4 Mistakes to Avoid on the CDL Road Test

CDL training readies students for a road test that’s much different than one for a standard license. Tractor-trailers are challenging to handle at first and come with pre-trip maintenance duties that will take time to adapt to. Learning about the easiest mistakes to make ahead of time will better prepare you for the test. 

What Common Mistakes Lead to Failing the CDL Road Test? 

1. Forgetting the Trailer

Candidates often make the mistake of turning too fast, especially on tight corners. The trailer might veer into another lane on sharp-angled turns, where it can accidentally strike another vehicle. 

2. Improper Backing Protocols 

Many drivers can lose points or even fail the CDL road skills test for having a poor backing technique. 

During CDL training, practice backing maneuvers often. Ask an instructor if you can use the equipment outside of class time for extra experience. 

Don’t overemphasize steering when straight-line backing, as the truck might zigzag. Be aware that even small angles between the trailer and the rig can make the trailer drift to the side. If that occurs during the test, you may be allowed to exit the vehicle and observe its position before correcting it. 

The road test proctor will also ask to see your offset backing, alley docking, and parallel parking techniques. If any of these aspects are a source of difficulty, ask your CDL training instructor for more practice time. 

3. Delayed Braking Procedures 

Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks can’t stop as quickly as non-commercial vehicles. According to The Mover’s Choice Dispatch, a tractor-trailer at 55MPH will take between four and six seconds to stop, spanning between 390 and 512 feet during that time. These measurements increase with speed or when driving under wet road conditions. Always keep an eye on the upcoming road to have enough time to react to changes in traffic. 

Instructors are also aware that new drivers are still learning. Coming to hard or sudden stops on occasion is expected and understood. However, frequent braking mistakes can lead to disqualification. 

4. The Automatic Disqualifications

Some CDL road test mistakes will lead to an automatic failure. A candidate should wear their seatbelt and confirm their instructor is also wearing one before turning the ignition. Student drivers must show they can control the truck, including avoiding potential accidents, not driving onto the curb, following traffic laws, and staying at the speed limit. If an action seems dangerous—like making a turn with an upcoming red signal change—it may be best to wait for the next green light. 

For over 40 years, our truck driving school has provided students with CDL training and test prep. To learn more about our day and evening classes, reach out to us at (330) 239-2229. 

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