GEAR SHIFTING

Topic 17342 | Page 1

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Danielle's Comment
member avatar

Currently I work a corporate job and have been thinking about changing my life and starting trucking. Simply because I love to drive and I want to see the country. I also like the idea of solitude. However I have never driven a manual vehicle and I am nervous about gear shifting. Has anyone else had this issue before? Let me know about your experience with this.

Lisa S.'s Comment
member avatar

Get someone to teach you to drive a stick. My dad put me in his old ford pick up with 3 speed on the column. He drove to an empty parking lot showed me the gears got out and told me to drive. I had it down in 20 mins. Thats all I drive now. I hear DOT wants all automatics by 2018 :-) FYI I'm going to prime saturday to start training. Go for it!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Danielle's Comment
member avatar

Get someone to teach you to drive a stick. My dad put me in his old ford pick up with 3 speed on the column. He drove to an empty parking lot showed me the gears got out and told me to drive. I had it down in 20 mins. Thats all I drive now. I hear DOT wants all automatics by 2018 :-) FYI I'm going to prime saturday to start training. Go for it!

Congratulations on starting @ prime. I super excited for you and I want to know if possible :) How it goes. I know once you start training you probably wont have time to update but I would love to hear about your first couple of days in class. And I am going to take your advice and reach out to see if someone could show me how to drive a manual before I start school. I haven't decided on what company I want to work for but so far I been leaning towards prime or Knight. Good luck to you. And hopefully soon I'll see you on the road.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't know why there are two different threads for this same topic, but no matter...

Don't waste your time learning how to shift a manual transmission in a car or pickup truck.

Shifting a big truck is completely different! The best you can hope for by learning to shift before you begin CDL training is incorrect methods that you'll have to unlearn once your in the big truck.

The best use of your time - before you start CDL training - is to study the material for your learners permit. Use the High Road Training Program on this site to learn practice for the General Knowledge, Air Brakes, and Combination Vehicle exams. Those are the three tests that you must pass to get your learner's permit. Once you master those topics, you can study Hazardous Materials (HazMat), Tankers, and Doubles/Triples which are not required, but are good to have on your license (you can never be overqualified).

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Lisa S.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't know why there are two different threads for this same topic, but no matter...

Don't waste your time learning how to shift a manual transmission in a car or pickup truck.

Shifting a big truck is completely different! The best you can hope for by learning to shift before you begin CDL training is incorrect methods that you'll have to unlearn once your in the big truck.

The best use of your time - before you start CDL training - is to study the material for your learners permit. Use the High Road Training Program on this site to learn practice for the General Knowledge, Air Brakes, and Combination Vehicle exams. Those are the three tests that you must pass to get your learner's permit. Once you master those topics, you can study Hazardous Materials (HazMat), Tankers, and Doubles/Triples which are not required, but are good to have on your license (you can never be overqualified).

My point with her learning to drive a stick is only so that she would be less nervous when learning to drive a big rig. Yes they're different but they also both have clutches and a stick. And if you can drive a stick your more apt to pick up a big rigs system better. And studying for the cdl is a gimmee. I hope she goes into trucking if that's her dream. I'd rather be nervous in a vw than a 80,000 lb vehicle.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Lisa said:

My point with her learning to drive a stick is only so that she would be less nervous when learning to drive a big rig.

Lisa,

More than half (perhaps as many as 75%) of my classmates never drove used a manual transmission before. I think that most of them learned to operate the big truck faster than I did, simply because they did not have to unlearn any techniques they knew from driving cars or pickup trucks with manual transmissions.

The best thing to do to remain calm or avoid being nervous is to remember this:

Your instructors know what they are doing. Students that came before you have already made all the same mistakes that you will, so your instructors know how to deal with them. All you have to do is trust your instructors; listen to them and do what they tell you, when they tell you to do it.

I saw my classmates struggle the most when they failed to listen to our instructors. Some even tried to negotiate with them to explain their errors. You don't need to do that... Everything that you need to know and everything that you need to learn, they can and will teach you.

I was not born a truck driver. I had no a priori skills for operating the truck or maneuvering a combination vehicle. I watched, listened, and learned from my instructors - that's how I passed my exams and obtained my class A CDL.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I agree with John. It's a completely different animal and often, those with no manual experience learn the necessary double clutching/shifting much easier than those who have driven a manual 4 wheeler.

Don't sweat it. You'll do fine.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Penny's Comment
member avatar

I am about to start CDL school in January. I have never ever even once shifted a gear in a car or anything else. I am just going to trust that my instructors will have taught people to do it before and if other people have learned how, so can I.

You can do it! Just remain calm and don't worry about it! I'm sure we will all grind a few gears in the beginning and will have to learn to get the hang of it, but before long, I'm sure it will become second nature!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Danielle's Comment
member avatar

Right! I love how positive and encouraging everyone is.. I am sooooooo excited about getting started. I know it wont be easy but like you said Penny if others have learned with zero knowledge then why cant I? I know I probably wont be able to shake the nerves right off but I look forward to mastering this skill.

I am about to start CDL school in January. I have never ever even once shifted a gear in a car or anything else. I am just going to trust that my instructors will have taught people to do it before and if other people have learned how, so can I.

You can do it! Just remain calm and don't worry about it! I'm sure we will all grind a few gears in the beginning and will have to learn to get the hang of it, but before long, I'm sure it will become second nature!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
's Comment
member avatar

Danielle...I've driven standards off and on for over 40 years. I started with Prime last month. I, as you and so many others, believed I had a leg up by having experience driving a stick. I was wrong!! lol. I had to "unlearn" virtually everything I knew about standard transmissions and learn a whole new way of driving. My humble suggestion would be to forget about needing to know how to drive a stick before you get to school. The trainers have tons of experience in teaching those who have never driven a standard...and have tons of success in doing so! Don't sweat it...they want you to succeed so they are very patient. And, as I said, you already have an advantage that those like me didn't have...having to unlearn then learn all over again! You'll do great! 95% of the things we worry about never happen! Just sit back and enjoy the ride!! Best of luck to you and God Speed!!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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