Driving a semi-truck or operating a bus is more complex than simply operating a personal automobile. For this reason, the states and the federal government require that drivers of commerical moter vehicles (CMVs) become properly licensed. Often this involves taking and passing a test to receive a commercial driver's license (CDL), which requires the applicant to answer questions and perform driving techniques in the CMV.
Basic Test Information
The CDL test gauges your knowledge of driving laws and other issues relevant to the type of CMV you plan to drive. There will be a multiple choice portion of this test containing at least 30 questions. In order to pass the test, you will need to answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. While this may seem like a steep percentage, you do have a little wiggle room: on a 30 question test you can miss as many as six questions and more if the test is longer.
Check your state's physical requirements prior to taking the exam. Some states require you to be 21 years old to drive interstate CMVs. And typically you must have a clean driving record.
CDL Written Test Subjects
Most of the written portion of the test will cover areas of CMV driving including the following: endorsements, air brakes, cargo vehicles, combination vehicles, hazardous materials and passenger vehicles. For instance, you may be asked what a supply pressure gauge is used for. You need to be familiar with general driving knowledge, such as the best way to see the sides and rear of your CMV. The questions also will focus on basic knowledge of parts and operations. To become familiar with these topics, consider taking a test-preparation course prior to taking your CDL test. Practice questions are available over the Internet (see Resources) and you can check with you state's department of motor vehicle to see if you can access a practice test locally.
CDL Road Test
In addition to the written test, you may have to take a road test during which you operate a CMV under supervision and must make basic maneuvers safely and properly. Typically, the test will contain a number of right and left turns that will vary in complexity based on when the turn is required, how much traffic is in the area and whether a traffic signal is involved. Expect at least one railroad crossing and some highway driving. Also, you will have to drive the CMV up and down various grades of hills.
How to Drive a Semi Truck
Semi trucks move numerous loads of consumer goods and industrial products across the country daily. Operation and maintenance of these big rigs...
How to Know if You Need a CDL License
A CDL is a commercial driver's license. This license is necessary for people who are operating different types of professional or work-related...
How to Study for a School Bus CDL
A CDL, or commercial drivers license, is mandated by federal law and administered on the state level for school bus drivers and...
CDL Class B Road Test Tips
Gaining a "class B" commercial driver's license (CDL) requires completing both written and practical stages of testing. Applicants must first visit their...
Tips for the CDL Driving Test
Obtaining a Commercial Driver's License, or CDL, allows drivers to operate large tractor trailers and commercial vehicles on roadways. Drivers must pass...
How to Pass a CDL Test
A CDL test is an in-depth test that requires plenty of studying before even thinking about the driving portion. Look up a...