What would you do if your vehicle broke down in minus 50-degree weather? For driver Darek Tyler, he bundled up with every piece of extra clothing he could find and hunkered down until morning.
“My truck broke down in Colorado where all the ski resorts are. It was over 8,000 feet above sea level, 50-degrees below that night and I couldn’t get any heat until the next day,” he says. “I took every pair of clothes out of my bed, placed the top bunk mattress over me and slept like a big ol’ burrito.”
BEFORE JOINING CARTER
Darek, who has been driving professionally for two years, had previous careers teaching agriculture and later as a mechanic. Several of his relatives had been truck drivers, so when he wanted a new career that would offer him more money to support his growing family, he decided to become a professional truck driver.
“I did a lot of research and Carter just came out on top,” he explains. “They’ve gone far beyond what I expected and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
CARTER’S TEAM DIVISION
Although Darek spent some time as a solo driver, he much prefers working in Carter’s team division. He currently works with his co-driver and friend Austin Skaggs. The pair met five years ago in automotive school and then worked together as mechanics. Darek became a driver first and Austin later, about eight months ago.
“He went into trucking somewhere else and was constantly on the road,” Darek adds. “I had moved back to Arkansas and told him all about how great Carter is, suggesting we should work together.”
One of the things Darek likes about driving as a team is the ability to get more miles and more pay.
“When you’re a solo driver, you have to stop and take your 10-hour break,” he says. “As a team driver, you still have to take your break, but your co-driver is able to get behind the wheel. This means your truck is constantly moving and you have more earning power. You can get more home time as a team too.”
MORE MILES, MORE PAY
Darek and Austin average 6,000-7,000 miles each week. For home time, they are able to choose to stay out for one week with home time on the weekends, or two weeks and receive three days of home time.
“We just let them know how long we want to stay out,” he adds. “And when I was on vacation recently, Austin drove solo. The flexibility of this job is great.”
For drivers like Darek, being on the road comes with a lot of responsibility too. It’s not simply making sure you know how to drive safely – it’s also about being the eyes and ears of the road.
Darek recalls a time when he saw a light flickering on the back of a black mustang. Something felt off, so he called the police. He learned that state troopers had found someone in the trunk of the car. There have been other instances where he’s called the police for sex trafficking and drunk drivers. Sometimes these situations hit close to home for Darek, whose brother was killed by a drunk driver.
“We run these roads at all hours – especially as a team – and so many miles, so we see things that other people will often ignore or say that it’s not their business,” Darek explains. “As truckers, we’re able to call it in and explain what’s going on. The police are then able to come look into it and help.”
Darek lives in Paragould, Ark., with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. When he’s not on the road, he can be found taking his daughter to the zoo and spending time with his family.
If you’re interested in becoming a team driver at Carter, reach out to us today. We’d love to chat!