Minnesota Commercial Driver`s License (CDL) Manual

Minnesota Commercial Driver`s License (CDL) Manual
WE’RE HIRING BUS DRIVERS
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Driver and Vehicle Services Division Commercial
Driver’s 2016 manual for
Metro Transit Bus Driver
__________________________________________
When you’re done with this manual, please pass it along
to another future Metro Transit bus driver!
Questions?
Email DriverApplicantTesting@metrotransit.org
Visit metrotransit.org/bus-driver-hiring to apply
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Driver and Vehicle Services Division
dvs.dps.mn.gov
Table of Contents
Part A
Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements ...............................................................................1
Class of Licenses .............................................................................................................................. 1
Endorsements and Restrictions ....................................................................................................... 2
Commercial Driver’s License Tests .................................................................................................. 3
Medical Requirements ...................................................................................................................... 6
General Information .......................................................................................................................... 8
Information Directory ..................................................................................................................................... 14
Minnesota Trucking Regulations .................................................................................................................. 15
AAMVA Commercial Driver License Manual
Introduction ....................................................................................................................................1-1
Driving Safely .................................................................................................................................2-1
Transporting Cargo Safely.............................................................................................................3-1
Transporting Passengers Safely ...................................................................................................4-1
Air Brakes ......................................................................................................................................5-1
Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection .........................................................................................................10-1
Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test .................................................................................................11-1
On-Road Driving ..........................................................................................................................12-1
This manual is a summary of Minnesota’s commercial driver’s license requirements. For complete standards,
consult Minnesota state statutes and rules. This document is not a proper legal authority to cite in court.
For more information on Minnesota driving laws and rules for all drivers, refer to the Minnesota Driver’s
Manual.
This manual is printed by permission of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. This Commercial
Driver’s Manual is prepared by the Division of Driver and Vehicle Services with permission of the Minnesota
Department of Public Safety.
This information can be made available in alternative format to individuals with disabilities. For assistance,
call (651) 297-3298 or TTY (651) 282-6555.
Form Number PS 30002-25 (6/15)
Part A:
Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 requires each state to meet the same minimum standards
for commercial driver licensing. You must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate any of the
following commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in Minnesota:
A combination of vehicles in which the gross combination weight (GCW) is more than 26,000 pounds and the
towed unit has a gross vehicle weight (GVW)* of more than 10,000 pounds — Minimum age is 18**
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A single vehicle with a GVW exceeding 26,000 pounds — Minimum age is 18**
A vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver — Minimum age is 18**
Any size vehicle that requires hazardous materials placards — in most cases, you must be 21 years
of age to transport hazardous materials. ***
Any size vehicle outwardly equipped and identified as a school bus — Minimum age is 18
*Minnesota law defines gross vehicle weight (GVW) as the greater of:
The actual weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles plus the weight of the load, or the manufacturer's
gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
**The minimum age listed is that at which you may apply for a Minnesota CDL. State and federal motor
carrier regulations may set different age limits for operating a CMV.
***A driver of a motorized tank truck vehicle having a capacity of less than 3,500 gallons, who is engaged in
the intrastate transportation of petroleum products, or employees of fertilizer or agricultural chemical retailers
that transport agricultural chemicals directly from the retailer location to a farm, must be at least 18 years of
age. Drivers using these exceptions must operate exclusively within Minnesota. Contact the Minnesota
Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Office of Motor Carrier Services for complete information.
Interstate transportation refers to trade, traffic, or transportation between:
 A state and another state or country, or
 Two places in a state on a route that goes through another state or country, or
 Two places in a state as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the
state
Intrastate commerce refers to any trade, traffic, or transportation that occurs entirely within the state of
Minnesota and that is not interstate or foreign commerce.
Intrastate transportation refers to transportation that does not involve interstate travel.
Commercial Motor Carrier Requirements
If you operate any class of vehicle as an employer or employee, you may be subject to commercial motor
carrier requirements.This includes driving single unit and combination vehicles of over 10,000 pounds GVW
(such as construction vehicles) and vehicles used to deliver packages and other articles. Also included are
vehicles designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
The requirements may include the need to possess a valid U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical
examiner's certificate, and restrictions on the number of hours you may drive.
There may also be vehicle maintenance, insurance, and inspection requirements. For additional information,
contact the State Patrol at (651) 405-6196 or the MnDOT Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle
Operations at (651) 215-6330 or visit their website at www.dot.state.mn.us/cvo.
Commercial Driver’s License Classes
Class A — Any vehicle towing a unit of more than 10,000 pounds GVWR with a gross combination weight
rating (truck plus trailer) over 26,000 pounds.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 1
Class B — A single-unit vehicle that is over 26,000 pounds GVWR.
 For a passenger endorsement, the skills (road) test must be passed in a bus with a GVWR greater
than 26,000 pounds and a passenger capacity of more than 15, including the driver.
 For a school bus endorsement, the skills test must be passed in a school bus with a GVWR greater
than 26,000 pounds and a passenger capacity of more than 15, including the driver.
Class C — A single-unit vehicle, 26,000 pounds GVWR or less, with one or more of the following
endorsements:
 Hazardous materials
 Passenger
 School bus (with passenger endorsement)
Your license may be restricted to the size and type of vehicle you use for the road test. Unless the CMV used
for testing has air brakes, you will be restricted to driving vehicles without air brakes, even if you passed the
air brake knowledge test.
Endorsements and Restrictions
Additional testing and fees are required to add endorsements or remove restrictions from your CDL. Adding
school bus and passenger transport endorsements requires a road test in an appropriate vehicle. To renew a
hazmat or school bus endorsement, you need to retake the knowledge test. The knowledge test is not
required to renew licenses with other endorsements.
In order to renew or upgrade your driver’s license with school bus, hazmat or other endorsements, you must
pass a written test for each endorsement.
Endorsements:
(H) Hazardous Materials*
(N) Tank Vehicle
(P) Passenger Transport
(S) School Bus
(T) Doubles/Triples
(X) Tanker and Hazardous Materials
*See
Restrictions:
(E) Automatic Transmission CMV
(K) Intrastate only
(L) Vehicles without air brakes
(M) No Class A passenger bus
(N) No Class B passenger bus
(O) No Tractor-trailer CMV
(P) No passengers in CMV bus
(V) FMCSA waiver
(W) Buses less than 24 passenger capacity
(X) No cargo in CMV tank vehicle
(Z) Air over hydraulic brake system
page 11 for more information about the HazMat endorsement.
Fees for Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
Over 21:
Class
A
B
C
Under 21 (Intrastate only):
$45.25
$37.25
$30.25
Class
A
B
C
$25.25
$37.25
$30.25
Examination fee for each endorsement.................................................................................... $2.50
School bus physical processing fee – original and renewal application........................................ $4
Motorcycle endorsement renewal fee.......................................................................................... $13
Enhanced license fee (in addition to regular license fee) ............................................................ $15
Duplicate license fee............................................................................................................... $15.75
Total license fee includes additional fees per Minnesota Statute 171.06, subd. 2.
Retesting fee: Third and subsequent knowledge test (after failing first two) .............................. $10
Retesting fee: Third and subsequent road/skills test (after failing first two) ............................... $20
To add endorsements to an existing CDL, you must pass the appropriate tests and apply for a duplicate
license. Adding school bus, passenger or motorcycle endorsement requires a road test in an appropriate
vehicle. You have up to 30 days after becoming a Minnesota resident to obtain your CDL.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 2
Who is Exempt from CDL Licensing in Minnesota?
Federal law allows states the option to waive certain kinds of drivers from the requirement to obtain a CDL.
In Minnesota, the following drivers are not required to hold a CDL:

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Drivers operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 3,
whether or not in excess of 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
Drivers operating all farm trucks if the farm truck is:
o Controlled and operated by a farmer, including operation by an immediate family member or
an employee of the farmer.
o Used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies, including
hazardous materials, to or from a farm.
o Not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier as governed by Code of
Federal Regulations, title 49, part 365.
o Used within 150 miles of the farm.
Drivers operating a recreational vehicle as defined in section 168.002, subdivision 27, that is
operated for personal use.
Backup snowplow drivers who are operating a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of removing
snow or ice from a roadway by plowing, salting, or sanding if the person:
o Is an employee of a local unit of government with a population of 3,000 or less.
o Is operating within the boundaries of the local unit of government.
o Holds a valid Class D driver’s license.
o Except in the event of a lawful strike, is temporarily replacing the employee who normally
operates the vehicle but either is unable to operate the vehicle or is in need of additional
assistance due to a snow emergency as determined by the local unit of government.
Commercial Driver's License Tests
Knowledge Tests. You will take one or more CDL knowledge tests, described later in this manual,
depending on class of license and endorsements. The knowledge test is offered in English, on paper or on a
computer. Headphones are available to allow you to hear the questions as you read them. You may attempt
each knowledge test once per day.
You must be at least 18 years old and have a valid Minnesota driver’s license in order to obtain a Minnesota
commercial learner permit (CLP). All applicants must obtain a CLP, which will allow them to practice driving
the commercial vehicle only with another driver with the same class license or higher. The CLP must be held
for 14 calendar days before being able to take the CDL road tests.
The process to apply for the CLP requires:

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Passing all the applicable knowledge tests for the class and endorsements desired.
Submitting a self-certification form and providing a valid medical examiner certificate, if applicable.
Providing citizenship documents which includes:
o Valid, unexpired U.S. Passport or Passport card
o Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. State, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam,
American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands
o Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State
o Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS
o Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS
o Valid, unexpired Permanent Residence Card
If the name on your U.S. passport, birth certificate or permanent residency card has changed you must
also present proof of your legal name change(s). Acceptable proof consists of certified marriage
certificates, certified divorce decrees or other certified court orders. Divorce decrees or other court
orders must specify the name change. Your identity and name change documents need to show a
clear link between your citizenship or permanent residency document and your current name.
Commercial learner permits are valid for 180 days and are not renewable; the applicant must retake the
knowledge tests for another CLP. While practice driving with a CLP:

Drivers practicing to obtain a passenger and/or school bus endorsement are prohibited from
operating a CMV carrying passengers other than the accompanied licensed driver, other trainees or
test examiners.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 3
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Drivers practicing driving with a tank endorsement can only operate an empty tank vehicle. Drivers
practicing to obtain a tank endorsement are prohibited from operating any tank vehicle that
previously contained hazardous materials that has not been purged of any residue.
It is prohibited to operate a CMV transporting hazardous materials.
A currently licensed CDL driver who wishes to upgrade to a higher class or is taking the CDL skills test to
add endorsements or remove restrictions, must take all knowledge tests that are applicable to the CMV they
will test in and apply for a CLP, regardless of the class of license the driver currently holds.
If the driver currently holds a CDL with either school bus or hazardous materials and the upgrade will change
the year of expiration on their driver’s license, the school bus or hazardous materials knowledge tests will
need to be passed.
When a CDL road test is required, CDL knowledge tests applicable to the vehicle type to be used for the
road test must be passed and a CLP applied for and held for 14 calendar days prior to the road test. This
includes:

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Air brake knowledge test if testing in a CMV with air brakes.
Tanker knowledge test if testing in a CMV having an individual tank with a rated capacity of more
than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1000 gallons or more either permanently or
temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis.
Hazardous materials knowledge test if testing in a CMV that is placarded.
Passenger knowledge test if testing in a bus with 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
Passenger and school bus knowledge tests if testing in a school bus.
The following chart will determine which knowledge test(s) are needed when obtaining or upgrading your
CDL.
CLP
Class
B
B w/Pass.
B w/P & SB
A
Knowledge Tests
General
Knowledge
X
X
X
X
Air Brake
X*
X*
X*
X*
Combination
X
Passenger
School Bus
X
X
X
Tanker
X**
X**
*Air brake knowledge test is only required if the test vehicle is equipped with air brakes or an air over
hydraulic brake system.
**Tanker knowledge test is only required if the test vehicle is a tank vehicle.
Skills Tests. When you pass the required knowledge tests, applied for the CLP and held the CLP for 14
calendar days from the date of application, you may take the CDL skills test.
The CDL skills test is broken into three phases: (1) the pre-trip inspection; (2) the basic control skills and (3)
the road test. You must take these tests in the type of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed.
When taking the skills tests, you must show proof of the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)
to the examiner. If you are testing in a bus, you must also show proof of the passenger capacity. This
information is usually located on a metal tag or sticker on the left doorframe or in the cab of the vehicle. The
CMV used for testing must display valid inspection stickers and show proof of current insurance when
applicable.
Trucks must have a securely fastened passenger seat, and the passenger door must open from the inside
and outside. The driver and passenger seatbelts must work properly. Seats and seatbelts should be clean.
No smoking is allowed during the test. The vehicle must be clear of smoke before the examiner enters the
vehicle.

A Class A road test will not be allowed for a tow truck towing another vehicle. The only exception is if
the towed unit has a functional braking system when the service brake is applied by the driver.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 4
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A truck tractor without a semitrailer is not acceptable for a Class B road test.
Covered farm vehicles are not considered commercial motor vehicles. All commercial motor
vehicles must have an annual vehicle inspection in order to be used for a CDL road test.
To remove the automatic transmission restriction, the road test must be taken in the highest class of
vehicle that the driver is eligible to operate. The automatic transmission restriction is class specific.
Class A CDL holders who do not have the O restriction would need to test in a tractor semi-trailer
combination to remove the automatic transmission restriction.
For all Class A tests, apply the trailer brakes and attempt to pull forward to test the trailer connection
before leaving the curb.
Pre-trip Inspection
Purpose: The pre-trip inspection determines whether the vehicle is safe to drive. Minnesota law requires
drivers to complete a daily inspection. For the test, you will perform a complete or partial pre-trip inspection.
Test Procedure: Drivers will be asked to perform a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle and to explain to the
examiner what is being inspected and why. The examiner will mark on a scoring form each item that you
correctly inspect and explain. Checklists are available at driver exam stations and in section 10 of this
manual. You may use the checklist during the pre-trip inspection portion of the test.
The vehicle must be safe and all major systems must work properly. This includes the lights, air brakes or
other braking system and emergency brakes. Any major system that does not work properly must be
repaired before the road test will be given.
During the pre-trip inspection you must point out each item to the examiner and explain what problems you
would look for on a cold vehicle. You must mention the main points listed in order to get credit for checking
that item. You are not required to get under the vehicle or check fluids.
Practice time may be assigned if the pre-trip inspection is failed. A $20 testing fee will be charged on the
third or subsequent attempt to pass the pre-trip inspection. Driver’s training is required after a fourth road test
is failed.
Basic Control Skills
Purpose: The basic control skills test determines your ability to control the vehicle.
Set-up: The test consists of exercises performed in an area marked out by lines and/or traffic cones.

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Straight backing exercise — You will be asked to back your vehicle in a straight line between two
rows of cones without touching or crossing over the exercise boundaries.
Offset backing exercise — You will be asked to back your vehicle, either to the right or the left, into
an adjacent lane.
Alley dock exercise — You will be asked to back your vehicle into an alley, bringing the rear of your
vehicle as close as possible to the rear of the alley without going beyond the exercise boundary.
Note: There is a five-minute time limit on each of the above exercises. It is acceptable for the driver to exit
the vehicle during the offset backing and alley dock exercises, but the time used to exit the vehicle and
assess the situation is included in the five-minute time limit.
The examiner will explain how each exercise is to be done. You will be scored on how well you stay within
the exercise boundaries, how many corrections you make and observation skills.
Road Test
Purpose: The road test evaluates your ability to drive safely in a variety of situations.
Testing Procedure: The test drive is taken over a route specified by the examiner. It may include left and
right turns, intersections, railway crossings, curves, rural or semi-rural roads, city multi-lane streets,
expressway driving and multi-turn lane maneuvers.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 5
You will drive over the test route, following instructions given by the examiner. During the route the examiner
will score specific tasks such as turns, merging, lane changes and speed control. The examiner will also
score whether you correctly perform tasks such as signaling, searching for hazards and lane positioning.
The examiner will not try to trick you or direct you to do anything that is illegal.
Practice time may be assigned if the road test is failed. A $20 testing fee will be charged on the third or
subsequent attempt to pass the road test. Driver’s training is required after a fourth road test is failed.
Medical Requirements
Under the driver qualification rules, a driver must be physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
Details for medical examinations are found in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, section 391.43.
For medical examinations conducted on and after May 21, 2014, the medical examination must be
completed by a certified medical examiner who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical
Examiners per 49 CFR 391.42. The locations of certified medical examiners are found on the National
Registry, visit https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam.
Recent changes in federal regulations and state law requires all CDL holders and drivers applying for a
Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) to certify their commercial operating status. CDL holders and CLP
applicants subject to medical examination requirements will need to submit a valid medical examiner’s
certificate to the Department of Public Safety.
Minnesota drivers applying for an original, renewal or duplicate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and
Minnesota drivers applying for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) will be required to self-certify their
medical certification status by completing the Commercial Driver License Medical Self-certification Form.
This form is available on the DVS Website at dvs.dps.mn.gov. CDL holders who are subject to medical
examination requirements must provide a valid medical examiner’s certificate and any accompanying
medical waivers at the time of application. The medical examiner’s certificate information will be noted on the
individual’s driving record. Commercial drivers who have been granted a medical waiver are required to have
the medical waiver in their possession while driving commercial motor vehicles.
Medical Certificate Renewal. A CDL holder will be required to complete the Commercial Driver License
Medical Self-certification Form and submit their valid medical examiner’s certificate issued from a certified
medical examiner before the medical certificate on file expires. Generally, a medical examiner’s certificate
will expire every two years. Depending on a driver’s medical history, medical examiner’s certificates could be
issued for less than two years. The Department of Public Safety will send a notice to the driver’s last known
address 60 days prior to the expiration date of the medical examiner’s certificate or waiver that is on file in
the driver’s record.
The driver must fax or mail the completed Commercial Driver License Medical Self-certification Form and
their valid medical examiner’s certificate to the DVS CDL Unit or submit in person at a location that accepts
driver license applications. It must be received on or before the expiration of the last medical examiner’s
certificate that is on file with the department to keep CDL driving privileges valid.
If a driver does not pass the medical examination or submit the medical examiner’s certificate within two
years of the date of the last examination, the commissioner of public safety will notify the driver that their
CDL privileges are no longer valid. If the CDL is downgraded because of failure to submit the required
medical examiner’s certificate, the driver may reinstate their CDL and endorsements within one year by
submitting a valid medical examiner’s certificate. If downgraded or voluntarily surrendered for more than one
year, the driver must retake the applicable CDL knowledge and road tests and reapply for the CDL.
Medical Waivers. Commercial drivers may be granted an intrastate waiver from the following physical
qualification requirements: vision, insulin-dependent diabetes, deaf and hard of hearing, and limb
impairment. Interstate drivers must submit medical waiver requests to the U.S. DOT (Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration). Interstate waiver information can be found
at
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/medical/driver-medical-requirements/driver-medical-fitness-duty.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 6
Drivers issued the medical variance from the U.S. DOT (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) will
have an indicator placed on their Minnesota CDL. Drivers with this medical variance are restricted from
operating a commercial motor vehicle in Canada.
Intrastate drivers must submit requests for medical waivers to the MnDOT’s Office of Motor Carrier Services.
Intrastate waiver forms can be obtained from the MnDOT Website
at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/cvo/credentials.html.
Commercial drivers with a school bus endorsement may be granted an intrastate waiver from the following
physical qualification requirements: vision, insulin-dependent diabetes, and limb impairment. Requests for
school bus medical waivers are submitted to the Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services.
School bus medical waiver forms can be obtained from the DVS Website
at
https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/forms-documents/Pages/drivers-license-forms.aspx.
Commercial drivers granted an intrastate waiver will have a restriction placed on their driving record limiting
operation to intrastate only.
Note: Any medical waiver(s) granted must always be in the driver’s possession when operating commercial
motor vehicles.
Check a driver’s license and CDL medical status at dvs.dps.mn.gov and select "Online Services".
Commercial Driver License Medical Requirements
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 49 CFR 391, Physical Qualifications for Drivers.
a) A person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is physically qualified to do so
and, except as provided in §391.67, has on his/her person the original, or a photographic copy, of a
medical examiner’s certificate that he/she is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
b) A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
1) Has no loss of a foot, a leg, a hand, or an arm, or has been granted a waiver pursuant to
§391.49;
2) Has no impairment of:
(i) A hand or finger which interferes with prehension or power grasping; or
(ii) An arm, foot, or leg which interferes with the ability to perform normal tasks
associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle; or any other significant limb
defect or limitation which interferes with the ability to perform normal tasks associated
with operating a commercial motor vehicle; or has been granted a waiver pursuant to
§391.49.
3) Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently
requiring insulin for control;
4) Has no current clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary
insufficiency, thrombosis, or any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be
accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse, or congestive cardiac failure;
5) Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to
interfere with his/her ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely;
6) Has no current clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure likely to interfere with his/her ability
to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely;
7) Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of rheumatic, arthritic, orthopedic,
muscular, neuromuscular, or vascular disease which interferes with his/her ability to control
and operate a commercial motor vehicle safely;
8) Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition
which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control a commercial
motor vehicle;
9) Has no mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder likely to
interfere with his/her ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle safely;
10) Has distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or
visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses, distant
binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses,
field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian in each eye, and the ability to
recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber;
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 7
11) First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than 5 feet with or
without the use of a hearing aid, or, if tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have
an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz and
2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to the
American National Standard (formerly ASA Standard) Z24.5-1951;
12) Does not use any drug or substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11
(i) Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic, or other habit-forming drug.
(ii) Does not use any non-Schedule I drug or substance that is identified in the other
Schedules in 21 part 1308 except when the use is prescribed by a licensed medical
practitioner, as defined in §382.107, who is familiar with the driver's medical history
and has advised the driver that the substance will not adversely affect the driver's
ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle; and
13) Has no current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism.
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
Bicycles are legal vehicles on Minnesota roads and they share the same rights and responsibilities as other
vehicles.
Bicycle lanes are designed to separate bicycle traffic from normal vehicle traffic. It is illegal to drive in these
lanes except to enter or leave the road or to prepare for a turn. Before crossing a bicycle lane, make sure it is
safe to do so. Yield the right-of-way to approaching bicyclists. When the bicycle lane is clear, signal your
intention to turn and then move into the bicycle lane before making the turn.
Use caution when passing a bicyclist. When passing, the law requires at least three feet between the side of
your vehicle and the bicyclist. When approaching turns, be sure to check side mirrors for bicyclists.
Zipper Merge
When most drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone, they slow quickly and move to the
lane that will continue through the construction area. This can cause dangerous lane switching that is
unexpected to other drivers, serious crashes and road rage. When you see the “lane closed ahead” sign and
traffic is backing up, stay in your current lane up to the point of merge. Then take turns with other drivers to
safely and smoothly ease into the remaining lane.
Hand-held Mobile Telephone
Effective January 3, 2012, a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver is restricted from holding a mobile
telephone to conduct a voice communication and dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single
button. Hands-free use is allowed via either an earpiece or the speakerphone function of the mobile
telephone.
Use of a hand-held mobile telephone means:
1. Using at least one hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication;
2. Dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button; or
3. Reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no
longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt that is installed in accordance with 49 CFR
393.93 and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

A driver of a CMV who desires to use a mobile phone while driving will need to use a mobile
telephone (such as hands-free) located in close proximity to the driver that can be operated in
compliance with this rule.

