Why Not To Start Out In An Automatic Truck

Topic 19961 | Page 1

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Christopher M.'s Comment
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I started driving a truck maybe year ago or so and signed with a company to train me. When I started they ran only automatics I was trained on an automatic tested on an automatic but somehow got through the cracks and got a cdl without the automatic only restriction. Now the company I trained with turned into a nightmare real quick when I finished training they didn't have a truck ready for me to drive. So I decided to move onto another company only problem I had never driven a ten speed. That limited my options out of the gate. I found a job driving team with my father in an automatic so I thought I lucked out if we got moved to a 10 speed he could train me not big deal except for I had a family emergency 6 months into driving. My mother had a massive stroke and need around the clock care so I left the job and came home to take care of her now it's been six months she passed away 2 months ago and now I'm ready to go back over the road only problem no experience in a 10 speed. I have luckily found a company who will train me in a 10 speed. I wish I had started out in one to begin with I'm on my second week on it so far I haven't tore anything up on the truck so I'm counting that as a win lol. I seem to be doing really well with other than a few miscues on the first day no big mistakes on shifting or anything but I tell you as someone who trained on an automatic they should make every driver on the road drive a 10 speed starting out it makes life so much easier knowing thay if things don't work out here that I can move onto any company and not have to start all over again. I k ow this is a long winded story but thought any new drivers out there might want my 2 cents on starting on an automatic.

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.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

With having no prior experience with a manual transmission in my life, I went through school and training with a 10 speed. That was hell on earth to me. My first truck with Schneider was going to be a 10 speed, but I asked for more training due to a previously mismatched trainer. Got trained on an automatic KW, got an automatic freightliner, never looked back. Though it might hurt my chances of trying to find a local gig with a different company, I personally feel a lot more confident and safer in an automatic. Traffic and stop lights are nothing to me anymore.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

With many of the large companies that do in-house training, moving to auto-shifters - most of the Phase I initial road training (CLP) is done in auto's. The trainer brings his chargee back to the yard for a couple of days practice in a manual, before the road test.

With a majority of the larger companies now shifting to auto's - not sure how the industry (and the licensing authorities) are going to deal with this in the future. Luckily, you didn't get stuck with the restriction - or you would likely have to re-test in a manual in order to remove it.

Companies train you on the equipment THEY RUN, they are not training you for "subsequent employers".

The trend of most larger companies, is to move over to auto's. The smaller ones are still sticking with manuals for now. A couple of friends work for a mid-sized food tanker company (200 tractors) that just isn't switching because the owner doesn't like them.

Rick

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Big Holli's Comment
member avatar

The first time I drove a stick was at school. I had never driven a Manual truck before. But some reason I learned fast. And i miss it. Hauling tankers I thought having an auto would be smother ride. It's not. The transmission shifts like a new guy is slamming gears. Don't even get me started on how it handles hills.

Last Shadow's Comment
member avatar

I'm old school and don't matter what I read or what someone tells me about automatic trucks, I'm petrified the day my company changes me to an automatic.

The first time I drove a stick was at school. I had never driven a Manual truck before. But some reason I learned fast. And i miss it. Hauling tankers I thought having an auto would be smother ride. It's not. The transmission shifts like a new guy is slamming gears. Don't even get me started on how it handles hills.

millionmiler24 (CRST Amba's Comment
member avatar

Just see my post in the following topic:

Do you like CAT, Cummins or other?

and you will know how I feel about this.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

My CB Handle is Frank's Comment
member avatar

Personally, I've driven both and I think it's a lot easier to learn to shift a manual after you've become more comfortable with all the other things you have to learn during training. Transmissions seem to be pretty subjective though. I know I've driven some that I love and that other drivers hate.

Christopher M.'s Comment
member avatar

Personally, I've driven both and I think it's a lot easier to learn to shift a manual after you've become more comfortable with all the other things you have to learn during training. Transmissions seem to be pretty subjective though. I know I've driven some that I love and that other drivers hate.

Well I have conquered shifting now been to California and back from Tennessee 3 times since I started training I find my biggest problem is that I hurt my knee pretty badly in high school and after a day of driving my knee is killing me. I am glad I learned how to do it but I personally prefer an automatic.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Christopher, I seldom even use the clutch when driving a standard transmission truck. You need to get someone to show you how to "float" the gears. You really only need to use that clutch when starting from a stop or when coming to a stop.

John M.'s Comment
member avatar

Wjith many of the large companies that do in-house training, moving to auto-shifters - most of the Phase I initial road training (CLP) is done in auto's. The trainer brings his chargee back to the yard for a couple of days practice in a manual, before the road test.

With a majority of the larger companies now shifting to auto's - not sure how the industry (and the licensing authorities) are going to deal with this in the future. Luckily, you didn't get stuck with the restriction - or you would likely have to re-test in a manual in order to remove it.

Companies train you on the equipment THEY RUN, they are not training you for "subsequent employers".

The trend of most larger companies, is to move over to auto's. The smaller ones are still sticking with manuals for now. A couple of friends work for a mid-sized food tanker company (200 tractors) that just isn't switching because the owner doesn't like them.

Rick

To be fair isn't it like 30 grand or so to repair an automatic transmission for one of these things?

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

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