Your Latest Thoughts On Automatic Or Manual Transmission? // Team Or Solo Driving?

Topic 28652 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
J.D.E.Z. R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all... Been reading here for months; first post. Finally took the private school plunge and am nearing the end...So...

1) Manual vs automatic transmissions... Personally, professionally I'd much rather not be driving big rigs with manual transmissions. I understand this is a somewhat controversial topic; yes I first learned to drive in a manual car and still like 'em and wish my pickup was one; and no I'm not a spoiled young tech-head lover of the new-fangled, but am no doubt older than most members here.

At school we're training on 8-speed Freightliners and a 10-speed Volvo for the CDL , but in my case at least, it's only cuz double-clutched sticks are all this particular school offers. And of course there's the dreaded restricted license factor, otherwise. I know I'd eventually get used to it and good at it, but I find it and expect always will find it an unnecessary obsolete distraction, now that we're in "The 20's". (Plenty more important going on to pay attention to out there, than having to multi-task in traffic. Much less so with 2 or 4-wheelers.) This plus the fact that even though he plays sports and bikes a lot, this no-longer-young dog seems to learn new tricks more slowly than he used to and is having trouble picking it up in time. Plus we don't get near enough road hours at the school... So the obvious question is, how big of a factor does this need to be, if I only want to work for companies who advertise all automatics and the most modern features (aside from in-cab monitoring devices!)? All I've heard against automatics on YouTube, etc. is they tend to bump the docks too easily and need repairing far too soon, for some reason; but these allegations if true are serious of course. Is an ‘automatics-only’ restriction seen as an automatic stigma?

2) Teaming vs solo... Have thought about and tried to research this well enough, for many months now... Am now leaning heavily toward going with a co-driver, for several well-considered reasons, least of which is the money. At least for the first year. The most important and of course tricky issue seems to be compatibility and how to find that right partner. Is it safe to rely on the odds of finding him among the relative few I'll meet at a company orientation? Online matching? Fish for one here? Another forum? The "search" seems too needle-in-a-haystack-y. Will read more about it that's been previously posted here, if there is more than I’ve seen, but for now I wonder why not try to renew the thread, since the last post under team driving appears to be several years old. Why is this, I gotta wonder, since it's still a big and complex option… Maybe I’ve overlooked too much…

On a related note, what about the ride-along friend option? If they get a permit, they can drive a little with me, right, like to get us to a spot to sleep when it’s hard to find and I'm toast? Most importantly they can help with navigating, parking/backing guidance, planning/timing, making it more interesting/less boring or overwhelming, more generally sustainable, etc... I know that all this has inevitably been discussed a lot before, and I know it has a lot to do with individual personalities and preferences, but… Am I missing anything important and current here, folks? ---E.Z. Rider

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.
Dan F.'s Comment
member avatar

Easy one first

There is a reason that teams make up less than 1% They suck. (My opinion ) The majority of successful teams are usually husband and wife or two family members. Otherwise the teams are never long-term.

I have owned two automatics and driven many manuals. You get a lot of people that say they will never drive an automatic. This is just a bunch of hair on the chest. I do believe everybody should learn to drive a manual first and get experience before using an automatic.

The biggest problem people have with automatics isn’t from the automatics faults. It’s because the people don’t understand how an automatic makes the decisions on when to shift.

Automatics have also had years to have their bugs worked out and are getting better all the time.

And in rush-hour traffic my knees don’t hurt anymore.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to TT.

Teams, not for me. I need to much morning personal time to team. As said, best teams are husband and wife, all money goes to the same place.

I do not think a company will allow a CDL permit or license passenger. They cannot operate your company truck unless employed by the company.

I trained and passed my CDL test on a manual truck and that is all my manual experience. I have only driven automatics. Most companies are either all or mostly automatics. The restriction doesn't matter. Most manual drivers float the gears , no clutching.

All CDL school does is teach you to pass the CDL exam. Your company will train you to drive.

Good luck.

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.

Float The Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Dispelling the Myths of Team Driving

That is an article I wrote with some things to consider before teaming. I have teamed both as a trainer and a full team with a co driver.

It is not for everyone and it is not to be a crutch and extension of training. Done right, it does have perks. Done wrong, and it can be hell.

As far as a ride along... No...you cannot have someone with a permit or CDL at most companies. No company is going to entrust millions of dollars in liability so some guy you want to bring along. If you want to bring someone along fine.. But they cannot drive the truck.

