Taking CDL Test In 2 Weeks, Need Some Help Downshifting Quickly

Topic 26720 | Page 1

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Jake B.'s Comment
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So the time is almost here and I am going to be taking my CDL test in about 2 weeks. I am practicing for the test and one area I still have a concern is downshifting quickly before a turn and or stop.

My issue is say when I am getting off the freeway I have a very short distance to downshift to move over into the right most lane for a left turn. Coming from the freeway I’m doing about 50mph when I come to the off ramp. I have about 1 blocks worth or distance to downshift from 10th to 4-5th, I can’t downshift and slow down before the off ramp I have been instructed because that would be considered obstructing traffic. I want to downshift smoothly and I can accomplish this by pressing the service brake hard to slow me enough to downshift quickly but my concern is that I am slowing too much and obstructing traffic which is an automatic fail. I could downshift to say 8-7th in time and then push in the clutch half way and come to a stop if the light is red, but if the light happens to be green and I could go I don’t have enough time I feel to down shift to say 4-5th for the turn.

I have been practicing skipping a gear when downshifting and hav been able to do it, my issue with that is sometimes I don’t slow down enough and I can’t get into the gear I want so I have to go back to the gear I started with and downshift 1 gear which ends up just wasting time.

I would appreciate any help I could get, I want to be as prepared as I can for my test.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Don't skip gears on your state test.

The only time you should be concerned about getting to 5th is when you're turning. When you're stopping, if you're in 7th stop in 7th. Just make sure to put in 2nd or 3rd before you start moving again.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Don't skip gears on your state test.

The only time you should be concerned about getting to 5th is when you're turning. When you're stopping, if you're in 7th stop in 7th. Just make sure to put in 2nd or 3rd before you start moving again.

And do not stop with the clutch in, ever. Leave the clutch engaged until you are almost stopped.

Jake B.'s Comment
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Don't skip gears on your state test.

The only time you should be concerned about getting to 5th is when you're turning. When you're stopping, if you're in 7th stop in 7th. Just make sure to put in 2nd or 3rd before you start moving again.

Thanks for the reply. So what would I do then if right when I get off the freeway the light is green and I’m approaching the the light still in 6-7th gear? I can’t come to a stop at a green light and go to 2nd gear, 7th would be too fast so I would have to downshift at least 2 gears within a couple seconds. Maybe I’m just overthinking it, I just don’t wanna fail because of something like that.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Don't skip gears on your state test.

The only time you should be concerned about getting to 5th is when you're turning. When you're stopping, if you're in 7th stop in 7th. Just make sure to put in 2nd or 3rd before you start moving again.

double-quotes-end.png

Thanks for the reply. So what would I do then if right when I get off the freeway the light is green and I’m approaching the the light still in 6-7th gear? I can’t come to a stop at a green light and go to 2nd gear, 7th would be too fast so I would have to downshift at least 2 gears within a couple seconds. Maybe I’m just overthinking it, I just don’t wanna fail because of something like that.

You're overthinking it. You have to stop in a gear, that is all. 5th or 6th is ideal, but if 7th is what you got then stop in 7th and stop so you can see the line on the hood. You don't want to be fumbling with gears approaching a light and end up stopping in neutral.

When I shift the only thing I pay attention to is my speed. When downshifting

9th is 40

8th is 30

7th is 20

6th is 15 or lower.

And I say what I'm doing as I do it so for downshifting I say "clutch bump clutch" because that's what I'm doing. I'm clutching into neutral, bumping the RPMs and clutching into gear.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I had the same thought process while in school. We were told to take turns and stop in 6th. I ended up skipping 7th so I could stop In 6th as that's what we were told. My instructor then said IDEALLY you go through all the gears but many times it isnt possible. One thing he taught me was on city streets do 5 under the speed limit. This way if you have a light change on you you're already at the proper RPM to drop a gear without needing to slow down. You may want to make sure where you're testing doesnt consider that impeding traffic though. When I took my test I was told as long as you aren't going much slower than 5 under you'll be ok. If you end up stopping in 7th gear make sure you press the clutch in before you're completely stopped, just no more than 1 truck length.

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