Are you ready to team up with your mate?

1. Are you compatible?

This is the key question. You have to enjoy spending time together – a lot of time. And you have to both like driving- a lot of driving.

There’s no use imagining that life on the road will save a failing marriage. Most spousal driving units spend all their work time together, as well as most of their off-duty time. They truly prefer each other’s company.

If you’re really interested in pursuing this, you might first try to obtain permission from your employer to bring your spouse along on a few runs. Many carriers have programs that encourage a driver to bring a family member into the company. Brother/sister and father/son teams can also make successful combinations.

2. Can you deal with cramped living?

If one of you is claustrophobic, this might not be the job. Space is not usually an issue with most teams, but you have to show respect for your partner’s property and thoughts. You might want to spec’ additional storage space for personal belongings. And you might occasionally want to schedule a little time by yourself: take a shower privately or go for a walk alone.

3. Can you argue fairly?

Disagreements can arise over the smallest thing in the cab of the truck. Engaging in a heated debate while one of you is driving might not be the best way to settle an argument. Other couples enjoy a good verbal joust, and differences of opinion can be discussed easily without injuring anyone’s feelings. Sharon Grover and her husband Al Nicholet agree on one thing – the driver is the captain of the vehicle. They have come up with “the bunk rule” in case of any serious problems between them. The person at the wheel can tell the co-driver to go into the bunk at any time, without any questions or complaints.

4. Try to pace yourselves

When you first start teaming, the more experienced driver usually does the bulk of the driving. As the second driver gains experience, the duties become more evenly split. Some carriers have categories for their team drivers, super-singles or full teams, depending on how intensely the pairings want to operate.

Take time to find which arrangement works best for you. Some duos run four hours on, four hours off, while others find that longer shifts at the wheel work better. Some teams shut down for four hours of “quiet time” every 24 hours, while others choose to run around the clock. Still others prefer to take a full eight or 10 hours off at least once a week.

5. Don’t ignore other pursuits

Although most team truckers run hard and rarely dawdle, it might be good to take advantage of some of the opportunities cross-country trucking has to offer. A local museum or park is a great place to spend a day while you’re waiting for a load home. Some couples like to book off in Las Vegas for some gambling, or do some sightseeing in New York or Los Angeles.

Sharon and Al always carry their golf clubs along with them. They particularly like a course in Black River Falls, Wisc. Barb Robathan likes to play bingo while her husband John tinkers with the truck.

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

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