Friday, January 14, 2011

my big secret....

It's happened to all of us, you're sitting in a classroom trying to learn something and without fail there is always one person in the class that thinks they already know everything. Usually, these people think they are teaching the class from the students seat. They will talk over the teacher and go into long explanations about their experiences. It's a major annoyance and only serves slows down the progression of the class. When I started truck driving school, I decided that I would NOT be one of those people.

When I was in the Air Force from 1990 to 1994, I drove tractor trailers. I learned how to double clutch and shift through a 13 speed pattern with ease. However, beyond the basics, I my training in the military was nothing close to what it takes to drive a commercial truck. Military owned vehicles are exempt from Federal regulations. When I was driving on public highways, I would drive right past weigh stations. Military training usually consists of somebody handing you the keys to a truck and telling you to drive it until you get it right. For these reasons, I decided to keep it a secret that I had previous experience. I wanted to walk into the class to learn as much as I could, not brag about my expertise.

However, I must say I am very thankful for my past experience! The first day that we went out and drove the trucks was a bit a nail biter. 3 students in the truck with one instructor and we were taken to a less traveled road to learn about double clutching. I opted to go last and watched my fellow students make vain attempts at shifting gears. The crunching and grinding that I heard was similar to what you would hear if you dropped a spoon in a garbage disposal and turned it on. I was just happy that my kidneys survived the constant truck bucking. Honestly, I had no idea that you could even make a truck buck that hard.

Finally, it was my turn in the hot seat. Bearing in mind that it has been 17 long years since I've double clutched anything, I was slightly apprehensive that my past experience would pay off today. Once I got the truck rolling and was told to change gears, my first truck shift in almost 2 decades went smooth as silk. Within the first hour, I was practicing up sifting and down shifting as well as gear recovery, a technique used to get the truck back into gear if you miss a gear. On my second day of driving, I was already driving on the freeway. I started to feel a little guilty when one of the instructors told me that I was above average and almost 'fessed up to my secret.

I'm learning a lot every day and having fun doing it. Maybe in the last week I will reveal my secret, but not yet. I'm wanting to be instructed as though I have never even seen a truck and not have any information omitted because they assumed I already new it.



  1. What a great attitude. I'm sure your prior experience helps but perhaps you are just a little above average as well!!

  2. I keep checking every day for an update!! Would love to hear more about your adventures in trucking.