Getting your CDL isn’t as easy as it might seem at first. It’s certainly more involved than obtaining a standard driver’s license. To get a CDL, you’ll have to take a thorough written test, and then a series of driving tests to ensure that you have the skills to drive a big rig truck properly. While you can learn these skills on your own, or with the help of an experienced driver that you know, it’s generally easier to learn all the information that you need by going through an approved course provider dedicated to teaching you precisely what you need to know to pass your test. The course will put you with a skilled instructor to coach you in all the vital skills you will need to thrive as a professional driver.
The Written Test
One portion of the commercial driver’s test is the written exam. This lengthy exam covers driving law, theory and practice in an in-depth manner. The following is a list of topics found on many CDL exams.
- Safe driving skills
- Rules of the road for large trucks
- Driving theory for large trucks
- Basic and advanced operation techniques
- General trucking education
- Understanding of road signs
With such a wide range of topics, it really makes sense to consider an approved course, if only to prepare for the written test.
The Driving Test
After passing the written portion you will then face the driving test. This is arguably the more difficult part. You’ll be subjected to a series of different practical tests that put your real driving skills to use. During this portion of the test you’ll be asked to navigate on highways and side streets and be asked to demonstrate your ability to park and maneuver the truck in reverse. Unlike a standard driving test, the CDL exam is generally split into several sections, each part emphasizing a specific skill. Take your time preparing for these, and get help from an experienced instructor if you can.
Learning everything that you need to know to pass these rigorous tests on your own is difficult, which is why most people turn to trucking school to get them the information that they need. Make sure that you get some time in with a trainer, and that you understand all the information that you’re presented with, so that you have the best chance of passing your test. Even if you’re an experienced driver with some time behind the wheel of a big rig, it makes sense to go through a class if you’ve been out of the business for a while because laws change over time and there may be new information that you’ll have to know for the test.