by Pride Transport | Aug 04, 2021
Team Truck Driving, Is it Right for You?
In the world of truck driving, we’re accustomed to seeing the lone driver, the solo man or woman behind the wheel, hauling goods across the country, staying connected by CB radio, and maybe penning a great “I’m alone, but I’ve got my love in my heart,” country song.
Truth be told, with restrictions on driving while talking on the phone or even the radio, solo driving can be rather lonely. It takes a certain kind of person to ride the highways alone and get the job done. Because of that, Pride goes out of its way to make life as easy and manageable as possible for its drivers. Pride puts drivers first, and that makes being alone on the road easier, knowing you have people that genuinely care about you, respect you, and always have your back. So, in some way, when you drive with Pride, you’re never really driving completely alone.
Having someone back in the office watching out for you is excellent; however, it doesn’t change the fact that if you’re driving solo, you’re alone in the cab. Again, for some, that’s just one of the perks of an already great job. For others, that may be daunting.
If you’ve always wanted to experience life on the open road, feel the power of handling an eighteen-wheeler, be a part of an industry that keeps this country moving and alive, but you’re not good with being alone for long periods, there is an answer for you … Team driving.
Team Truck Driving, The Basics
It’s pretty straightforward; team driving means you share the driving with another driver. This means you’re in the cab together, you split the driving time, and you split the pay.
This situation can be great for several reasons. The first one is you get to be on the road, drive a truck, and not do it alone. So, for those looking to be a part of this life but do not relish the time alone, this could be your answer.
Team Driving Pros
Apart from not going it alone, there are other benefits to being part of a driving team. Here are a few to think about;
When you’re in a team, you cover more miles, and more miles translate to more pay.
Team drivers switch off, so there’s less time needed for breaks, and there is a quicker turnaround time.
Team drivers are in demand. Some companies will pay for your CDL training if you agree to drive as part of a team when you graduate. They do this because, for big truck companies and owner-operator companies, team drivers mean more money.
Companies will often offer team drivers other incentives. These may include; sign-on bonuses, a higher pay-per-mile rate, a higher mileage incentive, and even priority dispatch.
One of the reasons to be a part of a driving team is for the pay. Team drivers make more per mile so, that’s a good incentive.
With many companies, if you exceed 5000 per week, your pay-per-mile increases. And, when you’re sharing the driving, it’s not unheard of to exceed 5000 miles.
So, the increased pay is excellent; however, you have to keep in mind that you split that with your driving partner, whatever the pay is. So, be sure to ask specifically what the individual and team pay looks like. Even though all pay is generally split among a team, it still means drivers make $200-$300 per month more than solo drivers.
Drive With Your Spouse
Being part of a driving team can be precarious if you’re not in tune with your partner. One way to avoid this is to drive with your spouse. There are many husband and wife team drivers on the road, and they say it’s excellent.
If you’re married and your relationship is good, then this makes sense. As a couple team drivers, all your income stays in the household; you know each other well and, if your marriage is good at home and you’ve been together for a while, that goodness will undoubtedly translate to the road. And, who would you rather trust with your life while you’re sleeping in the bunk, your spouse, or a total stranger?
Driving couples warn that if the marriage is having problems or there’s animosity between the two, being on the road in a tight cab will exacerbate the problems, not make them go away. So, don’t think that driving with your spouse will be like couples therapy, and you’ll be able to work your problems out on the road; that’s not likely to happen.
If your marriage is strong, then this may be what you’re looking for. It certainly is a change from one being away for weeks or even months at a time while the other waits at home. Being on the road together gives you more quality time, a chance for shared adventures and memories to make.
What if You Have No Partner?
Another hurdle that may keep you from jumping into the incredible career of truck driving is that you have no partner. That can be a daunting prospect. If you have a spouse, then it’s easy but, if you’re alone but not looking to spend time on the road alone, then you may worry. But, don’t, you can still be a part of a driving team.
If you drive with Pride, they will do everything they can to help you find a comfortable, compatible driver to work with. Pride loves driving teams; however, no one at Pride will ever be forced to drive in a team if they don’t want to.
Apart from that, there are sites on the web that can help you out when looking for a driver to team with. There are numerous online forums and publications devoted to CDL drivers where you can put out an ad looking for a co-driver. You can also use other ad-posting sites, like Craigslist and Indeed. Be careful because there could be some confusion; posting for a driving partner or searching for a partner can get you directed to truck driver dating sites. Be sure you check and post where you mean to post.
When you are posting, be specific about who you feel you’re going to be compatible with. Add your gender, smoking or non-smoking, and if someone responds, have open communication with them and decide if they’d be right for you to team with.
If you go this route and post online, be careful not to give personal information, just basics that can lead to a conversation. If you decide to meet someone and talk, do it in the daylight, in a populated place, and ring someone you trust along with you for safety.
Some drivers have found a partner in the cab and a partner for life on truck driver dating sites, which may be a viable place to search. Again, be careful and know what you’re getting yourself into before you embark on a month together on the can of a truck.
