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24-(1).jpgHumans are creatures of habit, at least I am. If I find something that works for me, I stick with it. I recently came upon a situation that started me thinking about this though.

I use a device called “Pedal Coach”, that helps me with throttle control. It provides instant feedback to me and my trainees about how heavy we are being on the fuel pedal, as well as providing all kinds of data on the backend via web portals. The information is very detailed and useful. They have recently rolled out a new and improved portal with many new and improved features.

Recently I needed my passwords reset so I sent in a request to have both the old and the new password reset. They were right on it and ready to reset everything for me. I was informed, however, that the old portal was in the process of being phased out and would not be of use soon. Then they asked why I preferred the old portal over the new one. I didn’t really have an answer. The new portal is great and gives all the information I needed. My answer was pretty simple, I was used to the old portal and just didn’t want to take the time to get used to the new portal. I knew right where to go to get the information I wanted on the old one, the new one would take some getting used to. They said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can. They just have to want to learn. That was me. I just didn’t want to.

Learning New Things has Advantages

Whether it is new ways to access data, learning a new technology, trying a new route, or simply trying a new food, trying something you haven’t tried before can have it’s advantages.

I’ll use trucks as an example. Years ago I went to work for a company that had day cab tractors with the first generation automated manual transmission, or AMT. They still had a clutch pedal that you had to use to take off or stop. They would frequently stay in neutral or at a higher gear. When attempting to take off, the shifting was clunky and slow, and the shift points were all over the place. I did not have a good experience with it at all.

Years later I was working for a different company and when it was time for a new truck they put me into a tractor with a newer AMT. Man, was I apprehensive. The experience with the older AMT had left a sour taste in my mouth, and I was not too thrilled about the prospect of a new one. But you know what, I ended up loving it. In fact, learning how to make that transmission do what I wanted it to do was pretty easy. Learning how to manage the new technology that went along with it not only made my job easier, it improved fuel economy. Cha-Ching.

Now, it would take a major event to get me to give up my DT-12 in my 2018 Cascadia. Some folks don’t want to give up on their standard shift transmissions. I get that.  For me though, I don’t want to go back. The advantages and disadvantages is a different discussion for a different time.

Trying New Might Surprise You

Whether it is a new road, a different food, or new technologies, you might be surprised in what you find. I used to hate spaghetti with sauce and Parmesan Cheese on it so much I would wrap the strands of pasta through the tines of the fork and pull it through, pulling the sauce and Parmesan off. Then one day I had to eat it like normal folks to be polite to the people who invited me to dinner. Guess what? I LIKED IT! As for Parmesan Cheese, well that is still up in the air.

Bacon jam also didn’t sound good to me, but I tried it at a group dinner. IT WAS DELICIOUS! If you ever get the chance to try it, I highly recommend it.

Taking a road that isn’t your normal route may not only cut off miles, you might see some scenery that you would have missed otherwise. You never know, that knowledge may also come in handy in the event of a road closure or traffic back up.

Learning how to manage the Intelligent Powertrain Management on my Cascadia has resulted in higher Miles per Gallon. Talking to other drivers and trying new things has resulted in some pretty significant numbers. I am willing to try new things to bring those numbers up. Sometimes they work, but sometimes they don’t. I’ll never know if I don’t try.

So don’t be afraid to try new things, take new roads or ask others for new ways to do things you think you have figured out. You might be surprised at what you find out.

Maybe I should give Parmesan Cheese another chance?

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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