The ease of “reach” or accessibility of the phone is relevant only when a driver chooses to have
access to a mobile telephone while driving. Essentially, before driving the vehicle, the CMV driver
must be ready to conduct a voice communication on a mobile telephone.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 8
Driving means operating a commercial motor vehicle on a highway, including while temporarily stationary
because of traffic, traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Driving does not include operating a
commercial motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has
halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.
A driver's CDL will be disqualified after two or more convictions of any state law on hand-held mobile
telephone use while operating a CMV.
Disqualification is 60 days for the second offense within 3 years and 120 days for three or more offenses
within 3 years. In addition, the first and each subsequent violation of such a prohibition are subject to civil
penalties imposed on such drivers, in an amount up to $2,750.
Motor carriers must not allow nor require drivers to use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
Employers may also be subject to civil penalties in an amount up to $11,000.
There is an emergency exception that allows CMV drivers to use their hand-held mobile telephones if
necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services.
Research commissioned by FMCSA shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g.,
crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) is 6 times greater for CMV drivers who engage in dialing a
mobile telephone while driving than for those who do not. Dialing drivers took their eyes off the forward
roadway for an average of 3.8 seconds. At 55 mph (or 80.7 feet per second), this equates to a driver
traveling 306 feet, the approximate length of a football field, without looking at the roadway.
Implied Consent Law
If you drive a CMV on public roads in the state of Minnesota, you have automatically given your consent to a
test of your blood, breath or urine to determine alcohol and/or drug concentration.
The following drug tests require urine samples:
1. Marijuana (THC metabolite)
2. Cocaine
3. Amphetamines
4. Opiates (including heroin)
5. Phencyclidine (PC)
If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle
for a period of one year and your driver’s license will be revoked for one year.
Alcohol Offenses
Revocation of Class D (Non-CDL) Privileges and Disqualification of CDL Privileges
You may not drink alcohol while you are on-duty or consume any alcoholic beverage within four hours before
you go on duty. If you are found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more while
operating a non-commercial vehicle, your Class D driving privileges will be revoked and you will be
disqualified from driving CMVs for at least one year.
Commercial License Disqualifications
You will lose your CDL for at least one year for a first offense if:
1. You drive a CMV under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (for example, illegal drugs).
2. You refuse to submit to an alcohol or drug test.
3. You drive a CMV when your blood alcohol concentration is 0.04 percent or more.
4. Your blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.04 percent but you have any detectable amount, you
will be put out of service for 24 hours.
5. You leave the scene of an accident involving a CMV that you were driving.
6. You use a CMV to commit a felony.
7. You drive with a revoked, suspended, canceled, denied or disqualified CDL.
8. You cause a fatality through negligent or criminal operation of a CMV.
9. You commit an offense in another state that would be grounds for disqualification in Minnesota.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 9
If a first disqualifying offense occurs while you are operating a CMV that is placarded for hazardous
materials, you will lose your CDL for at least three years.
A second disqualifying offense will result in losing your CDL privileges for life.
You will also lose your CDL for life if you use a CMV to commit a felony involving a controlled substance.
Other Offenses


If you have committed two serious traffic violations while operating a CMV within a three-year period,
you will lose your CDL for at least 60 days.
If you have committed three serious traffic violations while operating a CMV within a three-year
period, you will lose your CDL for at least 120 days.
Note: A limited license will not be issued for a Class A, B or C license. If qualified, a limited license
may be issued for Class D driving only
Notice of Violation by Commercial Driver
The holder of a Minnesota CDL who is convicted of a criminal offense; a serious traffic violation, as defined
in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, section 383.5; or of violating any other state or local law relating to
motor vehicle traffic control, other than a parking violation, in any type of motor vehicle in another state or
jurisdiction, shall notify the person’s employer within 30 days after the date of conviction.
Railroad Grade Crossing
When approaching a railroad grade crossing you must stop your vehicle at least 15 feet and no more than 50
feet from the nearest railroad track when:
 A clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device warns of the immediate approach of a railroad
train.
 An approaching railroad train is plainly visible and is in hazardous proximity.
 A flag person is signaling the approach or passage of a train or when a crossing gate is lowered.
The following vehicles are required to stop at all railroad grade crossings:
 Buses carrying passengers
 School buses (whether carrying passengers or not)
 Placarded vehicles
Railroad Grade Crossing Violation
You will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for:
 60 days if you are convicted of a railroad grade crossing violation.
 120 days if, during any three-year period, you are convicted of two railroad grade crossing violations
arising from separate incidents.
 One year if, during any three-year period, you are convicted of three or more railroad grade crossing
violations arising from separate incidents.
Restricted Seasonal Commercial Driver's License
You may qualify for a restricted Class B or C CDL without taking any tests if you are employed as a seasonal
driver for a farm retail outlet or supplier, an agri-chemical business, a custom harvester or a livestock feeder.
You must have held a valid driver's license for at least one year, and during the last two years:
 Have not had more than one license.
 Have not had your driving privileges suspended, revoked or cancelled for any reason while driving
any type of motor vehicle.
 Have not had any accident in which you were cited.
 Have not been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, leaving
the scene of an accident, committing any felony involving a motor vehicle or any other serious traffic
violations.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 10
To upgrade to a restricted, seasonal CDL, you may apply at any driver's license renewal office or a driver
exam station that accepts driver's license applications. You will pay the full fee for the upgrade of license
class you choose, including the motorcycle endorsement renewal fee if your license is so endorsed. To
renew your seasonal license the following year you must apply for a duplicate license to have your license
restrictions updated.
Restrictions
You may operate a CMV only during the seasonal period that you select, which may not exceed 180
consecutive days in a 12-month period. You may drive non-commercial vehicles all year. You must renew
the restricted seasonal CDL before your driving season starts.
You may not drive a CMV outside of a 150-mile radius of your place of business or the farm you are serving.
When you are driving a vehicle that is required to display hazardous materials placards, you are strictly
limited to:
 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel
 Liquid fertilizers, including anhydrous ammonia, in vehicles with a total capacity of 3,000 gallons or
less
 Solid fertilizers that are not mixed with any organic substance
You are subject to all CDL disqualification penalties. You must maintain a good driving record or your
commercial driving privileges will be cancelled. For more information, contact a driver's license examination
station in your area.
Unlawful acts relating to your driver's license
It is unlawful for any person to:
1. Display or have in possession any fictitious or altered driver's license or Minnesota identification card.
2. Use another name or a fictitious name and date of birth on any application for a driver's license or
Minnesota identification card.
3. Alter any driver's license or Minnesota identification card.
4. Use another person’s driver's license or Minnesota identification card.
5. Lend your driver's license or Minnesota identification card to any other person.
6. Take any part of the driver's license examination for another or permit another to take the examination
for you.
7. Make a counterfeit driver's license or Minnesota identification card.
8. Give a name and date of birth of another person, or give a fictitious name and date of birth to a police
officer for the purpose of falsely identifying yourself.
9. Display as a valid driver's license any canceled, revoked or suspended driver's license. (A person
whose driving privileges have been withdrawn may display a driver's license only for identification
purposes.)
Penalty: Any person who violates provisions (7) or (8) is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Any person who
violates any other provision is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Background Check
Federal and state laws have been enacted to address national security concerns regarding the transportation
of hazardous materials (HazMat). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will conduct a routine
national background check that includes a review of criminal, immigration and FBI records. Any applicant
with a conviction (military or civilian) for certain violent felonies over the past seven years, or who has been
found mentally incompetent, will not be permitted to obtain or renew the HazMat endorsement. The checks
also will verify that the driver is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident as required by the USA
PATRIOT Act.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 11
Only drivers applying for the HazMat endorsement will be affected. If disqualified to hold the HazMat
endorsement, drivers may continue to transport all non-hazardous cargo. The federal rule provides an
appeal process through TSA for cases in which the database information is incorrect, to ensure that no driver
loses the HazMat endorsement due to inaccurate records. Also, drivers who committed a disqualifying
offense, were found to be mentally incompetent or were committed to a mental institution may be granted a
waiver if they prove that they are rehabilitated and capable of safely transporting hazardous materials.
The following list of crimes, identified in 49 CFR 1572.103, disqualifies you from a HazMat endorsement. All
of the crimes listed are disqualifying regardless of the jurisdiction; civilian or military.
Part A: Minnesota Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
Page 12
These crimes disqualify you for seven (7) years, if you were convicted during the seven (7) years before
the date of your application or you were released from incarceration for any of these crimes during the five
(5) years before the date of your application:
Arson
Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud
and money laundering, where the money laundering is related
to a crime listed in this section (except welfare fraud and
passing bad checks)
Assault with intent to murder
Robbery
Kidnapping or hostage taking
Bribery
Rape or aggravated sexual abuse
Smuggling
Extortion
Immigration violations
Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase,
distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery,
import, export of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon
Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the crimes listed in this
section
Distribution of, possession with intent to distribute, or
importation of a controlled substance
Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act; 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq. or a state law that is
comparable, other than any permanently disqualifying offenses
Fraudulent entry into a seaport as described in 18 U.S.C.
1036, or a comparable state law
Voluntary manslaughter
These crimes disqualify you for a lifetime:
Any crime listed in 18 U.S.C. 2332b(g) – Terrorism, or a state
law that is comparable, or conspiracy to commit such crime
Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture,
purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import,
export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive
device
Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage
Sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition
Treason or conspiracy to commit treason
Murder
Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act,18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq., or a State law that
is comparable, where one of the predicate acts found by jury
or admitted by the defendant, consists of one of the
permanently disqualifying crimes
Conspiracy or attempt to commit crimes listed in this section
A crime involving a transportation security incident
Improper transportation of a hazardous material under 49 U.S.C
5124 or a State law that is comparable
Threat or maliciously conveying false information knowing the
same to be false, concerning the deliverance, placement, or
detonation of an explosive or other lethal device in or against a
place of public use, a state or government facility, a public
transportations system, or an infrastructure facility
Fingerprints
Drivers who have, or desire, a HazMat endorsement are required to submit fingerprints as part of the license
upgrade or renewal process. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will use the fingerprints to
initiate a routine national background check. TSA requires proper ID and charges a fee for this service.
For More Information…
For TSA fingerprinting locations and other Hazardous Materials Endorsement information visit the DVS
Website at dvs.dps.mn.gov.
Information Directory
Page 13
Information Directory
Web Services and Information
Driver and Vehicle Services................................................................................................... dvs.dps.mn.gov
Minnesota Commercial Vehicle Operation ............................................................. www.dot.state.mn.us/cvo
Minnesota Electronic Credentialing ................................................................. https://mnec.exploredata.com
Minnesota State Patrol ................................................................................................................. dps.mn.gov
Minnesota Department of Transportation ...................................................................... www.dot.state.mn.us
Minnesota Road Conditions.................................................................................................. www.511mn.org
Federal Internet Information
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website...................................... www.fmcsa.dot.gov
FMCSA Rules and Regulations .........................www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/rules-regulations.htm
FMCSA Medical Program ........................ www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/medical/medical.htm
FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Programs……………………………………....http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety
FMCSA Nat’l Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
...................................................................... https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam
FMCSA Regulations: Revised Hours of Service Regulations
..................................................................................
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service
Office Locations
Driver’s license and motor vehicle services are available at more than 200 locations throughout the state.
Office location information is available 24/7. Visit dvs.dps.mn.gov or call (651) 297-2005.
Contacts
Email: dvs.driverslicense@state.mn.us.
Telephone:
Commercial Driver’s License Unit ..........................................................................................(651) 297-5029
Knowledge and Road Test Office Locations ..........................................................................(651) 297-2005
Road Test Appointment Scheduling (Metro only)...................................................................(651) 284-1234
General Information ................................................................................................................(651) 297-3298
Vehicle Registration and Title .................................................................................................(651) 297-2126
State Patrol Information ..........................................................................................................(651) 201-7100
Customer Assistance for Hearing Impaired (TTY/TDD) .........................................................(651) 282-6555
For other resources and information about CDL and commercial motor vehicles, contact:
MnDOT Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations..............................................(651) 215-6330
Minnesota State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section........................................(651) 405-6196
MnDOT Overdimension Permit Section .................................................................................(651) 296-6000
Interstate Vehicle Registration (Driver & Vehicle Services Prorate Office) ............................(651) 205-4141
To contact the above offices through the relay service for hearing impaired individuals,
call toll free: 1 (800) 627-3529
Information Directory
Page 14
Minnesota Trucking Regulations
The following information is included for your benefit and will not be included in any CDL testing. Because
the information that follows is a general summary of the laws and rules, it should not be relied upon for the
legal requirements of the rules. Further information on motor carrier regulations, including driver qualification
requirements (health certificates), drug testing and hazardous materials may be obtained from:
MnDOT Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations
395 John Ireland Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55125
(651) 215-6330
CVO Website: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/cvo
Minnesota Trucking Regulations: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/cvo/mcr/MnTruckRegl/2014MNTruckReg.pdf
Driver Qualification Rules
A carrier in Minnesota is subject to the rules for driver qualifications if it operates vehicles that are:
 Any size, operating for-hire in intrastate commerce, unless providing transportation described in
Minnesota Statute 221.025, clauses (f), (j), (l), and (m)
 Over 10,000 pounds GVWR, operating in interstate commerce
 Over 10,000 pounds GVWR, operating as a private carrier in intrastate commerce
 Any size, transporting hazardous material of a type or quantity that requires the vehicle to be
placarded
Exception: The driver qualification rules do not apply to vehicles controlled by a farmer and operated by a
farmer or farm employee to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or supplies to or from a farm, if
the vehicles are not used in for-hire operations and are not carrying hazardous materials in a quantity
requiring the vehicle to be marked or placarded.
Alcohol and Drug Testing Requirements
The Federal Highway Administration has rules requiring alcohol and drug testing of drivers who are required
to have a commercial driver's license. The DOT rules include procedures for urine drug testing and breath or
saliva testing.
Pre-employment (drug), post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, return-to-duty and follow-up tests are
required.
Employers must provide their employees with detailed information about alcohol misuse, the employer's
policy, the testing requirements and how and where drivers can get help for alcohol and controlled substance
abuse.
Drug testing is conducted by analyzing a driver's urine specimen. The analysis is performed at laboratories
certified and monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Maximum Vehicle Dimensions and Weights
These are the maximum vehicle dimensions, loaded or unloaded, that may be operated on Minnesota
highways:
Height: 13 feet, 6 inches.
Width: 8 feet, 6 inches, exclusive of rearview mirrors or temporary load securing devices which may extend
an additional three inches on each side of the vehicle or load.
Minnesota Trucking Regulations
Page 15
Length: Maximum lengths for various vehicles are:
VEHICLE
MAXIMUM LENGTH
Each trailer or semi-trailer of a twin trailer combination ............................................... 28'6"
Single motor vehicle .........................................................................................................40'
Trailer, two-vehicle combination .......................................................................................45'
Mobile Crane ....................................................................................................................48'
Semi-trailer, two-vehicle combination ...............................................................................48'
Semi-trailer, two vehicle combination, distance from kingpin to
center of rear axle group 43'0” or less ..............................................................................53'
Truck-tractor with semi-trailer combination, twin trailer combination,
drive-away saddle mount combination* ............................................................................75'
Two-vehicle combinations ................................................................................................75'
(All length limits include front and rear overhang)
*These combinations are allowed to exceed 75 feet overall length only when operating on a four or more
lane divided highway and other designated non-divided highways that make up the Long Combination
Vehicle (LCV) routes. Twin trailer combinations are not allowed to operate off designated LCV routes.
Number of Units. No more than two units in combination may travel on Minnesota highways. Exceptions are
permitted for 28'6" twin trailers and mount combinations in drive-away operations.
Weight Limitations. Minnesota uses a number of different types of weighing equipment. These include
portable scales, approved, privately owned scales and official weigh stations along state trunk highways and
interstates.
Designated Highways
These are Minnesota's State Trunk Highway system, which include routes designated as Interstate (I),
United States (US), and Minnesota (MN), plus certain designated local highways. All carry a ten-ton
limitation. Limits are:
Any single or dual wheel...................................................................................................10,000 lbs.
Any single axle..................................................................................................................20,000 lbs.
Any vehicle combination with five or more axles with minimum spacing .........................80,000 lbs.
Non-designated Highway Limits
These are all other streets and county roads within the state.
Any single or dual wheel..................................................................................................... 9,000 lbs.
Any single axle..................................................................................................................18,000 lbs.
Any vehicle combination with five axles with minimum spacing.......................................73,280 lbs.
Any vehicle combination with six or more axles with minimum spacing ..........................80,000 lbs.
Bridges and Seasonal Road Restrictions
Bridges with rated capacities less than the maximum legal limit in Minnesota have gross weight restrictions
posted. You must observe these restrictions. Annually, from March 20 to May 15, township and county roads
not paved with concrete are restricted to five-tons per axle unless posted signs indicate otherwise.
Throughout the year, any public roadway may be restricted to less than normal weights by signs that limit
axle and axle group weights.
Minnesota Trucking Regulations
Page 16
Tire Load
No tire may exceed 600 pounds per inch width on a steer axle or more than 500 pounds per inch width on
non-steer axles. No more than two steer axles are allowed to carry the 600 pounds per inch tire width (500
pounds on others). Casters or pivoting axles are tracking axles, not steering axles. Tire width is the
manufacturer's tire width shown on the tire. In no instance may the manufacturer's recommended tire load
carrying limit be exceeded.
Variable Load Axles
A vehicle equipped with a variable load axle must have the pressure control preset and the means for
adjusting pressure either secured or out of the driver's reach so that the driver may not vary the pressure
while transporting a load. There are two exceptions to this restriction. It does not apply to:


A farm truck licensed in Class "T" for 57,000 pounds or less prior to July 1, 1981
Rear-loading, tandem-drive refuse compactors
Obtaining Oversize, Overweight Permits
Before moving a vehicle (with or without a load) that exceeds legal dimensions, you must obtain an Overdimension Transportation Permit. You must carry the permit in the vehicle during transport. The road
authority over whose roadway you wish to travel must issue the Over-dimension Transportation Permit.
A permit for use on state trunk highways may be obtained from the MnDOT Over-dimension Permit Section,
Minnesota Department of Transportation, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55125, (651) 296-6000.
Following Distance
Minnesota law requires that trucks and buses maintain a following distance of at least 500 feet on highways.
This law does not apply when passing another vehicle or when traveling in a designated truck lane.
A good way to judge a safe following distance behind another vehicle is to use the time interval method. The
time interval works like this:
1.
2.
Choose a reference point on or near the road (a shadow, road repair patch, telephone pole, tree).
Count off the seconds it takes from the time the back of the vehicle ahead passes the reference point
until the front of your vehicle passes the same point.
An interval of about eight (8) seconds is required to maintain a following distance of 500 feet at 45 MPH.
While on residential or business streets, allow for at least four (4) seconds for dry conditions and six (6)
seconds for wet or icy conditions. Finally, maintain at least a 50-foot interval when following another bus
entering or leaving the school grounds.
Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program
A Minnesota State Patrol certified inspector must inspect commercial motor vehicles annually. Vehicles that
pass the inspection under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations will be issued a safety inspection
decal that is valid for one year. A school bus or a bus operated by the Metropolitan Council Transit
Operations or local transit commission is not inspected under this program.
Minnesota Trucking Regulations
Page 17
A carrier may have its mechanics certified by the Minnesota State Patrol to perform annual vehicle
inspections. Certification is good for a period of two years. Questions about inspector certification should be
directed to the Minnesota State Patrol at 1 (888) 472-3389. Decals for vehicles that have passed inspection
may be purchased from MnDOT Office of Motor Carrier Services.
Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports
The driver of a CMV that carries passengers must conduct a daily inspection of the vehicle and make
available to an officer, if requested, a copy of the inspection report. Drivers of commercial motor vehicles
that do not carry passengers are not required to submit a daily written inspection report unless the driver
discovers a defect or deficiency, or one is reported. Farm truck drivers that are not required to have a CDL
are also not required to fill out an inspection report.
Minnesota Trucking Regulations
Page 18
Commercial
Driver License
Manual
2005 CDL Testing Model
(July 2014)
CDL Drivers Manual
COPYRIGHT AAMVA
All Rights Reserved
This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under
Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH61-97-X-00017. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations
expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
COPYRIGHT © 2005 AAMVA. All rights reserved
This material has been created for and provided to State Driver License Agencies (SDLAs) by AAMVA for
the purpose of educating Driver License applicants (Commercial or Non-Commercial). Permission to
reproduce, use, distribute or sell this material has been granted to SDLAs only. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the
author / publisher. Any unauthorized reprint, use, distribution or sale of this material is prohibited.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to control their
victims. Any minor engaged in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking. Trafficking can
occur in many locations, including truck stops, restaurants, rest areas, brothels, strip clubs, private
homes, etc. Truckers are the eyes and the ears of our nation’s highways. If you see a minor
working any of those areas or suspect pimp control, call the National Hotline and report your
tip:
1-888-3737-888 (US)
1-800-222-TIPS (Canada)
For law enforcement to open an investigation on your tip, they need “actionable information.”
Specific tips helpful when reporting to the hotline would include:
 Descriptions of cars (make, model, color, license plate number, etc.) and people (height,



weight, hair color, eye color, age, etc.)
Take a picture if you can.
Specific times and dates (When did you see the event in question take place? What day
was it?)
Addresses and locations where suspicious activity took place
Trafficking Red Flags to Look for:




Lack of knowledge of their community or whereabouts
Not in control of own identification documents (ID/passport)
Restricted or controlled communication--not allowed to speak for self
Demeanor: fear, anxiety, depression, submissive, tense, nervous
Questions to Ask:




Are you being paid?
Are you being watched or followed?
Are you free to leave? Come and go as you please?
Are you physically or sexually abused? Are you or your family threatened? What is the
nature of the threats?
Report by Email: Report@PolarisProject.org
Warning: Please do not approach traffickers. Call the hotline, and they will call the FBI and local
police to deal with them and rescue the victims. Approaching traffickers is not only dangerous for
you and their victims but could lead to problems in the eventual prosecution of traffickers. Go
to www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org for more information.
Make the Call, Save Lives
This Page left Intentionally Blank
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 1
INTRODUCTION
Do You Need a CDL?
This Section Covers





Commercial Driver License Tests
Driver Disqualifications
Other Safety Rules
International Registration Program
Medical Requirements
There is a federal requirement that each state
have minimum standards for the licensing of
commercial drivers.
This manual provides driver license testing
information for drivers who wish to have a
commercial driver license (CDL). This manual
does NOT provide information on all the federal
and state requirements needed before you can
drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You
may have to contact your state driver licensing
authority for additional information.
You must have a CDL to operate:
 Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle
weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds
or more.
 A combination vehicle with a gross
combination weight rating of 26,001 or
more pounds, if the trailer(s) has a GVWR
of 10,001 or more pounds.
 A vehicle designed to transport 16 or
more passengers (including the driver).
 Any size vehicle which requires
hazardous material placards or is carrying
material listed as a select agent or toxin in
42 CFR part 73. Federal regulations
through the Department of Homeland
Security require a background check and
fingerprinting for the Hazardous Materials
endorsement. Contact your local
department of driver licensing for more
information.
(Your state may have additional definitions of
CMVs).
Figure 1.1
NOTE: A bus may be Class A, B, or C depending on whether
the GVWR is over 26,001 pounds or is a combination vehicle.
To get a CDL, you must pass knowledge and
skills tests. This manual will help you pass the
tests. This manual is not a substitute for a truck
driver training class or program. Formal training is
the most reliable way to learn the many special
skills required for safely driving a large
commercial vehicle and becoming a professional
driver in the trucking industry. Figure 1.1 helps
you determine if you need a CDL.
Section 1 - Introduction
Page 1-1
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
1.1 – Commercial Driver License Tests
1.1.1 – Knowledge Tests
You will have to take one or more knowledge
tests, depending on what class of license and
what endorsements you need. The CDL
knowledge tests include:





School Bus
X
Passenger
Section 1 - Introduction
X
Tank Vehicles
Basic Vehicle Control. You will be tested on your
skill to control the vehicle. You will be asked to
X
Double/Triple
Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection. You will be tested to
see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to
drive. You will be asked to do a pre-trip inspection
of your vehicle and explain to the examiner what
you would inspect and why.
Minn A
ENDORSEMENT
Hazardou
s Materials
If you pass the required knowledge test(s), you
can take the CDL skills tests. There are three
types of general skills that will be tested: pre-trip
inspection, basic vehicle control and on-road
driving. You must take these tests in the type of
vehicle for which you wish to be licensed. Any
vehicle that has components marked or labeled
cannot be used for the Pre-Trip Inspection Test.
LICENSE
TYPE
X
X
X
Minn B
Sections to Study
1.1.2 – Skills Tests
What Sections Should You Study?
Class C

Figure 1.2 details which sections of this manual
you should study for each particular class of
license and for each endorsement.
Class B

On-road Test. You will be tested on your skill to
safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic
situations. The situations may include left and
right turns, intersections, railroad crossings,
curves, up and down grades, single or multi-lane
roads, streets, or highways. The examiner will tell
you where to drive.
Class A

The general knowledge test, taken by all
applicants.
The passenger transport test, taken by all
bus driver applicants.
The air brakes test, which you must take if
your vehicle has air brakes, including air
over hydraulic brakes.
The combination vehicles test, which is
required if you want to drive combination
vehicles.
The hazardous materials test, required if
you want to haul hazardous materials as
defined in 49 CFR 383.5. In order to
obtain this endorsement you are also
required to pass a Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) background check.
The tank vehicle test, required if you want
to haul any liquid or gaseous materials in
a tank or tanks having an individual rated
capacity of more than 119 gallons and an
aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons
or more that is either permanently or
temporarily attached to the vehicle or
chassis.
The doubles/triples test, required if you
want to pull double or triple trailers.
The School Bust test, required if you want
to drive a school bus.
move your vehicle forward, backward and turn it
within a defined area. These areas may be
marked with traffic lanes, cones, barriers, or
something similar. The examiner will tell you how
each control test is to be done.
1
X
X
X
2
X
X
X
3
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
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4
5*
X
6
X
X
X
X
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7
X
8
X
9
X
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10
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X
X
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11
X
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12
X
X
X
X
X
X
*Study section 5 if you plan to operate vehicles
equipped with air brakes.
Figure 1.2 – What to Study
Page 1-2
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
1.2 – CDL Disqualifications
1.2.1 – General
You may not drive a commercial motor vehicle if
you are disqualified for any reason.
1.2.2 – Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of an
Accident and Commission of a Felony
It is illegal to operate a CMV if your blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. If you
operate a CMV, you shall be deemed to have
given your consent to alcohol testing.
You will lose your CDL for at least one year for a
first offense for:
 Driving a CMV if your blood alcohol
concentration is .04% or higher.
 Driving a CMV under the influence of
alcohol.
 Refusing to undergo blood alcohol testing.
 Driving a CMV while under the influence
of a controlled substance.
 Leaving the scene of an accident
involving a CMV.
 Committing a felony involving the use of a
CMV.
 Driving a CMV when the CDL is
suspended.
 Causing a fatality through negligent
operation of a CMV.
You will lose your CDL for at least three years if
the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV
that is placarded for hazardous materials.
You will lose your CDL for life for a second
offense.
You will lose your CDL for life if you use a CMV to
commit a felony involving controlled substances.
You will be put out-of-service for 24 hours if you
have any detectable amount of alcohol under
.04%.
1.2.3 – Serious Traffic Violations
Serious traffic violations are excessive speeding
(15 mph or more above the posted limit), reckless
driving, improper or erratic lane changes,
following a vehicle too closely, traffic offenses
committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic
crashes, driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL
or having a CDL in the driver’s possession, and
driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL
and/or endorsements.
Section 1 - Introduction
You will lose your CDL:
 For at least 60 days if you have
committed two serious traffic violations
within a three-year period involving a
CMV.
 For at least 120 days for three or more
serious traffic violations within a threeyear period involving a CMV.
1.2.4 – Violation of Out-of-Service Orders
You will lose your CDL:
 For at least 90 days if you have
committed your first violation of an out-ofservice order.
 For at least one year if you have
committed two violations of an out-ofservice order in a 10 year period.
 For at least three years if you have
committed three or more violations of an
out-of-service order in a 10 year period.
1.2.5 – Railroad-highway Grade Crossing
Violations
You will lose your CDL:
 For at least 60 days for your first violation.
 For at least 120 days for your second
violation within a three-year period.
 For at least one year for your third
violation within a three-year period.
These violations include violation of a federal,
state or local law or regulation pertaining to one of
the following six offenses at a railroad-highway
grade crossing:
 For drivers who are not required to always
stop, failing to stop before reaching the
crossing if the tracks are not clear.
 For drivers who are not required to always
stop, failing to slow down and check that
the tracks are clear of an approaching
train.
 For drivers who are always required to
stop, failing to stop before driving onto the
crossing.
 For all drivers failing to have sufficient
space to drive completely through the
crossing without stopping.
 For all drivers failing to obey a traffic
control device or the directions of an
enforcement official at the crossing.
 For all drivers failing to negotiate a
crossing because of insufficient
undercarriage clearance.
Page 1-3
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
1.2.6 – Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Background Check and Disqualifications
If you require a hazardous materials endorsement
you will be required to submit your fingerprints
and be subject to a background check.
You will be denied or you will lose your hazardous
materials endorsement if you:
 Are not a lawful permanent resident of the
United States.
 Renounce your United States citizenship.
 Are wanted or under indictment for certain
felonies.
 Have a conviction in military or civilian
court for certain felonies.
 Have been adjudicated as a mental
defective or committed to a mental
institution.
 Are considered to pose a security threat
as determined by the Transportation
Security Administration.
 The background check procedures vary
from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Your
licensing agency will provide you with all
the information you need to complete the
required TSA background check
procedures.
1.2.7 – Traffic Violations in Your Personal
Vehicle
1.3 – Other CDL Rules
There are other federal and state rules that affect
drivers operating CMVs in all states. Among them
are:
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

