Have you ever considered team driving? For some the answer is a resounding no. After all, we know that the solitude of the road can have an intoxicating pull. But if you've thought of team driving in passing and never given it full consideration, this might be a good time.
With driver shortages at an all time high trucking companies are always looking for qualified drivers. And with trucking regulations like the ELD mandate and hours of service breathing down our backs, getting things from place to place in a timely manner is a huge concern. Could team driving be part of the answer?
What is Team Driving
We will make this quick, because it is an easy concept. Team driving is having two qualified, CDL-holding drivers in one truck. One sleeps, one drives. Switch and repeat.
In a lot of ways team driving solves many of the regulatory problems in the trucking industry today. But that doesn't mean it is without its faults. Here are the pros and cons as we see them.
Pro: Some Trucking Companies Love Team Drivers
Many trucking companies love co-drivers (that get along and get the job done). It is nice to know that the product will get there on time, and with the regulations the way they are, that's getting harder and harder. Some companies are willing to pay a premium for drivers in a team setup. Just keep in mind your CPM is usually divided by two, so the increased earnings might not be as much as you hoped.
Con: Some Trucking Companies Aren't Set Up for Team Drivers
You know that adage that goes, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?" Well, some companies subscribe to this belief about team drivers. Sure, the allure of having twice the driver in half the truck is amazing, but what if they fall out of sorts? What if they both get sick? What if they end up hating each other and causing legal drama?
Other companies, like K&J Trucking traditionally carry freight that is typically suited for a solo driver. It isn't that we don't like team drivers, we just aren't set up for the freight load they prefer. But we do have several husband and wife teams who choose to run additional miles and take time to see the country. They lay down the miles and then rent cars whenever they have extra time and go sightseeing!
Pro: The Road is Less Lonely With a Friend
Some drivers love alone time. Others crave those moments in the truck stop when they can sit and gab with other human beings. If you are the second type, then team driving probably sounds pretty amazing. It is true. Life on the road with a friend is wonderful, even if they are sleeping.
Con: You Will Have a LOT of Togetherness
Even when the other person is sleeping, you're still together, and that can go from wonderful to torturous in about 3 days if you don't have the right temperament for it. We should also mention, there is nothing quite like an emergency bathroom break to put the togetherness back into perspective.
Pro: Hours of Service Just Got a Lot Easier
Hours of service rules are a huge stressor in the industry. Just think! If you can switch off more frequently with a team driver but still get your load to the final destination on time, it makes things much less complicated.
Con: Sleeping Just Got a Whole Lot Harder
You've trained yourself for years to not fall asleep to the rhythm of the road, and now you have to fall asleep to the rhythm of the road. It can be a hard switch for some truckers. Roads are hardly silent places, especially if your co-driver likes to listen to Metallica on the road.
Pros: You Have Another Set of Eyes
When you're in a tough parking spot or dealing with rough road conditions or detours, having another set of eyes to help you navigate can be very helpful. It is also nice to simply share the beautiful scenery of the road.
Cons: You Have Another Set of Opinions
Preplanning a trip is a special art, one that many drivers are meticulous about. What if you had to share that with another person? You like one route and they like another. You both prefer daytime driving. Who trumps whom?
There are clearly a lot of things to consider when you move toward a team driving setup, not the least of which is, do you even get along? If you're considering team driving, talk to others in the industry. Get their tips and tricks first. And if you do choose this particular adventure, make sure you give a lot of grace to your co-driver!
Are you interested in more information about the demands of being a team driver? Let us know what questions you have in the comments below and we will do our best to address them in a future article!