Ever since the very beginning of the trucking industry, drivers have been manually shifting through gears. The training for a CDL heavily emphasizes learning to shift properly. Some states have even made shifting a part of their exams. However, just because things have always been done a certain way doesn’t mean they should always be done that way. Trucking is no different. In recent years, there has been a slow but definite push toward automatic transmissions in trucking. Is automatic transmission right for you?
Increased Fuel Efficiency
One of the largest expenses involved in managing a fleet of trucks is the cost of fuel. Diesel prices continue to fluctuate from one extreme to the other, which can make budgeting for fuel even more difficult. When automatic transmissions first came about, their fuel efficiency was quite poor. Since then, however, many technological breakthroughs have happened and that is no longer the case. Nowadays, a well-maintained automatic transmission uses less fuel than a manual one.
Modern automatic transmissions also improve your truck’s overall performance. In the past, a trucker would have to very carefully use certain gears to maintain control of their vehicle. Automatic transmissions eliminate that worry, giving drivers better control. The improved control drastically improves the safety of the truck, the driver, and the other vehicles and drivers on the road. With automatic transmissions, drivers can maintain much better control over their vehicles on steep hills and slick roads, which makes driving conditions safer for everyone.
Less of a Learning Curve
Shifting gears manually has always been one of the most arduous parts of CDL training. On average, a truck with a manual transmission has around 12 gears. Cars with manual transmissions usually have no more than 5. Even if a student truck driver uses a car with a manual transmission every day, there is still a significant learning curve going from that to a big rig. Using trucks with automatic transmissions helps new drivers get through training faster, and because automatics are easier to operate the drivers end up being much more confident in their abilities.
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