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act
(MCSIA) of 1999 requires a CDL holder to be
disqualified from operating a commercial motor
vehicle if the CDL holder has been convicted of
certain types of moving violations in their personal
vehicle.
If your privilege to operate your personal vehicle is
revoked, cancelled, or suspended due to
violations of traffic control laws (other than parking
violations) you will also lose your CDL driving
privileges.
If your privilege to operate your personal vehicle is
revoked, cancelled, or suspended due to alcohol,
controlled substance or felony violations, you will
lose your CDL for 1 year. If you are convicted of a
second violation in your personal vehicle or CMV
you will lose your CDL for life.
If your license to operate your personal vehicle is
revoked, cancelled, or suspended you may not
obtain a “hardship” license to operate a CMV.
Section 1 - Introduction



You cannot have more than one license. If
you break this rule, a court may fine you up
to $5,000 or put you in jail and keep your
home state license and return any others.
You must notify your employer within 30
days of conviction for any traffic violations
(except parking). This is true no matter what
type of vehicle you were driving.
You must notify your motor vehicle licensing
agency within 30 days if you are convicted in
any other jurisdiction of any traffic violation
(except parking). This is true no matter what
type of vehicle you were driving.
You must notify your employer within two
business days if your license is suspended,
revoked, or canceled, or if you are
disqualified from driving.
You must give your employer information on
all driving jobs you have held for the past 10
years. You must do this when you apply for
a commercial driving job.
No one can drive a commercial motor
vehicle without a CDL. A court may fine you
up to $5,000 or put you in jail for breaking
this rule.
If you have a hazardous materials
endorsement you must notify and surrender
your hazardous materials endorsement to
the state that issued your CDL within 24
hours of any conviction or indictment in any
jurisdiction, civilian or military, for, or found
not guilty by reason of insanity of a
disqualifying crime listed in 49 CFR
1572.103; who is adjudicated as a mental
defective or committed to a mental institution
as specified in 49 CFR 1572.109; or who
renounces his or her U. S. citizenship.
Your employer may not let you drive a
commercial motor vehicle if you have more
than one license or if you’re CDL is
suspended or revoked. A court may fine the
employer up to $5,000 or put him/her in jail
for breaking this rule.
All states are connected to one
computerized system to share information
about CDL drivers. The states will check on
driver’s accident records to be sure that
drivers do not have more than one CDL.
You are not allowed to hold a mobile
telephone to conduct a voice communication
or dial a mobile telephone by pressing more
than a single button when driving.
Page 1-4
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
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

You are not allowed to send or read text
messages while driving.
You must be properly restrained by a safety
belt at all times while operating a
commercial motor vehicle. The safety belt
design holds the driver securely behind the
wheel during a crash, helping the driver to
control the vehicle and reduces the chance
of serious injury or death. If you do not wear
a safety belt, you are four times more likely
to be fatally injured if you are thrown from
the vehicle.
Your state may have additional rules that
you must also obey.
1.4 – International Registration Plan
International Fuel Tax Agreement
If you operate a CDL required vehicle in interstate
commerce, the vehicle, with few exceptions, is
required to be registered under the International
Registration Plan (IRP) and the International Fuel
Tax Agreement (IFTA). These federally mandated
programs provide for the equitable collection and
distribution of vehicle license fees and motor fuels
taxes for vehicles traveling throughout the 48
contiguous United States and 10 Canadian
provinces.
Under the IRP, jurisdictions must register
apportioned vehicles which includes issuing
license plates and cab cards or proper
credentials, calculate, collect and distribute IRP
fees, audit carriers for accuracy of reported
distance and fees and enforce IRP requirements.
Registrant responsibilities under the Plan include
applying for IRP registration with base jurisdiction,
providing proper documentation for registration,
paying appropriate IRP registration fees, properly
displaying registration credentials, maintaining
accurate distance records and making records
available for jurisdiction review.
The basic concept behind IFTA is to allow a
licensee (motor carrier) to license in a base
jurisdiction for the reporting and payment of motor
fuel use taxes.
Under the IFTA, a licensee is issued one set of
credentials which will authorize operations
through all IFTA member jurisdictions. The fuel
use taxes collected pursuant to the IFTA are
calculated based on the number of miles
(kilometers) traveled and the number of gallons
(liters) consumed in the member jurisdictions. The
licensee files one quarterly tax return with the
Section 1 - Introduction
base jurisdiction by which the licensee will report
all operations through all IFTA member
jurisdictions.
It is the base jurisdiction's responsibility to remit
the taxes collected to other member jurisdictions
and to represent the other member jurisdictions in
the tax collection process, including the
performance of audits.
An IFTA licensee must retain records to support
the information reported on the IFTA quarterly tax
return.
The IRP registrant and the IFTA licensee may
be the vehicle owner or the vehicle operator.
The requirement for acquiring IRP plates for a
vehicle and IFTA license for a motor carrier is
determined by the definitions from the IRP Plan
and the IFTA for Qualified Vehicle and Qualified
Motor Vehicle:
For purposes of IRP:
A Qualified Vehicle is (except as provided below)
any Power Unit that is used or intended for use in
two or more Member Jurisdictions and that is
used for the transportation of persons for hire or
designed, used, or maintained primarily for the
transportation of property, and:
(i) has two Axles and a gross Vehicle weight
or registered gross Vehicle weight in
excess of 26,000 pounds (11,793.401
kilograms), or
(ii) has three or more Axles, regardless of
weight, or
(iii) is used in combination, when the gross
Vehicle weight of such combination
exceeds 26,000 pounds (11,793.401
kilograms), or
(iv) a power unit involved in intrastate
transportation outside the state of
Minnesota regardless of gross vehicle
weight or axles.
IFTA Qualified Vehicles. The following vehicles
are required to display fuel credentials and report
fuel use under the IFTA program if operating in
two or more member jurisdictions. While similar,
the Qualified Motor Vehicle in IFTA means a
motor vehicle used, designed or maintained for
transportation of persons or property, and:
1) Having two axles and a gross vehicle
weight or registered gross vehicle weight
exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797
kilograms; or
Page 1-5
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
2) Having three or more axles regardless of
weight; or
3) Is used in combination, when the weight
of such combination exceeds 26,000
pounds or 11,797 kilograms gross vehicle
or registered gross vehicle weight.
Qualified Motor Vehicle does not include
recreational vehicles.
If the vehicle you operate is registered under IRP
and you are a motor carrier licensed under IFTA,
then you are required to comply with the
mandatory record keeping requirements for
operating the vehicle. A universally accepted
method of capturing this information is through the
completion of an Individual Vehicle Distance
Record (IVDR), sometimes referred to as a Driver
Trip Report. This document reflects the distance
traveled and fuel purchased for a vehicle that
operates interstate under apportioned (IRP)
registration and IFTA fuel tax credentials.
Although the actual format of the IVDR may vary,
the information that is required for proper record
keeping does not.
In order to satisfy the requirements for Individual
Vehicle Distance Records, these documents must
include the following information:
Distance
Per Article IV of the IRP Plan
(i) Date of trip (starting and ending)
(ii) Trip origin and destination – City and State or
Province
(iii) Route(s) of travel
(iv) Beginning and ending odometer or
hubodometer reading of the trip
(v) Total distance traveled
(vi) In-Jurisdiction distance
(vii) Power unit number or vehicle identification
number.
Fuel
Per Section P560 of the IFTA Procedures
Manual
 .300 An acceptable receipt or invoice must
include, but shall not be limited to, the
following:
 .005 Date of purchase
 .010 Seller's name and address
 .015 Number of gallons or liters purchased;
 .020 Fuel type
 .025 Price per gallon or liter or total amount of
sale
Section 1 - Introduction


.030 Unit number or other unique vehicle
identifier
.035 Purchaser's name
An example of an IVDR that must be completed in
its entirety for each trip can be found in Figure 1
below. Each individual IVDR should be filled out
for only one vehicle. The rules to follow when
trying to determine how and when to log an
odometer reading are the following:
 At the beginning of the day
 When leaving the state or province
 At the end of the trip/day
Not only do the trips need to be logged, but the
fuel purchases need to be documented as well.
You must obtain a receipt for all fueling and
include it with your completed IVDR.
Make sure that any trips that you enter are always
filled out in descending order and that your trips
include all state/provinces that you traveled
through on your route.
There are different routes that a driver may take,
and most of the miles may be within one state or
province. Whether or not the distance you travel
is primarily in one jurisdiction or spread among
several jurisdictions, all information for the trip
must be recorded. This includes the dates, the
routes, odometer readings and fuel purchases.
By completing this document in full and keeping
all records required by both the IRP and the IFTA,
you will have ensured that you and your company
are in compliance with all State and Provincial
laws surrounding fuel and distance record keeping
requirements.
The IVDR serves as the source document for the
calculation of fees and taxes that are payable to
the jurisdictions in which the vehicle is operated,
so these original records must be maintained for a
minimum of four years.
In addition, these records are subject to audit by
the taxing jurisdictions. Failure to maintain
complete and accurate records could result in
fines, penalties and suspension or revocation of
IRP registrations and IFTA licenses.
For additional information on the IRP and the
requirements related to the IRP, contact your
base jurisdiction motor vehicle department or IRP,
Inc. the official repository for the IRP. Additional
information can be found on the IRP, Inc. website
at www.irponline.org. There is a training video on
Page 1-6
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
the website home page available in English,
Spanish and French.
For additional information on IFTA and the
requirements related to IFTA, contact the
appropriate agency in your base jurisdiction. You
will also find useful information about the
Agreement at the official repository of IFTA
at http://www.iftach.org/index.php.
Section 1 - Introduction
Page 1-7
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Figure 1 – Individual Vehicle Mileage & Fuel Record (Example)
1.5 – Medical Documentation
Requirements
If you are applying for a CDL Permit; or are
renewing, upgrading, adding endorsements to or
transferring a CDL from another state you are
required to provide information to your State
Driver’s License Agency (SDLA) regarding the
type of commercial motor vehicle operation you
drive in or expect to drive in with your CDL.
Drivers operating in certain types of commerce
will be required to submit a current medical
examiner’s certificate and/or any medical variance
documents that you have been issued (i.e. Vision,
Skills Performance or Diabetic waivers, or other
exemptions) to your SDLA to obtain a “certified”
medical status as part of your driving record. You
must contact your SDLA to obtain information
regarding the requirement for submitting these
documents.
If you are required to have a “certified” medical
status and fail to provide and keep up-to-date your
medical examiner’s certificate you become “notcertified” and may lose your CDL.
Section 1 - Introduction
For the purpose of complying with the
requirements for medical certification, it is
important to know how you are using the CMV.
The following information will help you decide how
to self-certify:
1.5.1 – Interstate or Intrastate Commerce
Do you, or will you, use a CDL to operate a CMV
in interstate or intrastate commerce?
Interstate commerce is when you drive a CMV:

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
From one state to another state or a
foreign country;
Between two places within a state, but
during part of the trip, the CMV crosses
into another state or foreign country; or
Between two places within a state, but the
cargo or passengers are part of a trip that
began or will end in another state or
foreign country.
Intrastate commerce is when you drive a CMV
within a state and you do not meet any of the
descriptions above for interstate commerce.
Page 1-8
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
If you operate in both intrastate commerce and
interstate commerce, you must choose
interstate commerce.
1.5.2 – Inter/Intrastate Commerce: Status Nonexcepted or Excepted?
Once you decide whether you will operate in
interstate commerce or intrastate commerce,
you must decide whether you will operate (or
exempt to operate) in a non-excepted or excepted
status. This decision will tell you to which of the
four types of commerce you must self-certify.
Interstate Commerce:
You operate in excepted interstate commerce
when you drive a CMV in interstate commerce
only for the following excepted activities:
you operate in excepted interstate commerce
and do not need a Federal medical examiner’s
certificate.
If you answered no to all of the above activities,
you operate in non-excepted interstate
commerce and are required to provide a current
medical examiner’s certificate (49 CFR
391.45),commonly referred to as a medical
certificate or DOT card, to your State Driver
Licensing Agency (SDLA). Most CDL holders who
drive CMVs in interstate commerce are nonexcepted interstate commerce drivers.
If you operate in both excepted interstate
commerce and non-excepted interstate
commerce, you must choose non-excepted
interstate commerce to be qualified to operate in
both types of interstate commerce.
Intrastate Commerce:
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To transport school children and/or school
staff between home and school;
As Federal, State or local government
employees;
To transport human corpses or sick or
injured persons;
Fire truck or rescue vehicle drivers during
emergencies and other related activities;
Primarily in the transportation of propane
winter heating fuel when responding to an
emergency condition requiring immediate
response such as damage to a propane
gas system after a storm or flooding;
In Response to a pipeline emergency
condition requiring immediate response
such as a pipeline leak or rupture;
In custom harvesting on a farm or to
transport farm machinery and supplies
used in the custom harvesting operation
to and from a farm or to transport custom
harvested crops to storage or market;
Beekeeper in the seasonal transportation
of bees;
Controlled and operated by a farmer, but
is not a combination vehicle (power unit
and towed unit), and is used to transport
agricultural products, farm machinery or
farm supplies (no placardable hazardous
materials) to and from a farm and within
150 air-miles of the farm;
As a private motor carrier of passengers
for non-business purposes ; or
To transport migrant workers.
You operate in excepted intrastate commerce
when you drive a CMV only in intrastate
commerce activities for which your State of
licensure has determined do not require you to
meet the State’s medical certification
requirements (contact your SDLA about their
requirements).
You operate in non-excepted intrastate
commerce when you drive a CMV only in
intrastate commerce and are required to meet
your State of licensure’s medical certification
requirements (contact your SDLA about their
requirements).
If you operate in both excepted intrastate
commerce and non-excepted intrastate
commerce, you must choose non-excepted
intrastate commerce.
1.5.3 – Self-Certification Statements
When completing an application for your CDL, you
will be required to check the box next to the
statement that describes your status. The actual
statements on your application may vary from
those shown below:

Interstate Non-excepted: I certify that I
operate in interstate commerce, that I am
subject to and meet the Federal DOT
medical card requirements under 49 CFR
part 391; and that I am required to obtain
a medical examiner’s certificate.
If you answered yes to one or more of the above
activities as the only operation in which you drive,
Section 1 - Introduction
Page 1-9
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual


Interstate Excepted: I certify that I
operate or expect to operate in interstate
commerce, but engage exclusively in
transportation or operations excepted
under 49 CFR §§390.3(f), 391.2, 391.68
or 398.3 from all or parts of the
qualification requirements of 49 CFR part
391; and that I am not required to obtain
a medical examiner’s certificate.
Intrastate Non-excepted: I certify that I
operate or expect to operate entirely in
Section 1 - Introduction
intrastate commerce, that I am subject to
and meet the medical requirements for
my State; and that I am required to obtain
a medical examiner’s certificate.

Intrastate Excepted: I certify that I
operate or expect to operate entirely in
intrastate commerce, that I am not subject
to the medical requirements for my State;
and that I am not required to obtain a
medical examiner’s certificate.
Page 1-10
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 2
DRIVING SAFELY
This Section Covers
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Vehicle Inspection
Basic Control of Your Vehicle
Shifting Gears
Seeing
Communicating
Space Management
Controlling Your Speed
Seeing Hazards
Distracted Driving
Aggressive Drivers/Road Rage
Night Driving
Driving in Fog
Winter Driving
Hot Weather Driving
Railroad-highway Crossings
Mountain Driving
Driving Emergencies
Antilock Braking Systems
Skid Control and Recovery
Accident Procedures
Fires
Alcohol, Other Drugs and Driving
Staying Alert and Fit to Drive
Hazardous Materials Rules
This section contains knowledge and safe driving
information that all commercial drivers should
know. You must pass a test on this information to
get a CDL. This section does not have specific
information on air brakes, combination vehicles,
doubles, or passenger vehicles. When preparing
for the Pre-trip Inspection Test, you must review
the material in Section 10 in addition to the
information in this section. This section does have
basic information on hazardous materials
(HazMat) that all drivers should know. If you need
a HazMat endorsement, you should study Section
9.
2.1 – Vehicle Inspection
2.1.1 – Why Inspect
Safety is the most important reason you inspect
your vehicle, safety for yourself and for other road
users.
A vehicle defect found during an inspection could
save you problems later. You could have a
Section 2 – Driving Safely
breakdown on the road that will cost time and
dollars, or even worse, a crash caused by the
defect.
Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect
their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also
may inspect your vehicles. If they judge the
vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it "out of
service" until it is fixed.
2.1.2 – Types of Vehicle Inspection
Pre-trip Inspection. A pre-trip inspection will help
you find problems that could cause a crash or
breakdown.
During a Trip. For safety you should:
 Watch gauges for signs of trouble.
 Use your senses to check for problems (look,
listen, smell, feel).
 Check critical items when you stop:
o Tires, wheels and rims
o Brakes
o Lights and reflectors
o Brake and electrical connections to trailer
o Trailer coupling devices
o Cargo securement devices
After-trip Inspection and Report. You should do
an after-trip inspection at the end of the trip, day,
or tour of duty on each vehicle you operated. It
may include filling out a vehicle condition report
listing any problems you find. The inspection
report helps a motor carrier know when the
vehicle needs repairs.
2.1.3 – What to Look For
Tire Problems
 Too much or too little air pressure.
 Bad wear. You need at least 4/32-inch tread
depth in every major groove on front tires.
You need 2/32 inch on other tires. No fabric
should show through the tread or sidewall.
 Cuts or other damage.
 Tread separation.
 Dual tires that come in contact with each other
or parts of the vehicle.
 Mismatched sizes.
 Radial and bias-ply tires used together.
 Cut or cracked valve stems.
 Regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on
the front wheels of a bus. These are
prohibited.
Page 2-1
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Wheel and Rim Problems
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Damaged rims.
Rust around wheel nuts may mean the nuts
are loose--check tightness. After a tire has
been changed, stop a short while later and recheck tightness of nuts.
Missing clamps, spacers, studs, or lugs
means danger.
Mismatched, bent, or cracked lock rings are
dangerous.
Wheels or rims that have had welding repairs
are not safe.
Air suspension systems that are damaged
and/or leaking. See Figure 2.4.
Any loose, cracked, broken or missing frame
members.
Bad Brake Drums or Shoes



Cracked drums.
Shoes or pads with oil, grease, or brake fluid
on them.
Shoes worn dangerously thin, missing or
broken.
Steering System Defects

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
Missing nuts, bolts, cotter keys, or other parts.
Bent, loose, or broken parts, such as steering
column, steering gear box, or tie rods. See
Figure 2.1.
If power steering equipped, check hoses,
pumps and fluid level; check for leaks.
Steering wheel play of more than 10 degrees
(approximately two (2) inches movement at
the rim of a 20-inch steering wheel) can make
it hard to steer.
Figure 2.1
Suspension System Defects.
The suspension system holds up the vehicle and
its load. It keeps the axles in place. Therefore,
broken suspension parts can be extremely
dangerous.
Look for:
 Spring hangers that allow movement of axle
from proper position. See Figure 2.2.
 Cracked or broken spring hangers.
 Missing or broken leaves in any leaf spring. If
one-fourth or more are missing, it will put the
vehicle "out of service", but any defect could
be dangerous. See Figure 2.3.
 Broken leaves in a multi-leaf spring or leaves
that have shifted so they might hit a tire or
other part.
 Leaking shock absorbers.
 Torque rod or arm, u-bolts, spring hangers or
other axle positioning parts that are cracked,
damaged, or missing.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Figure 2.2
Page 2-2
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Fire extinguisher(s)
Spare electrical fuses (unless equipped with
circuit breakers)
Warning devices for parked vehicles (for
example, three reflective warning triangles or
six (6) fusees or three (3) liquid burning flares)
Cargo (Trucks). You must make sure the truck is
not overloaded and the cargo is balanced and
secured before each trip. If the cargo contains
hazardous materials, you must inspect for proper
papers and placarding.
– CDL Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test
In order to obtain a CDL you will be required to
pass a pre-trip vehicle inspection test. You will be
tested to see if you know whether your vehicle is
safe to drive. You will be asked to do a pre-trip
inspection of your vehicle and explain to the
examiner what you would inspect and why. The
following seven-step inspection method should be
useful.
Figure 2.3
– Seven-step Inspection Method
Method of Inspection. You should do a pre-trip
inspection the same way each time so you will
learn all the steps and be less likely to forget
something.
Approaching the Vehicle. Notice general
condition. Look for damage or vehicle leaning to
one side. Look under the vehicle for fresh oil,
coolant, grease, or fuel leaks. Check the area
around the vehicle for hazards to vehicle
movement (people, other vehicles, objects, lowhanging wires, limbs, etc.).
Vehicle Inspection Guide
Figure 2.4
Exhaust System Defects. A broken exhaust
system can let poison fumes into the cab or
sleeper berth. Look for:
 Loose, broken, or missing exhaust pipes,
mufflers, tailpipes, or vertical stacks.
 Loose, broken, or missing mounting brackets,
clamps, bolts, or nuts.
 Exhaust system parts rubbing against fuel
system parts, tires, or other moving parts of
vehicle.
 Exhaust system parts that are leaking.
Emergency Equipment. Vehicles must be
equipped with emergency equipment.
Look for:
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Step 1: Vehicle Overview
Review Last Vehicle Inspection Report. Drivers
may have to make a vehicle inspection report in
writing each day. The motor carrier must repair
any items in the report that affect safety and
certify on the report that repairs were made or
were unnecessary. You must sign the report only
if defects were noted and certified to be repaired
or not needed to be repaired.
Step 2: Check Engine Compartment
Check that the Parking Brakes are On and/or
Wheels Chocked.
Page 2-3
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
You may have to raise the hood, tilt the cab
(secure loose things so they don't fall and break
something), or open the engine compartment
door. Check the following:










Engine oil level.
Coolant level in radiator; condition of hoses.
Power steering fluid level; hose condition (if
so equipped).
Windshield washer fluid level.
Battery fluid level, connections and tie downs
(battery may be located elsewhere).
Automatic transmission fluid level (may
require engine to be running).
Check belts for tightness and excessive wear
(alternator, water pump, air compressor)-learn how much "give" the belts should have
when adjusted right and check each one.
Leaks in the engine compartment (fuel,
coolant, oil, power steering fluid, hydraulic
fluid, battery fluid).
Cracked, worn electrical wiring insulation.
Lower and secure hood, cab, or engine
compartment door.
Step 3: Start Engine and Inspect Inside the
Cab
Get In and Start Engine





Warning lights and buzzers. Oil, coolant,
charging circuit warning and antilock brake
system lights should go out right away.
Check Condition of Controls. Check all of the
following for looseness, sticking, damage, or
improper setting:









Steering wheel.
Clutch.
Accelerator ("gas pedal").
Brake controls:
o Foot brake.
o Trailer brake (if vehicle has one).
o Parking brake.
o Retarder controls (if vehicle has
them).
Transmission controls.
Interaxle differential lock (if vehicle has
one).
Horn(s).
Windshield wiper/washer.
Lights:
o Headlights.
o Dimmer switch.
o Turn signal.
o Four-way flashers.
o Parking, clearance, identification,
marker switch(es).
Make sure parking brake is on.
Put gearshift in neutral (or "park" if automatic).
Start engine; listen for unusual noises.
If equipped, check the Anti-lock Braking
System (ABS) indicator lights. Light on dash
should come on and then turn off. If it stays
on the ABS is not working properly. For
trailers only, if the yellow light on the left rear
of the trailer stays on, the ABS is not working
properly.
Look at the Gauges





Oil pressure. Should come up to normal within
seconds after engine is started. See Figure
2.5
Air pressure. Pressure should build from 50 to
90 psi within 3 minutes. Build air pressure to
governor cut-out (usually around 120 – 140
psi). Know your vehicles requirements.
Ammeter and/or voltmeter. Should be in
normal range(s).
Coolant temperature. Should begin gradual
rise to normal operating range.
Engine oil temperature. Should begin gradual
rise to normal operating range.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Figure 2.5
Page 2-4
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
o
Check Mirrors and Windshield. Inspect mirrors
and windshield for cracks, dirt, illegal stickers, or
other obstructions to seeing clearly. Clean and
adjust as necessary.
Check Emergency Equipment


Check for safety equipment:
o Spare electrical fuses (unless vehicle
has circuit breakers).
o Three red reflective triangles, 6
fusees or 3 liquid burning flares.
o Properly charged and rated fire
extinguisher.
Check for optional items such as:
o Chains (where winter conditions
require).
o Tire changing equipment.
o List of emergency phone numbers
o Accident reporting kit (packet).


