Last night as I drove towards Ohio, I grew extremely exhausted. I needed more sleep, but couldn’t get it while my teammate was driving, so I was running on fumes. Problem was, if I pulled over, my teammate couldn’t take over because he hadn’t finished his 10-hour rest break, which meant we’d be parked until he could drive again, which would make us late to our delivery. The only options were to either push through the drowsiness, which would be unsafe, or to ask for an extension, which makes us look bad because we couldn’t run the load in time. So I asked for an extension. We’re newbies in Phase 2, we aren’t expected to be perfect, so I figured it would be okay.
The fleet manager called me to ask why I couldn’t finish the run in time, and I had to explain the poor sleep schedule. I assured him it would be better in the future, because I’d worked out a schedule with my teammate. We decided to do 10-hour cycles. Each cycle, one driver would sleep while the other drives 9.5 hours (with a 30-minute break). In between cycles, both drivers perform a 15-minute truck and trailer inspection. That way no driver is behind the wheel for too long, and both drivers get adequate sleep. In theory, at least.
We delivered the load and I slept while my partner drove. Getting sleep was surprisingly difficult for how tired I was, but the road was bumpy and traffic forced my teammate to slam his brakes all the time. Or perhaps he needed to increase his following distance. I don’t know; I was sleeping.
I somehow managed to get some decent sleep despite everything. When I came to, my partner was making moves in north Ohio, picking up a load heading for Tennessee. We swapped again at 11, and I drove the rest of the night.