Studying for Your CDL Exam

Are you about to take the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam? Are you concerned about passing? It can be an intimidating experience if you are taking your exam for the first time. United Truck Driving School’s goal is to make sure you are prepared to succeed. We have some study tips and tricks to help you feel prepared.

Understand the “Knowledge Test” Types

To complete your CDL exam, you will have to first take your “knowledge test”. There are several versions of the “knowledge test” and you will need to understand which test fits your criteria.  The subject matter will depend on the type of CDL you are going for.

  • General knowledge test: required for everyone seeking their CDL.
  • Passenger transportation test: required for everyone seeking their CDL.
  • Tank vehicle test: For those who haul heavy loads of gaseous materials or liquids.
  • School bus test: For school bus drivers.
  • Air brakes test: For those who drive vehicles with air brakes.
  • Firefighter endorsement test: For people who will be driving vehicles used to fight fires.
  • Hazardous materials test: For those who aim to haul hazardous materials. Therefore, if you choose to be licensed for this, you must undergo further testing from the TSA.

Study for Your “Skills Test”

You will also have to complete a “skills test” which tests your skills and knowledge around the vehicle. You can familiarize yourself with the subject matter of the test to help you prepare for the CDL exam. The “skills test” will include:

  • Vehicle Inspection Test: You have to know whether your vehicle is safe to drive before you get on the road.
  • Basic Controls Test: This test assures that you know how to operate the vehicle’s basic controls within a defined area.
  • Road Test: You will drive in a variety of traffic situations to show your understanding of local traffic laws and road safety.

Take the Time to Practice for your CDL Exam

There are plenty of practice exams available online for free. You can use these to your advantage by taking a few quick tests in the days leading up to your actual CDL exam. The quizzes can be repeated as many times as you like. Write down questions you struggle with and make flashcards. You can bring them with you and study them anywhere. Here are a few sites to get you started.

Schedule your CDL Exam Early

You’re responsible for scheduling the date and time of your appointment by calling the local DMV. Additionally, do not wait until the last minute because you want to give yourself enough time to study. You must bring the class of vehicle you intend to get a license for and you have to have passed your inspection.

Studying to pass your CDL Exam may seem daunting, but it is doable. Most importantly, you don’t have to do it alone. United Truck Driving School is ready to help. Our instructor and Job Placement Team can help you pass your exam. If you’re interested in joining one of our programs or have any questions, please contact us.

Mountain Driving: How to Navigate the Roads Safely

New drivers will quickly find that driving in the mountains is not like anywhere else. If you have never driven in this terrain, there are a few tips that can make life a lot safer and easier. While you won’t always know the roads you are on as well as others, there are similarities in all mountainous areas that require the same driving considerations. The following suggestions will help you as you get started driving in the mountains.

  • Watch the Weather -Make sure you always look ahead at the weather and road conditions for the area where you will be traveling. Plan ahead and in the event of icy or wintry weather, determine if there is a different route you can take to maintain a lower grade.
  •  Leave Plenty of Room -There is no such thing as “too much room” when it comes to driving in the mountains. If another vehicle ahead of you begins to have difficulty you don’t want to risk running into them. Keep lots of space so you have room to stop.
  • Regaining Control -If you are beginning to lose control, you can try to pick up a little gravel from the shoulder. This will often help regain some control of the truck while driving in the mountains.
  • Slow Down -While it seems like common sense, slower is always better in the mountains. You do not want to run the risk of losing control of your truck. This is serious business and can result in a fatal accident.
  • Use the Jake Brake -According to Smart-Trucking, when going down a steep grade, using the Jake Brake to do most of the braking is the best policy. This will require that you start in a low gear coming down the grade.
  • Chains -You should always chain-up at the bottom of a hill. Don’t ever try to climb an icy hill. This is part of watching the weather conditions and sometimes waiting is the best policy if you are caught. You’re talking about your life and potentially the lives of others.
  • Use the Runaway Lane if NecessaryDSW suggests that if you can see the decals from your trailer in your rearview mirror, you need to use the runaway lane. They are found on mountainous roads and are there to protect you and others. Use them when in doubt about control when on the mountain.

Keep these tips in mind when you are driving your truck on mountains and on graded roads. Contact us to discuss truck driver training services to get you started on the path to success in this high demand industry.