficult, especially if you and your driving partner have different habits and needs. Close quarters of a cab can become very crowded very quickly, even if there are only two people occupying it. You have to be ready for long periods of time without privacy. Deciding on when to make breaks can also be difficult in a team, so communication and compromise is key.
Team truck driving might not be for everyone, but it could be a very good way to start your professional career. As an inexperienced driver, you could find it a lot easier to find jobs if you are willing to team drive, it will be good to gain experience faster, considering that team drivers could practically do jobs non-stop, until they decide they need a break. It could help you earn more money in the beginning of your career and make you more attractive for companies in the future. Team driving can also be good for partners who work really well together and have similar ways of looking at the job, partners who trust each other and enjoy each other’s company. Husband and wife teams are also pretty common, and work well. It helps couples not be away from each other for long periods of time and also gives them a chance to earn more money together. In the end, it is a personal preference and choice, there is only one way to know for sure if you enjoy team truck driving, and that is to try it.