NC Truck Driver Training School

Topic 30751 | Page 4

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Derrick M.'s Comment
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In my school, this is how we are taught to downshift:

- Check the RPM and clutch to N

- Press the accelerator to rev up to the required RPM (dependent on the operating range of the truck)

- HOLD the rev at that RPM

- Clutch to gear while still holding the rev through the entire shift

Now, every video I've watched and everything I've read is basically the same except for holding the rev through the shift. Everything else says/shows just tapping the accelerator to get the revs up and then shifting when you catch the RPM you want as it drops. In other words, not holding down the accelerator. I hope I'm making sense?

Is there a reason we are being taught this way? Is this the "proper" way?

Just curious everyone's thoughts. I'm going to ask about it at this weekend's class as well.

Old School's Comment
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I don't know why they are teaching it that way. If you use the throttle to bump your RPM up a little past your ideal shifting RPM and have some slight pressure on your shifter with your hand, it should downshift easily as the RPM falls into the proper range. Holding the rev of the engine at the same RPM only makes it harder for the transmission to shift.

I don't want to go against your teachers advice. He knows what the examiner is looking for. I would certainly suggest you ask the teacher and get them to show you a few examples so you can actually see what he is doing. It may be that you are understanding one thing, and they are meaning another.

Derrick M.'s Comment
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I thought maybe I was misunderstanding, but the instructor in the truck with us will literally say out loud, "Hold the rev, hold the rev, hold the rev..." while you are doing it. I've even been "dinged" on my evaluation (we get a short eval after each drive) for not doing it every time. It's not easy to hold it there! What you described is exactly how I would think it would need to be done and seems to be the way I've read and seen it done everywhere else.

Obviously I'm going to do it the way they tell me to. I'll definitely be asking in class Friday about it and try to understand why we have to do it that way. I'm assuming they have some reason to teach that way.

PackRat's Comment
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I have never, ever heard of downshifting this way. It is completely counterproductive to rev the engine up in order to slow the speed of the vehicle. The only way I can think this would be useful would also involve the engine compression braking (Jacobs brake), where the higher RPMs are an asset.

Derrick M.'s Comment
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I have never, ever heard of downshifting this way. It is completely counterproductive to rev the engine up in order to slow the speed of the vehicle. The only way I can think this would be useful would also involve the engine compression braking (Jacobs brake), where the higher RPMs are an asset.

Just to clarify, we are holding the RPM at the required shift point. Not at a higher RPM.

PackRat's Comment
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Okay, do it their way, but it is nonsense. The only way I can see this being safe would be to have both three legs and three feet, one for each control pedal.

If you are downshifting in order to slow down via mechanical means, one foot will be used primarily on the brake and the other on the clutch. The method you describe is too much footwork for two feet. It would also be unsafe as you are coasting out of gear if that right foot is occupied "holding the RPMs", vice being used on the brake pedal. It should be taught as utilizing a quick bump up of the RPMs to around 1350 - 1400, then slide that stick into the gear you need. Just as Old School wrote earlier.

I will chalk this up as another example of why we push company training at company schools instead of the majority of "Get Your CDL Here For Only $$$ In Less Than BLANK Days". The majority of large Carrie's will provide better instructors with more current experience; not "I teach it this way because that's how I did it for my 4.77 million miles back in the 1980s."

From your statements I can only view this as starting bad habits now which will be more difficult to retrain later.


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.
Derrick M.'s Comment
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Day 13 - Friday, October 1, 2021

Classroom night. Went over defensive driving techniques. Watched a couple of videos about it as well. Had another recruiter come and talke to us as well. This one was from Covenant He gave us the fastest recruiting spiel I can imagine and then left. Felt like he had somewhere else he would rather be and was in a hurry to get there. Basically just read to us what was in their little brochure he gave us and that was it. Nothing about them really peaked my interest.

Nothing else about tonight to talk about!

Derrick M.'s Comment
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Day 14 - Saturday, October 2, 2021

Wasn't scheduled to drive first thing in the morning like I have been in previous weeks. So started the day on the yard doing the forwarding/obstacle course drill. Trying to get that nailed down before testing. Other than getting my trailer tire to hit the yellow paint next to the tire (curb), I think I've got it down pretty well. I keep missing that paint by about an inch!

For my 4th day driving, I was paired with an instructor that I haven't driven with yet. I've worked with her in the yard, but not behind the wheel. She's really cool, but she doesn't hold back and will let you know how she feels! Which I respect. What followed was my worst day of driving since I've been here. I don't know what happened. I kept missing gears, couldn't come of the clutch smooth, kept forgetting what I needed to do....just a complete cluster. The more I messed up, the worse I got. I couldn't wait for it to be over. When we got back to the school, I told her that was the worst I've driven since I've been here. I thought it was worse than my first day! She downplayed it and said it wasn't that bad. Said I was doing better than most in the class and not to worry about it. That being said, I wasn't happy with myself at all. Serious blow to my confidence. Bothered me for the rest of the day. I can't believe I was that bad!

Finished the day back in the yard. Worked on some coupling, trying to get the steps for that test down and in the proper order. Simple stuff, just need to memorize all the steps in the order they want them done. Did a little bit on the straight back station and then drove the course again a couple of times. Nothing of note to really discuss. Getting better at all of that, just need to keep doing it.

The rest of the class voted to come in an hour earlier tomorrow so we could leave an hour earlier that evening. So instead of coming in at 8am, we are starting at 7am. That's all fine and good for everyone else. I have an hour and 15 minute drive to get there though! So now I have get up around 5am instead of 6am. Blah...not a morning person! Oh well, it is what it is. I'll survive.

Derrick M.'s Comment
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Day 15 - Sunday, October 3, 2021

I was late for the first time today. Only 5 minutes, but that counts as 15 minutes on our total time. We are allowed to miss 39 hours for the course. I had to leave early today due to personal reasons.

Today was just another Sunday on the yard all day, rotating through the stations. I believe some of the stations are going away for next weekend though. We are going to start working on the alley dock, and a 1000 foot straight back I think. So the yard is going to be changed up.

Still bummed about my driving yesterday. Shouldn't let it eat at me like it is, but I know I can do better than that. After thinking about it a lot (too much), I really think I may have had my seat too far up. I think that was screwing me up on my clutching. Or, I'm just trying to come up with an excuse :)

Oh well, hopefully next week is better. There's a lot of rain in the forecast for next weekend, so I'll get to add that to the mix! Should be fun!

Sorry not a lot to talk about, it's just been more of the same. Plus since I left early today, it was a shorter day. And honestly, between working during the week and doing this on the weekends, my body needed to leave early. It's been over a month without a day off and I'm starting to feel it for sure. Physically and mentally wearing me out. Going to be taking a day or 2 off from work in the next couple of weeks just to get some rest and reset.

Thanks again for following along. More next week!


Operating While Intoxicated

Derrick M.'s Comment
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Sorry guys, bad news. I had to miss class last weekend because I was really sick. Unfortunately, missing those hours combined with also having to miss hours this past Friday and Saturday due to a work emergency, I'm over the limit of hours I can miss. It sucks, but I'm going to try again next semester. May even look into some training somewhere else. Not really sure yet. But I haven't given up! Just a temporary roadblock!

Thanks to everyone who was following along and helping out. I'll be back!


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

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