In this week's post we'll get a glimps of how it is to work in the expedite industry as a team truck driver. A way of working that is quite common in the USA, but not so familiar to us outside the USA. A team truck driver drives with another driver. While one driver operates the truck, the other rests or sleeps. Drivers on a team can work out their own schedule and hours. Using a driving team allows a truck to be on the road continuously, resulting in faster delivery of the products on board. This week's writer, Linda Caffee, is an industry leader and a well known team truck driver in the USA. She will share her experience from the roads on the Onspot blog. We think that Linda's experience is of great value for all of us in the haulage industry.
/The Onspot team.
Why a truck driver?
Getting started as truck drivers was not as easy as it sounds. After twenty years as a diesel mechanic Bob decided he wanted to start driving trucks instead of working on them. I, Linda at the time worked at our local county courthouse and we were facing the “empty nest syndrome” as our youngest daughter was heading off to college. The idea sounded appealing and we started our research.
Bob and I have been married since 1978 and the idea of spending twenty-four hours a day in a small box for months at a time was cause to step back and think about our plan. Would our new adventure really be that exciting or would it be something that ended a long marriage? How well did we really like each other? I am happy to say that after twelve years of team driving we are still together and doing fine.
We first started with Bob driving a tractor trailer and me riding along until we found expediting. The idea of driving a smaller 40’ truck really appealed to me and I liked the idea of being the 911 of the trucking industry by solving problems. While researching expediting, and asking questions one of my first concerns was having to drive in adverse winter conditions. Driving on ice with snow up to our doors, and white out conditions really frightened me. My first response was to only drive when it was safe which got rid of that fear. My second fear was of driving in unfamiliar large cities and getting lost. I lived with that fear every time I drove until we purchased our first GPS.
Our niche in the trucking industry consists mainly of two areas:
- Freight that requires special handling such as very sensitive electronics, slot machines requiring blanket wraps, or entering a business to take computers off of desks, load and secure for damage prevention and then driving them straight through to where they are being stored.
- As a team we handle freight that needs to move quickly to prevent a plant shut down due to a part shortage. We will bring just enough material to keep the plant going until their normal tractor trailer can bring in a truck load of freight.
Living like this means that our lives are very unpredictable as we never know where or when we are going. As you might guess, that means our income is also very unpredictable and we became adept at handling the high-income weeks as well as the low-income weeks.
In the upcoming blog series, I will discuss the high and low points of our week, miles traveled, weather, locations and if possible the type of freight we hauled. We hope that you will enjoy the journey with us as much as we enjoy the journey we are on!