Should New Truck Drivers Learn How To Drive Stick?
Manual transmissions may be slowly disappearing from the consumer automobile market, but stick shift is still alive and well in the transportation industry. Not only are trucks with manual transmissions cheaper to buy and repair, they’re also preferred by many truck drivers.
Planning for a career in the trucking industry? You would do well to start learning how to drive a manual vehicle, and preferably before Ontario’s restricted AZ licence takes effect.
Why Truck Drivers Should Learn How To Drive A Manual Transmission
Reason #1: Change Takes Time
While the number of manual trucks on the road in Canada are expected to decline over time, manual transmissions still make up about 50 percent of Class A vehicles across North America.
Many regional and local trucking companies that use older trucks are expected to hold on to manual transmissions for longer, and because they’re cheaper to repair, trucks with manual transmissions last longer.
Unsurprisingly, the phase-out period for manual transmissions in the transportation industry, especially outside of major cities, is expected to take a long time. Unless you want to start your career in trucking at the age of 90, it’s in your best interest to learn how to drive a manual transmission.
Reason #2: Ontario’s Upcoming Restricted AZ Licence
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is introducing a restricted AZ licence for those who take their road test using an automated or automatic transmission.
Effective July 2022, this restriction, which will appear as a ‘REST/COND G’ on the front of your driver’s licence, will prohibit you from operating a Class A vehicle with a manual transmission.
To drive Class A/AR vehicles with a manual transmission, you must complete your road test in a vehicle with a manual transmission that consists of at least eight forward gears with a high-low range.
Why cut your opportunities in half? Choose a truck training program that covers both automatic and manual Class A vehicles, so you’ll be prepared for all possible options in your career.
Reason #3: Money, money, money, money (money!)
One of the primary reasons that fleets are transitioning to automation is to enable a larger driver pool population; this is because the industry is desperate for people and so few people nowadays can drive stick.
So, here you have an industry that’s only about halfway through it’s transition, stuck with tens of thousands of commercial vehicles that only a fraction of the workforce are capable of operating.
The simple rules of supply and demand dictate that those who have this in-demand skill will be more likely to get the job, as well as to negotiate a better salary. Considering the average truck driver salary in Canada is $70,000, drivers who can drive stick could be looking at a very rosy future indeed.
Reason #4: Safety
Many drivers prefer driving a manual vehicle for reasons ranging from how they handle (“it’s more fun”) to simple hubris (“automatics are for people who don’t know how to drive”).
Many also feel safer driving a manual truck because it forces them to stay alert behind the wheel. After 13 hours behind the wheel, staying alert becomes pretty important.
Training For An Unrestricted AZ Licence
Now that you know why learning to drive a manual transmission is the best choice for your trucking career, you need to complete AZ licence training from a trucking school that will teach you how to drive manual Class A vehicles.
KnowledgeSurge’s EliteStart and EliteStart Pro programs include everything you need to start driving a Class A vehicle, including your air brake endorsement, and will prepare you for a career in the Canadian trucking industry. We’ll even help you get hired after you graduate.
There’s a reason why 99.9% of our students would recommend us. Find out why more commercial drivers choose KnowledgeSurge.