Front


Check Safety Belt. Check that the safety belt is
securely mounted, adjusts, latches properly and is
not ripped or frayed.
Step 4: Turn Off Engine and Check Lights

Make sure the parking brake is set, turn off the
engine and take the key with you. Turn on
headlights (low beams) and four-way emergency
flashers, and get out of the vehicle.

Step 5: Do Walk-Around Inspection





Go to front of vehicle and check that low
beams are on and both of the four-way
flashers are working.
Push dimmer switch and check that high
beams work.
Turn off headlights and four-way emergency
flashers.
Turn on parking, clearance, side-marker and
identification lights.
Turn on right turn signal and start walk-around
inspection.



Walk around and inspect.
Clean all lights, reflectors and glass as you go
along.
Left Front Side



Condition of front axle.
Condition of steering system:
o No loose, worn, bent, damaged or
missing parts.
o Must grab steering mechanism to test
for looseness.
Condition of windshield:
o Check for damage and clean if dirty.
o Check windshield wiper arms for
proper spring tension.
o Check wiper blades for damage, "stiff"
rubber, and securement.
Lights and reflectors:
o Parking, clearance and identification
lights clean, operating and proper
color (amber at front).
o Reflectors clean and proper color
(amber at front).
o Right front turn signal light clean,
operating and proper color (amber or
white on signals facing forward).
Right Side
General


Condition of wheel and rim--missing,
bent, broken studs, clamps, lugs or
any signs of misalignment.
o Condition of tires--properly inflated,
valve stem and cap OK, no serious
cuts, bulges or tread wear.
o Use wrench to test rust-streaked lug
nuts, indicating looseness.
o Hub oil level OK, no leaks.
Left front suspension:
o Condition of spring, spring hangers,
shackles, u-bolts.
o Shock absorber condition.
Left front brake:
o Condition of brake drum or disc.
o Condition of hoses.
Right front: check all items as done on left
front.
Primary and secondary safety cab locks
engaged (if cab-over-engine design).
Right fuel tank(s):
o Securely mounted, not damaged or
leaking.
o Fuel crossover line secure.
o Tank(s) contain enough fuel.
o Cap(s) on and secure.
Driver's door glass should be clean.
Door latches or locks should work properly.
Left front wheel:
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-5
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual


Condition of visible parts:
o Rear of engine--not leaking.
o Transmission--not leaking.
o Exhaust system--secure, not leaking,
not touching wires, fuel or air lines.
o Frame and cross members--no bends
or cracks.
o Air lines and electrical wiring--secured
against snagging, rubbing, wearing.
o Spare tire carrier or rack not damaged
(if so equipped).
o Spare tire and/or wheel securely
mounted in rack.
o Spare tire and wheel adequate
(proper size, properly inflated).
Cargo securement (trucks):
o Cargo properly blocked, braced, tied,
chained, etc.
o Header board adequate, secure (if
required).
o Side boards, stakes strong enough,
free of damage, properly set in place
(if so equipped).
o Canvas or tarp (if required) properly
secured to prevent tearing, billowing
or blocking of mirrors.
o If oversize, all required signs (flags,
lamps and reflectors) safely and
properly mounted and all required
permits in driver's possession.
o Curbside cargo compartment doors in
good condition, securely closed,
latched/locked and required security
seals in place.
o
o
Brakes:
o Brake adjustment.
o Condition of brake drum(s) or discs.
o Condition of hoses--look for any wear
due to rubbing.
 Lights and reflectors:
o Side-marker lights clean, operating,
and proper color (red at rear, others
amber).
o Side-marker reflectors clean and
proper color (red at rear, others
amber).
Rear






Right Rear






Condition of wheels and rims--no missing,
bent, or broken spacers, studs, clamps or
lugs.
Condition of tires--properly inflated, valve
stems and caps OK, no serious cuts, bulges,
tread wear, tires not rubbing each other and
nothing stuck between them.
Tires same type, e.g., not mixed radial and
bias types.
Tires evenly matched (same sizes).
Wheel bearing/seals not leaking.
Suspension:
o Condition of spring(s), spring
hangers, shackles and u-bolts.
o Axle secure.
o Powered axle(s) not leaking lube
(gear oil).
o Condition of torque rod arms,
bushings.
o Condition of shock absorber(s).
Section 2 – Driving Safely
If retractable axle equipped, check
condition of lift mechanism. If air
powered, check for leaks.
Condition of air ride components.





Lights and reflectors.
o Rear clearance and identification
lights clean, operating and proper
color (red at rear).
o Reflectors clean and proper color (red
at rear).
o Taillights clean, operating and proper
color (red at rear).
o Right rear turn signal operating and
proper color (red, yellow or amber at
rear).
License plate(s) present, clean and secured.
Splash guards present, not damaged,
properly fastened, not dragging on ground or
rubbing tires.
Cargo secure (trucks).
Cargo properly blocked, braced, tied, chained,
etc.
Tailboards up and properly secured.
End gates free of damage, properly secured
in stake sockets.
Canvas or tarp (if required) properly secured
to prevent tearing, billowing, or blocking of
either the rearview mirrors or rear lights.
If over-length, or over-width, make sure all
signs and/or additional lights/flags are safely
and properly mounted and all required permits
are in driver's possession.
Rear doors securely closed, latched/locked.
Left Side

Check all items as done on right side, plus:
o Battery(ies) (if not mounted in engine
compartment).
o Battery box(es) securely mounted to
vehicle.
o Box has secure cover.
Page 2-6
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
o
o
o
o
o
Battery(ies) secured against
movement.
Battery(ies) not broken or leaking.
Fluid in battery(ies) at proper level
(except maintenance-free type).
Cell caps present and securely
tightened (except maintenance-free
type).
Vents in cell caps free of foreign
material (except maintenance-free
type).
Step 6: Check Signal Lights
Get In and Turn Off Lights



Turn off all lights.
Turn on stop lights (apply trailer hand brake or
have a helper put on the brake pedal).
Turn on left turn signal lights.





Release trailer parking brake (if applicable).
Place vehicle into a low gear.
Gently pull forward against parking brake to
make sure the parking brake holds.
Repeat the same steps for the trailer with
trailer parking brake set and power unit
parking brakes released (if applicable).
If it doesn't hold vehicle, it is faulty - get it
fixed.
Test Service Brake Stopping Action




Go about five miles per hour.
Push brake pedal firmly.
"Pulling" to one side or the other can mean
brake trouble.
Any unusual brake pedal "feel" or delayed
stopping action can mean trouble.
Get Out and Check Lights
If you find anything unsafe during the pre-trip
inspection, get it fixed. Federal and state laws
forbid operating an unsafe vehicle.

2.1.6 – Inspection During a Trip

Left front turn signal light clean, operating and
proper color (amber or white on signals facing
the front).
Left rear turn signal light and both stop lights
clean, operating and proper color (red, yellow,
or amber).
Get In Vehicle




Turn off lights not needed for driving.
Check for all required papers, trip manifests,
permits, etc.
Secure all loose articles in cab (they might
interfere with operation of the controls or hit
you in a crash).
Start the engine.
Step 7: Start the Engine and Check
Test for Hydraulic Leaks. If the vehicle has
hydraulic brakes, pump the brake pedal three
times. Then apply firm pressure to the pedal and
hold for five seconds. The pedal should not move.
If it does, there may be a leak or other problem.
Get it fixed before driving. If the vehicle has air
brakes, do the checks described in Sections 5 and
6 of this manual.
Brake System
Check Vehicle Operation Regularly
You should check:
 Instruments.
 Air pressure gauge (if you have air brakes).
 Temperature gauges.
 Pressure gauges.
 Ammeter/voltmeter.
 Mirrors.
 Tires.
 Cargo, cargo covers.
 Lights.
 Etc.
If you see, hear, smell, or feel anything that might
mean trouble, check it out.
Safety Inspection. Drivers of trucks and truck
tractors when transporting cargo must inspect the
securement of the cargo within the first 50 miles of
a trip and every 150 miles or every three hours
(whichever comes first) after.
2.1.7 – After-trip Inspection and Report
You may have to make a written report each day
on the condition of the vehicle(s) you drove.
Report anything affecting safety or possibly
leading to mechanical breakdown.
Test Parking Brake(s)


Fasten safety belt.
Set parking brake (power unit only).
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-7
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Subsection 2.1
Test Your Knowledge
The vehicle inspection report tells the motor
carrier about problems that may need fixing. Keep
a copy of your report in the vehicle for one day.
That way, the next driver can learn about any
problems you have found.
1.
What is the most important reason for doing a
vehicle inspection?
2. What things should you check during a trip?
3. Name some key steering system parts.
4. Name some suspension system defects.
5. What three kinds of emergency equipment
must you have?
6. What is the minimum tread depth for front
tires? For other tires?
7. Name some things you should check on the
front of your vehicle during the walk around
inspection.
8. What should wheel bearing seals be checked
for?
9. How many red reflective triangles should you
carry?
10. How do you test hydraulic brakes for leaks?
11. Why put the starter switch key in your pocket
during the pre-trip inspection?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 2.1.
when you have applied enough engine power to
keep from rolling back. On a tractor-trailer
equipped with a trailer brake hand valve, the hand
valve can be applied to keep from rolling back.
Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle
does not jerk. Rough acceleration can cause
mechanical damage. When pulling a trailer, rough
acceleration can damage the coupling.
Speed up very gradually when traction is poor, as
in rain or snow. If you use too much power, the
drive wheels may spin. You could lose control. If
the drive wheels begin to spin, take your foot off
the accelerator.
2.2.2 – Steering
Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands.
Your hands should be on opposite sides of the
wheel. If you hit a curb or a pothole (chuckhole),
the wheel could pull away from your hands unless
you have a firm hold.
2.2.3 – Stopping
Push the brake pedal down gradually. The
amount of brake pressure you need to stop the
vehicle will depend on the speed of the vehicle
and how quickly you need to stop. Control the
pressure so the vehicle comes to a smooth, safe
stop. If you have a manual transmission, push the
clutch in when the engine is close to idle.
2.2.4 – Backing Safely
2.2 – Basic Control of Your Vehicle
To drive a vehicle safely, you must be able to
control its speed and direction. Safe operation of a
commercial vehicle requires skill in:




Accelerating.
Steering.
Stopping.
Backing safely.
Because you cannot see everything behind your
vehicle, backing is always dangerous. Avoid
backing whenever you can. When you park, try to
park so you will be able to pull forward when you
leave. When you have to back, here are a few
simple safety rules:
Fasten your seatbelt when on the road. Apply the
parking brake when you leave your vehicle.





2.2.1 – Accelerating

Don't roll back when you start. You may hit
someone behind you. If you have a manual
transmission vehicle, partly engage the clutch
before you take your right foot off the brake. Put
on the parking brake whenever necessary to keep
from rolling back. Release the parking brake only
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Start in the proper position.
Look at your path.
Use mirrors on both sides.
Back slowly.
Back and turn toward the driver's side
whenever possible.
Use a helper whenever possible.
These rules are discussed in turn below.
Start in the Proper Position. Put the vehicle in
the best position to allow you to back safely. This
position will depend on the type of backing to be
done.
Page 2-8
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Look at Your Path. Look at your line of travel
before you begin. Get out and walk around the
vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and
overhead, in and near the path your vehicle will
take.
Use Mirrors on Both Sides. Check the outside
mirrors on both sides frequently. Get out of the
vehicle and check your path if you are unsure.
Back Slowly. Always back as slowly as possible.
Use the lowest reverse gear. That way you can
more easily correct any steering errors. You also
can stop quickly if necessary.
Back and Turn Toward the Driver's Side. Back
to the driver's side so you can see better. Backing
toward the right side is very dangerous because
you can't see as well. If you back and turn toward
the driver's side, you can watch the rear of your
vehicle by looking out the side window. Use
driver-side backing--even if it means going around
the block to put your vehicle in this position. The
added safety is worth it.
Use a Helper. Use a helper when you can. There
are blind spots you can't see. That's why a helper
is important. The helper should stand near the
back of your vehicle where you can see the
helper. Before you begin backing, work out a set
of hand signals that you both understand. Agree
on a signal for "stop."
2.3 – Shifting Gears
Correct shifting of gears is important. If you can't
get your vehicle into the right gear while driving,
you will have less control.
2.3.1 – Manual Transmissions
Basic Method for Shifting Up. Most heavy
vehicles with manual transmissions require double
clutching to change gears. This is the basic
method:





Release accelerator, push in clutch and shift
to neutral at the same time.
Release clutch.
Let engine and gears slow down to the rpm
required for the next gear (this takes practice).
Push in clutch and shift to the higher gear at
the same time.
Release clutch and press accelerator at the
same time.
Shifting gears using double clutching requires
practice. If you remain too long in neutral, you
Section 2 – Driving Safely
may have difficulty putting the vehicle into the next
gear. If so, don't try to force it. Return to neutral,
release clutch, increase engine speed to match
road speed and try again.
Knowing When to Shift Up. There are two ways
of knowing when to shift:
Use Engine Speed (rpm). Study the driver's
manual for your vehicle and learn the operating
rpm range. Watch your tachometer, and shift up
when your engine reaches the top of the range.
Some newer vehicles use "progressive" shifting:
the rpm at which you shift becomes higher as you
move up in the gears. Find out what's right for the
vehicle you will operate.
Use Road Speed (mph). Learn what speeds
each gear is good for. Then, by using the
speedometer, you'll know when to shift up.
With either method, you may learn to use engine
sounds to know when to shift.
Basic Procedures for Shifting Down






Release accelerator, push in clutch and shift
to neutral at the same time.
Release clutch.
Press accelerator, increase engine and gear
speed to the rpm required in the lower gear.
Push in clutch and shift to lower gear at the
same time.
Release clutch and press accelerator at the
same time.
Downshifting, like upshifting, requires knowing
when to shift. Use either the tachometer or the
speedometer and downshift at the right rpm or
road speed.
Special conditions where you should downshift
are:
Before Starting Down a Hill. Slow down and
shift down to a speed that you can control without
using the brakes hard. Otherwise the brakes can
overheat and lose their braking power.
Downshift before starting down the hill. Make
sure you are in a low enough gear, usually lower
than the gear required to climb the same hill.
Before Entering a Curve. Slow down to a safe
speed and downshift to the right gear before
entering the curve.
Page 2-9
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
This lets you use some power through the curve
to help the vehicle be more stable while turning. It
also allows you to speed up as soon as you are
out of the curve.
2.3.2 – Multi-speed Rear Axles and Auxiliary
Transmissions
Multi-speed rear axles and auxiliary transmissions
are used on many vehicles to provide extra gears.
You usually control them by a selector knob or
switch on the gearshift lever of the main
transmission. There are many different shift
patterns. Learn the right way to shift gears in the
vehicle you will drive.
2.3.3 – Automatic Transmissions
Some vehicles have automatic transmissions. You
can select a low range to get greater engine
braking when going down grades. The lower
ranges prevent the transmission from shifting up
beyond the selected gear (unless the governor
rpm is exceeded). It is very important to use this
braking effect when going down grades.
2.3.4 – Retarders
Some vehicles have "retarders." Retarders help
slow a vehicle, reducing the need for using your
brakes. They reduce brake wear and give you
another way to slow down. There are four basic
types of retarders (exhaust, engine, hydraulic and
electric). All retarders can be turned on or off by
the driver. On some vehicles the retarding power
can be adjusted. When turned "on," retarders
apply their braking power (to the drive wheels
only) whenever you let up on the accelerator
pedal all the way.
Because these devices can be noisy, be sure you
know where their use is permitted.
Caution. When your drive wheels have poor
traction, the retarder may cause them to skid.
Therefore, you should turn the retarder off
whenever the road is wet, icy or snow covered.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Subsections 2.2 and 2.3
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Why should you back toward the driver's
side?
If stopped on a hill, how can you start moving
without rolling back?
When backing, why is it important to use a
helper?
What's the most important hand signal that
you and the helper should agree on?
What are the two special conditions where
you should downshift?
When should you downshift automatic
transmissions?
Retarders keep you from skidding when the
road is slippery. True or False?
What are the two ways to know when to shift?
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.2 and 2.3.
2.4 – Seeing
To be a safe driver you need to know what's going
on all around your vehicle. Not looking properly is
a major cause of crashes.
2.4.1 – Seeing Ahead
All drivers look ahead; but many don't look far
enough ahead.
Importance of Looking Far Enough Ahead.
Because stopping or changing lanes can take a
lot of distance, knowing what the traffic is doing on
all sides of you is very important. You need to look
well ahead to make sure you have room to make
these moves safely.
How Far Ahead to Look. Most good drivers look
at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead. That means
looking ahead the distance you will travel in 12 to
15 seconds. At lower speeds, that's about one
block. At highway speeds it's about a quarter of a
mile. If you're not looking that far ahead, you may
have to stop too quickly or make quick lane
changes. Looking 12 to 15 seconds ahead doesn't
mean not paying attention to things that are
closer. Good drivers shift their attention back and
forth, near and far. Figure 2.6 illustrates how far to
look ahead.
Page 2-10
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Special Situations. Special situations require
more than regular mirror checks. These are lane
changes, turns, merges and tight maneuvers.
Lane Changes. You need to check your mirrors
to make sure no one is alongside you or about to
pass you. Check your mirrors:



Figure 2.6
Look for Traffic. Look for vehicles coming onto
the highway, into your lane, or turning. Watch for
brake lights from slowing vehicles. By seeing
these things far enough ahead, you can change
your speed, or change lanes if necessary to avoid
a problem. If a traffic light has been green for a
long time it will probably change before you get
there. Start slowing down and be ready to stop.
2.4.2 – Seeing to the Sides and Rear
It's important to know what's going on behind and
to the sides. Check your mirrors regularly. Check
more often in special situations.
Mirror Adjustment. Mirror adjustment should be
checked prior to the start of any trip and can only
be checked accurately when the trailer(s) are
straight. You should check and adjust each mirror
to show some part of the vehicle. This will give
you a reference point for judging the position of
the other images.
Regular Checks. You need to make regular
checks of your mirrors to be aware of traffic and to
check your vehicle.
Traffic. Check your mirrors for vehicles on either
side and in back of you. In an emergency, you
may need to know whether you can make a quick
lane change. Use your mirrors to spot overtaking
vehicles. There are "blind spots" that your mirrors
cannot show you. Check your mirrors regularly to
know where other vehicles are around you, and to
see if they move into your blind spots.

Before you change lanes to make sure there
is enough room.
After you have signaled, to check that no one
has moved into your blind spot.
Right after you start the lane change, to
double-check that your path is clear.
After you complete the lane change.
Turns. In turns, check your mirrors to make sure
the rear of your vehicle will not hit anything.
Merges. When merging, use your mirrors to make
sure the gap in traffic is large enough for you to
enter safely.
Tight Maneuvers. Any time you are driving in
close quarters, check your mirrors often. Make
sure you have enough clearance.
How to Use Mirrors. Use mirrors correctly by
checking them quickly and understanding what
you see.

When you use your mirrors while driving on
the road, check quickly. Look back and forth
between the mirrors and the road ahead.
Don't focus on the mirrors for too long.
Otherwise, you will travel quite a distance
without knowing what's happening ahead.

Many large vehicles have curved (convex,
"fisheye," "spot," "bugeye") mirrors that show
a wider area than flat mirrors. This is often
helpful. But everything appears smaller in a
convex mirror than it would if you were looking
at it directly. Things also seem farther away
than they really are. It's important to realize
this and to allow for it. Figure 2.7 shows the
field of vision using a convex mirror.
Check Your Vehicle. Use the mirrors to keep an
eye on your tires. It's one way to spot a tire fire. If
you're carrying open cargo, you can use the
mirrors to check it. Look for loose straps, ropes, or
chains. Watch for a flapping or ballooning tarp.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-11
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
drivers in any of the following situations:
Figure 2.7
2.5 – Communicating
2.5.1 – Signal Your Intentions
Other drivers can't know what you are going to do
until you tell them.
Signaling what you intend to do is important for
safety. Here are some general rules for signaling.
Turns. There are three good rules for using turn
signals:
 Signal early. Signal well before you turn. It is
the best way to keep others from trying to
pass you.
 Signal continuously. You need both hands on
the wheel to turn safely. Don't cancel the
signal until you have completed the turn.
 Cancel your signal. Don't forget to turn off
your turn signal after you've turned (if you
don't have self-canceling signals).
Lane Changes. Put your turn signal on before
changing lanes. Change lanes slowly and
smoothly. That way a driver you didn't see may
have a chance to honk his/her horn, or avoid your
vehicle.
Slowing Down. Warn drivers behind you when
you see you'll need to slow down. A few light taps
on the brake pedal -- enough to flash the brake
lights -- should warn following drivers. Use the
four-way emergency flashers for times when you
are driving very slowly or are stopped. Warn other
Section 2 – Driving Safely

Trouble Ahead. The size of your vehicle may
make it hard for drivers behind you to see
hazards ahead. If you see a hazard that will
require slowing down, warn the drivers behind
by flashing your brake lights.

Tight Turns. Most car drivers don't know how
slowly you have to go to make a tight turn in a
large vehicle. Give drivers behind you warning
by braking early and slowing gradually.

Stopping on the Road. Truck and bus drivers
sometimes stop in the roadway to unload
cargo or passengers, or to stop at a railroad
crossing. Warn following drivers by flashing
your brake lights. Don't stop suddenly.

Driving Slowly. Drivers often do not realize
how fast they are catching up to a slow
vehicle until they are very close. If you must
drive slowly, alert following drivers by turning
on your emergency flashers, if it is legal (laws
regarding the use of flashers differ from one
state to another - check the laws of the states
where you will drive).
Don't Direct Traffic. Some drivers try to help out
others by signaling when it is safe to pass. You
should not do this. You could cause a crash. You
could be blamed and it could cost you many
thousands of dollars.
2.5.2 – Communicating Your Presence
Other drivers may not notice your vehicle even
when it's in plain sight. To help prevent crashes,
let them know you're there.
When Passing. Whenever you are about to pass
a vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist, assume they
don't see you. They could suddenly move in front
of you. When it is legal, tap the horn lightly or, at
night, flash your lights from low to high beam and
back. And, drive carefully enough to avoid a crash
even if they don't see or hear you.
When It's Hard to See. At dawn, dusk, in rain, or
snow, you need to make yourself easier to see. If
you are having trouble seeing other vehicles,
other drivers will have trouble seeing you. Turn on
your lights. Use the headlights, not just the
identification or clearance lights. Use the low
beams; high beams can bother people in the
daytime as well as at night.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
When Parked at the Side of the Road. When
you pull off the road and stop, be sure to turn on
the four-way emergency flashers. This is
important at night. Don't trust the taillights to give
warning. Drivers have crashed into the rear of a
parked vehicle because they thought it was
moving normally.
If you must stop on a road or the shoulder of any
road, you must put out your emergency warning
devices within ten minutes. Place your warning
devices at the following locations:

If you must stop on or by a one-way or divided
highway, place warning devices 10 feet, 100
feet, and 200 feet toward the approaching
traffic. See Figure 2.8.

