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What A Crazy Road Test!

a student truck driver in training

I was returning to work for a company I had already spent a couple years working for in the past. By law, you have to take a road test anytime you are hired or re-hired at a trucking company. So I meet the "road test dude" and we hop in the truck. He had no idea the level of experience I had. I already had 250,000 safe miles of driving in all 48 states and Canada just with this company alone!

So I'm just relaxed and we're talking as I pull out of the parking lot and up a long steep hill to a stop sign. I've never driven this particular truck and every truck has a slightly different feel to the clutch. They are adjusted differently and require different amounts of movement and pressure depending upon a number of factors. So I stop at the sign, traffic clears, and I get ready to roll.

The hill is steep and I didn't quite let the clutch out the perfect amount before getting off the brake and the truck eased back about 6 inches before the clutch grabbed and the truck rolled forward. The distance it rolled and the time period it happened in was so small that by the time he screamed, "WE'RE ROLLING BACKWARDS!!!" we were already rolling forward. It was a massive overreaction on his part and was quite comical to me.

I laughed and said, "Take it easy, man. I know. Don't freak." and I kept chuckling. He yells, "YOU KNOW I CAN FAIL YOU FOR THAT!" and I smiled and said, "Man, how long have you been driving and how long have you been at this company?" He said three years driving, six months with the company. I said, "Man, I've been driving for a total of nine years with nearly one million safe miles (this is not an exaggeration) and 2 1/2 years with 250,000 safe miles at this company alone. Now we can turn around and go back and you can tell them I've failed your driving test and that I'm not qualified to drive for this company in your opinion, or we can kick back, relax and enjoy the rest of this ride."

It turned out to be quite a kicked-back, relaxed, and enjoyable ride.

So no matter where you go you will get some of these authoritarian types but don't let em get to ya. They're idiots. The driving instructors who really care about teaching you all that they can will be very patient and understanding. Nobody is born with the ability to drive a big rig. We all had to learn from scratch. The good instructors haven't forgotten that.

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare you for a great start to your trucking career.