American Towman Magazine - August 2022

Page 17

not intentionally ask you to do something illegal or dangerous. Remember, you are in control of the vehicle at all times, and if you feel an instruction is unclear or unsafe say something. You are responsible for compliance with all local and state traffic laws while taking your test, including using a seatbelt and no cell phones. So many students have failed over the years because they reach for their cell phone during their road test! Some of the other common failures on the road test are failing to stop behind the stop line or traffic control device, using the wrong lane to make a left turn and speeding. During the test you will be asked to identify the last regulatory (white with black lettering) traffic sign you saw. This question is not a trick, and you may be asked to simulate a breakdown or railroad crossing. Learn the proper

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

placement of the warning triangles for multiple situations (as that is part of the simulated breakdown), and stopping distances for rail crossings, even if you won’t operate a bus or hazardous material vehicle. Pay close attention to all the road signs and pavement markings. At one state-run test facility close to my home, the test begins in the parking lot as you exit the skills pad. Drivers often fail before even making it out of the parking lot because they don’t observe the parking lot stop sign. Yes, even signs on private property are applicable during a CDL exam.

FINAL REMINDERS

In conclusion, the days of just riding with your uncle or dad are over. The rules for obtaining a CDL have changed, schooling is now required, and the testing procedure gets more complicated every day.

Expect to spend 160 hours or more, practicing and studying to obtain your class A CDL. Go for the full class A right from the start so that you do not need to repeat the ELDT training later to upgrade. Also, an unrestricted class A CDL opens so many more doors than a class B or C license does. One last note: when testing for a class A be sure to use a full tractor trailer with a 5th wheel hitch whenever possible. Otherwise you will be restricted to a truck-traileronly combination and need to retest if you want to drive tractor trailers later on. Same as with transmissions—test in a manual transmission equipped truck if at all possible. If not, you will have an “automatic only” restriction on your CDL. Should you need to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission you will need to go through the whole road test process again.

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