It is much harder to obtain a commercial driver’s license than it is to walk into a DMV and pass the test for a standard driver’s license.
By law, each state is required to meet the same minimum standards for operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers must have a CPL to operate the following:
- A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating that is over 26,000 pounds.
- A trailer and towing unit combination that exceeds 26,000 pounds GVWR, with the trailer over 10,000 pounds GVWR.
- A vehicle that transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
- A vehicle of any size which transports hazardous materials that require a hazmat placard.
Getting behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle requires a higher level of knowledge, skill, physical ability, and experience than it does to drive a car. If you want to drive a commercial vehicle such as a big-rig or a school bus, you must pass a CDL driving test and:
- Be 18 years of age
- Have a clean driving record
- Have no felony conviction
- Pass a physical exam every two years
- Pass a vision test
The written portion of a Commercial Driver’s License test is difficult, and you should study for many hours before taking it. Questions may vary from state to state, but some of the questions you could be asked are:
1. When planning to make a left turn across an intersection and you are waiting in the middle of the intersection for traffic to clear, you should have your front tires turned to the?
2. When should you wear your safety belt?
3. When driving in adverse conditions, the proper driving speed is?
4. If you are passing another vehicle, when can you exceed the posted speed limit?
5. In which situation should you drive on the shoulder to pass a car?
6. When you see a flashing yellow light at an intersection, you should?
7. When you are driving on the freeway, how should you drive if the vehicle in front of you is a large truck?
8. How many red reflective triangles should you carry?
9. What is the minimum tread depth?
10. The two special conditions where you should downshift are?
11. Why should you make an emergency plan when you see a hazard?
12. How far ahead should you look while driving?
13. When stopped on a divided highway, where should your reflectors be placed?
14. What are the three kinds of emergency equipment you must have?
15. What effects do wet brakes have?
16. What is an escape ramp?
17. Why should you put the starter switch in your pocket during the pre-trip inspection?
18. What things should you check during a trip?
19. How do you find out how many seconds of following distance space you have?
20. What should you do before you drive if you are drowsy?
21. What should wheel-bearing seals be checked for?
22. Does road rage mean operating a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold, or pushy manner, without regard for anyone’s safety?
23. If you go twice as fast, your stopping distance increases by how many times?
24. What is black ice?
25. If stopped on a hill, how can you start moving without rolling back?
In addition to the written test, you also need to pass a road skills test. However, several states require you to have your permit for a minimum of 30 days before taking the test. It is only given in English, and like the written test, it may vary from state to state. Some of the skills you may have to demonstrate are:
- Inside and outside truck inspections
- Straight line backing
- 90 degree alley docking
- City and Highway driving
- Sliding tandems
This is just a sample of what you need to know. To learn more, contact us. We’ll be happy answer your questions so you can start a new and exciting career.