If you stop on a two-lane road carrying traffic
in both directions or on an undivided highway,
place warning devices within 10 feet of the
front or rear corners to mark the location of
the vehicle and 100 feet behind and ahead of
the vehicle, on the shoulder or in the lane you
stopped in. See Figure 2.9.
Figure 2.9
Back beyond any hill, curve, or other obstruction
that prevents other drivers from seeing the vehicle
within 500 feet. If line of sight view is obstructed
due to hill or curve, move the rear-most triangle to
a point back down the road so warning is
provided. See Figure 2.10.
Figure 2.8
Figure 2.10
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-13
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
When putting out the triangles, hold them between
yourself and the oncoming traffic for your own
safety. (So other drivers can see you.)
Use Your Horn When Needed. Your horn can let
others know you're there. It can help to avoid a
crash. Use your horn when needed. However, it
can startle others and could be dangerous when
used unnecessarily.
2.6 – Controlling Speed
Driving too fast is a major cause of fatal crashes.
You must adjust your speed depending on driving
conditions. These include traction, curves,
visibility, traffic and hills.
2.6.1 – Stopping Distance
Perception Distance + Reaction Distance +
Braking Distance = Total Stopping Distance
Perception Distance. The distance your vehicle
travels, in ideal conditions; from the time your
eyes see a hazard until your brain recognizes it.
Keep in mind certain mental and physical
conditions can affect your perception distance. It
can be affected greatly depending on visibility and
the hazard itself. The average perception time for
an alert driver is 1¾ seconds. At 55 mph this
accounts for 142 feet traveled.
Reaction Distance. The distance you will
continue to travel, in ideal conditions; before you
physically hit the brakes, in response to a hazard
seen ahead. The average driver has a reaction
time of ¾ second to one (1) second. At 55 mph
this accounts for 61 feet traveled.
Braking Distance. The distance your vehicle will
travel, in ideal conditions; while you are braking.
At 55 mph on dry pavement with good brakes, it
can take about 216 feet.
Total Stopping Distance. The total minimum
distance your vehicle has traveled, in ideal
conditions; with everything considered, including
perception distance, reaction distance and braking
distance, until you can bring your vehicle to a
complete stop. At 55 mph, your vehicle will travel
a minimum of 419 feet. See Figure 2.11.
Figure 2.11
The Effect of Speed on Stopping Distance.
The faster you drive, the greater the impact or
striking power of your vehicle. When you double
your speed from 20 to 40 mph the impact is four
(4) times greater. The braking distance is also
four (4) times longer. Triple the speed from 20 to
60 mph and the impact and braking distance is
nine (9) times greater. At 60 mph, your stopping
distance is greater than the length of a football
field. Increase the speed to 80 mph and the
impact and braking distance are 16 times greater
than at 20 mph. High speeds greatly increase the
severity of crashes and stopping distances. By
slowing down, you can reduce braking distance.
The Effect of Vehicle Weight on Stopping
Distance. The heavier the vehicle, the more work
the brakes must do to stop it, and the more heat
they absorb. But the brakes, tires, springs and
shock absorbers on heavy vehicles are designed
to work best when the vehicle is fully loaded.
Empty trucks require greater stopping distances
because an empty vehicle has less traction.
2.6.2 – Matching Speed to the Road Surface
You can't steer or brake a vehicle unless you have
traction. Traction is friction between the tires and
the road. There are some road conditions that
reduce traction and call for lower speeds.
Slippery Surfaces. It will take longer to stop, and
it will be harder to turn without skidding, when the
road is slippery. Wet roads can double stopping
distance. You must drive slower to be able to stop
in the same distance as on a dry road.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-14
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Reduce speed by about one-third (e.g., slow from
55 to about 35 mph) on a wet road. On packed
snow, reduce speed by a half, or more. If the
surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop
driving as soon as you can safely do so.
Road surfaces where water can collect can create
conditions that cause a vehicle to hydroplane.
Watch for clear reflections, tire splashes and
raindrops on the road. These are indications of
standing water.
Identifying Slippery Surfaces. Sometimes it's
hard to know if the road is slippery. Here are
some signs of slippery roads:
2.6.3 – Speed and Curves







Shaded Areas. Shady parts of the road will
remain icy and slippery long after open areas
have melted.
Bridges. When the temperature drops,
bridges will freeze before the road will. Be
especially careful when the temperature is
close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melting Ice. Slight melting will make ice wet.
Wet ice is much more slippery than ice that is
not wet.
Black Ice. Black ice is a thin layer that is clear
enough that you can see the road underneath
it. It makes the road look wet. Any time the
temperature is below freezing and the road
looks wet, watch out for black ice.
Vehicle Icing. An easy way to check for ice is
to open the window and feel the front of the
mirror, mirror support, or antenna. If there's
ice on these, the road surface is probably
starting to ice up.
Just After Rain Begins. Right after it starts to
rain, the water mixes with oil left on the road
by vehicles. This makes the road very
slippery. If the rain continues, it will wash the
oil away.
Hydroplaning. In some weather, water or
slush collects on the road. When this
happens, your vehicle can hydroplane. It's like
water skiing--the tires lose their contact with
the road and have little or no traction. You
may not be able to steer or brake. You can
regain control by releasing the accelerator
and pushing in the clutch. This will slow your
vehicle and let the wheels turn freely. If the
vehicle is hydroplaning, do not use the brakes
to slow down. If the drive wheels start to skid,
push in the clutch to let them turn freely.
It does not take a lot of water to cause
hydroplaning. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds
as low as 30 mph if there is a lot of water.
Hydroplaning is more likely if tire pressure is low,
or the tread is worn. (The grooves in a tire carry
away the water; if they aren't deep, they don't
work well.)
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Drivers must adjust their speed for curves in the
road. If you take a curve too fast, two things can
happen. The tires can lose their traction and
continue straight ahead, so you skid off the road.
Or, the tires may keep their traction and the
vehicle rolls over. Tests have shown that trucks
with a high center of gravity can roll over at the
posted speed limit for a curve.
Slow to a safe speed before you enter a curve.
Braking in a curve is dangerous because it is
easier to lock the wheels and cause a skid. Slow
down as needed. Don't ever exceed the posted
speed limit for the curve. Be in a gear that will let
you accelerate slightly in the curve. This will help
you keep control.
2.6.4 – Speed and Distance Ahead
You should always be able to stop within the
distance you can see ahead. Fog, rain, or other
conditions may require that you slow down to be
able to stop in the distance you can see. At night,
you can't see as far with low beams as you can
with high beams. When you must use low beams,
slow down.
2.6.5 – Speed and Traffic Flow
When you're driving in heavy traffic, the safest
speed is the speed of other vehicles. Vehicles
going the same direction at the same speed are
not likely to run into one another. In many states,
speed limits are lower for trucks and buses than
for cars. It can vary as much as 15 mph. Use
extra caution when you change lanes or pass on
these roadways. Drive at the speed of the traffic, if
you can without going at an illegal or unsafe
speed. Keep a safe following distance.
The main reason drivers exceed speed limits is to
save time. But, anyone trying to drive faster than
the speed of traffic will not be able to save much
time. The risks involved are not worth it. If you go
faster than the speed of other traffic, you'll have to
keep passing other vehicles. This increases the
chance of a crash, and it is more tiring. Fatigue
increases the chance of a crash. Going with the
flow of traffic is safer and easier.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
2.6.6 – Speed on Downgrades
Your vehicle's speed will increase on downgrades
because of gravity. Your most important objective
is to select and maintain a speed that is not too
fast for the:





Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
Length of the grade.
Steepness of the grade.
Road conditions.
Weather.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign
indicating "Maximum Safe Speed," never exceed
the speed shown.
Also, look for and heed warning signs indicating
the length and steepness of the grade. You must
use the braking effect of the engine as the
principal way of controlling your speed on
downgrades. The braking effect of the engine is
greatest when it is near the governed rpms and
the transmission is in the lower gears. Save your
brakes so you will be able to slow or stop as
required by road and traffic conditions. Shift your
transmission to a low gear before starting down
the grade and use the proper braking techniques.
Please read carefully the section on going down
long, steep downgrades safely in "Mountain
Driving."
2.6.7 – Roadway Work Zones
Speeding traffic is the number one cause of injury
and death in roadway work zones. Observe the
posted speed limits at all times when approaching
and driving through a work zone. Watch your
speedometer, and don’t allow your speed to creep
up as you drive through long sections of road
construction. Decrease your speed for adverse
weather or road conditions. Decrease your speed
even further when a worker is close to the
roadway.
Subsections 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
How far ahead does the manual say you
should look?
What are two main things to look for ahead?
What's your most important way to see the
sides and rear of your vehicle?
What does "communicating" mean in safe
driving?
Section 2 – Driving Safely
5.
Where should your reflectors be placed when
stopped on a divided highway?
6. What three things add up to total stopping
distance?
7. If you go twice as fast, will your stopping
distance increase by two or four times?
8. Empty trucks have the best braking. True or
False?
9. What is hydroplaning?
10. What is "black ice”?
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.4, 2.5 and
2.6.
2.7 – Managing Space
To be a safe driver, you need space all around
your vehicle. When things go wrong, space gives
you time to think and to take action.
To have space available when something goes
wrong, you need to manage space. While this is
true for all drivers, it is very important for large
vehicles. They take up more space and they
require more space for stopping and turning.
2.7.1 – Space Ahead
Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area
ahead of the vehicle--the space you're driving into
--that is most important.
The Need for Space Ahead. You need space
ahead in case you must suddenly stop. According
to accident reports, the vehicle that trucks and
buses most often run into is the one in front of
them. The most frequent cause is following too
closely. Remember, if the vehicle ahead of you is
smaller than yours, it can probably stop faster
than you can. You may crash if you are following
too closely.
How Much Space? How much space should you
keep in front of you? One good rule says you
need at least one second for each 10 feet of
vehicle length at speeds below 40 mph. At greater
speeds, you must add 1 second for safety.
For example, if you are driving a 40-foot vehicle,
you should leave four (4) seconds between you
and the vehicle ahead. In a 60-foot rig, you'll need
six (6) seconds. Over 40 mph, you'd need five (5)
seconds for a 40-foot vehicle and seven (7)
seconds for a 60-foot vehicle. See Figure 2.12.
Page 2-16
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
To know how much space you have, wait until the
vehicle ahead passes a shadow on the road, a
pavement marking, or some other clear landmark.
Then count off the seconds like this: "one
thousand- and-one, one thousand-and-two" and
so on, until you reach the same spot. Compare
your count with the rule of one second for every
ten feet of length.
If you are driving a 40-foot truck and only counted
up to 2 seconds, you're too close. Drop back a
little and count again until you have four (4)
seconds of following distance (or five [5] seconds,
if you're going over 40 mph). After a little practice,
you will know how far back you should be.
Remember to add one (1) second for speeds
above 40 mph. And that when the road is slippery,
you need much more space to stop.
not pass another slow vehicle unless you can get
around quickly and safely.
Dealing with Tailgaters Safely. In a large
vehicle, it's often hard to see whether a vehicle is
close behind you. You may be tailgated:


When you are traveling slowly. Drivers
trapped behind slow vehicles often follow
closely.
In bad weather. Many car drivers follow large
vehicles closely during bad weather,
especially when it is hard to see the road
ahead.
If you find yourself being tailgated, here are some
things you can do to reduce the chances of a
crash:




Avoid quick changes. If you have to slow
down or turn, signal early, and reduce speed
very gradually.
Increase your following distance. Opening up
room in front of you will help you to avoid
having to make sudden speed or direction
changes. It also makes it easier for the
tailgater to get around you.
Don't speed up. It's safer to be tailgated at a
low speed than a high speed.
Avoid tricks. Don't turn on your taillights or
flash your brake lights. Follow the suggestions
above.
2.7.3 – Space to the Sides
Commercial vehicles are often wide and take up
most of a lane. Safe drivers will manage what little
space they have. You can do this by keeping your
vehicle centered in your lane, and avoid driving
alongside others.
Figure 2.12
2.7.2 – Space Behind
You can't stop others from following you too
closely. But there are things you can do to make it
safer.
Stay to the Right. Heavy vehicles are often
tailgated when they can't keep up with the speed
of traffic. This often happens when you're going
uphill. If a heavy load is slowing you down, stay in
the right lane if you can. Going uphill, you should
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Staying Centered in a Lane. You need to keep
your vehicle centered in the lane to keep safe
clearance on either side. If your vehicle is wide,
you have little room to spare.
Traveling Next to Others. There are two dangers
in traveling alongside other vehicles:


Another driver may change lanes suddenly
and turn into you.
You may be trapped when you need to
change lanes.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Find an open spot where you aren't near other
traffic. When traffic is heavy, it may be hard to find
an open spot. If you must travel near other
vehicles, try to keep as much space as possible
between you and them. Also, drop back or pull
forward so that you are sure the other driver can
see you.
Strong Winds. Strong winds make it difficult to
stay in your lane. The problem is usually worse for
lighter vehicles. This problem can be especially
bad coming out of tunnels. Don't drive alongside
others if you can avoid it.
2.7.4 – Space Overhead
Hitting overhead objects is a danger. Make sure
you always have overhead clearance.





Don't assume that the heights posted at
bridges and overpasses are correct. Repaving or packed snow may have reduced the
clearances since the heights were posted.
The weight of a cargo van changes its height.
An empty van is higher than a loaded one.
That you got under a bridge when you were
loaded does not mean that you can do it when
you are empty.
If you doubt you have safe space to pass
under an object, go slowly. If you aren't sure
you can make it, take another route. Warnings
are often posted on low bridges or
underpasses, but sometimes they are not.
Some roads can cause a vehicle to tilt. There
can be a problem clearing objects along the
edge of the road, such as signs, trees, or
bridge supports. Where this is a problem,
drive a little closer to the center of the road.
Before you back into an area, get out and
check for overhanging objects such as trees,
branches, or electric wires. It's easy to miss
seeing them while you are backing. Also
check for other hazards at the same time.
2.7.5 – Space Below
Many drivers forget about the space under their
vehicles. That space can be very small when a
vehicle is heavily loaded. This is often a problem
on dirt roads and in unpaved yards. Don't take a
chance on getting hung up. Drainage channels
across roads can cause the ends of some
vehicles to drag. Cross such depressions
carefully.
Railroad tracks can also cause problems,
particularly when pulling trailers with a low
underneath clearance. Don’t take a chance on
getting hung up halfway across.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
2.7.6 – Space for Turns
The space around a truck or bus is important in
turns. Because of wide turning and off-tracking,
large vehicles can hit other vehicles or objects
during turns.
Right Turns. Here are some rules to help prevent
right-turn crashes:
 Turn slowly to give yourself and others more
time to avoid problems.
 If you are driving a truck or bus that cannot
make the right turn without swinging into
another lane, turn wide as you complete the
turn. Keep the rear of your vehicle close to the
curb. This will stop other drivers from passing
you on the right.
 Don't turn wide to the left as you start the turn.
A following driver may think you are turning
left and try to pass you on the right. You may
crash into the other vehicle as you complete
your turn.
 If you must cross into the oncoming lane to
make a turn, watch out for vehicles coming
toward you. Give them room to go by or to
stop. However, don't back up for them,
because you might hit someone behind you.
See Figure 2.13.
Figure 2.13
Left Turns. On a left turn, make sure you have
reached the center of the intersection before you
start the left turn. If you turn too soon, the left side
of your vehicle may hit another vehicle because of
off-tracking.
If there are two turning lanes, always take the
right turn lane. Don't start in the inside lane
because you may have to swing right to make the
turn. Drivers on your left can be more readily
seen. See Figures 2.14a and 2.14b.
Page 2-18
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Because of slow acceleration and the space
large vehicles require, you may need a much
larger gap to enter traffic than you would in a
car.
Acceleration varies with the load. Allow more
room if your vehicle is heavily loaded.
Before you start across a road, make sure you
can get all the way across before traffic
reaches you.
Figure 2.14a
Figure 2.14b
2.7.7. – Roundabouts
Roundabouts are designed to allow low speed
entry and low speed circulating traffic with yield
control at all entries.
A single lane approach to a roundabout is the
simplest type of approach consisting of only one
lane. Truck aprons are often included on single
lane entries to allow off-tracking of turning trucks
or to allow oversized-overweight vehicles to
navigate the intersection. See Figure 2.14c.
2.7.8 – Space Needed to Cross or Enter Traffic
Be aware of the size and weight of your vehicle
when you cross or enter traffic. Here are some
important things to keep in mind:
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Figure 2.14c
2.8 – Seeing Hazards
2.8.1 – Importance of Seeing Hazards
What Is a Hazard?
A hazard is any road condition or other road user
(driver, bicyclist, pedestrian) that is a possible
danger. For example, a car in front of you is
headed toward the freeway exit, but his brake
lights come on and he begins braking hard. This
could mean that the driver is uncertain about
taking the off ramp. He might suddenly return to
the highway. This car is a hazard. If the driver of
the car cuts in front of you, it is no longer just a
hazard; it is an emergency.
Page 2-19
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Seeing Hazards Lets You Be Prepared. You will
have more time to act if you see hazards before
they become emergencies. In the example above,
you might make a lane change or slow down to
prevent a crash if the car suddenly cuts in front of
you. Seeing this hazard gives you time to check
your mirrors and signal a lane change. Being
prepared reduces the danger. A driver who did not
see the hazard until the slow car pulled back on
the highway in front of him would have to do
something very suddenly. Sudden braking or a
quick lane change is much more likely to lead to a
crash.
Learning to See Hazards. There are often clues
that will help you see hazards. The more you
drive, the better you can learn to see hazards.
This section will talk about hazards that you
should be aware of.
2.8.2 – Hazardous Roads
[Move-Over Laws]
[The incidents of law enforcement officers,
emergency medical services, fire department
personnel and people working on the road are
being struck while performing duties at the
roadside are increasing at a frightening pace. To
lessen the problem, move-over laws have been
enacted, which require drivers to slow and change
lanes when approaching a roadside incident or
emergency vehicle. Signs are posted on
roadways in states that have such laws].
[When approaching an authorized emergency
vehicle stopped on the roadside or a work zone,
you should proceed with caution by slowing and
yielding the right-of-way by making a lane change
into a lane not next to that of the authorized
emergency vehicle or work zone if safety and
traffic conditions permit. If a lane change is
unsafe, slow down and proceed with caution while
maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions].
Slow down and be very careful if you see any of
the following road hazards.
Work Zones. When people are working on the
road, it is a hazard. There may be narrower lanes,
sharp turns, or uneven surfaces. Other drivers are
often distracted and drive unsafely. Workers and
construction vehicles may get in the way. Drive
slowly and carefully near work zones. Use your
four-way flashers or brake lights to warn drivers
behind you.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Drop Off. Sometimes the pavement drops off
sharply near the edge of the road. Driving too
near the edge can tilt your vehicle toward the side
of the road. This can cause the top of your vehicle
to hit roadside objects (signs, tree limbs). Also, it
can be hard to steer as you cross the drop off,
going off the road, or coming back on.
Foreign Objects. Things that have fallen on the
road can be hazards. They can be a danger to
your tires and wheel rims. They can damage
electrical and brake lines. They can be caught
between dual tires and cause severe damage.
Some obstacles that appear to be harmless can
be very dangerous. For example, cardboard
boxes may be empty, but they may also contain
some solid or heavy material capable of causing
damage. The same is true of paper and cloth
sacks. It is important to remain alert for objects of
all sorts, so you can see them early enough to
avoid them without making sudden, unsafe
moves.
Off Ramps/On Ramps. Freeway and turnpike
exits can be particularly dangerous for commercial
vehicles. Off ramps and on ramps often have
speed limit signs posted. Remember, these
speeds may be safe for automobiles, but may not
be safe for larger vehicles or heavily loaded
vehicles. Exits that go downhill and turn at the
same time can be especially dangerous. The
downgrade makes it difficult to reduce speed.
Braking and turning at the same time can be a
dangerous practice. Make sure you are going
slowly enough before you get on the curved part
of an off ramp or on ramp.
2.8.3 – Drivers Who Are Hazards
In order to protect yourself and others, you must
know when other drivers may do something
hazardous. Some clues to this type of hazard are
discussed below.
Blocked Vision. People who can't see others are
a very dangerous hazard. Be alert for drivers
whose vision is blocked. Vans, loaded station
wagons and cars with the rear window blocked
are examples. Rental trucks should be watched
carefully. Their drivers are often not used to the
limited vision they have to the sides and rear of
the truck. In winter, vehicles with frosted, icecovered, or snow-covered windows are hazards.
Vehicles may be partly hidden by blind
intersections or alleys. If you only can see the rear
or front end of a vehicle but not the driver, then he
or she can't see you. Be alert because he/she
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
may back out or enter into your lane. Always be
prepared to stop.
danger that roadway traffic is to them. They are
often careless. Jacked up wheels or raised hoods
are hazard clues.
Delivery Trucks Can Present a Hazard.
Packages or vehicle doors often block the driver’s
vision. Drivers of step vans, postal vehicles and
local delivery vehicles often are in a hurry and
may suddenly step out of their vehicle or drive
their vehicle into the traffic lane.
Crashes. Crashes are particularly hazardous.
People involved in the crash may not look for
traffic. Passing drivers tend to look at the crash.
People often run across the road without looking.
Vehicles may slow or stop suddenly.
Parked Vehicles Can Be Hazards, especially
when people start to get out of them. Or, they may
suddenly start up and drive into your way. Watch
for movement inside the vehicle or movement of
the vehicle itself that shows people are inside.
Watch for brake lights or backup lights, exhaust
and other clues that a driver is about to move.
Be careful of a stopped bus. Passengers may
cross in front of or behind the bus, and they often
can't see you.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Can Also Be
Hazards. Walkers, joggers and bicyclists may be
on the road with their back to the traffic, so they
can't see you. Sometimes they wear portable
stereos with headsets, so they can't hear you
either. This can be dangerous. On rainy days,
pedestrians may not see you because of hats or
umbrellas. They may be hurrying to get out of the
rain and may not pay attention to the traffic.
Distractions. People who are distracted are
hazards. Watch for where they are looking. If they
are looking elsewhere, they can't see you. But be
alert even when they are looking at you. They
may believe that they have the right of way.
Children. Children tend to act quickly without
checking traffic. Children playing with one another
may not look for traffic and are a serious hazard.
Talkers. Drivers or pedestrians talking to one
another may not be paying close attention to the
traffic.
Workers. People working on or near the roadway
are a hazard clue. The work creates a distraction
for other drivers and the workers themselves may
not see you.
Ice Cream Trucks. Someone selling ice cream is
a hazard clue. Children may be nearby and may
not see you.
Disabled Vehicles. Drivers changing a tire or
fixing an engine often do not pay attention to the
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Shoppers. People in and around shopping areas
are often not watching traffic because they are
looking for stores or looking into store windows.
Confused Drivers. Confused drivers often
change direction suddenly or stop without
warning. Confusion is common near freeway or
turnpike interchanges and major intersections.
Tourists unfamiliar with the area can be very
hazardous. Clues to tourists include car-top
luggage and out-of-state license plates.
Unexpected actions (stopping in the middle of a
block, changing lanes for no apparent reason,
backup lights suddenly going on) are clues to
confusion. Hesitation is another clue, including
driving very slowly, using brakes often, or
stopping in the middle of an intersection. You may
also see drivers who are looking at street signs,
maps and house numbers. These drivers may not
be paying attention to you.
Slow Drivers. Motorists who fail to maintain
normal speed are hazards. Seeing slow moving
vehicles early can prevent a crash. Some
vehicles, by their nature, are slow and seeing
them is a hazard clue (mopeds, farm machinery,
construction machinery, tractors, etc.). Some of
these will have the "slow moving vehicle" symbol
to warn you. This is a red triangle with an orange
center. Watch for it.
Drivers Signaling a Turn May Be a Hazard.
Drivers signaling a turn may slow more than
expected or stop. If they are making a tight turn
into an alley or driveway, they may go very slowly.
If pedestrians or other vehicles block them, they
may have to stop on the roadway. Vehicles
turning left may have to stop for oncoming
vehicles.
Drivers in a Hurry. Drivers may feel your
commercial vehicle is preventing them from
getting where they want to go on time. Such
drivers may pass you without a safe gap in the
oncoming traffic, cutting too close in front of you.
Drivers entering the road may pull in front of you
in order to avoid being stuck behind you, causing
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
you to brake. Be aware of this and watch for
drivers who are in a hurry.
Impaired Drivers. Drivers who are sleepy, have
had too much to drink, are on drugs, or who are ill
are hazards. Some clues to these drivers are:
 Weaving across the road or drifting from one
side to another.
 Leaving the road (dropping right wheels onto
the shoulder, or bumping across a curb in a
turn).
 Stopping at the wrong time (stopping at a
green light, or waiting for too long at a stop).
 Open window in cold weather.
 Speeding up or slowing down suddenly,
driving too fast or too slow.
Be alert for drunk drivers and sleepy drivers late
at night.
Driver Body Movement as a Clue. Drivers look
in the direction they are going to turn. You may
sometimes get a clue from a driver's head and
body movements that a driver may be going to
make a turn, even though the turn signals aren't
on. Drivers making over-the-shoulder checks may
be going to change lanes. These clues are most
easily seen in motorcyclists and bicyclists. Watch
other road users and try to tell whether they might
do something hazardous.
Conflicts. You are in conflict when you have to
change speed and/or direction to avoid hitting
someone. Conflicts occur at intersections where
vehicles meet, at merges (such as turnpike on
ramps) and where there are needed lane changes
(such as the end of a lane, forcing a move to
another lane of traffic). Other situations include
slow moving or stalled traffic in a traffic lane and
accident scenes. Watch for other drivers who are
in conflict because they are a hazard to you.
When they react to this conflict, they may do
something that will put them in conflict with you.
2.8.4 – Always Have a Plan
You should always be looking for hazards.
Continue to learn to see hazards on the road.
However, don't forget why you are looking for the
hazards--they may turn into emergencies. You
look for the hazards in order to have time to plan a
way out of any emergency. When you see a
hazard, think about the emergencies that could
develop and figure out what you would do. Always
be prepared to take action based on your plans. In
this way, you will be a prepared, defensive driver
Section 2 – Driving Safely
who will improve your own safety as well as the
safety of all road users.
Subsections 2.7 and 2.8
Test Your Knowledge
How do you find out how many seconds of
following distance space you have?
2. If you are driving a 30-foot vehicle at 55 mph,
how many seconds of following distance
should you allow?
3. You should decrease your following distance
if somebody is following you too closely. True
or False?
4. If you swing wide to the left before turning
right, another driver may try to pass you on
the right. True or False?
5. What is a hazard?
6. Why make emergency plans when you see a
hazard?
1.
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.7 and 2.8
2.9 – Distracted Driving
A driver distraction is anything that takes your
attention away from driving. Whenever you are
driving a vehicle and your full attention is not on
the driving task, you are putting yourself, your
passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians in
danger. Distracted driving can cause collisions,
resulting in injury, death or property damage.
Activities inside of the vehicle that can distract
your attention include: talking to passengers;
adjusting the radio, CD player or climate controls;
eating, drinking or smoking; reading maps or other
literature; picking up something that fell; talking on
a cell phone or CB radio; reading or sending text
messages; using any type of telematic or
electronic devices (such as navigation systems,
pagers, personal digital assistant, computers,
etc.); daydreaming or being occupied with other
mental distractions; and many others.
Possible distractions that could occur outside a
moving vehicle: outside traffic, vehicles or
pedestrians; outside events such as police pulling
someone over or a crash scene; sunlight/sunset;
objects in roadway; road construction; reading
billboards or other road advertisements; and many
others.
2.9.1 – The Distracted Driving Crash Problem
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS)
reported that 8 percent of large-truck crashes
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occurred when Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)
drivers were externally distracted and 2 percent of
large truck crashes occurred when the driver was
internally distracted.
Approximately 5,500 people are killed each year
on U.S. roadways and an estimated 448,000 are
injured in motor vehicle crashes involving
distracted driving (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts:
Distracted Driving).
Research indicates that the burden of talking on a
cell phone - even if it's hands-free - saps the brain
of 39% of the energy it would ordinarily devote to
safe driving. Drivers who use a hand-held device
are more likely to get into a crash serious enough
to cause injury. (NHTSA distracted driving
website, www.distraction.gov)
2.9.2 – Effects of Distracted Driving
Effects of distracted driving include slowed
perception, which may cause you to be delayed in
perceiving or completely fail to perceive an
important traffic event; delayed decision making
and improper action, which can cause you to be
delayed in taking the proper action or make
incorrect inputs to the steering, accelerator or
brakes.
2.9.3 – Types of Distractions
There are many causes of distraction, all with the
potential to increase risk.
Physical distraction – one that causes you to
take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road,
such as reaching for an object.
Mental distraction – activities that take your mind
away from the road, such as engaging in
conversation with a passenger or thinking about
something that happened during the day.
Both physical and mental distraction – even
greater chance a crash could happen, such as
talking on a cell phone; or sending or reading text
messages.
2.9.4 – Cell/Mobile Phones
49 CFR Part 383, 384, 390, 391 and 392 of the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials
Regulations (HMR) restricts the use of hand-held
mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor
vehicles (CMVs); and implements new driver
Section 2 – Driving Safely
disqualification sanctions for drivers of CMVs who
fail to comply with this Federal restriction; or who
have multiple convictions for violating a State or
local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic
control that restricts the use of hand-held mobile
telephones. Additionally, motor carriers are
prohibited from requiring or allowing drivers of
CMVs to use hand-held mobile telephones.
The use of hand-held mobile telephones means,
‘‘using at least one hand to hold a mobile
telephone to conduct a voice communication”;
“dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than
a single button”; or “moving from a seated driving
position while restrained by a seat belt to reach for
a mobile telephone”. If you choose to use a
mobile phone while operating a CMV, you may
only use a hands free mobile phone that is located
close to you and that can be operated in
compliance with the rule to conduct a voice
communication.
Your CDL will be disqualified after two or more
convictions of any state law on hand-held mobile
telephone use while operating a CMV.
Disqualification is 60 days for the second offense
within 3 years and 120 days for three or more
offenses within 3 years. In addition, the first and
each subsequent violation of such a prohibition
are subject to civil penalties imposed on such
drivers, in an amount up to $2,750. Motor carriers
must not allow nor require drivers to use a handheld mobile telephone while driving. Employers
may also be subject to civil penalties in an amount
up to $11,000. There is an emergency exception
that allows you to use your hand-held mobile
telephone if necessary to communicate with law
enforcement officials or other emergency
services.
Research shows that the odds of being involved in
a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash,
unintentional lane deviation) is 6 times greater for
CMV drivers who engage in dialing a mobile
telephone while driving than for those who do not.
Dialing drivers took their eyes off the forward
roadway for an average of 3.8 seconds. At 55
mph (or 80.7 feet per second), this equates to a
driver traveling 306 feet, the approximate length of
a football field, without looking at the roadway.
Your primary responsibility is to operate a motor
vehicle safely. To do this, you must focus your full
attention on the driving task.
Note that hands-free devices are no less likely
than hand-held cell phones to cause you to
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
become distracted. Attention is diverted from the
driving task while using either device.
2.9.5 –Texting
49 CFR Part 383, 384, 390, 391, 392, the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
prohibits texting by commercial motor vehicle
(CMV) drivers while operating in interstate
commerce; and implements new driver
disqualification sanctions for drivers of CMVs who
fail to comply with this Federal prohibition; or who
have multiple convictions for violating a State or
local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic
control that prohibits texting while driving.
Additionally, motor carriers are prohibited from
requiring or allowing their drivers to engage in
texting while driving.
Texting means manually entering text into, or
reading text from, an electronic device. This
includes, but is not limited to, short message
service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command
or request to access a World Wide Web page, or
engaging in any other form of electronic text
retrieval or entry, for present or future
communication.
Electronic device includes, but is not limited to, a
cellular telephone; personal digital assistant;
pager; computer; or any other device used to
enter, write, send, receive, or read text.
Your CDL will be disqualified after two or more
convictions of any state law on texting while
operating a CMV. Disqualification is 60 days for
the second offense within 3 years and 120 days
for three or more offenses within 3 years. In
addition, the first and each subsequent violation of
such a prohibition are subject to civil penalties
imposed on such drivers, in an amount up to
$2,750. No motor carrier shall allow or require its
drivers to engage in texting while driving. There is
an emergency exception that allows you text if
necessary to communicate with law enforcement
officials or other emergency services.
Evidence suggests that text messaging is even
riskier than talking on a cell phone because it
requires you to look at a small screen and
manipulate the keypad with one’s hands. Texting
is the most alarming distraction because it
involves both physical and mental distraction
simultaneously.
Research shows that the odds of being involved in
a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash,
Section 2 – Driving Safely
unintentional lane deviation) is 23.2 times greater
for CMV drivers who engage in texting while
driving than for those who do not. Sending or
receiving text takes your eyes from the road for an
average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, you would
travel 371 feet, or the length of an entire football
field – without looking at the roadway.
2.9.6 – Don’t Drive Distracted
Your goal should be to eliminate all in-vehicle
distractions before driving begins. Accomplishing
this goal can be done by:
 Assessing all potential in-vehicle distractions
before driving.
 Developing a preventative plan to
reduce/eliminate possible distractions.
 Expecting distractions to occur.
 Discussing possible scenarios before getting
behind the wheel.
Based on the assessment of potential distractions,
you can formulate a preventative plan to
reduce/eliminate possible distractions.
If drivers react a half-second slower because of
distractions, crashes double. Some tips to follow
so you won’t become distracted:
 Turn off all communication devices.
 If you must use a mobile phone, make sure it
is within close proximity, that it is operable
while you are restrained, use an earpiece or
the speaker phone function, use voiceactivated dialing; or use the hands-free
feature. Drivers are not in compliance if they
unsafely reach for a mobile phone, even if
they intend to use the hands-free function.
 Do not type or read a text message on a
mobile device while driving.
 Familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s
features and equipment, before you get
behind the wheel.
 Adjust all vehicle controls and mirrors to your
preferences prior to driving.
 Pre-program radio stations and pre-load your
favorite CDs.
 Clear the vehicle of any unnecessary objects
and secure cargo.
 Review maps, program the GPS and plan
your route before you begin driving.
 Don’t attempt to read or write while you drive.
 Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while you
drive. Leave early to allow yourself time to
stop to eat.
 Don’t engage in complex or emotionally
intense conversations with other occupants.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Secure commitment from other occupants to
behave responsibly and to support the driver in
reducing distractions.
driving:
2.9.7 – Watch Out for Other Distracted Drivers

