A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is one of the most valuable things a person can have in a wallet. A CDL allows drivers who possess them to drive nearly any vehicle on the road. Because possessing a CDL allows drivers to operate nearly every vehicle, license holders have to meet a strict set of guidelines that are handed down from the federal government to each state. The state of Missouri enforces these guidelines through the State Highway Patrol. The following is a guide to getting a CDL for drivers in Missouri.
Learn the Information
Learning how to drive a commercial vehicle requires a lot of knowledge. The first step toward acquiring all of this knowledge is to get ahold of the Missouri CDL manual. This can be found at the local DMV, or drivers can skip a trip by downloading it for free at Dor.mo.gov/forms/Commerical_Driver_License.pdf. Although it may seem like a lot of work, it is important for drivers to know this CDL manual like the back of their hands. Driving a commercial vehicle can be very dangerous in unknowledgeable hands, which makes it imperative that CDL holders know this information.
Take the Test
Once you know the CDL manual backwards and forwards, you can head into the closest Driver Examination Station to take the written test. It will be a multiple-choice examination that will be easy to pass if you know all of the information in the manual. Once you have passed the written test, you can then get a CDL Learner’s Permit, which will allow you to start your on-the-road training behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to practice as much as possible while you have the permit. When you are learning with a permit, you will be driving with a licensed CDL holder riding shotgun. You need to take advantage of this time to ask them as many questions as possible about operating a commercial vehicle. Try to train with someone who has been behind the wheel of commercial vehicles for many years. If they have a lot of experience, they will be able to share some tricks and tips with you to make the learning process a bit simpler.
Train for the Inspection and Skills Tests
When you take the driving test to get your CDL, you will also have to pass inspection and skills tests as well. The inspection test will require you to go through an inspection checklist on the commercial vehicle you are using for the driving test. You can learn this checklist by studying the CDL manual, but you should practice it when you are doing your Missouri CDL license training to make sure that you can recognize all the parts of the inspection checklist.
The inspection test is not too difficult, but the skills test trips up a lot of people. The hardest part about the skills test is getting through the cornering and backing parts of the test. The backing test in particular seems to give a lot of CDL license examinees fits. The best way to pass this is to practice it as much as possible while you are training with your CDL permit. It will feel very unnatural at first to back solely with mirrors, but most people can get the hang of it after some practice.
Taking the Test
Once you are firmly confident in your abilities to pass the driving test, then go ahead and take the exam. Take your time and don’t worry about making mistakes while you are testing. Almost everyone makes at least a few mistakes while they are testing because it is such a complicated test. However, as long as you stay calm and remain focused, you should pass the test with flying colors.
Once you have passed the driving test, they will issue you a CDL once you pay the Missouri CDL license cost. However, now you are subject to drug tests from the federal Department of transportation. Before you can every start a driving job with a CDL, you have to pass a drug test. You are then subject to random drug testing for as long as you remain employed as a CDL driver.