We have been full-time team drivers for over fourteen years, and before that, I, Linda, rode with Bob for four years. During that time, we have learned a lot about each other while living in a small space.
Here is a little background on us. We were married in 1978 and had many conversations about becoming full-time truck drivers. We started our trucking career with Bob, the driver, and me the navigator or at times the aggravator. Being from a very rural area of Kansas, we had a lot to learn about major cities, interstates, and highways, and some of this, we learned the hard way. Too many times I directed Bob onto business routes, and as he white-knuckled the steering wheel driving down the beautiful main streets, I kept up a running commentary of the charming little shops, street lamps, parks, and signs. In time I learned and did a better job of navigating but boy did I test Bob’s skills a few times. Yes, we are still married, and now that I am a full-time driver, every once in a while he will get me into one of these situations of testing my skills.
Learning to work and live for months at a time away from home takes a lot of communication and patience for both of us. It takes time to learn how to work together and to learn who has the best skill set for different situations. Some things to think about before becoming a team driver:
- If you are able to pick and choose loads, what loads are acceptable?
- Area of the country – Pay Per Mile – time to pick up and deliver
- What time shift works best for both of you?
- Bob is a night owl, and I am the early bird
- We split at approximately 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon
- Who organizes the paperwork and receipts?
- Who maintains the truck?
As a team driver, we eat at different times when we are running hard. I have found that if I cook up several meals on the weekend and store them in the refrigerator in baggies, they can be heated up when we are ready to eat.
We have a few rules when our team partner is sleeping:
- Use a headset with one earbud so that the sound of the music, radio, or comedy channel does not keep your partner awake.
- When talking on phone keep voice low
- No laughing or singing out loud
- Keep getting in and out of the truck at a minimum
Our team driving career did not start until after our daughters were in college. For us, it was a perfect time as the girls were beginning their new lives and we were beginning our new career. One of our favorite perks of this job is how often we can see our daughters. Our oldest daughter lives and maintains our house near Saint Louis, and our other daughter is in the military. When we get close to home or to where our youngest daughter lives, we stop in and visit if time permits. We can see both of them much more than we would have in our previous jobs.
In our situation, we had been married twenty years before deciding to enter the world of trucking as team drivers. One of our concerns was, could being together in such a small area for such a long time make or break our marriage? We just celebrated forty-one years of marriage, and yes, becoming team drivers did change our relationship. The career choice was made at the right time for us, with our daughters grown, we can enjoy our life on the road and not be continually stressing over when we will be going home.