The Commercial Drivers License (CDL)
 

 

The Commercial Drivers License

WHAT THE EXAMINER WILL LOOK FOR

The examiner will watch for certain actions as you go through the test. You should practice each of the test items to make sure you do them correctly.

This section explains what the examiner will be checking.

Left/Right Turns

As you approach each turn you

• Check traffic. Look ahead, left, right, and to the rear using your mirrors.

• Signal. Turn on the turn signal at least 100 feet before the turn.

• Slow down: Slow smoothly and change gears as needed to keep power. Do not coast with your foot on the clutch.

• Position your vehicle. Get into the correct lane and position your vehicle to make the turn. You should time your arrival so stopping isn’t necessary. If you must stop prior to the turn, the examiner will check if you:

• Maintain gap. Stop far enough back so you can see the rear wheels of the vehicle in front.

• Stop in correct place. Stop so your vehicle is not in the intersection, not over the stop line and not in the crosswalk.

• Stop fully. You cannot coast; come to a full stop.

• Keep wheels straight. You must keep your wheels straight ahead while stopped. While turning, the examiner will check if you:

• Check traffic.

• Keep both hands on the wheel.

• Change gears. Don’t change gears during the turn. Gear changing is allowed to get started from the stop.

• Maintain smooth speed. Make the turns smoothly without stops.

• Turn correctly. Don’t turn too wide or short. Do not go over or touch the curb or cause other traffic to back up.

As you complete the turn, the examiner will check to see if you:

• Check traffic.

• Are in the correct lane. You must finish the turn in the correct lane. For a left turn use the left lane and the right turn use the right lane.

• Cancel the signal after the rear of the vehicle has completed the turn.

• For left turns accelerate and move right. Accelerate smoothly and move into the right lane when traffic is clear. Railroad Crossings When crossing railroad tracks the examiner will check that you:

• Check traffic. You should look left and right, listen, and you may open door on buses.

• Do not change gears while on the tracks.

• Do not stop or brake on the tracks and do not make lane changes or pass on the tracks. • Keep to posted speed limits. Stop on Grades The examiner will have you stop and start on a grade. When stopping on a grade:

• Check traffic prior to stopping, especially to your right.

• Turn signals on.

• Position the vehicle on the right side of the roadway.

• Slow down smoothly, changing gears to keep power; do not coast.

• Do not hit curb. Once stopped, the examiner will check that you:

• Have positioned the vehicle parallel and within 12" from the curb or edge of the roadway.

• Do not let the vehicle roll forward or backwards.

• Cancel the turn signal and turn on 4-way flashers.

• Put on the parking brake, put the gear shift in neutral or park, release the foot brake, and take foot off the clutch. Start On Grades The examiner will tell you to continue and check that you:

• Check traffic.

• Turn 4-way flashers off and left turn signal on.

• Release the parking brake, put vehicle in gear, and do not turn the steering wheel before the vehicle moves.

• Do not stall engine when starting or roll backwards.

• Continue to check traffic.

• Accelerate smoothly and blend with traffic.

• Cancel turn signal after the rear of the vehicle enters traffic lane.

Driving Up Grades As you drive up a grade, the examiner will check that you:

• Select the proper gear and change gears to maintain speed and do not lug the engine.

• Stay in the right most lane.

• Keep hands on the steering wheel.

• Use 4-way flashers if too slow for traffic.

• Check traffic especially to the left and rear (use both left and right mirrors at least every 10 seconds). Driving Down Grades As you drive down a grade the examiner will check that you:

• Select proper gear (lower gear) before the grade. Only gentle to moderate braking should be needed to control speed and engine RPMs.

• Do not ride the clutch.

• Check brakes by applying them before the grade.

• Use snub braking method to descend grade.

• Stay in the right most lane and maintain correct following distance.

• Check traffic especially to the left and rear using both left and right mirrors at least every 10 seconds. Intersections If you stop at an intersection, the examiner will check the same items as when you stop for a turn except for the actual turn itself. As you drive through intersections, the examiner will check that you:

• Check for traffic before entering intersection.

• yield to pedestrians and other traffic as required.

• Do not change lanes in the intersection.

• Do not change gears in the intersection.

• Do not lug or rev engine.

• Smoothly drive through the intersection without disrupting traffic.

Straight Roads As you drive down a straight city or county road the examiner will check that you:

• Regularly check traffic, watch for hazards and look far enough ahead (12 to 15 seconds).

• Check both left and right mirrors at least every 10 seconds.

• Select proper lane and stay to the center of the lane without wandering back and forth.

• Maintain correct speed and avoid continual slowing up, stopping, and accelerating.

• Maintain correct following distance. One second per 10 feet of vehicle length plus one additional second for speed over 40 mph. Changing Lanes When you must change lanes, the examiner will check that you:

• Check traffic to front and rear especially the blind spot.

• Signal the lane change.

• Do not tailgate while waiting to change lanes.

• Make a smooth lane change and maintain your speed and allow correct distance between all vehicles.

• Cancel signal after rear of vehicle completes lane change. Curves In curves the examiner will check that you:

• Reduce your speed before the curve.

• Do not brake while in the curve.

• Maintain your speed during the curve without a strong pull to the side.

• Keep all vehicle wheels in your lane.

• Continually check traffic and use your mirrors to watch the tracking of your vehicle. Warning/Information Signs As you go under an underpass or over a bridge the examiner may ask you:

• The posted height of the underpass.

• The weight limit of the bridge.

• You may be asked about information on a specific sign that relates to a commercial vehicle.

Freeway Driving As you merge on to the freeway the examiner will check that you:

• Check traffic front and rear, left and right.

• Check the blind spot.

• Signal soon enough so freeway traffic can see the signal.

• Merge without stopping.

• Use acceleration lane to accelerate to traffic flow.

• Merge smoothly while maintaining following distance.

• Move to center of driving lane and cancel signal. When changing lanes on the freeway the examiner will check that you:

• Check traffic front and rear, especially blind spots.

• Signal the lane change.

• Do not tailgate while waiting to change lanes.

• Make a smooth lane change, maintain your speed, and allow correct distance between all vehicles.

• Cancel signal after rear of vehicle enters exit ramp. As you exit the freeway the examiner will check that you:

• Check traffic front and rear, left and especially to the right and in blind spots.

• Signal the exit. • Smoothly enter the exit lane at the start of the exit lane.

• Slow down in the deceleration lane.

• Do not exceed the ramp speed and have no noticeable pull to the side on the ramp curve.

• Do not tailgate on the ramp.

• Cancel signal. Backing During the test, you will be required to back up your vehicle. The examiner will check you as you back in a straight line and as you back to the left or right. Make sure you:

• Check your backing area.

• Sound your horn as a warning if your vehicle is not equipped with a backup warning device.

• Turn on 4-way flashers. • Control your vehicle while backing. • Do not run over curbs or course markings.

• Stop when directed by the examiner.

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