Driving a manual

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by d_man, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. STexan

    STexan Road Train Member

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    To the OP ... thank you for not coming on here with the typical request ... "I don't know how to shift. Looking for a training company that uses autos only and will only refer me to carriers whose fleet is 100% auto."

    You may well end up in an auto in the beginning once you hire on but at some point in your career (if you stay with it) you're gonna need to know and be proficient with a manual so may as well get that feel now. The sooner, the better.
     
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  3. pattyj

    pattyj Road Train Member

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    You need to start thinking positive otherwise you will fail because of nervousness.Listen to everything your instructor says watch everything he and the other students do and you'll do fine.It takes time and you're not going to learn to shift overnite.It'll take a week or two before you start to feel comfortable.You're not going to be the only student there that can't shift and im sure most will be as nervous as you.When I started school and if I was filmed for the funniest video show for bad shifting,I would have won no doubt about that,lol.
     
  4. Dr_Fandango44

    Dr_Fandango44 Road Train Member

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    Contrary to popular belief, I don't think there's anything simple about driving a stick. It takes a bit of skill but if anything I think a truck is a little easier. It was easy for me because being a Brit, we were brought up on a manual Trans, from day one. Very few automatics in the UK when I was learning but it was not easy at first. Took me a while to coordinate the clutch with the gas pedal. For instance we were taught to hold the vehicle on a steep hill without using the brake. My dad would slap me on the wrist if I rolled back. Clutch/ accelerator control is something you have to learn. Not going to happen overnight. It's all about technique.
    Starting to drive a truck has it's own set of challenges but with time and practice you can learn. We all have to start somewhere. But just realize it takes time to make it happen and have the confidence to do it right.
    Good luck
     
  5. SnoopyKs

    SnoopyKs Bobtail Member

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    Floating the gears...ahhh...yes.
     
  6. SnoopyKs

    SnoopyKs Bobtail Member

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    Like a poster said here. LISTEN and WATCH your instructor(s). Be vigilent, ask questions, talk to your instructor. If they see you put forth the effort, and see you still struggling, they will be more apt to work with you more. I have a story about that, I will shorten it up a bit...but here it goes.

    I went to Roadmaster in Orlando back in 2007, one of the guys in my class, did everything great, but he couldn't get the shifting down, he stalled the truck 8 out of 10 times when trying to shift, he got so frustrated he completely shutdown and gave up. One of the older instructors at the school told him "I will not let you give up, I will come in on my day off (sunday) and we'll go to this place I know and I will work with you till you can shift without any issues". Needless to say, he got his license, and has been driving for Werner since 2007, no accidents no tickets.

    My point in this story is...don't set yourself up for failure. Like others have said, and actually I have heard instructors say..."we'd rather have someone who doesn't know how to drive a stick, then have someone who does know how, and has bad habits".

    Keep your head up, and let us know, or at least me.
     
    tucker Thanks this.
  7. skellr

    skellr Road Train Member

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    Yep, this is it for starting out. trucks are geared alot lower so don't worry about the throttle until the clutch is engaged. and don't be in a hurry when starting out in the lower gears, keep the throttle really light.
     
  8. street beater

    street beater Road Train Member

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    Dont tru to run up gears fast , take your time big truck are slow. Anyone that dont like it can go around. Soon enough you will be clutching for first and reverse only. (Or like most third and reverse but dont say that in front of your trainer)
     
  9. davetiow

    davetiow Bobtail Member

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    what really helped me was learning to use light pressure on the stick before tapping the clutch. just a little hand pressure to the stick, tap the clutch and the stick slides right out to neutral. then a little light pre-pressure against the gear you're shifting into (not enough pressure to grind!), tap the clutch and the stick slides right in smoothly. of course the rpms and vehicle speed need to be right, as in all shifting. like others said, don't rush, get a 'listen' for the engine sounds, and go smooth on the fuel application.
     
  10. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

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    Yeah that works and advice I give to everyone but when you have someone who has to get it in gear like yesterday, forget the light touch, jam it in there like you are trying to kill it.

    I say this because a couple weeks ago I had to teach someone to drive their company truck, it was a mess. The guy didn't listen to a word I said about clutching or watching the tach, he just went from one gear to another jamming it in, There were a few hard cer'chunks and a bunch of grinding but he got it into each and every gear. I couldn't take it after two hours of driving, so I put on my ear buds, plugged them into my ipod and cranked up the noise. By the way the owner of the company selected the truck, it was a brand new Freightliner with 200 miles on the clock. I am thinking that it will need a trans soon.
     
  11. Garrison64

    Garrison64 Bobtail Member

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    Having just gone through trucking school myself I'll just say that some people pick it up quickly and some don't. I was somewhere in the middle. Having shifted a synchronized transmission in a car I had a few things to unlearn including pushing the clutch all the way to the floor which engages the transmission brake in a big truck. That can lead to gear grinding. The biggest things are getting a feel for the timing of the clutch, gas, and when to move the stick. The other thing is learning the relationship of speed to RPM's especially for downshifting. But there's no way to really explain it, you have to get in the seat and get a feel for it. Some trucking companies have programs that will teach you how to drive and some don't. If they do just listen to the instructor and do what he says and don't sweat it if you don't get it right off the bat. It's really hard learning to shift along with all the other stuff you have to pay attention to while learning how to drive.
     
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