Careers & Training, Features

How to manage gear changes when driving down Cunninghams Gap


A new video series to help drivers traverse Cunninghams Gap on the Cunningham Highway in Queensland also includes handy gear management tips from award-winning driver-trainer Bill Manton.

“In an emergency situation it’s going to be hard to try and use your engine to slow yourself down,” Manton tells TMR’s principal program advisor for the South Coast Region, Nicholas Lancashire, in the clip below.

“Usually that sort of situation comes about through people coming down too fast off the top of the hill and trying to change down when you’re going too fast.

“It’s hard to grab a gear below to try and use your engine brakes so people will panic and it becomes a situation where you’re out of control.

“You should never be in that situation. Respect the roads, respect the hills.”

The videos were produced by TMR in partnership with the Queensland Trucking Association, supported by Wickham Freight Lines who provided the truck and trailer.

Each video features conversation style instructional commentary on the specific driving tasks involved and various vehicle handling scenarios to better manage driving up and down this steep section of road on a key freight route in Queensland.

For the complete series of videos, click here.


  1. my argument on driver training is justified by this story ,,bdouble grossing 68 tonne should not go down the gap in the top box ,at least 1 or 2 splits under ,wickhams trucks have always gone down there 1 or 2 gears above every one else ,sending wrong message ,you should pull the story

  2. I watched this whole sequence of videos. Where’s the tuition? The only sound I got was music, with just a bare whisper in the background from the driver and passenger. Not a single word of tuition. Anyway, an ‘old-school’ rule I learned very early in my driving career was: “go down the hill in the same gear you’d have to use to come up the hill”. Going down Cunningham’s, depending on my total vehicle mass, the highest I would go would be 4th or 5th out of 18 (i.e. 2nd-Hi or3rd-Lo, in Low Range, on a Roadranger 18-speed). Take your time and stay alive.

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