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.
andhe78's Comment
member avatar

The biggest problem people have with automatics isn’t from the automatics faults. It’s because the people don’t understand how an automatic makes the decisions on when to shift.

Automatics have also had years to have their bugs worked out and are getting better all the time.

And in rush-hour traffic my knees don’t hurt anymore.

This is exactly my thought on the subject. Love the 30 year drivers who complain their knee and shoulder hurts from shifting, but refuse to learn how to drive an automatic. My auto even does a good job heavy, with trains, and unbaffled tanks which are the biggest reasons I hear people prefer a manual.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.
J.D.E.Z. R.'s Comment
member avatar

First of all, now that I've got my long first post of questioning out of the way, I want to be sure to truly thank all those who power this site forward, year after year. This virtual place seems like a truck that can be maintained indefinitely if caringly and respectfully maintained...Like a trusty steed that will give and give, give you her impressive horsepower for her whole healthy life if she's treated right. You folks who stick around even though you don't have to, who've pretty much all received help here from other drivers, many of you then also give back, for the sake of helping others and in order to better power this nation forward by serving its needs as well. (And in the process, helping others feels good right?!) That gives me more of the inspiration I need to embrace this big-ass challenge. I think of all the present and future newbies like me, facing the plenty-daunting career choice of trucking, with all its unknowns that must become known to do the job right, to keep it safe and sustainable. Makes me feel a bit sorry for them if they don't find out about Trucking Truth...of myself if I hadn't. But then of course this forum would be a different animal, seems to me, with THAT many members! Yeah, feels a little sad and scary actually, to consider those who'll have to (even though they just don't know they DON'T have to) go it alone. Meaning, without the support and sheer helpful knowledge and hard-won wisdom ya'll have gained and share here. It's made a big difference for me already, and I'm not even "out of the gate" yet!

Now as for getting out of that gate, thanks especially to those who already have and hopefully are yet to respond to my questions about teaming and transmissions. It's been immediately helpful, except I still feel I'm probably one of the minority of drivers who WILL find more fulfillment and a better fit by doing this job with a partner. I understand that trucking is well-suited for, relatively, loners, hermits, introverts, and self-starters who thrive most on controlling their own destiny by going it alone as much as possible. In some ways I really envy and am in awe of that. My dad, whose last career was as a school bus driver, and who died of Parkinson's last fall, was an extreme example of it. He lived alone for decades in the house he helped build, and never even dated again since my mom died when I was 9. But he wasn't very happy, his heart pretty cold, his social skills in some ways abysmal; and I know I couldn't have lived that life if my life depended on it. Granted he was a rare extreme exception, but it sure highlighted the huge differences between us, like, I seem to only thrive as a team player rather than a solo act.

So...Is it really true that it's only ONE PERCENT or less, or even any only single digit %, of drivers who team? Or at least who do it long-term and actually prefer it? If it IS just a minuscule minority, well first I'd find that hard to believe and need to confirm the stats. Cuz so far it sure does give me pause, cuz it seems to me there have to be reasons for it which go way beyond the personality types of truckers. But that choice will sort itself out later for me. Naturally much more important right now, with my CDL test looming large only several days away, is my "transmission issue", so I want to try another "Reply" for that...

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Don’t let yourself overthink things. You are at the stage of taking one step at a time. Your school teaches on manuals. That is all you have to concentrate on right now. Get it down for your test day. That should be your focus right now. Once you get that done, move onto step 2. Getting a job. CRST runs alot of teams. I recently heard, unconfirmed that CR England is heading in that direction.

Personally teaming is not something I took lightly. I never thought I would do it, however I am with my GF. She is the only one I would even consider doing it with. I have a very hard time putting my life in the hands of just anyone.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Teams definitely aren't for everyone. I didnt even like it when I was training. The truck is just way too small for more than one person.

As far as auto vs manuals after having driven both, I prefer a manual. There is so much control lost in being able to creep, mainly in reverse, but also in the forward gears. Im told it can be fixed by adjusting the clutch but im skeptical. You still have to give it fuel to move, you can't just let the clutch out and creep. But thats just my opinion and quite frankly ill drive whatever they give me.

J.D.E.Z. R.'s Comment
member avatar

Newbie E.Z. again here with a too-long post, trying to drill down deeper into my main issue: My "TRANSMISSION" dilemma for my CDL school driving test this week. Apologies to those who'll find this too wordy to slog through. If you're interested in my issue otherwise and just want the upshot, please skip to the end. For those who may find this worth reading, do give it a go cuz I'm trying to provide the relevant background so you can understand MY actual situation. I hear and thank you PJ, about over-thinking and such. Please hear me out here though, if you can, since it's not so simple as just focusing on the goal, in my case. I'm strongly sensing I need to re-strategize and the following explains why...

