K53 Code 10 or Code 8 – Which is easier?

However you may look at it, from a learner licence perspective, they’re just about the same – the same Road Rules apply, the same general Road Signs apply with only a few selected additionally for Code 10, and the same general vehicle controls apply, which may look a little different in a truck.

Now the issue I’m most often amazed at is one that centres around which of Code 10 or Code 8 is easier.

Let’s look at it critically.

    Code 10 (Heavy Duty Vehicle)

Having passed your learners for the Code 10, you start with driving lessons.

When looking at the size truck you’ll be driving and comparing that to a car, you could add roughly an extra half-car-length to your driving perception. This technically means that the truck should be viewed as one-and-a-half car, in length.

Now, with that down pat, let’s look at the driving dynamics of a truck…

Firstly, a truck is longer than a car, right? This in essence would mean that steering and manoeuvrability is immediately impacted. Think about the longest truck that you’ve ever seen taking a corner, cut that thought in three….and there you go, that’s what a smaller truck will have to manage. It is more difficult to steer a vehicle longer than a car around a tight corner. Simple.

When you look at the placement and position of the steering wheel you’ll find that it is positioned flat so that you look down on it, instead of in a car where you look forwards, at it. This is where some of the difference comes in – it changes they way in which you will be interacting with the vehicle and the dynamics between the two of you. How you use your arms, would be a more appropriate description in a truck, opposed to what your hands would end up doing when steering a car. There’s just so much more steering wheel to contend with in a truck, you see?

A truck, being a heavier vehicle than a car, takes more power to get going so there’s another difference. A truck is meant to be a working vehicle, so its gear ratios would be dramatically different due to the fact that it needs to pull a load for longer, over longer distances and it’s infinitely more strenuous to get the load up to speed. This would mean that, if I can simplify by saying, that you’d be looking at 2 or 3 power gears, instead of a single 1st gear in a car. The accelerator is similar and the clutch may be similar but the brake system may also include an exhaust brake.

OK, so you got the truck going…now what?

You’ll soon learn that your turning circle is much wider due to the length, so you need to purposely take slightly wider turns in order not to cross the corners with your back wheels at intersections; you’d have to change gears sooner and closer together due to the gear ratios; you’d feel the almighty power of the engine spinning your wheels if you let the clutch go too quickly, you back wheels even getting a frightening hopping-action; you’d find that braking feels totally different due to the heavier weight of the vehicle; you’d notice that looking out of the cab is not all that easy as in a car; you’d notice many, many differences…

The most dangerous fact is that drivers are not tested while carrying a load – exactly that which they would be doing, one they’re licensed. Trust me, it adds a brand new dimension to your driving skill, even though you passed your Code 10 licence comfortably. Simple fact is that you never would have practiced with a load of any sort. Your vehicle’s speed, steering, braking and overall vehicle dynamics get a nasty edge to it…if you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into.

Yes, I know that there aren’t as many parking manoeuvres to do in Code 10 and trucks are not required to do parallel parking, granted. It still doesn’t make it easier than Code 8 – different, perhaps, but difficult in its own right.

    Code 8 (Light Motor Vehicle)

OK, so you know what a car is all about, right? The parallel parking and Alley Docking are the most chilling factors about Code 8, right?

Now here’s the biggest difference in power between a car and a truck…putting it simply…a truck has more “pulling power” and a car has more “speed power”. They are built differently for different purposes. A truck isn’t supposed to do 1-100km/h in 3 seconds just as an average car isn’t supposed to carry or pull a 3-Ton load. Simple.

“Yes, but the Yard Test is so difficult in Code 8″: I hear you say?

“Difficult” is an easy word – you know how to spell it, how to use it in a sentence, know how to use it in various contexts, and much more. Take it from me, “difficult” will end up to be what you want it to be. The easiest thing in the world will end up being difficult if that is what you want it to be….no, seriously. A good deal of your resistance to Code 8 stems from scary stories you’ve heard from friends and perhaps family, right? Well, it’s your choice to consider the following…

Vehicle dynamics of a car is obviously much different from that of a truck. You can go much faster, much quicker, and for these same reasons you can get into trouble much quicker and lose control easier. The magic is to drive within your ability and to listen to the “Oh…My….God!” that reverberates through your whole consciousness and to act on it to SLOW DOWN!!!! Very simply, this is your survival instinct – a God-given thing that I think we got issued with to filter His work a little, kinda like a Driving Darwin Filter for those that choose to ignore the signs ;o)

With a car being much shorter than a truck you have the pleasure of tighter turning circles but this can come at a price when your speed is out of sync with what you want to accomplish. Unlike in a truck, you don’t have to contend with speed, gravity and load – just speed and gravity would be hectic enough. The slower the speed, the more accurate you can execute your turns; the higher the speed, the wider the corners you will make. If you feel like grandma or grandpa at first, hang in there, it really DOES get better and once your body adapts to what is required you’d move closer to that Cool Dude with the spiffy turns, you’ll see.

OK, so once you got this clutch control business under the belt it’s time to move on, rapidly, ’cause that’s what your parents can’t wait for, right? Well, you know the thing about water and bridges? There’s gotta be some of that first, I’d have you know.

If considering Code 10 is mostly based on your dread of the Yard Test that you’d face when doing a Code 8 test, think again. Not only is the parking manoeuvres not THAT difficult if instructed properly but how many times would you want to hand your brand new car’s keys over to a friend to park…just because you never learned to in Code 10? Consider that the implications of your whole learning experience in a truck goes out the window the minute you take the driver seat in a car – you were turning in a particular way and now you have a tighter turning circle…AND speed you’ll have to adapt to.

Please note that I’m not carrying on about speed like it’s 100km/h, but you’ll soon find out that even a mere 5-10km/h too fast could be the difference between a safe turn and an accident, for you, for your body, for your particular circumstance or scenario. Always consider the fact that any other vehicle than the one you’ve practiced in is unique in its own way, so NEVER take a friend’s car for a spin and try to pull all the stops. You’d be in for a nasty surprise jumping from a huge Corolla to a Mini Cooper, for instance.

I can go on and on…and on…and on.

Basically, in summary…always get licensed legally and for the correct vehicle you will be using. If you need your licence to be a truck driver, the get a Code 10. If you’re going to be a student or employee that need a licence to get to varsity or work or drive a company car, then get a Code 8 – you’re not going to a party or work in a truck are you?

Whatever you do stay safe, drive responsibly and do so with caution, no matter the licence code you need or have decided on.

Remember, regardless of how cool you thought you were, asking for another blanket in a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit is actually not so cool…but then again, it could get a little chilly if you have to wait for the nurses while they tend to the passengers that were in the car with you….that is apart from the cold shoulder you can expect from your friends…IF they survive.

ADVICE: Cool is a temperature – not an attitude!