Have you ever heard of any other situation where you have to live with your work partner for extended periods of time? Team trucking is one of the few jobs where you spend an enormous amount of time with the same person you work with. You’re not only sharing a work space, but also a living space.
This can provide many challenges, and could go really well or not so well. It depends on who your driving partner is, and how well the two of you can work together. We spoke with two different team drivers, Anthony and Christine, about their separate team driving experiences, what they have learned, and what advice they have for other drivers.
From solo to team driving
Anthony Futrell is currently a driver for a private company based out of Philadelphia. Like many others, he was a solo driver for many years before he decided to try out team driving. Earning more money was definitely a big factor in Anthony’s decision to become a team driver, and he considered it for about two years before making the switch. For Anthony, one of the big difficulties in being a team driver is not trusting your partner’s driving skills. Specifically, Anthony was previously paired with a driver who was less experienced.
“I wasn’t able to sleep when it’s my turn to sleep while the other person is driving,” he told us. “I had to get up and show him how to do things,” shared Anthony.
Similarly, Christine Milner was a team driver in the past and has been paired with both men and women drivers. “Team driving can be a good thing, but can also be a nightmare,” she reminds us. “As a woman driver, it’s difficult to be by yourself, and having a partner can provide a lot of help,” she told us. “It’s good to know that if something happens to you, somebody is around.” This was a big factor in her decision to be a team driver, along with the opportunity to make more money.
Christine was paired with male team drivers in the past, which can be a hit-or-miss experience. “You don’t want to be driving with a male partner who you don’t really know,” she cautions us, adding “Do I have to sleep with one eye open?”
Pairing with driving partners
Both Anthony and Christine found that having the right driving partner is what makes or breaks the team driving experience. Most companies find you a partner, but unfortunately some companies still don’t match partners in the best possible way. “All they do is give you the phone number and tell you to call them,” Anthony shared about his experience. “I’d rather have a profile about the person. Hopefully you can sit down and get to know each other.”
In addition, sleep has been a concern for Anthony more than once in the past as a team driver.
“One time I had a partner who could never drive at nighttime. He could only drive during the day. Had no idea it was going to happen before we got started,” shares Anthony.
Christine had poor experiences, but especially with males she was partnered with, including trainers. “At first I didn’t care who trained me—but that turned out to be a nightmare, and I asked to switch my trainer.” Even when she was paired with a woman driver, she found it hard to do some basic things because of disagreements.
“It was hard to keep the truck as clean as I would like. Hard to stop and do my laundry at night. Felt like I was always rushed to the other person’s schedule,” shares Christine.
The health and hygiene issues aren’t specific to women drivers—Anthony also had trouble coordinating about them. “You want to have a partner with healthy habits. Who takes care of themselves,” he shared.
Advice for aspiring team drivers
Both drivers we spoke to had plenty of advice to share. Christine specifically had advice for women drivers who are thinking of team trucking jobs. “Some male trainers will be inappropriate and imply they can help you in return for some favors, so you have to be careful about that,” she cautioned. She also advised her fellow women drivers to develop a strong sense of self-esteem to thrive in the still male-dominated industry.
“Just be smart. Focus on yourself, believe in yourself, and don’t fall for any shenanigans,” advises Christine.
In addition, Anthony suggests doing a lot of research. “Find out if they had any tickets, any accidents, or anything like that. How long have they been driving? Can they drive during both day and night?” He also pointed out that not everybody is ready for the switch to team driving, especially if it doesn’t work out with the partner.
“It’s better if I get my sleep while knowing that no one else will get in an accident. You won’t have that worry in your mind while you’re sleeping,” says Anthony.
The lure of earning more money may not be worth the hassles of having some driving partners. “Even though it’s more money, it doesn’t guarantee personal safety and mental health. I’d rather be a happy driver even if I’m paid less.”
Ultimately, Anthony and Christine both said that finding the right partner is what makes team trucking jobs successful or not. “It’s different for everybody—it all depends on who you are in the truck with and what kind of morals they have,” Christine told us. Anthony reminded us, “I was always told that when you love doing your job, you’ll never work again.”
Want to find a team driving job you love?
Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.