I'm finding from this apparent confirmation from the savvy responses so far and from my other research, that manual transmission big rigs have in fact become optional and are being treated by companies who buy new trucks, at least, as more and more obsolete. And after trying for weeks to get the hang of it, it's becoming clear that driving these is just not the right route FOR ME to go. Now, I DO GET IT, how controversial this issue is, and of course I see the wisdom that ideally it's better to get certified to drive both manual and automatic. But the thing is...

...To me it's more like the question of whether a driver chooses to get a certification to, and then maybe have to at times, drive triples or not. Many drivers just have what I think is an understandable aversion to that, and so they draw that line and don't get certified to drive what seem to many to be excessively long rigs. With enough road experience under the belt, that can be changed later, but why have to start out that way if you don't want to drive them and there's plenty of options to drive regular rigs? Similarly with manual transmissions, I'm just not into the idea at all, especially when it's clear from my reading and from YouTube testimonials from seasoned pro drivers that at this point, the pros of automatics overall outweigh the cons. Except with this issue there's with the added element of feeling shame that I'm just not mastering the skillset fast enough to pass the exam. It's embarrassing to see most others picking it up faster, and I'm a bit resentful to see some who are catching on quick seeming to get MORE time behind the wheel than I. (For example, four of us and the instructor went out and this young guy was picking it right up, SO much faster than the rest that it was kind of hard for me to be happy for him...and I'm not a petty person! Particularly hard was that not only did his turn at the double-clutch last way longer than mine, but then he got to go out twice that day while I did not. Now he's pretty much ready for his driving test, and with like only half my hours at the school, since his class started after mine.

I'm sure my feeling about the whole concept is a lot of it, but I'm forced to reluctantly admit it's also a matter of this old dog taking longer to learn this new trick than would've been the case when he was a young'in. I'm "smart" enough, but I've always had a "different" learning curve than most people--slower to learn physical skills involving "multi-tasking", but once I do catch on I tend to keep on getting better after most others have plateaued. (Is anyone else here like that?) With learning trucking skills at school, obviously it heavily favors those who catch on fastest. Unless you're in the much more pricey "Professional" program, our tuition covers 160 hours and we're scheduled to first test at about 140, in order to leave 20 to refine skills and knowledge in case we fail... Which I now feel I'm pretty much certain to max out. Why? Just because of having to sufficiently master all that gear-shifting that I'll probably be able to easily steer clear of having to do once I go pro. Seems a shame, since after 4 more days at school I should be fine with everything else. It's just, with SO much to monitor and do at once behind the wheel (especially in town traffic!), I'm acutely aware that the safety issues and all that's involved that's different from driving my pickup truck, have to be my top priority and I just cannot yet focus enough attention on the shifting skills required. I practice at home in a chair and it's very different; on the road even when I start out ok and don't get totally flustered, after half an hour I'm doing stupid stuff like clutching to the floor and then popping it! In short, I'm feeling increasingly hopeless I'll pass; at the same time I have little doubt that over time, if I were to get ENOUGH time, it'd become almost as natural for me as shifting a car.

Again, sorry for all these words to set the stage guys, for my plan that I'm asking feedback on here which is simply this: Since I'm scheduled to test late this week and will have my 140 hours in by then, I want to go in tomorrow and fess up to the head instructor and ask about testing elsewhere. I plan to call another school in town that I heard offers testing on automatics and see what that would cost. Ideally though I could transfer there for my last approx. 20 hours, but if not, and it's not prohibitively expensive, or I can test with MVD or wherever, it'll be worth it to me in order to get my CDL. Yeah, even though it'll be restricted so I can't drive manual transmissions. But I can handle after I'm experienced, IF it becomes a serious limitation, right?

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.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I don't know what you want from us. You chose a school that teaches on a manual right? Why did you choose that school if it is too hard and you don't want the manual?

Do you realize you get a maximum of 5 points on shifting on the exam? No matter how bad you shift as long as you recover and dont stall to impede traffic you won't get more than 5 points.

Pass the test and go to a training company that has autos. Most do. And believe it or not your situation is no different than anyone else who is afraid to take the test. If you think that way you will fail because you already have "cannot do it" in your vocabulary.

pJ was right... Get out of your head and get it done. If you overthink and expect o know everything you will fail.

Good luck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

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 for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More