How does team driving work?
December 7, 2022
Trucking is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to get out and see America – or the world, if you choose to go abroad. However, as anyone who has even done one trip will know, trucking is not one for the faint of heart. It requires stamina – mental as much as physical – and you need to be very time-conscious. When you are carrying frozen goods, too, it becomes even harder. When that happens, you might feel like you could use – or need – a partner. With that in mind, then, have you ever heard of team driving?
Today, team driving is one of the best ways to get out and do a bit more than you usually would. How does team driving work, though? After all, it’s not like you are in competition with someone else. This is not a sport. So, if you want to know what team driving is and what it involves then keep reading on – this quick guide will break down what you need to know.
What is team driving?
Team truck driving is, as the name suggests, a truck that is driven by committee. In most parlance, this means a semi-truck that is being operated by two licensed drivers. One of you drives, the other one navigates and deals with the other aspects of your journey. At intervals, you swap out. This means that both drivers can stay focused, rested, and capable of seeing the entirety of the journey out.
Have you ever taken on more than you can chew and (silently) wished you had a teammate? Well, team truck driving is probably a good choice for you. Team truck driving is, at its essence, a more social job. You will be able to spend time conversing with someone – and if you have ever done a long solo haul trip before, you know how lonely this can begin to feel.
So, team truck driving is literally just the process of driving the truck with more than one driver. When you need to swap roles or take over, you can do so with ease. This is one of the easiest ways to make prolonged journeys more enjoyable.
Does team driving pay more than individual trips?
It certainly can, yes. You can find that on aggregate you can make more when team driving. Why? Because you and your fellow driver can cover a lot more ground. You could be taking on a trip that requires a lot of manpower, or it requires an incredible distance. If you were on your own you might not be able to do that trip yourself, so you would not be able to take on the job.
The length of the journey, the difficulty of the terrain and/or the complexity of the load can mean that you get paid more than you would on your own. If your primary focus when driving is to get as much money as you can then you can probably find that team driving is the better option for you. The amount of ground that you cover, though, means you could be away for days – so make sure that you and your teammate have a good rapport!
Speaking of which, it is surprisingly common for spouse team truck drivers to be a thing. Husband and wife, husband and husband, and wife and wife – these are very common mixtures now. One of the main drawbacks of trucking is that you can spend a lot of time away from your family. Well, by having a trucker who is also your spouse, you find it easier to spend time together and get the work done.
For younger and less experienced truckers, too, this can be a great way to build up experience. You learn by going alongside a more experienced carrier, you get to take part in better-paying jobs, and you have a mentor there who can make sure you do not make the kind of mistakes that kill your career before you get started.
How does team driving work?
So, the main thing to notice when thinking about team driving is that you will be co-operating with another driver. The loads are often larger, the roads longer and/or more treacherous, and the timelines often shorter. This often means having to drive for longer than you could drive if you were simply on your own. By having both of you there, though, it means that one driver can keep an eye on navigation and communication while the other drives. For longer journeys still, one of you can rest their eyes while the other drives and then swap over.
You share the same responsibilities as one another – both will drive, both will navigate, and both will take control when needed. This is very useful as it means that you get to cover more miles across a smaller period of time. This means deliveries are made faster, risks are less significant, and the truck only ever really stops for gas or for a quick break.
Given the rapid demands of the industry today, carriers often need to deliver loads in very short spaces of time. This helps you to keep time, make your trip, complete the journey, and get everything delivered in good time. Team truck driving, then, really is not any different to driving a normal truck on your own. What it does change, though, is:
- The payload – you are often dealing with larger payloads that would need more than one driver
- The timeframe – you are typically expected to deliver in a timeframe that one person could not
- The route/distance – you will be covering large periods of ground, sometimes interstate/country
- The social dynamic – spend less time in isolation, and therefore remove the ‘cabin fever’ effect
- The pay – you will get paid more per load due to the fact you are taking on such a challenge
Is team driving for you?
That would be hard to say without knowing you personally, but team driving removes many of the ‘cons’ of being a carrier. You will find, though, that most jobs are very stressful. Some people think of team driving as like a road trip where you have a low key laugh with your colleague as you go – that is not the case. Until you make your delivery and get back to the depot, it is all hands on deck.
The laughter can wait until you have made your shipment and completed the delivery. Given the long hours, large distances, and challenging shipments, then, team driving is not for everyone. If you want to build experience alongside a more seasoned carrier, or you want to remove the isolation of solo truck driving, team driving might be worth trying out – even once.