About To Take My Test And Really Worried About The Driving Portion...

Topic 4321 | Page 1

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Sam M.'s Comment
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Hey all,

First time poster here and about to finish truck driving school. My test is on Friday and as stated in the subject, I'm a bit concerned about the driving part. (Backing and pre-trip, I'm fine on those.) This is my first time driving a stick shift of anything and my shifting is really clunky and rarely smooth (except up-shifting). I read that the tester will deduct points, but the instructor is really on me about smooth shifting. Does anyone have any tips or things I could possibly look out for? The instructor keeps saying the same thing, but it's not really helping me understand what I'm supposed to do.

Thanks for any insight!


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SOBER-J's Comment
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Welcome to the forum! Did they teach you to shift by the rpm and speed? When I first started that's how we were taught. Made it much easier for me. Then as you get more experience it just comes natural. Just try to say calm and take one step at a time when you take test. Try not to worry about shifting when your doing the pre trip.

I'm Sober-J over

PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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It's all about the rpm's. When down shifting look to shift around 1100 rpm's. Push the clutch in about an inch or two and give a little gas to bring the rpm's up to around 1400. As your shifting the rpm's will fall into the 1200 range and it should slide right in. Don't sweat it too much. The tester knows you are new and they generally give you leeway. Heck, I actually stalled out and still passed

SOBER-J's Comment
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I was trying to remember that myself as I will take my road test for US Express nest week. I have 4 years exp but been out 5 and a half.

Just remembered another trick for you. Idle in each gear seeing what the speed is in that gear. The rpm will stay the same since your idling. Whatever the idling speed is in each separate gear write it down. That will be the speed for the gear you need then do like Road Hog bump to 1400-1500 and change the gear. I used to know them all and have memorized but like I said eventually it just comes natural.

Some body tell me if I'm close. Seems like 2 gear was 10mph, 3 was 15, 4 was 20, 5 was 25, 6 was 30, 7 was 35, 8 was 40, 9 was 45, and 10 was 50. Maybe not exact but I think I'm in the ballpark and every transmission and truck a little different. Also for an example if your coming to a stop and gearing down you hit your bump before you slow to the speed for that gear. Can't wait til you slow to the speed for the correct gear cause then by the time you bump your slowed to the speed for the next gear down.

Hope that helps it sure helping me just talking it out.

I'm Sober-j over

It's all about the rpm's. When down shifting look to shift around 1100 rpm's. Push the clutch in about an inch or two and give a little gas to bring the rpm's up to around 1400. As your shifting the rpm's will fall into the 1200 range and it should slide right in. Don't sweat it too much. The tester knows you are new and they generally give you leeway. Heck, I actually stalled out and still passed

Heavy C's Comment
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First off welcome. Secondly as far as helping to get you to shift smoother I'm not sure. Like sober said it's all about rpm and road speed. You really just need more practice. But just remember to speed up and slow down gradually. Don't try to upshift or downshift to quickly just let the rpm's come up and down slowly. I know that's not always possible but it will help you hit the sweet spot a little easier.

Also I'm not sure what road hog is referring to but the state examiner will give you just a few times of grinding gears before you will fail. I was told before my test that i would get about four or five times grinding before it's over. Yes it's true they do know you're new but they need to make sure you can handle a rig safely in traffic. And being able to get the truck moving and stopped smoothly is part of it.

Just relax and take your time and you'll be fine. If it makes you feel any better I stalled the truck in the yard right front of the examiner and still passed my first try. Good luck

Matt M.'s Comment
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Having just failed a road test and passing the next one, the advice I can give is just relax. The biggest difference between my two tests is I was nervous/stressed on the first one and it caused me to make a mistake. The second I was much more relaxed and it made all the difference.

I had never shifted before coming to Prime and spent a couple of weeks picking it up before my test. If you start over-thinking it you will probably miss something on the road that's more important than grinding a gear or missing one. Just breathe, re-rev up and down-shift. If that's the only problem on your road test I am sure you will be fine.

Sam M.'s Comment
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Thanks for the replies, all!

Yeah, we're taught using RPMs and road speeds to determine when to shift. Sometimes I get it right on, but about 60% of the time I grind and cause the vehicle to lurch. I was told that's because I'm letting the RPMs drop off too much before bringing them back up again. What's really funny is that I was doing great a couple weeks ago (under a temporary instructor) and then the regular instructor started teaching me and it just seemed that everything I did wasn't good -- the guy never gives me any encouragement and always says that I will fail. So that's made me really nervous and my shifting has gotten worse. Anyway, I jumped onto another topic, and I know it's a temporary situation, so I try to listen as best I can through all of that. I'm just crossing my fingers that my road test will go well.

Heck, I actually stalled out and still passed

Road Hog -- No way! I stall a lot right now, but I know what's going on and hopefully will prevent that from happening again in the future.

I've been having problems on hills, too, but I think I'm ok-ish now. But I stalled today when my instructor had me turn into an Albertson's parking lot that was also on an incline... I was in 6th making the turn (which is good for level ground), but I should have gone down to 4th at least before making the turn. I had to start over and try to get my way up the hill. It was a nightmare trying to eke my way around that parking lot without hitting anything!

Matt M.'s Comment
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If you are lurching you may be popping the clutch too. You can get off it pretty quick, just make sure it's a smooth motion.

Jimmy P. 's Comment
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I don't know if it will help you but here is what helped me ! I was having trouble especially on the down shift and found what I was doing was holding the shifter from the right side , I started holding the shifter from the top with a light grip and found it was easier to feel the rail and I had less trouble with the wrong gears as well as I felt that I had a better feel for when it would want to slide into the hole ! Hope this makes sense !

Leonard K.'s Comment
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Just coming out of school..

I must say I have some awesome instructors!!

Just like if you were in boot camp they drilled it in you .. but in a nicer fashion.

1. a tractor/trailer is a professional turtle... you are always going to go slow. ** Don't rush it!*** 2. rpms/gears.... the faster the higher ... the slower the lower! 3. Always be watching everything.. look for people, signs, bridges.. watch bridge heights .. you will be asked if you saw the height of the bridge bridge weight (she got me on this one!) ... watch as you go over one.. they will start talking to you and you better say focus and be nice..

and of course everyones favorite friend SAM...

One instructor told me... It is my GOAL to make SAM my friend!

what ever you do.. do not get over confident .. there are to many jack-holes out there on test day that can cause trouble. my first test day.. I had to take a curb to avoid a accident.. failed.. but no accident.

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