Tips for passing the class A CDL driving test ......
I have a class B CDL and I have gotten hired by a local company to drive a vacuum truck. I passed the Hazmat test last Friday and I passed the combination and tanker endorsements today 4/9/2007. The company is going to train me with a company trainer. Please give me any advice you have on driving skills. ie: backing , turning , shifting
I have only driven school buses before with my class B CDL any advice you all have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
First thing is they take you around some tight right hand turns. Just make sure you don't cut off oncoming cars. Also staying in the correct lane when turning. The backing was first straight line which i did no problem. Just remeber it isn't a speed race. The next backing I did was alley dock and I had 4-5 pull ups cuz I had a gmc topkick with a bobcat trailer and it was really diffcult to do. ANother thing to remeber is take the outer left hand turn lane if there are two provided. Also keep checkin the mirrors. If I can pass you could pass!! haha I got mine a year ago 3 weeks after I turned 18!! so thats my claim to fame..
I myself am a newbie just got my cdl in december. but i have been around driving for most of my life, its kind of in the family. im not about to say im the best driver or i know everything, but when our school was practicing for the cdl testing the instructors disappeared, so i was confident in my skills and i helped anyone that was having trouble the best i could. here is some of the advice i gave to them, i hope it works for you too.
1. if u have a measured right turn push ur left west coast mirror all the way out and down so u can see ur tandems in the middle of the turn.
2. if u have a serpantine, stay close to the cones as possible
3. if u have a 45 degree alley dock, coming in from the left, kick the trailer out to the right at the start of the back so u can come in at a straiter angle.
4. when making turns, finish in the lane closest to you, or stay in the same lane. then merge if need be. (if anyone disagrees with this let me know, i had one of them super truckers tell me i did it wrong one time down in albany ga, told me i should have ended in the right lane on a left hand turn.)
5. if u have a parellel ending in a jacknife, get close, but don't try to be perfect, you probly wont be. take a couple points (if thats how ur test works) for being off than a lot of points for pullups. that also goes for any backing, if u get close leave it alone, don't waste ur points on unecessary pullups.
6. if u do use a pull up make it worthwile, use all the room you have. and get the truck strait with the trailer so you can see whats going on.
7. keep the truck strait on the trailer as much as possible so you can see whats going on.
8. don't worry what the tester is doing while ur driving. they will probly write on their clipboard the whole time, but that doesn't mean ur doing something wrong. they make comments on everything.
9. in PA rubbing the curb is ok, running up on it is not. (may or may not be the same as in ur state) make sure you take all the room you have available and that you need. don't sell urself short.
10. depending on ur state, know the pre trip inside and out. i think maryland is the worst for that. they have to name off and point out every nut and bolt on the truck. or so i've heard. PA you do the pre trip but you don't say anything unless they ask what you are doing or looking at. might be good to find out what they require from someone who has taken the test.
When backing straight Pull Straight first so you cant see the wheels on either side of your trailer behind you. When you start to back relax. Lay back in your seat watch both mirriors when you start to see your tires on one side turn your wheel towards them=only turn your wheel a quarter of a turn. then when you see them go back under the truck turn your wheel back to 12 oclock. Do not turn your wheel more then 3 oclock for right turn and no more then 9 oclock for left turn. It may look like nothing is happen but it is. Remember always, Wait for it to happen.. U cant get in a truck and try to be ruff with it cause all it will do is make you look stupid.
Backing 45 degree. Do not put your head outside the window. A guy that i went to trucking school was doinig it. The Mr. Hovac From Alliance told the guy. Boy, What are you doing, Boy you look stupid with your head outside that window, boy im going to put blinders on you like an old mule. I will always remember that. You dont need to stick your head outside the window. Think about if its raining hard u going to stick your head outside the window? lol. The point is You dont need to as long as you can see where your backing in your mirrors.
When your doinig a half moon back do not hold your head outside neither. Watch your mirror If your backing and you can not see the rear of your tracto in the mirror then your cutting to sharp. So do no let it reach to the point you have to lean forward to see the end of your trailer. If you see it start to goinig that far catch it by starting to straighting your truck with a hard right in the direction you need to go to straighten it.
The biggest thing you can do is no matter what your doing and how bad the day is going or if you make a mistake. Dont Beat yourself up about it. Keep a postive attitude, smile, and laugh. This will help you go through anything. The rest of trucking is basic, Just pay attention to your trainer and dont think you know more then he does. If you do you do but think about how long he has been driving and how long youve been driving.
Don't flip the range selector to low when you try to downshift from 8 to 6. For some eason I did that and by the time I reliezed it I had coasted to far out of gear. i had done that 8 to 6 and 6 to 4 a 100 times perfect on my road trips. just a bad case of nerves. I take it again tomorrow.
If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy.
I learned how to shift without the clutch today. I had been trying to understand how it worked and why I could not ever do it before but, when my trainer said, "Don't be afraid of getting into the engine and put a little press on the shifter in the direction you want to shift as you let off the gas." After he told me that I tried it and what do ya know it freaking worked. :roll: I know that you Super Truckers are saying, "We told ya so!" I know that it seems trivial to mention it ,but it felt great to accomplish something like that on the first day that I had ever driven a tractor trailer. :rock:
P.S. : Please keep sending as much info. as you can spare.
I am learning on the job. :shock:
P.S.: I stepped up to a 13 speed today. My trainer told me that I was doing very well up shifting but, I needed practice on down shifting. So, I practiced on that mostly today as we were driving back to the yard.
Downshifting will always be more work and require more skill. As far as the test goes, my personal opinion is that if you can get passed the pre-trip and skills test, the road test is practically a piece of cake, given your current experience.
The pre-trip is easy to ace, if you apply yourself and take it seriously. The deal on the skills test, at least in this state, is that if you're going to hit a cone, you can always make another pass and try it again, ie, right hand turn. On the alley dock, the biggest thing is to not go passed the "dock." You'll lose far less stopping short. Straight backs are quite easy- simply don't turn the wheel wildly- 1/4 turn is max. Practice. (It really is easy to straightline.) I didn't have to parallel or serpentine, so have nothing to add on that. Right hand with a 53'- start turning after duals line up with cone (assuming something like 260" wheelbase, or so.) Stay out on the line- I was within inches of it when doing right hands, and that worked good for me.
#6 of CumminsCowboy's list. Don't worry about pull-ups- hitting the cones is the deal breaker. But don't short yourself on a pull-up.
I'm sure you'll do fine on the road test, having done the B.
edit: on the 45deg alley back, I'd clock the wheel all the way to the right, honk the horn, put it in reverse and back up until I saw the farthest leg of the landing gear just coming into view, then start clocking the wheel back to the left. I did pretty bad on the actual test compared to my practice- could get it in the hole and line up straight 9 out of 10 times in practice. Need the duals pretty tight on the cone to get it in there straight.
post edit: the setup for the 45 is about the same as the right hand turn- stay tight to the line, waight for the duals to line up with the cone, turn, aim for the cone, bring right side of the bumper right up to the cone. Convex mirrors on the fender help with this if you have them.