FAQ: Does CDL Training Require Experience Driving a Stick Shift?


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I don’t have any experience in driving a stick shift vehicle or driving with a trailer. Will this be a problem during CDL training?

- Joe L.

Joe -

In today’s world, there are many people who have never driven a motor vehicle that did not have an automatic transmission. But in almost 11 years, we’ve never had a student that failed to adapt to a conventional stick shift transmission.

Even those who have driven a stick shift transmission sometimes have a problem because with a very high compression engine, you must shift at certain RPM or road speed. Many times it takes a little while to adapt to a new system of shifting, but that is why we have a school – to teach you how to adjust from a small vehicle to a very large one. Sometimes, it may be better to have never driven a stick shift than to have to learn a completely new system of shifting.

Many people have never driven a vehicle with a trailer, but again I tell you, in almost eleven years, we have never had a student that failed to grasp the backing exercises. You will not be a professional driver, backer, or shifter when you graduate from school. Only time will polish your skills and confidence.

If you have ever pulled a boat trailer or a farm trailer, it helps some, because you already understand the ideas of backing. Backing a large semi trailer is different and more dangerous, however. That is why we have developed a great training program to help individuals to learn and become confident in seeking a career as a commercial truck driver.

Thanks for your question, Joe!

Norman Sheffield
C1 Fort Worth School Director