Read to get your mind away from the job

So you want to drive team with your spouse?  There is a whole lot more to driving team then driving the truck.  We are away from home for months at a time and the only time we get hotel rooms is when we are attending a truck show.   When driving we are always within a few feet of each other and usually when parked we are within 40' of each other.  The only time there is much distance is when one of us goes into a receiver or shipper to talk about our.
Learning to cope with someone always in our personal space takes patience and learning to behave differently then we would at home.  Our days are not spent entertaining each other as we still have our own jobs to get done.  When stopped Bob takes care of the outside of the truck and I take care of the inside of the truck.  That time is used as our alone time or personal time. 
As Expediters we doing a lot of hurrying up and sitting...  When we are running we are running hard and 99% of our loads are a straight through delivery.  As a married team it is difficult to adhere to a strict sleeping schedule.   We have nature working in our favor as Bob is a night owl and I am a morning person.
Learning to sleep in a moving vehicle was and still is one of our most difficult challenges.  While we were in the discovery stage of considering becoming team drivers we were not worried about sleep.  Both of could easily fall asleep in the front seat while the other was driving.  We had complete faith and trust in each other’s abilities. 
We though were really missing the boat, as we had not considered Hours Of Service (HOS) and the small detail that we would soon not be able to switch back and forth driving if the other became tired.   Even with all of our hours of research this very large detail was glossed over. 
Learning to sleep in a moving vehicle takes nerves of steel, as in reality it feels as if we are inches from death as vehicles move within feet of our heads.  Trucks ride much smoother then they did in the past and with memory foam and pillow top mattresses the bed is as comfortable as our home mattress if not more comfortable. 
As the truck moves down the road it is not at a steady pace, there are hills and valleys, merging vehicles, cars and trucks on the shoulder, and then the dreaded traffic jams.  During our partners shift they often stop for a restroom break, to get fuel, and to stop and stretch their legs. Each of these situations causes us to roll forward and backward in the bed and we have to learn to sleep through these movements.
Topping off all of the rolling movement we have vehicles traveling near our heads.  Most vehicles are not heard especially if we are on a flat stretch of road, but if we are climbing a mountain we hear the older trucks engines screaming as they go by.  Road noise made it difficult for me to fall asleep, though once I was asleep very seldom would road noise wake me. 
How I over came these obstacles:
  • I used ear plugs to drown out the noise
  • Keep the sleeper as dark and cool as possible
  • Read a book to let my mind relax
  • Place one pillow against wall to keep the roll to a minimum
  • I use lavender linen spray as well as lavender lotion on hands
  • I also use lavender essential oil and will dab some on the sole of my feet
  • If we are in a traffic jam or the road is hilly since I am short I sleep almost crossways in the bed.
  • I put the phone and computer away before going to bed and take time to let my mind prepare for sleep.
The key to all of this is to learn to relax and have trust in the driver that they will keep the vehicle safe until it is your turn to drive.  Take all of the steps to relax and give your body a chance to wind down from the stress of driving.  This is easier done as a solo as a solo usually gets out of the truck to stroll into a building, or to eat supper and relax for a bit before retiring.  Our relaxing when on long loads is done while the vehicle is moving and we often do not have time to get our for a stroll or to sit down and have a relaxing meal.  Learn what it takes in your operation to make team-driving work.

Comments (6)

Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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Charles you are so right! At the end of my shift there is always a thank you that all went well and I made good decisions.

May 24, 2014 8:24:36 AM

and a little prayer doesn't hurt either, for safe, healthy, happy miles for yourselves, those around you and GOD's creatures

May 22, 2014 16:02:03 PM

Running team has a lot of bonuses. When I first started the noise of trucks down the interstate inches from my head was nerve racking. It is still tough when going down a hill and we are passed by someone with loud compression brakes.

May 22, 2014 15:12:56 PM

Your title grabbed my attention and as I clicked on the page I saw the puppy book and lotions I had a good laugh. I understand now after I read it! Good stuff. I'm like Tyrone and Jeff for now...solo. I ran team when I started and it wasn't fun.

May 22, 2014 14:57:02 PM


May 22, 2014 8:28:51 AM

There is no way that I could handle the wait, wait, hurry up world that you operate in. Also, as much as I love my wife, I wonder if we could adapt to being together that much. The greatest thing about our industry is its diversity. Team operations differ too. Many teams get home on a weekly basis.

May 22, 2014 6:01:44 AM