With the right partner, team driving is a lucrative and fun way to go. Do your due diligence on your own, or trust a company like Pride to help you find the perfect driving partner.
CONS: Not All Roses and Chewing Gum
There are numerous good reasons to be part of a driving team, as we’ve pointed out; however, you have to be realistic going into the situation. Even the best of relationships are bound to hit rocky moments. Humans are mercurial, and sometimes one of you may have an off day, or an argument may explode over seemingly nothing at all. So, when you do decide on being part of a driving team, and you’re not driving with your spouse, you may want to think about how to make the partnership work.
Unlike having a roommate with whom you may get in an argument, you cannot leave the apartment, take a walk and cool down a bit. You may want to, but at 65 mph, your walk is going to be more of a painful roll.
Being part of a driving team and occupying the cab of a truck for long periods means you need to think beyond yourself. When you’re a solo driver, how you keep the cab, the bunk, and the radio are your own choice; however, that changes when you’re sharing the driving and space.
Thoughtful is an excellent word to always keep in mind of you’re team driving. The word means: showing consideration for the needs of other people. This doesn’t have to mean little gifts or whatnot; it just means that you recognize that you’re not alone in this confined space, so before you do or say something, you pause and think of the other person. You give the situation some thought.
Be Personally Aware
As part of a team, you’re now thinking beyond yourself and about your partner. Small things can quickly get out of hand in a confined space. You’ll have to make adjustments. You cannot keep the cab or the bunk area looking like a scene out of a guidebook from Slobovia. Be neat, be respectful, keep things in their place and try to leave the area clean and tidy for your partner. You may have a casual stance towards tidiness when you’re at home, but when you’re sharing a cab, the neater you keep things, the less stress there is on both parties.
Be aware of our personal hygiene. We all know that being in a confined space for long hours, things can get a little gamey; that’s to be expected. However, don’t start the trip having not showered or brushed your teeth in your off time. You may bask in the glory of your own stench but, that may not be as appealing to your driving partner as it is to you. Be thoughtful.
This doesn’t mean you have to keep pointless chatter going while you’re driving; this means keep the lines of communication open. If there is a problem, don’t assume it will go away; address it, get it out in the open and deal with it immediately. We all have experienced an argument with a friend or partner where things in the past are brought up in the present. This makes the argument feel longer than it has to be. Stay on top of things. If something is bothering you, find a nice, even way to express the problem and offer solutions to make it better.
Listening is more complicated than it seems but, it is often the answer to correcting problems. When you’re listening to your driving partner and they are expressing dissatisfaction with something, really listen to them. Give them all your attention and be open to what they are saying.
Don’t listen with the intent that you’re going to defend yourself or win an argument. Listen to hear and make the situation better for you both. Don’t listen simply for the moment where you get to shove your two cents in; really be present and listen.
Understand that your partner wants things to work as much as you do so, for them to bring up a problem takes a lot of courage, understand that, respect that, and listen.
Long-term relationships, partnerships, businesses all survive because they embrace compromise. A willingness to compromise is going to keep your partnership healthy and lasting a long time. Once it gets over the initial awkwardness, a long-lasting team driving situation can be a very lucrative endeavor.
One of the central tenets of compromise is understanding that it’s not about winning and losing; it’s about an even flow of give and take. If you see compromise as a losing proposition, then you’re never going to make it work.
Examples, what you like to listen to on the radio. Maybe you want country music, and your partner loves listening to NPR. Talk about it, figure out a schedule, find a compromise that works and go from there. Again compromise is going to mean you have to be thoughtful. If you agree to a compromise, do it because it works and it makes the situation better. If you look at compromise as I’ll give you this but, I better get something in return, you’ve set up a situation that isn’t based on valid give and take, sharing, and trust; you’re looking at a problem that can quickly escalate into one-upmanship.
If you’re talking, listening, and finding compromise together, the chances that you’ll be able to handle other problems that arise are far greater than if you don’t.
You should ask yourself three questions before you delve into a conversation with your driving partner. These should not be confused with the story Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy. These are three questions you should ask yourself, especially when emotions are running high before you speak.
- Does this need to be said?
- Does this need to be said right now?
- Does this need to be said by me?
Taking the time to ask yourself these three questions can mean the difference between a calm drive and one fraught with an underlying tension that can eventually bubble to the surface and explode.
These are some simple guidelines that may help you decide if team driving is right for you and, if you do partner up, ideas on how to make that partnership last.
There’s no need to worry; we have relationships all through our lives; some take more work than others, but, in the end, we usually find that figuring out how to make them work pays off in the end; the same goes for team driving.
Team driving is a great way to experience life on the road, being part of an industry that genuinely keeps the country moving and supplied and, it can be the answer to your reticence to being out all alone. Take your time, find the right partner, talk, and listen, and you should be able to make this highly lucrative partnership last a long time.