I was amused by your editorial in January edition of Truck News.
Drivers resisting change is as old as trucks themselves.
I started my life as a transportoligist when trucks had two gear shift levers on the floor. The first controversy I recall was whether a truck should have power steering or not. The old-timers of the day said you couldn’t feel the road and it was a sure formula for a jack-knife on ice. Having graduated to a newer rig with power steering I claimed that the easiest way to get used to power steering was in reverse.
Incidentally, the next time I jack-knife a rig will be the first time. The first 13-speed I had, a senior friend of mine said I was crazy to buy something with an air shift. Well, the 9513 Roadranger grew up with the bigger engines and was the mainstay of the industry for years.
The next thing to be resisted was cruise control – I loved it. I retired a year ago and that took me the full circle where I became a driver again.
The company I’m driving for gave me a truck with an auto shift tranny. My friend, now over 70, told me I’d never get used to it. It works just fine although in some cases I can shift smoother than it can. In the mountains you use the manual mode and it works great.
In California where someone in their infinite wisdom has the trucks travelling 55 mph on a 75 mph road, you have to use the manual mode also.
If you don’t, on this particular truck anyway, it shifts back and forth between ninth and tenth gear continually.
So you hold it in ninth gear, fuel consumption be damned and ease on down the road. The trucks today are far more driver-friendly than the ones of the past but the public (including other drivers) are far less driver-friendly now.
I was quite concerned about anti-lock brake systems after the fiasco when they introduced them in the late 70s. They were a sure formula for a wreck, but the ones now seem to work good. Time marches on and technology changes. One thing is certain: technology will change with or without our acceptance.
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