You need to be able to recognize other drivers
who are engaged in any form of driving
distraction. Not recognizing other distracted
drivers can prevent you from perceiving or
reacting correctly in time to prevent a crash.
Watch for:




Vehicles that may drift over the lane divider
lines or within their own lane.
Vehicles traveling at inconsistent speeds.
Drivers who are preoccupied with maps, food,
cigarettes, cell phones, or other objects.
Drivers who appear to be involved in
conversations with their passengers.







Give a distracted driver plenty of room and
maintain your safe following distance.
Be very careful when passing a driver who seems
to be distracted. The other driver may not be
aware of your presence, and they may drift in front
of you.

2.10 – Aggressive Drivers/Road Rage
2.10.1 – What Is It?
Aggressive driving and road rage is not a new
problem. However, in today’s world, where heavy
and slow-moving traffic and tight schedules are
the norm, more and more drivers are taking out
their anger and frustration in their vehicles.
Crowded roads leave little room for error, leading
to suspicion and hostility among drivers and
encouraging them to take personally the mistakes
of other drivers.
Aggressive driving is the act of operating a motor
vehicle in a selfish, bold, or pushy manner,
without regard for the rights or safety of others.
Road rage is operating a motor vehicle with the
intent of doing harm to others or physically
assaulting a driver or their vehicle.
Reduce your stress before and while you
drive. Listen to “easy listening” music.
Give the drive your full attention. Don’t allow
yourself to become distracted by talking on
your cell phone, eating, etc.
Be realistic about your travel time. Expect
delays because of traffic, construction, or bad
weather and make allowances.
If you’re going to be later than you expected –
deal with it. Take a deep breath and accept
the delay.
Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Try
to imagine why he or she is driving that way.
Whatever their reason, it has nothing to do
with you.
Slow down and keep your following distance
reasonable.
Don’t drive slowly in the left lane of traffic.
Avoid gestures. Keep your hands on the
wheel. Avoid making any gestures that might
anger another driver, even seemingly
harmless expressions of irritation like shaking
your head.
Be a cautious and courteous driver. If another
driver seems eager to get in front of you, say,
“Be my guest.” This response will soon
become a habit and you won’t be as offended
by other drivers’ actions.
2.10.3 – What You Should Do When
Confronted by an Aggressive Driver







First and foremost, make every attempt to get
out of their way.
Put your pride in the back seat. Do not
challenge them by speeding up or attempting
to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
Avoid eye contact.
Ignore gestures and refuse to react to them.
Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate
authorities by providing a vehicle description,
license number, location and, if possible,
direction of travel.
If you have a cell phone, and can do it safely,
call the police.
If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash
farther down the road, stop a safe distance
from the crash scene, wait for the police to
arrive and report the driving behavior that you
witnessed.
2.10.2 – Don’t Be an Aggressive Driver
How you feel before you even start your vehicle
has a lot to do with how stress will affect you while
Section 2 – Driving Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
broken or lost, you can use the spare lenses to
drive safely.
Subsections 2.9 and 2.10
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What are some tips to follow so you won’t
become a distracted driver?
How do you use in-vehicle communications
equipment cautiously?
How do you recognize a distracted driver?
What is the difference between aggressive
driving and road rage?
What should you do when confronted with an
aggressive driver?
What are some things you can do to reduce
your stress before and while you drive?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.9 and
2.10.
2.11 – Driving at Night
2.11.1 – It's More Dangerous
You are at greater risk when you drive at night.
Drivers can't see hazards as quickly as in daylight,
so they have less time to respond. Drivers caught
by surprise are less able to avoid a crash. The
problems of night driving involve the driver, the
roadway and the vehicle.
2.11.2 – Driver Factors
Vision. Good vision is critical for safe driving.
Your control of the brake, accelerator, and
steering wheel is based on what you see. If you
cannot see clearly, you will have trouble
identifying traffic and roadway conditions, spotting
potential trouble or responding to problems in a
timely manner.
Because seeing well is so critical to safe driving,
you should have your eyes checked regularly by
an eye specialist. You may never know you have
poor vision unless your eyes are tested. If you
need to wear glasses or contact lenses for driving,
remember to:
Always wear them when driving, even if driving
short distances. If your driver license says
corrective lenses are required, it is illegal to move
a vehicle without using corrective lenses.
Keep an extra set of corrective lenses in your
vehicle. If your normal corrective lenses are
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Avoid using dark or tinted corrective lenses at
night, even if you think they help with glare. Tinted
lenses cut down the light that you need to see
clearly under night driving conditions.
Glare. Drivers can be blinded for a short time by
bright light. It takes time to recover from this
blindness. Older drivers are especially bothered
by glare. Most people have been temporarily
blinded by camera flash units or by the high
beams of an oncoming vehicle. It can take several
seconds to recover from glare. Even two seconds
of glare blindness can be dangerous. A vehicle
going 55 mph will travel more than half the
distance of a football field during that time. Don't
look directly at bright lights when driving. Look at
the right side of the road. Watch the sidelines
when someone coming toward you has very bright
lights on.
Fatigue and Lack of Alertness. Fatigue is
physical or mental tiredness that can be caused
by physical or mental strain, repetitive tasks,
illness or lack of sleep. Just like alcohol and
drugs, it impairs your vision and judgment.
Fatigue causes errors related to speed and
distance, increases your risk of being in a crash,
causes you to not see and react to hazards as
quickly; and affects your ability to make critical
decisions. When you are fatigued, you could fall
asleep behind the wheel and crash, injuring or
killing yourself or others.
Fatigued or drowsy driving is one of the leading
causes of traffic collisions. NHTSA estimates that
100,000 police-reported crashes a year are the
result of drowsy driving. According to the National
Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 60% of
Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and
more than one third (36 percent or 103 million
people) admit to having actually fallen asleep at
the wheel. Drivers may experience short bursts of
sleep lasting only a few seconds or fall asleep for
longer periods of time. Either way, the chance of a
collision increases dramatically.
At-Risk Groups
The risk of having a crash due to drowsy driving is
not uniformly distributed across the population.
Crashes tend to occur at times when sleepiness is
most pronounced, for example, during the night
and in the mid-afternoon. Most people are less
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alert at night, especially after midnight. This is
particularly true if you have been driving for a long
time. Thus individuals who drive at night are much
more likely to have fall-asleep crashes.
Research has identified young males, shift
workers, commercial drivers, especially long-haul
drivers and people with untreated sleep disorders
or with short-term or chronic sleep deprivation as
being at increased risk for having a fall-asleep
crash. At least 15% of all heavy truck crashes
involve fatigue.
A congressionally mandated study of 80 long-haul
truck drivers in the United States and Canada
found that drivers averaged less than 5 hours of
sleep per day. (Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, 1996) It is no surprise then that
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
reported that drowsy driving was probably the
cause of more than half of crashes leading to a
truck driver’s death. (NTSB, 1990) For each truck
driver fatality, another three to four people are
killed. (NHTSA, 1994)
Warning Signs of Fatigue
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s
Sleep in America poll, 60% of Americans have
driven while feeling sleepy and 36% admit to
actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the
past year. However, many people cannot tell if or
when they are about to fall asleep. Here are some
signs that should tell you to stop and rest:
 Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavy
eyelids.
 Yawning repeatedly or rubbing eyes.
 Day-dreaming; or wandering/disconnected
thoughts.
 Trouble remembering the last few miles
driven; missing exits or traffic signs.
 Trouble keeping head up.
 Drifting from your lane, following too closely or
hitting a shoulder rumble strip.
 Feeling restless and irritable.
When you are tired, trying to “push on” is far more
dangerous than most drivers think. It is a major
cause of fatal accidents. If you notice any signs of
fatigue, stop driving and go to sleep for the night
or take a 15 – 20 minute nap.
Are You At Risk?
Before you drive, consider whether you are:
 Sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours of sleep
or less triples your risk.
Section 2 – Driving Safely








Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia), poor
quality sleep, or a sleep debt.
Driving long distances without proper rest
breaks.
Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or
when you would normally be asleep. Many
heavy motor vehicle accidents occur between
midnight and 6 a.m..
Taking sedating medications
(antidepressants, cold tablets,
antihistamines).
Working more than 60 hours a week
(increases your risk by 40%).
Working more than one job, and your main job
involves shift work.
Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or
boring road.
Flying, changing time zone.
Preventing drowsiness before a trip:
 Get adequate sleep – adults need 8 to 9
hours to maintain alertness.
 Prepare route carefully to identify total
distance, stopping points and other logistic
considerations.
 Schedule trips for the hours you are normally
awake, not the middle of the night.
 Drive with a passenger.
 Avoid medications that cause drowsiness.
 Consult your physician if you suffer from
daytime sleepiness, have difficulty sleeping at
night or take frequent naps.
 Incorporate exercise into your daily life to give
you more energy.
Maintaining alertness while driving:
 Protect yourself from glare and eyestrain with
sunglasses.
 Keep cool by opening the window or using the
air conditioner.
 Avoid heavy foods.
 Be aware of down time during the day.
 Have another person ride with you, and take
turns driving.
 Take periodic breaks – about every 100 miles
or 2 hours during long trips.
 Stop driving and get some rest or take a nap.
 Caffeine consumption can increase
awareness for a few hours, but do not drink
too much. It will eventually wear off. Do not
rely on caffeine to prevent fatigue.
 Avoid drugs. While they may keep you awake
for a while, they won’t make you alert..
 If you are drowsy, the only safe cure is to get
off the road and get some sleep. If you don't,
you risk your life and the lives of others.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
2.11.3 – Roadway Factors
Poor Lighting. In the daytime there is usually
enough light to see well. This is not true at night.
Some areas may have bright street lights, but
many areas will have poor lighting. On most roads
you will probably have to depend entirely on your
headlights.
Less light means you will not be able to see
hazards as well as in daytime. Road users who do
not have lights are hard to see. There are many
crashes at night involving pedestrians, joggers,
bicyclists and animals.
Even when there are lights, the road scene can be
confusing. Traffic signals and hazards can be
hard to see against a background of signs, shop
windows and other lights.
Drive slower when lighting is poor or confusing.
Drive slowly enough to be sure you can stop in
the distance you can see ahead.
Drunk Drivers. Drunk drivers and drivers under
the influence of drugs are a hazard to themselves
and to you. Be especially alert around the closing
times for bars and taverns.
Watch for drivers who have trouble staying in their
lane or maintaining speed, who stop without
reason, or show other signs of being under the
influence of alcohol or drugs.
2.11.4 – Vehicle Factors
Headlights. At night your headlights will usually
be the main source of light for you to see by and
for others to see you. You can't see nearly as
much with your headlights as you see in the
daytime. With low beams you can see ahead
about 250 feet and with high beams about 350500 feet. You must adjust your speed to keep
your stopping distance within your sight distance.
This means going slowly enough to be able to
stop within the range of your headlights.
Otherwise, by the time you see a hazard; you will
not have time to stop.
Night driving can be more dangerous if you have
problems with your headlights. Dirty headlights
may give only half the light they should. This cuts
down your ability to see, and makes it harder for
others to see you. Make sure your lights are clean
and working. Headlights can be out of adjustment.
If they don't point in the right direction, they won't
give you a good view and they can blind other
Section 2 – Driving Safely
drivers. Have a qualified person make sure they
are adjusted properly.
Other Lights. In order for you to be seen easily,
the following must be clean and working properly:





Reflectors.
Marker lights.
Clearance lights.
Taillights.
Identification lights.
Turn Signals and Brake Lights. At night your
turn signals and brake lights are even more
important for telling other drivers what you intend
to do. Make sure you have clean, working turn
signals and stop lights.
Windshield and Mirrors. It is more important at
night than in the daytime to have a clean
windshield and clean mirrors. Bright lights at night
can cause dirt on your windshield or mirrors to
create a glare of its own, blocking your view. Most
people have experienced driving toward the sun
just as it has risen or is about to set, and found
that they can barely see through a windshield that
seemed to look OK in the middle of the day. Clean
your windshield on the inside and outside for safe
driving at night.
2.11.5 – Night Driving Procedures
Pre-trip Procedures. Make sure you are rested
and alert. If you are drowsy, sleep before you
drive! Even a nap can save your life or the lives of
others. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure they
are clean and unscratched. Don't wear
sunglasses at night. Do a complete pre-trip
inspection of your vehicle. Pay attention to
checking all lights and reflectors, and cleaning
those you can reach.
Avoid Blinding Others. Glare from your
headlights can cause problems for drivers coming
toward you. They can also bother drivers going in
the same direction you are, when your lights shine
in their rearview mirrors. Dim your lights before
they cause glare for other drivers. Dim your lights
within 1,000 feet of an oncoming vehicle and
when following another vehicle within 200 feet.
Avoid Glare from Oncoming Vehicles. Do not
look directly at lights of oncoming vehicles. Look
slightly to the right at a right lane or edge marking,
if available. If other drivers don't put their low
beams on, don't try to "get back at them" by
putting your own high beams on. This increases
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
glare for oncoming drivers and increases the
chance of a crash.
Use High Beams When You Can. Some drivers
make the mistake of always using low beams.
This seriously cuts down on their ability to see
ahead. Use high beams when it is safe and legal
to do so. Use them when you are not within 1,000
feet of an approaching vehicle. Also, don't let the
inside of your cab get too bright. This makes it
harder to see outside. Keep the interior light off,
and adjust your instrument lights as low as you
can to still be able to read the gauges.
If You Get Sleepy, Stop at the Nearest Safe
Place. People often don't realize how close they
are to falling asleep even when their eyelids are
falling shut. If you can safely do so, look at
yourself in a mirror. If you look sleepy, or you just
feel sleepy, stop driving! You are in a very
dangerous condition. The only safe cure is to
sleep.
2.12 – Driving in Fog
Fog can occur at any time. Fog on highways can
be extremely dangerous. Fog is often unexpected,
and visibility can deteriorate rapidly. You should
watch for foggy conditions and be ready to reduce
your speed. Do not assume that the fog will thin
out after you enter it.
The best advice for driving in fog is do not do it. It
is preferable that you pull off the road into a rest
area or truck stop until visibility is better. If you
must drive, be sure to consider the following:








Obey all fog-related warning signs.
Slow down before you enter fog.
Use low-beam headlights and fog lights for
best visibility even in daytime, and be alert for
other drivers who may have forgotten to turn
on their lights.
Turn on your 4-way flashers. This will give
vehicles approaching you from behind a
quicker opportunity to notice your vehicle.
Watch for vehicles on the side of the roadway.
Seeing taillights or headlights in front of you
may not be a true indication of where the road
is ahead of you. The vehicle may not be on
the road at all.
Use roadside highway reflectors as guides to
determine how the road may curve ahead of
you.
Listen for traffic you cannot see.
Avoid passing other vehicles.
Section 2 – Driving Safely

Don’t stop along the side of the road, unless
absolutely necessary.
2.13 – Driving in Winter
2.13.1 – Vehicle Checks
Make sure your vehicle is ready before driving in
winter weather. You should make a regular pretrip inspection, paying extra attention to the
following items.
Coolant Level and Antifreeze Amount. Make
sure the cooling system is full and there is enough
antifreeze in the system to protect against
freezing. This can be checked with a special
coolant tester.
Defrosting and Heating Equipment. Make sure
the defrosters work. They are needed for safe
driving. Make sure the heater is working, and that
you know how to operate it. If you use other
heaters and expect to need them (e.g., mirror
heaters, battery box heaters, fuel tank heaters),
check their operation.
Wipers and Washers. Make sure the windshield
wiper blades are in good condition. Make sure the
wiper blades press against the window hard
enough to wipe the windshield clean, otherwise
they may not sweep off snow properly. Make sure
the windshield washer works and there is washing
fluid in the washer reservoir.
Use windshield washer antifreeze to prevent
freezing of the washer liquid. If you can't see well
enough while driving (for example, if your wipers
fail), stop safely and fix the problem.
Tires. Make sure you have enough tread on your
tires. The drive tires must provide traction to push
the rig over wet pavement and through snow. The
steering tires must have traction to steer the
vehicle. Enough tread is especially important in
winter conditions. You must have at least 4/32
inch tread depth in every major groove on front
tires and at least 2/32 inch on other tires. More
would be better. Use a gauge to determine if you
have enough tread for safe driving.
Tire Chains. You may find yourself in conditions
where you can't drive without chains, even to get
to a place of safety. Carry the right number of
chains and extra cross-links. Make sure they will
fit your drive tires. Check the chains for broken
hooks, worn or broken cross-links, and bent or
broken side chains. Learn how to put the chains
on before you need to do it in snow and ice.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Lights and Reflectors. Make sure the lights and
reflectors are clean. Lights and reflectors are
especially important during bad weather. Check
from time to time during bad weather to make
sure they are clean and working properly.
Windows and Mirrors. Remove any ice, snow,
etc., from the windshield, windows and mirrors
before starting. Use a windshield scraper, snow
brush and windshield defroster as necessary.
Hand Holds, Steps and Deck Plates. Remove
all ice and snow from hand holds, steps and deck
plates. This will reduce the danger of slipping.
Radiator Shutters and Winterfront. Remove ice
from the radiator shutters. Make sure the
winterfront is not closed too tightly. If the shutters
freeze shut or the winterfront is closed too much,
the engine may overheat and stop.
Exhaust System. Exhaust system leaks are
especially dangerous when cab ventilation may be
poor (windows rolled up, etc.). Loose connections
could permit poisonous carbon monoxide to leak
into your vehicle. Carbon monoxide gas will cause
you to be sleepy. In large enough amounts it can
kill you. Check the exhaust system for loose parts
and for sounds and signs of leaks.
2.13.2 – Driving
Slippery Surfaces. Drive slowly and smoothly on
slippery roads. If it is very slippery, you shouldn't
drive at all. Stop at the first safe place.
Start Gently and Slowly. When first starting, get
the feel of the road. Don't hurry.
Check for Ice. Check for ice on the road,
especially bridges and overpasses. A lack of
spray from other vehicles indicates ice has formed
on the road. Also, check your mirrors and wiper
blades for ice. If they have ice, the road most
likely will be icy as well.
Adjust Turning and Braking to Conditions.
Make turns as gently as possible. Don't brake any
harder than necessary, and don't use the engine
brake or speed retarder. (They can cause the
driving wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.)
Adjust Speed to Conditions. Don't pass slower
vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly and watch
far enough ahead to keep a steady speed. Avoid
having to slow down and speed up. Take curves
at slower speeds and don't brake while in curves.
Be aware that as the temperature rises to the
Section 2 – Driving Safely
point where ice begins to melt, the road becomes
even more slippery. Slow down more.
Adjust Space to Conditions. Don't drive
alongside other vehicles. Keep a longer following
distance. When you see a traffic jam ahead, slow
down or stop to wait for it to clear. Try hard to
anticipate stops early and slow down gradually.
Watch for snowplows, as well as salt and sand
trucks, and give them plenty of room.
Wet Brakes. When driving in heavy rain or deep
standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water in
the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, to
apply unevenly, or to grab. This can cause lack of
braking power, wheel lockups, pulling to one side
or the other, and jackknife if you pull a trailer.
Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing
water if possible. If not, you should:
 Slow down and place transmission in a low
gear.
 Gently put on the brakes. This presses linings
against brake drums or discs and keeps mud,
silt, sand, and water from getting in.
 Increase engine rpm and cross the water
while keeping light pressure on the brakes.
 When out of the water, maintain light pressure
on the brakes for a short distance to heat
them up and dry them out.
 Make a test stop when safe to do so. Check
behind to make sure no one is following, then
apply the brakes to be sure they work well. If
not, dry them out further as described above.
CAUTION: Do not apply too much brake pressure
and accelerator at the same time, or you can
overheat brake drums and linings.
2.14 – Driving in Very Hot Weather
2.14.1 – Vehicle Checks
Do a normal pre-trip inspection, but pay special
attention to the following items.
Tires. Check the tire mounting and air pressure.
Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100
miles when driving in very hot weather. Air
pressure increases with temperature. Do not let
air out or the pressure will be too low when the
tires cool off. If a tire is too hot to touch, remain
stopped until the tire cools off. Otherwise the tire
may blow out or catch fire.
Engine Oil. The engine oil helps keep the engine
cool, as well as lubricating it. Make sure there is
enough engine oil. If you have an oil temperature
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
gauge, make sure the temperature is within the
proper range while you are driving.
Engine Coolant. Before starting out, make sure
the engine cooling system has enough water and
antifreeze according to the engine manufacturer's
directions. (Antifreeze helps the engine under hot
conditions as well as cold conditions). When
driving, check the water temperature or coolant
temperature gauge from time to time. Make sure
that it remains in the normal range. If the gauge
goes above the highest safe temperature, there
may be something wrong that could lead to
engine failure and possibly fire. Stop driving as
soon as safely possible and try to find out what is
wrong.
Some vehicles have sight glasses, see-through
coolant overflow containers, or coolant recovery
containers. These permit you to check the coolant
level while the engine is hot. If the container is not
part of the pressurized system, the cap can be
safely removed and coolant added even when the
engine is at operating temperature.
Hoses. Make sure coolant hoses are in good
condition. A broken hose while driving can lead to
engine failure and even fire.
2.14.2 – Driving
Watch for Bleeding Tar. Tar in the road
pavement frequently rises to the surface in very
hot weather. Spots where tar "bleeds" to the
surface are very slippery.
Go Slowly Enough to Prevent Overheating.
High speeds create more heat for tires and the
engine. In desert conditions the heat may build up
to the point where it is dangerous. The heat will
increase chances of tire failure or even fire, and
engine failure.
Subsections 2.11, 2.12, 2.13, and 2.14
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
Never remove the radiator cap or any part of the
pressurized system until the system has cooled.
Steam and boiling water can spray under
pressure and cause severe burns. If you can
touch the radiator cap with your bare hand, it is
probably cool enough to open.
If coolant has to be added to a system without a
recovery tank or overflow tank, follow these steps:








