The Commercial Drivers License (CDL)


The Commercial Drivers License


To drive a vehicle safely, you must be able to control its speed and direction. Fasten your seatbelt when on the road. Apply the parking brake when you leave your vehicle.


Donít roll back when you start. You may hit someone behind you.

Partly engage the clutch before you take your right foot off the brake. Put on the parking brake whenever necessary to keep from rolling back. Release the parking brake only when you have applied enough engine power to keep from rolling back.

Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle does not jerk. Rough acceleration can cause mechanical damage. When pulling a trailer, rough acceleration can damage the coupling.

Speed up very gradually when traction is poor, as in rain or snow. If you use too much power, the drive wheels may spin and you could lose control. If the drive wheels begin to spin, take your foot off the accelerator.


Hold the Wheel Correctly. Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands. Your hands should be on opposite sides of the wheel. If you hit a curb or a pothole (chuckhole), the wheel could pull away from your hands unless you have a firm hold.

Backing Safely

Because you cannot see everything behind your vehicle, backing is always dangerous. Avoid backing whenever you can. When you park, try to park so you will be able to pull forward when you leave. When you have to back, here are a few simple safety rules:

ē Look at your path.

ē Warn others of your intention.

ē Back slowly.

ē Back and turn toward the driverís side whenever possible.

ē Use a helper whenever possible.

These rules are discussed in turn below.

Look at Your Path. Look at your line of travel before you begin. Get out and walk around the vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and overhead in and near the path your vehicle will take. Warn others of your intention. Always turn on 4-way flashers before starting to back. Tap the horn as a warning before starting to back unless the vehicle is equipped wtih an operating backup warning device.Back Slowly. Always back as slowly as possible. Use the lowest reverse gear. That way you can more easily correct any steering errors. You also can stop quickly if necessary. Back and Turn Toward the Driverís Side. Back to the driverís side so you can see better.

Backing toward the right side is very dangerous because you canít see as well. If you back and turn toward the driverís side, you can watch the rear of your vehicle by looking out the side window. Use driver-side backing ó even if it means going around the block to put your vehicle in this position. The added safety is worth it. Use a Helper.

Use a helper when you can.

There are blind spots you canít see. The helper should stand near the back of your vehicle where you can see the helper.

Before you begin backing, work out a set of hand signals that you both understand. Agree on a signal for "stop". Helper and driver must be able to see one another in the mirror.

Backing with a Trailer

Backing with a Trailer. When backing a car, straight truck or bus you turn the top of the steering wheel toward the direction you want to go. When backing a trailer, you turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction. Once the trailer starts to turn, you must turn the wheel the other way to follow the trailer. Whenever you back with a trailer, try to position your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If you must back on a curved path, back to the driverís side so you can see.

Back slowly. This will let you make corrections before you get too far off course.

Use the mirrors. The mirrors will help you see whether the trailer is drifting to one side or the other.

Correct drift immediately. As soon as you see the trailer getting off the proper path, correct it by turning the top of the steering wheel in the direction of the drift.

Pull forward. When backing a trailer, make pull-ups to reposition your vehicle as needed.

1. Why should you back toward the driver's side?

2. What is a pull-up?

3. If stopped on a hill, how can you start moving without rolling back?

4. When backing, why is it important to use a helper?

5. What's the most important hand signal that you and the helper should agree on?

These questions may be on the test. Basic Control of your Vehicle.




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