As trucking companies continue to report difficulty finding drivers, the industry is increasingly looking to couples who can be trained as trucking co-drivers. These teams allow a vehicle’s operating hours to be dramatically increased and freight can arrive much sooner, which is good news to transportation fleets. There are big benefits for the trucking couples too, so while it’s still relatively uncommon, sharing the cab with a romantic partner or spouse might not be as crazy as you think!
Jim and Eva Sisler, a truck-driving team, are the perfect example. While in truck-driver training, Jim realized his wife could do the job just as well as anyone and encouraged Eva to get trained too. As partners in the cab, they now travel the country together in their big rig without having to worry about missing time with each other while on the job. Plus, they’ve been able to earn greater income, save more money, and build a retirement account.
You might think that being confined in such close quarters for such a long period of time would lead couples to drive each other crazy. Not so, say Sharon and Chuck Gingerich, who started driving together a month before their marriage in 2004. They admit to knowing one trucking couple who “ended up throwing crockpots at each other,” but say that they’ve learned how to get along. Sharon jokes that Chuck gets grumpy after 5pm, so it’s perfect that she’s a night owl.
Carolee and Bobby Moore agree that working together takes, well, work. Bobby warns that being stuck in a cab can exacerbate problems in the relationship, “but if you do get along, it’ll bring you closer.” All that time together, and the responsibility of getting the job done, “demands more communication and a willingness to find solutions instead of stewing over disagreements.”
It can also be tough at first for the partner who hasn’t driven before. Carolee was new to life on the road after marrying Bobby in 2010 and not prepared for the realities of the cab, including things like the smaller space, less frequent showers, and sometimes having to use bottled water when brushing her teeth. However, the benefits have outweighed the initial shock. As a trucking team, Carolee and Bobby are reliable partners for navigation, maintaining logs, talking to dispatch, dealing with repairs, safely checking smartphones for weather and traffic, and even keeping each other healthy.
Art Johnson and Amanda Jones also think the benefits of trucking together are worth it. They describe how working together in the cab has allowed them to spend time together, slash living expenses, and earn more money. The many benefits of a driving partnership are why Greg Stewart, the Director of Transportation at Kirkwood Community College, says he has seen a number of trucking couples enroll in the school’s truck-training program, in addition to other trucking teams like parents and children, siblings, and friends.
Like we said at the start, trucking couples are not the most common driving arrangement you’ll see on the road, but it’s one with some clear benefits for the couple and for the industry. What do you think?? Let us know in the comments below; would you share the cab with your romantic partner or spouse??