Before you become a licensed truck driver, you have to pass a CDL road test. While there are some similarities to the road test you took as a teen, truckers have different rules to follow. On the day of your test, make sure you know what easy mistakes you can make and the ways to avoid them.
Study Tips for the Road Test
Your test examiner is going to look at you as much as the road. They test your reactions and your ability to adapt. With your experience driving cars, you know to use your mirrors to check traffic behind you. Your reflex is to look with your eyes. On the day of the test, wear a baseball cap, and move your head when checking your mirror and changing lanes. This lets the CDL examiner know what you’re doing and that you’re doing it well.
Semi-trucks need to make wide right turns. When you turn right, your convex mirror is obstructed, and you’re too far away to look out the window. Turning wide provides more visibility and keeps your trailer from drifting in the wrong direction.
During the CDL test, you’ll be asked to back the rig up. Practice parallel parking, alley docking, and backing procedures ahead of time.
While you’re on the road, be aware of your shifting. It’ll take years to perfect. However, examiners need to see how well you can control your rig. Know when to upshift or downshift by learning your truck’s RPM range.
To slow down safely, you’ll need to change gears repeatedly. You can coast by depressing your clutch or putting the gearshift in neutral. But never coast for more than the length of your truck and trailer. When you finally come to a complete stop, shift your splitter down.
Most Common Mistakes to Avoid
Tests can be stressful for everyone. CDL examiners look for stress when assessing students. A stressed driver will make simple mistakes, and it could cost you points on your exam. Don’t let them see you sweat. Take a deep breath and stay focused on your truck.
When coming onto a road, make sure the other vehicles are far enough away, so traffic doesn’t slow or stop. Be watchful for road signs and never risk running a red light.
Forgetting to signal a turn or lane change is a mistake all drivers make, but examiners will be watching for that on the CDL test.
Remember that rigs need about twice as much time to slow down compared to normal cars. Begin to slow and downshift ahead of time to avoid skidding.
For over 30 years, our CDL classes have helped students begin new careers as truck drivers. Our experienced teachers provide instruction on the road and in the classroom. Tutoring is available upon request, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information, reach out to us at (330) 239-2229.
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