Shut engine off.
Wait until engine has cooled.
Protect hands (use gloves or a thick cloth).
Turn radiator cap slowly to the first stop,
which releases the pressure seal.
Step back while pressure is released from
cooling system.
When all pressure has been released, press
down on the cap and turn it further to remove
it.
Visually check level of coolant and add more
coolant if necessary.
Replace cap and turn all the way to the closed
position.
Engine Belts. Learn how to check v-belt tightness
on your vehicle by pressing on the belts. Loose
belts will not turn the water pump and/or fan
properly. This will result in overheating. Also,
check belts for cracking or other signs of wear.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
3.
4.
5.
You should use low beams whenever you
can. True or False?
What should you do before you drive if you
are drowsy?
What effects can wet brakes cause? How can
you avoid these problems?
You should let air out of hot tires so the
pressure goes back to normal. True or False?
You can safely remove the radiator cap as
long as the engine isn't overheated. True or
False?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer all of them, re-read subsections 2.11,
2.12, 2.13, and 2.14.
2.15 – Railroad-highway Crossings
Railroad-highway grade crossings are a special
kind of intersection where the roadway crosses
train tracks. These crossings are always
dangerous. Every such crossing must be
approached with the expectation that a train is
coming. It is extremely difficult to judge the
distance of the train from the crossing as well as
the speed of an approaching train.
2.15.1 – Types of Crossings
Passive Crossings. This type of crossing does
not have any type of traffic control device. The
decision to stop or proceed rests entirely in your
hands. Passive crossings require you to recognize
the crossing, search for any train using the tracks
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
and decide if there is sufficient clear space to
cross safely. Passive crossings have yellow
circular advance warning signs, pavement
markings and crossbucks to assist you in
recognizing a crossing.
Active Crossings. This type of crossing has a
traffic control device installed at the crossing to
regulate traffic at the crossing. These active
devices include flashing red lights, with or without
bells and flashing red lights with bells and gates.
2.15.2 – Warning Signs and Devices
Advance Warning Signs. The round, black-onyellow warning sign is placed ahead of a public
railroad-highway crossing. The advance warning
sign tells you to slow down, look and listen for the
train, and be prepared to stop at the tracks if a
train is coming. All passenger and hazmat
carrying vehicles are required to stop. See Figure
2.15.
Figure 2.16
There is also a no passing zone sign on two-lane
roads. There may be a white stop line painted on
the pavement before the railroad tracks. The front
of the school bus must remain behind this line
while stopped at the crossing.
Crossbuck Signs. This sign marks the grade
crossing. It requires you to yield the right-of-way
to the train. If there is no white stop line painted
on the pavement, vehicles that are required to
stop must stop no closer than 15 feet or more
than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the nearest
track. When the road crosses over more than one
set of tracks, a sign below the crossbuck indicates
the number of tracks. See Figure 2.17.
Figure 2.15
Pavement Markings. Pavement markings mean
the same as the advance warning sign. They
consist of an “X” with the letters “”RR” and a nopassing marking on two-lane roads. See Figure
2.16.
Figure 2.17
Section 2 – Driving Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Flashing Red Light Signals. At many highwayrail grade crossings, the crossbuck sign has
flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin
to flash, stop! A train is approaching. You are
required to yield the right-of-way to the train. If
there is more than one track, make sure all tracks
are clear before crossing. See Figure 2.18.
Gates. Many railroad-highway crossings have
gates with flashing red lights and bells. Stop when
the lights begin to flash and before the gate
lowers across the road lane. Remain stopped until
the gates go up and the lights have stopped
flashing. Proceed when it is safe. See Figure 2.18.
Don't Rely on Signals. You should not rely solely
upon the presence of warning signals, gates, or
flagmen to warn of the approach of trains. Be
especially alert at crossings that do not have
gates or flashing red light signals.
Double Tracks Require a Double Check.
Remember that a train on one track may hide a
train on the other track. Look both ways before
crossing. After one train has cleared a crossing,
be sure no other trains are near before starting
across the tracks.
Yard Areas and Grade Crossings in Cities and
Towns. Yard areas and grade crossings in cities
and towns are just as dangerous as rural grade
crossings. Approach them with as much caution.
2.15.4 – Stopping Safely at Railroad- highway
Crossings
A full stop is required at grade crossings
whenever:
 The nature of the cargo makes a stop
mandatory under state or federal regulations.
 Such a stop is otherwise required by law.
When stopping be sure to:
 Check for traffic behind you while stopping
gradually. Use a pullout lane, if available.
 Turn on your four-way emergency flashers.
Figure 2.18
2.15.3 – Driving Procedures
Never Race a Train to a Crossing. Never
attempt to race a train to a crossing. It is
extremely difficult to judge the speed of an
approaching train.
Reduce Speed. Speed must be reduced in
accordance with your ability to see approaching
trains in any direction, and speed must be held to
a point which will permit you to stop short of the
tracks in case a stop is necessary.
Don't Expect to Hear a Train. Trains may not or
are prohibited from sounding horns when
approaching some crossings. Public crossings
where trains do not sound horns should be
identified by signs. Noise inside your vehicle may,
also prevent you from hearing the train horn until
the train is dangerously close to the crossing.
2.15.5 – Crossing the Tracks
Railroad crossings with steep approaches can
cause your unit to hang up on the tracks.
Never permit traffic conditions to trap you in a
position where you have to stop on the tracks. Be
sure you can get all the way across the tracks
before you start across. It takes a typical tractortrailer unit at least 14 seconds to clear a single
track and more than 15 seconds to clear a double
track.
Do not shift gears while crossing railroad tracks.
2.15.6 – Special Situations
Be Aware! These trailers can get stuck on raised
crossings:
 Low slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving
van, possum-belly livestock trailer).
 Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandemaxle tractor.
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get
out of the vehicle and away from the tracks.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Check signposts or signal housing at the crossing
for emergency notification information. Call 911 or
other emergency number. Give the location of the
crossing using all identifiable landmarks,
especially the DOT number, if posted.
2.16 – Mountain Driving
In mountain driving, gravity plays a major role. On
any upgrade, gravity slows you down. The steeper
the grade, the longer the grade, and/or the
heavier the load--the more you will have to use
lower gears to climb hills or mountains. In coming
down long, steep downgrades, gravity causes the
speed of your vehicle to increase. You must select
an appropriate safe speed, then use a low gear,
and proper braking techniques. You should plan
ahead and obtain information about any long,
steep grades along your planned route of travel. If
possible, talk to other drivers who are familiar with
the grades to find out what speeds are safe.
You must go slowly enough so your brakes can
hold you back without getting too hot. If the brakes
become too hot, they may start to "fade." This
means you have to apply them harder and harder
to get the same stopping power. If you continue to
use the brakes hard, they can keep fading until
you cannot slow down or stop at all.
2.16.1 – Select a "Safe" Speed
Your most important consideration is to select a
speed that is not too fast for the:
 Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
 Length of the grade.
 Steepness of the grade.
 Road conditions.
 Weather.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign
indicating "Maximum Safe Speed," never exceed
the speed shown. Also, look for and heed warning
signs indicating the length and steepness of the
grade.
You must use the braking effect of the engine as
the principal way of controlling your speed. The
braking effect of the engine is greatest when it is
near the governed rpms and the transmission is in
the lower gears. Save your brakes so you will be
able to slow or stop as required by road and traffic
conditions.
2.16.2 – Select the Right Gear Before Starting
Down the Grade
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Shift the transmission to a low gear before starting
down the grade. Do not try to downshift after your
speed has already built up. You will not be able to
shift into a lower gear. You may not even be able
to get back into any gear and all engine braking
effect will be lost. Forcing an automatic
transmission into a lower gear at high speed could
damage the transmission and also lead to loss of
all engine braking effect.
With older trucks, a rule for choosing gears is to
use the same gear going down a hill that you
would need to climb the hill. However, new trucks
have low friction parts and streamlined shapes for
fuel economy. They may also have more powerful
engines. This means they can go up hills in higher
gears and have less friction and air drag to hold
them back going down hills. For that reason,
drivers of modern trucks may have to use lower
gears going down a hill than would be required to
go up the hill. You should know what is right for
your vehicle.
2.16.3 – Brake Fading or Failure
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub
against the brake drum or disks to slow the
vehicle. Braking creates heat, but brakes are
designed to take a lot of heat. However, brakes
can fade or fail from excessive heat caused by
using them too much and not relying on the
engine braking effect.
Brake fade is also affected by adjustment. To
safely control a vehicle, every brake must do its
share of the work. Brakes out of adjustment will
stop doing their share before those that are in
adjustment. The other brakes can then overheat
and fade, and there will not be enough braking
available to control the vehicle. Brakes can get out
of adjustment quickly, especially when they are
used a lot; also, brake linings wear faster when
they are hot. Therefore, brake adjustment must be
checked frequently.
2.16.4 – Proper Braking Technique
Remember. The use of brakes on a long and/or
steep downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is in
the proper low gear, the following are the proper
braking techniques:


Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
When your speed has been reduced to
approximately five mph below your "safe" speed,
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual

release the brakes. (This brake application
should last for about three seconds.)
When your speed has increased to your "safe"
speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
For example, if your "safe" speed is 40 mph, you
would not apply the brakes until your speed
reaches 40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard
enough to gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph
and then release the brakes. Repeat this as often
as necessary until you have reached the end of
the downgrade.
Escape ramps have been built on many steep
mountain downgrades. Escape ramps are made
to stop runaway vehicles safely without injuring
drivers and passengers. Escape ramps use a long
bed of loose, soft material to slow a runaway
vehicle, sometimes in combination with an
upgrade.
Know escape ramp locations on your route. Signs
show drivers where ramps are located. Escape
ramps save lives, equipment and cargo.
Subsections 2.15 and 2.16
Test Your Knowledge
What factors determine your selection of a
"safe" speed when going down a long, steep
downgrade?
2. Why should you be in the proper gear before
starting down a hill?
3. Describe the proper braking technique when
going down a long, steep downgrade.
4. What type of vehicles can get stuck on a
railroad-highway crossing?
5. How long does it take for a typical tractortrailer unit to clear a double track?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.15 and
2.16.
1.
2.17 – Driving Emergencies
Traffic emergencies occur when two vehicles are
about to collide. Vehicle emergencies occur when
tires, brakes, or other critical parts fail. Following
the safety practices in this manual can help
prevent emergencies. But if an emergency does
happen, your chances of avoiding a crash depend
upon how well you take action. Actions you can
take are discussed below.
2.17.1 – Steering to Avoid a Crash
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do in an
emergency. When you don't have enough room to
stop, you may have to steer away from what's
ahead. Remember, you can almost always turn to
miss an obstacle more quickly than you can stop.
(However, top-heavy vehicles and tractors with
multiple trailers may flip over.)
Keep Both Hands on the Steering Wheel. In
order to turn quickly, you must have a firm grip on
the steering wheel with both hands. The best way
to have both hands on the wheel, if there is an
emergency, is to keep them there all the time.
How to Turn Quickly and Safely. A quick turn
can be made safely, if it's done the right way.
Here are some points that safe drivers use:
 Do not apply the brake while you are turning.
It's very easy to lock your wheels while
turning. If that happens, you may skid out of
control.
 Do not turn any more than needed to clear
whatever is in your way. The more sharply
you turn, the greater the chances of a skid or
rollover.
 Be prepared to "countersteer," that is, to turn
the wheel back in the other direction, once
you've passed whatever was in your path.
Unless you are prepared to countersteer, you
won't be able to do it quickly enough. You
should think of emergency steering and
countersteering as two parts of one driving
action.
Where to Steer. If an oncoming driver has drifted
into your lane, a move to your right is best. If that
driver realizes what has happened, the natural
response will be to return to his or her own lane.
If something is blocking your path, the best
direction to steer will depend on the situation.
 If you have been using your mirrors, you'll
know which lane is empty and can be safely
used.
 If the shoulder is clear, going right may be
best. No one is likely to be driving on the
shoulder but someone may be passing you on
the left. You will know if you have been using
your mirrors.
 If you are blocked on both sides, a move to
the right may be best. At least you won't force
anyone into an opposing traffic lane and a
possible head-on collision.
Leaving the Road. In some emergencies, you
may have to drive off the road. It may be less risky
than facing a collision with another vehicle.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Most shoulders are strong enough to support the
weight of a large vehicle and, therefore, offer an
available escape route. Here are some guidelines,
if you do leave the road.
Avoid Braking. If possible, avoid using the
brakes until your speed has dropped to about 20
mph. Then brake very gently to avoid skidding on
a loose surface.
Keep One Set of Wheels on the Pavement, if
Possible. This helps to maintain control.
Stay on the Shoulder. If the shoulder is clear,
stay on it until your vehicle has come to a stop.
Signal and check your mirrors before pulling back
onto the road.
Returning to the Road. If you are forced to return
to the road before you can stop, use the following
procedure:
 Hold the wheel tightly and turn sharply
enough to get right back on the road safely.
Don't try to edge gradually back on the road. If
you do, your tires might grab unexpectedly
and you could lose control.
 When both front tires are on the paved
surface, countersteer immediately. The two
turns should be made as a single "steercountersteer" move.
2.17.2 – How to Stop Quickly and Safely
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you,
your natural response is to hit the brakes. This is
a good response if there's enough distance to
stop, and you use the brakes correctly.
You should brake in a way that will keep your
vehicle in a straight line and allow you to turn if it
becomes necessary. You can use the "controlled
braking" method or the "stab braking" method.
Controlled Braking. With this method, you apply
the brakes as hard as you can without locking the
wheels. Keep steering wheel movements very
small while doing this. If you need to make a
larger steering adjustment or if the wheels lock,
release the brakes. Re-apply the brakes as soon
as you can.
Stab Braking
 Apply your brakes all the way.
 Release brakes when wheels lock up.
 As soon as the wheels start rolling, apply the
brakes fully again. (It can take up to one
Section 2 – Driving Safely
second for the wheels to start rolling after you
release the brakes. If you re-apply the brakes
before the wheels start rolling, the vehicle
won't straighten out.)
Don't Jam on the Brakes. Emergency braking
does not mean pushing down on the brake pedal
as hard as you can. That will only keep the wheels
locked up and cause a skid. If the wheels are
skidding, you cannot control the vehicle.
2.17.3 – Brake Failure
Brakes kept in good condition rarely fail. Most
hydraulic brake failures occur for one of two
reasons: (Air brakes are discussed in Section 5)
 Loss of hydraulic pressure.
 Brake fade on long hills.
Loss of Hydraulic Pressure. When the system
won't build up pressure, the brake pedal will feel
spongy or go to the floor. Here are some things
you can do.
Downshift. Putting the vehicle into a lower gear
will help to slow the vehicle.
Pump the Brakes. Sometimes pumping the brake
pedal will generate enough hydraulic pressure to
stop the vehicle.
Use the Parking Brake. The parking or
emergency brake is separate from the hydraulic
brake system. Therefore, it can be used to slow
the vehicle. However, be sure to press the release
button or pull the release lever at the same time
you use the emergency brake so you can adjust
the brake pressure and keep the wheels from
locking up.
Find an Escape Route. While slowing the
vehicle, look for an escape route--an open field,
side street, or escape ramp. Turning uphill is a
good way to slow and stop the vehicle. Make sure
the vehicle does not start rolling backward after
you stop. Put it in low gear, apply the parking
brake, and, if necessary, roll back into some
obstacle that will stop the vehicle.
Brake Failure on Downgrades. Going slow
enough and braking properly will almost always
prevent brake failure on long downgrades. Once
the brakes have failed, however, you are going to
have to look outside your vehicle for something to
stop it.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Your best hope is an escape ramp. If there is one,
there'll be signs telling you about it. Use it. Ramps
are usually located a few miles from the top of the
downgrade. Every year, hundreds of drivers avoid
injury to themselves or damage to their vehicles
by using escape ramps. Some escape ramps use
soft gravel that resists the motion of the vehicle
and brings it to a stop. Others turn uphill, using
the hill to stop the vehicle and soft gravel to hold it
in place.
Any driver who loses brakes going downhill
should use an escape ramp if it's available. If you
don't use it, your chances of having a serious
crash may be much greater.
If no escape ramp is available, take the least
hazardous escape route you can--such as an
open field or a side road that flattens out or turns
uphill. Make the move as soon as you know your
brakes don't work. The longer you wait, the faster
the vehicle will go, and the harder it will be to stop.
2.17.4 – Tire Failure
Recognize Tire Failure. Quickly knowing you
have a tire failure will let you have more time to
react.


Stay Off the Brake. It's natural to want to
brake in an emergency. However, braking
when a tire has failed could cause loss of
control. Unless you're about to run into
something, stay off the brake until the vehicle
has slowed down. Then brake very gently, pull
off the road, and stop.
Check the Tires. After you've come to a stop,
get out and check all the tires. Do this even if
the vehicle seems to be handling all right. If
one of your dual tires goes, the only way you
may know it is by getting out and looking at it.
2.18 – Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
ABS is a computerized system that keeps your
wheels from locking up during hard brake
applications.
ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It does
not decrease or increase your normal braking
capability. ABS only activates when wheels are
about to lock up.
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle
under control during hard braking.
2.18.1 – How Antilock Braking Systems Work
Having just a few extra seconds to remember
what it is you're supposed to do can help you. The
major signs of tire failure are:
Sensors detect potential wheel lock up. An
electronic control unit (ECU) will then decrease
brake pressure to avoid wheel lockup.

Brake pressure is adjusted to provide the
maximum braking without danger of lockup.


Sound. The loud "bang" of a blowout is an
easily recognized sign. Because it can take a
few seconds for your vehicle to react, you
might think it was some other vehicle. But any
time you hear a tire blow, you'd be safest to
assume it is yours.
Vibration. If the vehicle thumps or vibrates
heavily, it may be a sign that one of the tires
has gone flat. With a rear tire, that may be the
only sign you get.
Feel. If the steering feels "heavy," it is
probably a sign that one of the front tires has
failed. Sometimes, failure of a rear tire will
cause the vehicle to slide back and forth or
"fishtail." However, dual rear tires usually
prevent this.
Respond to Tire Failure. When a tire fails, your
vehicle is in danger. You must immediately:
 Hold the Steering Wheel Firmly. If a front tire
fails, it can twist the steering wheel out of your
hand. The only way to prevent this is to keep
a firm grip on the steering wheel with both
hands at all times.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
ABS works far faster than the driver can respond
to potential wheel lockup. At all other times the
brake system will operate normally.
2.18.2 – Vehicles Required to Have Antilock
Braking Systems
The Department of Transportation requires that
ABS be on:



Truck tractors with air brakes built on or after
March 1, 1997.
Other air brake vehicles, (trucks, buses,
trailers, and converter dollies) built on or after
March 1, 1998.
Hydraulically braked trucks and buses with a
gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or
more built on or after March 1, 1999.
Many commercial vehicles built before these
dates have been voluntarily equipped with ABS.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
2.18.3 – How to Know If Your Vehicle Is
Equipped with ABS
Tractors, trucks, and buses will have yellow ABS
malfunction lamps on the instrument panel.
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps
on the left side, either on the front or rear corner.
Dollies manufactured on or after March 1, 1998,
are required to have a lamp on the left side.
As a system check on newer vehicles, the
malfunction lamp comes on at start-up for a bulb
check, and then goes out quickly. On older
systems, the lamp could stay on until you are
driving over five mph.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes
on once you are under way, you may have lost
ABS control.
In the case of towed units manufactured before it
was required by the Department of
Transportation, it may be difficult to tell if the unit
is equipped with ABS. Look under the vehicle for
the ECU and wheel speed sensor wires coming
from the back of the brakes.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control
or start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes (if
you can safely do so) until you regain control.
2.18.6 – Braking with ABS
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should
brake as you always have. In other words:
 Use only the braking force necessary to stop
safely and stay in control.
 Brake the same way, regardless of whether
you have ABS on the bus, tractor, the trailer,
or both.
 As you slow down, monitor your tractor and
trailer and back off the brakes (if it is safe to
do so) to stay in control.
There is only one exception to this procedure. If
you drive a straight truck or combination with
working ABS on all axles, in an emergency stop,
you can fully apply the brakes.
2.18.7 – Braking If ABS Is Not Working
Without ABS you still have normal brake
functions. Drive and brake as you always have.
2.18.4 – How ABS Helps You
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps
to tell you if something isn’t working.
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid, jackknife, or even spin the vehicle.
As a system check on newer vehicles, the
malfunction lamp comes on at start-up for a bulb
check and then goes out quickly. On older
systems, the lamp could stay on until you are
driving over five mph.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up and maintain
control. You may or may not be able to stop faster
with ABS, but you should be able to steer around
an obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused
by over braking.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes
on once you are under way, you may have lost
ABS control on one or more wheels.
2.18.5 – ABS on the Tractor Only or Only on
the Trailer
Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer, or
even on only one axle, still gives you more control
over the vehicle during braking. Brake normally.
When only the tractor has ABS, you should be
able to maintain steering control, and there is less
chance of jackknifing. But keep your eye on the
trailer and let up on the brakes (if you can safely
do so) if it begins to swing out.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
2.18.8 – Safety Reminders



ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow
more closely, or drive less carefully.
ABS won’t prevent power or turning skids–
ABS should prevent brake-induced skids or
jackknifes, but not those caused by spinning
the drive wheels or going too fast in a turn.
ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping
distance. ABS will help maintain vehicle
control, but not always shorten stopping
distance.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual




ABS won’t increase or decrease ultimate
stopping power–ABS is an “add-on” to your
normal brakes, not a replacement for them.
ABS won’t change the way you normally
brake. Under normal brake conditions, your
vehicle will stop as it always stopped. ABS
only comes into play when a wheel would
normally have locked up because of over
braking.
ABS won’t compensate for bad brakes or poor
brake maintenance.
Remember: The best vehicle safety feature is
still a safe driver.
vehicles towing trailers, a drive-wheel skid can let
the trailer push the towing vehicle sideways,
causing a sudden jackknife. See Figure 2.19.
Remember: Drive so you never need to use your
ABS. But if you need it, ABS could help to prevent
a serious crash.
2.19 – Skid Control and Recovery
A skid happens whenever the tires lose their grip
on the road. This is caused in one of four ways:
 Over-braking. Braking too hard and locking
up the wheels. Skids also can occur when
using the speed retarder when the road is
slippery.

Over-steering. Turning the wheels more
sharply than the vehicle can turn.

Over-acceleration. Supplying too much
power to the drive wheels, causing them to
spin.

Driving Too Fast. Most serious skids result
from driving too fast for road conditions.
Drivers who adjust their driving to conditions
don't over-accelerate and don't have to overbrake or over-steer from too much speed.
Figure 2.19
2.19.2 – Correcting a Drive-wheel Braking Skid
Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking
skid.

2.19.1 – Drive-wheel Skids
By far the most common skid is one in which the
rear wheels lose traction through excessive
braking or acceleration. Skids caused by
acceleration usually happen on ice or snow.
Taking your foot off the accelerator can easily
stop them. (If it is very slippery, push the clutch in.
Otherwise, the engine can keep the wheels from
rolling freely and regaining traction.)
Rear wheel braking skids occur when the rear
drive wheels lock. Because locked wheels have
less traction than rolling wheels, the rear wheels
usually slide sideways in an attempt to "catch up"
with the front wheels. In a bus or straight truck,
the vehicle will slide sideways in a "spin out." With
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Stop Braking. This will let the rear
wheels roll again, and keep the rear
wheels from sliding.

Countersteer. As a vehicle turns back on
course, it has a tendency to keep on
turning. Unless you turn the steering
wheel quickly the other way, you may find
yourself skidding in the opposite direction.
Learning to stay off the brake, turn the steering
wheel quickly, push in the clutch, and
countersteer in a skid takes a lot of practice. The
best place to get this practice is on a large driving
range or "skid pad."
2.19.3 – Front-wheel Skids
Driving too fast for conditions causes most frontwheel skids. Other causes include lack of tread on
the front tires and cargo loaded so not enough
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
weight is on the front axle. In a front-wheel skid,
the front end tends to go in a straight line
regardless of how much you turn the steering
wheel. On a very slippery surface, you may not be
able to steer around a curve or turn.
When a front-wheel skid occurs, the only way to
stop the skid is to let the vehicle slow down. Stop
turning and/or braking so hard. Slow down as
quickly as possible without skidding.
Subsections 2.17, 2.18, and 2.19
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do
in an emergency. True or False?
What are some advantages of going right
instead of left around an obstacle?
What is an "escape ramp?"
If a tire blows out, you should put the brakes
on hard to stop quickly. True or False?
How do you know if your vehicle has antilock
brakes?
What is the proper braking technique when
driving a vehicle with antilock brakes?
How do antilock brakes help you?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.17, 2.18,
and 2.19.


