Team driving is something that many new truckers consider, thinking that it can be a form of extended training or a mentor relationship while you set off on your own. This is almost never the case. Drivers do not team up for their own comfort; drivers are teamed so that long hauls can be done in as short a time as possible. If you’re considering team driving, read on for more details.
What Is Team Driving?
Team driving is an expedited long-haul, where the truck has two drivers who switch off for their breaks. These runs often can go coast-to-coast in two or three days. The responsibility of the second driver in team driving is to pick up when it is time to switch and to sleep during his or her break. They are not there as an extra set of eyes on the road or to help you with anything (like backing) while you drive. The purpose of teaming is to keep the truck and the cargo moving, not to help you as the driver.
Will It prepare You To Drive Solo?
Many elements of team driving are simplified over solo driving. You won’t have to spend as much time trip planning, as you’ll need fewer stops and you will mostly drive interstates. Your routes may even be planned for you if your loads are high-value. As a newer driver, you likely wouldn’t be lead seat anyway, so any planning that does need to be done will be done by the other driver. The bottom line is that those key skills you need for solo driving, you won’t learn on a team.
Will It Make The Haul More Fun?
There is a possibility that you could be paired with the perfect teammate, someone with a perfectly compatible sense of humor and worldview, who can provide companionship. The truth is that solo driving can be lonely. But it is also possible that you could be teamed with someone who disagrees with you about everything, from politics, to music, to cab temperature. Just as there is the potential for laughter and camaraderie, there is the potential for discomfort and embarrassment. Nothing is a secret when you’re sharing a cab with someone else, so anything that you have going on they will know about.
Will It Make You More Money?
Teams certainly have the potential to make money since they do long hauls faster, but they also have the potential for problems. You will still have to get to know the routes and the ropes as you would solo, but you’re also going to have to get to know your team driver. Any interpersonal issues that come up between you are going to impact how efficiently you drive together. Finally, if you drive for a team-only company, you may find yourself with more downtime (unpaid or at a lower pay rate) in between hauls.
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