Learning to drive a truck has been a major shift for CDL or Bust student Russell Durgasingh. Literally.
“I need to work on my downshifting,” said the 45-year-old Durgasingh, a former boxer, mixed martial arts contestant, car salesman, factory worker and medical shuttle driver. “It’s a lot different than cars. I got my regular license in a stick [-shift]. It almost hurts you in a way, knowing how to drive a stick in a car. It’s hard to relearn.”
Durgasingh said having the diagram on the dashboard of the nine gears the students can use in Truck America Training vehicles has helped him.
“There’s a lot of gears so you might forget what gear you’re in,” Durgasingh said during the Day 9 lunch break in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “If [the instructor] says to go back down from fifth to third, you can glance up there. If you think you’re in eighth and you’re actually in sixth, you’ve got problems when he tells you to go to fifth.”
Downshifting isn’t Durgasingh’s only concern.
“I’ve been yelled at [by instructors] a couple of times about my cornering [on turns], but it’s coming along,” he said.
-By David Elfin, Transport Topics staff reporter. Photo by John Sommers II for TT.