While many truck drivers enjoy the independence and freedom of riding solo, others prefer the idea of team truck driving. This is when two drivers use the same truck and take shifts. You can effectively maximize driving time, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits activity to a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. With two drivers, one can continue operating the vehicle while the other gets much-needed rest.1
Important Team Driving Facts
Team driving comes with a wide range of perks. Here are some facts about this approach to working as a trucker:
- Team Drivers Can Make More Money: Even though the pay may be split, team drivers can cover more miles and, therefore, boost their earnings. The pay per mile is higher as well. Driving teams have covered up to 5,000 miles per week while the average for solo drivers typically doesn’t exceed 2,800 miles weekly.
- Somebody Has Your Back: You can travel and spend time with someone else, which is great if you team up with a friend or spouse. In any case, you have someone to talk to and spend your downtime with.
- Priority Loads: When it’s crucial to get freight shipped and delivered quickly, teams are often considered first. They can get loads to destinations faster, so team drivers are more likely to be selected to handle priority loads.
- Security: There are more opportunities to rest, so there’s less of a risk of driver fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel. If one driver needs food or a shower, someone’s always there to guard the truck and freight.
- Operational Help: Whether loading or unloading a truck, backing up into tight spaces, or performing a pre-trip inspection, you will always have assistance.
Dispelling the Myths of Team Truck Driving
Driving a truck with a partner has many benefits, but there are some myths that can give you the wrong idea if you’re considering such an arrangement.
- “Your Teammate Will Be a Veteran Driver Ready to Train You”: If a co-driver isn’t getting paid to be your trainer, they are not obligated to use their 10-hour break to be your trainer and conversation partner, but there certainly could be times a driver may be willing to assist a rookie. However, not all co-drivers are that helpful. Despite their experience, they may take every opportunity to point out your faults and criticize your mistakes, which is not very pleasant.
- “Teaming Up Will Lead to Your First Solo Run”: If you’re relying on a trainer or another team member to make the decisions, you could be overwhelmed as a solo driver. Team driving won’t help you learn how to manage your time and set your own delivery schedule. It doesn’t prepare you for solo driving when you’ll have to manage your hours and rest time without guidance.
- “Your Teammate Will Be a Fun Companion”: Depending on your driving partner, you could get a break from the loneliness, but living with a stranger is often not fun. It can be quite the opposite, making you feel claustrophobic, frustrated, and overwhelmed. What if they’re not as neat as you, don’t respect your personal property, like different music, or have a hot temper when you disagree? Also consider their bathroom habits or, worse, your team member might be an aggressive driver.
- “Personalities Are Always Matched”: A trucking company might match truck drivers from the same regions, to make scheduling easier, but their primary goal is to make money. Drivers aren’t paired based on age, work ethic, or how much they care about earning. While some companies may use personality tests, these don’t guarantee things will go smoothly. Also consider the movement, noise, and vibration when you’re trying to sleep, which can leave you tired and grumpy all the time.
- “You Will Have a Higher Income”: For inexperienced drivers, the earning potential isn’t as high as for seasoned team members. Team truck driving probably won’t earn you a higher salary if you’re learning procedures and still making mistakes that beginners do. Plus, it’s harder for strangers to earn the profits that spouses, siblings, and other people who know one another do when driving together.
How to Improve Team Driving Hauls
Your driving experience and overall well-being can be improved with ergonomic seats from leading brands such as Bostrom or National. These seats include suspensions, adjustability, and support that can avoid sprains, strains, and aches and pains. At Suburban Seating & Safety, we offer these plus safety products such as harnesses, straps, backup cameras and monitors, backup alarms, and more. To learn more about these and other accessories, continue browsing or call 844-727-7328 for assistance.