A Guide to CDL Training

What to Expect from CDL Training

CDL training is split into two different portions, the classroom and the behind the wheel. The classroom portion features lectures, text reading and videos, all designed to assist in passing the CDL written exam. The behind the wheel portion provides vital hands-on practice over the necessary driving skills that every commercial driver needs to know as well as preparation for the CDL driving test.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect in a typical CDL training course.

Classroom Training

  • Learn necessary procedures and requirements
  • Cover the laws that will be on the CDL exam
  • Learn about both state and federal CDL driver requirements
  • Commercial driving rules of the road

Behind the Wheel Training

  • Practice skills necessary to drive safely
  • Learn how to go through an inspection properly
  • Opportunity to try out procedures and rules behind the wheel of a truck
  • Focus on important techniques and maneuvers

Who Needs Commercial Driver Training?

Even though commercial driver training is a useful tool to help with the CDL test, it’s not a tool that’s right for everyone. If you’ve been a commercial driver for the last 15 years, this type of class probably isn’t necessary, and a simple rules or laws refresher course is likely all you'll need to pass the test. On the other hand, if you’re new to driving and want to learn about the rules and regulations while also getting plenty of hands-on training, it just makes sense to take one of these courses rather than pay a private trainer to help with learning everything you need to know.

Who Needs a CDL?

While the breakdown is state specific, here is a list of vehicles that will require a CDL to operate.

  • Tractor-trailers
  • Charter or public buses
  • Garbage trucks
  • Delivery trucks
  • Large construction vehicles

Often Doesn’t Require CDL

  • Military vehicles
  • Fire trucks
  • RVs
  • Farm equipment

What CDL Drivers Must Know

To pass the test and be a safe driver, here’s a breakdown of what a commercial driver must know.

Basic Skills

  • Turning
  • Shifting
  • Coupling and decoupling
  • Proper signaling
  • Driving in reverse
  • Safe passing

Advanced Skills

  • Poor weather driving
  • Driving with heavy loads
  • Emergency situation protocol

Miscellaneous Knowledge

  • Map reading
  • Logbook planning
  • Tracking deliveries

Any driver looking to properly prepare for the CDL test should really consider taking a course. A good course will help you get through the test more easily, and prepare you for real-life driving conditions for safer vehicle operation.