Put on your flashers.
Set out reflective triangles to warn other
traffic. Make sure other drivers can see them
in time to avoid the accident.
2.20.2 – Notify Authorities
If you have a cell phone or CB, call for assistance
before you get out of your vehicle. If not, wait until
after the accident scene has been properly
protected, then call or send someone to call the
police. Try to determine where you are so you can
give the exact location.
2.20.3 – Care for the Injured
If a qualified person is at the accident and helping
the injured, stay out of the way unless asked to
assist. Otherwise, do the best you can to help any
injured parties. Here are some simple steps to
follow in giving assistance:
 Don't move a severely injured person unless
the danger of fire or passing traffic makes it
necessary.
 Stop heavy bleeding by applying direct
pressure to the wound.
 Keep the injured person warm.
2.21 – Fires
Truck fires can cause damage and injury. Learn
the causes of fires and how to prevent them.
Know what to do to extinguish fires.
2.20 – Accident Procedures
2.21.1 – Causes of Fire
When you're in an accident and not seriously hurt,
you need to act to prevent further damage or
injury. The basic steps to be taken at any accident
are to:
The following are some causes of vehicle fires:
 After Accidents. Spilled fuel, improper use of





Protect the area.
Notify authorities.
Care for the injured.


2.20.1 – Protect the Area
The first thing to do at an accident scene is to
keep another accident from happening in the
same spot. To protect the accident area:
 If your vehicle is involved in the accident, try
to get it to the side of the road. This will help
prevent another accident and allow traffic to
move.
 If you're stopping to help, park away from the
accident. The area immediately around the
accident will be needed for emergency
vehicles.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
flares.
Tires. Under-inflated tires and duals that
touch.
Electrical System. Short circuits due to
damaged insulation, loose connections.
Fuel. Driver smoking, improper fueling,
loose fuel connections.
Cargo. Flammable cargo, improperly sealed
or loaded cargo, poor ventilation.
2.21.2 – Fire Prevention
Pay attention to the following:



Pre-trip Inspection. Make a complete inspection
of the electrical, fuel, and exhaust systems, tires,
and cargo. Be sure to check that the fire
extinguisher is charged.
En Route Inspection. Check the tires, wheels,
and truck body for signs of heat whenever you
stop during a trip.
Follow Safe Procedures. Follow correct safety
procedures for fueling the vehicle, using brakes,
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual


handling flares, and other activities that can
cause a fire.
Monitoring. Check the instruments and gauges
often for signs of overheating and use the
mirrors to look for signs of smoke from tires or
the vehicle.
Caution. Use normal caution in handling
anything flammable.
2.21.3 – Fire Fighting
Knowing how to fight fires is important. Drivers
who did not know how to respond have made fires
worse. Know how the fire extinguisher works.
Study the instructions printed on the extinguisher
before you need it. Here are some procedures to
follow in case of fire.




cause shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread
the flames).
A burning tire must be cooled. Lots of water
may be required.
If you're not sure what to use, especially on a
hazardous materials fire, wait for firefighters.
Position yourself upwind. Let the wind carry
the extinguisher to the fire.
Continue until whatever was burning has been
cooled. Absence of smoke or flame does not
mean the fire cannot restart.
Class/Type of Fires
Type
Class
A
Wood, Paper, Ordinary Combustibles
Extinguish by Cooling and Quenching
Using Water or Dry Chemicals
Gasoline, Oil, Grease, Other Greasy Liquids
Extinguish by Smothering, Cooling or
Heat Shielding using carbon Dioxide or
Dry Chemicals
Electrical Equipment Fires
Extinguish with Nonconducting Agents
such as Carbon Dioxide or Dry
Chemicals. DO NOT USE WATER.
Fires in Combustible Metals
Extinguish by Using Specialized
Extinguishing Powders
B
Pull Off the Road. The first step is to get the
vehicle off the road and stop. In doing so:



Park in an open area, away from buildings,
trees, brush, other vehicles, or anything that
might catch fire.
Don't pull into a service station!
Notify emergency services of your problem and
your location.
Keep the Fire from Spreading. Before trying to
put out the fire, make sure that it doesn't spread
any further.


With an engine fire, turn off the engine as soon
as you can. Don't open the hood if you can avoid
it. Shoot foam through louvers, radiator, or from
the vehicle’s underside.
For a cargo fire in a van or box trailer, keep the
doors shut, especially if your cargo contains
hazardous materials. Opening the van doors will
supply the fire with oxygen and can cause it to
burn very fast.
Extinguish the Fire. Here are some rules to
follow in putting out a fire:
 When using the extinguisher, stay as far away
from the fire as possible.
 Aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in
the flames.
C
D
Figure 2.20
Class of Fire/Type of Extinguisher
Class of Fire
B or C
A, B, C or D
D
B or C
D
B or C
B or C
A
A
A or B
B, On Some A
Fire Extinguisher Type
Regular Dry Chemical
Multi Purpose Dry Chemical
Purple K Dry Chemical
KCL Dry Chemical
Dry Powder, Special Compound
Carbon Dioxide (Dry)
Halogenated Agent (Gas)
Water
Water With Anti-Freeze
Water, Loaded Steam Style
Foam
Figure 2.21
Use the Right Fire Extinguisher




Figures 2.20 and 2.21 detail the type of fire
extinguisher to use by class of fire.
The B:C type of fire extinguisher is designed
to work on electrical fires and burning liquids.
The A:B:C type is designed to work on
burning wood, paper and cloth.
Water can be used on wood, paper or cloth.
Do NOT use water on an electrical fire (can
Section 2 – Driving Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Subsections 2.20 and 2.21
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What are some things to do at an accident
scene to prevent another accident?
Name two causes of tire fires.
What kinds of fires is a B:C extinguisher not
good for?
When using your extinguisher, should you get
as close as possible to the fire?
Name some causes of vehicle fires.
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.20 and
2.21.
What Determines Blood Alcohol
Concentration? BAC is determined by the
amount of alcohol you drink (more alcohol means
higher BAC), how fast you drink (faster drinking
means higher BAC), and your weight (a small
person doesn't have to drink as much to reach the
same BAC).
Alcohol and the Brain. Alcohol affects more and
more of the brain as BAC builds up. The first part
of the brain affected controls judgment and selfcontrol. One of the bad things about this is it can
keep drinkers from knowing they are getting
drunk. And, of course, good judgment and selfcontrol are absolutely necessary for safe driving.
2.22 – Alcohol, Other Drugs, and
Driving
2.22.1 – Alcohol and Driving
Drinking alcohol and then driving is very
dangerous and a serious problem. People who
drink alcohol are involved in traffic crashes
resulting in over 20,000 deaths every year.
Alcohol impairs muscle coordination, reaction
time, depth perception, and night vision. It also
affects the parts of the brain that control judgment
and inhibition. For some people, one drink is all it
takes to show signs of impairment.
How Alcohol Works. Alcohol goes directly into
the blood stream and is carried to the brain. After
passing through the brain, a small percentage is
removed in urine, perspiration, and by breathing,
while the rest is carried to the liver. The liver can
only process one-third an ounce of alcohol per
hour, which is considerably less than the alcohol
in a standard drink. This is a fixed rate, so only
time, not black coffee or a cold shower, will sober
you up. If you have drinks faster than your body
can get rid of them, you will have more alcohol in
your body, and your driving will be more affected.
The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
commonly measures the amount of alcohol in
your body. See Figure 2.22.
All of the following drinks contain the same
amount of alcohol:
 A 12-ounce glass of 5% beer.
 A 5-ounce glass of 12% wine.
 A 1 1/2-ounce shot of 80 proof liquor.
Figure 2.22
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-42
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
As BAC continues to build up, muscle control,
vision, and coordination are affected more and
more. Effects on driving may include:
 Straddling lanes.
 Quick, jerky starts.
 Not signaling, failure to use lights.
 Running stop signs and red lights.
 Improper passing.
judgment, vision, coordination and reaction time. It
causes serious driving errors, such as:
 Increased reaction time to hazards.
 Driving too fast or too slow.
 Driving in the wrong lane.
 Running over the curb.
 Weaving.
2.22.2 – Other Drugs
See Figure 2.23.
Besides alcohol, other legal and illegal drugs are
being used more often. Laws prohibit possession
or use of many drugs while on duty. They prohibit
being under the influence of any "controlled
substance," amphetamines (including "pep pills,"
“uppers,” and "bennies"), narcotics, or any other
substance, which can make the driver unsafe.
This could include a variety of prescription and
over-the-counter drugs (cold medicines), which
may make the driver drowsy or otherwise affect
safe driving ability. However, possession and use
of a drug given to a driver by a doctor is permitted
if the doctor informs the driver that it will not affect
safe driving ability.
Pay attention to warning labels for legitimate
drugs and medicines, and to doctor's orders
regarding possible effects. Stay away from illegal
drugs.
Don't use any drug that hides fatigue--the only
cure for fatigue is rest. Alcohol can make the
effects of other drugs much worse. The safest rule
is do not mix drugs with driving at all.
Use of drugs can lead to traffic crashes resulting
in death, injury, and property damage.
Furthermore, it can lead to arrest, fines, and jail
sentences. It can also mean the end of a person's
driving career.
2.23 – Staying Alert and Fit to Drive
Driving a vehicle for long hours is tiring. Even the
best of drivers will become less alert. However,
there are things that good drivers do to help stay
alert and safe.
Figure 2.23
2.23.1 – Be Ready to Drive
These effects mean increased chances of a crash
and chances of losing your driver's license. Crash
statistics show that the chance of a crash is much
greater for drivers who have been drinking than
for drivers who have not.
How Alcohol Affects Driving. All drivers are
affected by drinking alcohol. Alcohol affects
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is not like money. You
can’t save it up ahead of time and you can’t
borrow it. But, just as with money, you can go into
debt with it. If you don’t sleep enough, you “owe”
more sleep to yourself. This debt can only be paid
off by sleeping. You can’t overcome it with
willpower, and it won’t go away by itself. The
Page 2-43
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
average person needs seven or eight hours of
sleep every 24 hours. Leaving on a long trip when
you're already tired is dangerous. If you have a
long trip scheduled, make sure that you get
enough sleep before you go.
Schedule Trips Safely. Try to arrange your
schedule so you are not in “sleep debt” before a
long trip. Your body gets used to sleeping during
certain hours. If you are driving during those
hours, you will be less alert. If possible, try to
schedule trips for the hours you are normally
awake. Many heavy motor vehicle crashes occur
between midnight and 6 a.m. Tired drivers can
easily fall asleep at these times, especially if they
don't regularly drive at those hours. Trying to push
on and finish a long trip at these times can be very
dangerous.
Exercise Regularly. Resistance to fatigue and
improved sleep are among the benefits of regular
exercise. Try to incorporate exercise into your
daily life. Instead of sitting and watching TV in
your sleeper, walk or jog a few laps around the
parking lot. A little bit of daily exercise will give
you energy throughout the day.
Eat Healthy. It is often hard for drivers to find
healthy food. But with a little extra effort, you can
eat healthy, even on the road. Try to find
restaurants with healthy, balanced meals. If you
must eat at fast-food restaurants, pick low-fat
items. Another simple way to reduce your caloric
intake is to eliminate fattening snacks. Instead, try
fruit or vegetables.
Keep Cool. A hot, poorly ventilated vehicle can
make you sleepy. Keep the window or vent
cracked open or use the air conditioner, if you
have one.
Take Breaks. Short breaks can keep you alert.
But the time to take them is before you feel really
drowsy or tired. Stop often. Walk around and
inspect your vehicle. It may help to do some
physical exercises.
Be sure to take a mid-afternoon break and plan to
sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.
Recognize the Danger Signals of Drowsy
Driving. Sleep is not voluntary. If you’re drowsy,
you can fall asleep and never even know it. If you
are drowsy, you are likely to have “micro sleeps”–
brief naps that last around four or five seconds. At
55 miles an hour, that’s more than 100 yards, and
plenty of time for a crash. Even if you are not
aware of being drowsy, if you have a sleep debt
you are still at risk. Here are a few ways to tell if
you’re about to fall asleep. If you experience any
of these danger signs, take them as a warning
that you could fall asleep without meaning to.






Your eyes close or go out of focus by
themselves.
You have trouble keeping your head up.
You can’t stop yawning.
You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
You don’t remember driving the last few miles.
You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss
traffic signs.
You keep jerking the truck back into the lane.
You have drifted off the road and narrowly
missed crashing.
Avoid Medication. Many medicines can make
you sleepy. Those that do have a label warning
against operating vehicles or machinery. The
most common medicine of this type is an ordinary
cold pill. If you have to drive with a cold, you are
better off suffering from the cold than from the
effects of the medicine.


Visit Your Doctor. Regular checkups literally can
2.23.3 – When You Do Become Sleepy
be lifesavers. Illnesses such as diabetes, heart
disease, and skin and colon cancer can be detected
easily and treated if found in time.
You should consult your physician or a local sleep
disorder center if you suffer from frequent daytime
sleepiness, have difficulty sleeping at night, take
frequent naps, fall asleep at strange times, snore
loudly, gasp and choke in your sleep, and/or wake
up feeling as though you have not had enough
sleep.
If you have even one of these symptoms, you may
be in danger of falling asleep. Pull off the road in a
safe place and take a nap.
When you are sleepy, trying to "push on" is far
more dangerous than most drivers think. It is a
major cause of fatal crashes. Here are some
important rules to follow.
Stop to Sleep. When your body needs sleep,
sleep is the only thing that will work. If you have to
make a stop anyway, make it whenever you feel
the first signs of sleepiness, even if it is earlier
than you planned. By getting up a little earlier the
2.23.2 – While You Are Driving
Section 2 – Driving Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
next day, you can keep on schedule without the
danger of driving while you are not alert.
Class
Take a Nap. If you can't stop for the night, at least
pull off at a safe place, such as a rest area or
truck stop, and take a nap. A nap as short as a
half-hour will do more to overcome fatigue than a
half-hour coffee stop.
Avoid Drugs. There are no drugs that can
overcome being tired. While they may keep you
awake for a while, they won't make you alert. And
eventually, you'll be even more tired than if you
hadn't taken them at all. Sleep is the only thing
that can overcome fatigue.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Do Not. Do not rely on coffee or another source of
caffeine to keep you awake. Do not count on the
radio, an open window, or other tricks to keep you
awake.
2.23.4 – Illness
Once in a while, you may become so ill that you
cannot operate a motor vehicle safely. If this
happens to you, you must not drive. However, in
case of an emergency, you may drive to the
nearest place where you can safely stop.
2.24 – Hazardous Materials Rules For
All Commercial Drivers
All drivers should know something about
hazardous materials. You must be able to
recognize hazardous cargo, and you must know
whether or not you can haul it without having a
hazardous materials endorsement on your CDL
license.
2.24.1 – What Are Hazardous Materials?
Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk
to health, safety, and property during
transportation. See Figure 2.24.
8
9
None
None
Hazard Class Definitions
Class Name
Example
Ammunition,
Explosives
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Gases
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Flammable
Acetone
Flammable Solids
Matches, Fuses
Ammonium Nitrate,
Oxidizers
Hydrogen Peroxide
Poisons
Pesticides, Arsenic
Uranium,
Radioactive
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Corrosives
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous Materials
Asbestos
ORM-D (Other
Hair Spray or
Regulated MaterialCharcoal
Domestic)
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Combustible Liquids
Fluid
Figure 2.24
2.24.2 – Why Are There Rules?
You must follow the many rules about transporting
hazardous materials. The intent of the rules is to:



Contain the product.
Communicate the risk.
Ensure safe drivers and equipment.
To Contain the Product. Many hazardous
products can injure or kill on contact. To protect
drivers and others from contact, the rules tell
shippers how to package safely. Similar rules tell
drivers how to load, transport, and unload bulk
tanks. These are containment rules.
To Communicate the Risk. The shipper uses a
shipping paper and diamond shaped hazard
labels to warn dockworkers and drivers of the risk.
After an accident or hazardous material spill or
leak, you may be injured and unable to
communicate the hazards of the materials you are
transporting. Firefighters and police can prevent
or reduce the amount of damage or injury at the
scene if they know what hazardous materials are
being transported. Your life, and the lives of
others, may depend on quickly locating the
hazardous materials shipping papers. For that
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-45
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
reason, you must identify shipping papers related
to hazardous materials or keep them on top of
other shipping papers. You must also keep
shipping papers:
gallons or more that is either permanently or
temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis. The
liquid or gas does not have to be a hazardous
material.



Drivers who need the hazardous materials
endorsement must learn the placard rules. If you
do not know if your vehicle needs placards, ask
your employer. Never drive a vehicle needing
placards unless you have the hazardous materials
endorsement. To do so is a crime. When stopped,
you will be cited and you will not be allowed to
drive your truck.. It will cost you time and money.
A failure to placard when needed may risk your
life and others if you have an accident.
Emergency help will not know of your hazardous
cargo.
In a pouch on the driver's door, or
In clear view within reach while driving, or
On the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
2.24.3 – Lists of Regulated Products
Placards are used to warn others of hazardous
materials. Placards are signs put on the outside of
a vehicle that identify the hazard class of the
cargo. A placarded vehicle must have at least four
identical placards. They are put on the front, rear,
and both sides. Placards must be readable from
all four directions. They must be at least 10 3/4
inches square, turned upright on a point, in a
diamond shape. Cargo tanks and other bulk
packaging display the identification number of
their contents on placards or orange panels.
Identification Numbers are a four digit code
used by first responders to identify hazardous
materials. An identification number may be used
to identify more than one chemical on shipping
papers. The identification number will be
preceded by the letters “NA” or “UN”. The US
DOT Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)
lists the chemicals and the identification numbers
assigned to them.
Not all vehicles carrying hazardous materials
need to have placards. The rules about placards
are given in Section 9 of this manual. You can
drive a vehicle that carries hazardous materials if
it does not require placards. If it requires placards,
you cannot drive it unless your driver license has
the hazardous materials endorsement. See Figure
2.25.
The rules require all drivers of placarded vehicles
to learn how to safely load and transport
hazardous products. They must have a
commercial driver license with the hazardous
materials endorsement.
To get the required endorsement, you must pass
a written test on material found in Section 9 of this
manual.
Figure 2.25
A tank endorsement is required for any
commercial vehicle that is designed to transport
any liquid or gaseous materials in a tank or tanks
having an individual rated capacity of more than
119 gallons and an aggregate capacity of 1,000
Hazardous materials drivers must also know
which products they can load together, and which
they cannot. These rules are also in Section 9.
Before loading a truck with more than one type of
product, you must know if it is safe to load them
Section 2 – Driving Safely
Page 2-46
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
together. If you do not know, ask your employer
and consult the regulations.
Subsections 2.22, 2.23, and 2.24
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Common medicines for colds can make you
sleepy. True or False?
What should you do if you become sleepy
while driving?
Coffee and a little fresh air will help a drinker
sober up. True or False?
What is a hazardous materials placard?
Why are placards used?
What is “sleep debt”?
What are the danger signals of drowsy
driving?
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.22, 2.23,
and 2.24.
Section 2 – Driving Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 4
TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS
SAFELY
This Section Covers






Vehicle Inspection
Loading
On the Road
After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Prohibited Practices
Use of Brake-door Interlocks
Bus drivers must have a commercial driver license
if they drive a vehicle designed to seat more than
16 or more persons, including the driver.
As you check the outside of the bus, close any
open emergency exits. Also, close any open
access panels (for baggage, restroom service,
engine, etc.) before driving.
4.1.3 – Bus Interior
People sometimes damage unattended buses.
Always check the interior of the bus before driving
to ensure rider safety. Aisles and stairwells should
always be clear. The following parts of your bus
must be in safe working condition:
 Each handhold and railing.
 Floor covering.
 Signaling devices, including the restroom
emergency buzzer, if the bus has a restroom.
 Emergency exit handles.
The seats must be safe for riders. All seats must
be securely fastened to the bus.
Bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement
on their commercial driver license. To get the
endorsement you must pass a knowledge test on
Sections 2 and 4 of this manual. (If your bus has
air brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test
on Section 5.) You must also pass the skills tests
required for the class of vehicle you drive.
Never drive with an open emergency exit door or
window. The "Emergency Exit" sign on an
emergency door must be clearly visible. If there is
a red emergency door light, it must work. Turn it
on at night or any other time you use your outside
lights.
4.1 – Vehicle Inspection
4.1.4 – Roof Hatches
Before driving your bus, you must be sure it is
safe. You must review the inspection report made
by the previous driver. Only if defects reported
earlier have been certified as repaired or not
needed to be repaired, should you sign the
previous driver's report. This is your certification
that the defects reported earlier have been fixed.
You may lock some emergency roof hatches in a
partly open position for fresh air. Do not leave
them open as a regular practice. Keep in mind the
bus's higher clearance while driving with them
open.
4.1.1 – Vehicle Systems
Make sure these things are in good working order
before driving:
 Service brakes, including air hose couplings
(if your bus has a trailer or semitrailer).
 Parking brake.
 Steering mechanism.
 Lights and reflectors.
 Tires (front wheels must not have recapped or
regrooved tires).
 Horn.
 Windshield wiper or wipers.
 Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.
 Coupling devices (if present).
 Wheels and rims.
 Emergency equipment.
4.1.2 – Access Doors and Panels
Section 4 –Transporting Passengers Safely
Make sure your bus has the fire extinguisher and
emergency reflectors required by law. The bus
must also have spare electrical fuses, unless
equipped with circuit breakers.
4.1.5 – Use Your Seatbelt!
The driver's seat should have a seat belt. Always
use it for safety.
4.2 – Loading and Trip Start
Do not allow riders to leave carry-on baggage in a
doorway or aisle. There should be nothing in the
aisle that might trip other riders. Secure baggage
and freight in ways that avoid damage and:
 Allow the driver to move freely and easily.
 Allow riders to exit by any window or door in
an emergency.
 Protect riders from injury if carry-ons fall or
shift.
Page 4-1
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
4.2.1 – Hazardous Materials

Watch for cargo or baggage containing hazardous
materials. Most hazardous materials cannot be
carried on a bus.

The Federal Hazardous Materials Table shows
which materials are hazardous. They pose a risk
to health, safety, and property during
transportation. The rules require shippers to mark
containers of hazardous material with the
material's name, identification number, and
hazard label. There are nine different four-inch,
diamond-shaped hazard labels. See Figure 4.1.
Watch for the diamond-shaped labels. Do not
transport any hazardous material unless you are
sure the rules allow it.
Class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
None
None
Hazard Class Definitions
Class Name
Example
Ammunition,
Explosives
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Gases
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Flammable
Acetone
Flammable Solids
Matches, Fuses
Ammonium Nitrate,
Oxidizers
Hydrogen Peroxide
Poisons
Pesticides, Arsenic
Uranium,
Radioactive
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Corrosives
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous Materials
Asbestos
ORM-D (Other
Hair Spray or
Regulated MaterialCharcoal
Domestic)
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Combustible Liquids
Fluid
Figure 4.1
4.2.2 – Forbidden Hazardous Materials
Buses may carry small-arms ammunition labeled
ORM-D, emergency hospital supplies, and drugs.
You can carry small amounts of some other
hazardous materials if the shipper cannot send
them any other way. Buses must never carry:
 Division 2.3 poison gas, liquid Class 6 poison,
tear gas, irritating material.
 More than 100 pounds of solid Class 6
poisons.
Section 4 –Transporting Passengers Safely

Explosives in the space occupied by people,
except small arms ammunition.
Labeled radioactive materials in the space
occupied by people.
More than 500 pounds total of allowed
hazardous materials, and no more than 100
pounds of any one class.
Riders sometimes board a bus with an unlabeled
hazardous material. Do not allow riders to carry
on common hazards such as car batteries or
gasoline.
4.2.3 – Standee Line
No rider may stand forward of the rear of the
driver's seat. Buses designed to allow standing
must have a two-inch line on the floor or some
other means of showing riders where they cannot
stand. This is called the standee line. All standing
riders must stay behind it.
4.2.4 – At Your Destination
When arriving at the destination or intermediate
stops announce:
 The location.
 Reason for stopping.
 Next departure time.
 Bus number.
Remind riders to take carry-ons with them if they
get off the bus. If the aisle is on a lower level than
the seats, remind riders of the step-down. It is
best to tell them before coming to a complete
stop.
Charter bus drivers should not allow riders on the
bus until departure time. This will help prevent
theft or vandalism of the bus.
4.3 – On the Road
4.3.1 – Passenger Supervision
Many charter and intercity carriers have
passenger comfort and safety rules. Mention rules
about smoking, drinking, or use of radio and tape
players at the start of the trip. Explaining the rules
at the start will help to avoid trouble later on.
While driving, scan the interior of your bus as well
as the road ahead, to the sides, and to the rear.
You may have to remind riders about rules, or to
keep arms and heads inside the bus.
Page 4-2
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
4.3.2 – At Stops

Riders can stumble when getting on or off and
when the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to
watch their step when leaving the bus. Wait for
them to sit down or brace themselves before
starting. Starting and stopping should be as
smooth as possible to avoid rider injury.

Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive
rider. You must ensure this rider's safety as well
as that of others. Don't discharge such riders
where it would be unsafe for them. It may be safer
at the next scheduled stop or a well-lighted area
where there are other people. Many carriers have
guidelines for handling disruptive riders.
4.3.3 – Common Crashes
The Most Common Bus Crashes. Bus crashes
often happen at intersections. Use caution, even if
a signal or stop sign controls other traffic. School
and mass transit buses sometimes scrape off
mirrors or hit passing vehicles when pulling out
from a bus stop. Remember the clearance your
bus needs, and watch for poles and tree limbs at
stops. Know the size of the gap your bus needs to
accelerate and merge with traffic. Wait for the gap
to open before leaving the stop. Never assume
other drivers will brake to give you room when you
signal or start to pull out.
4.3.4 – Speed on Curves
Crashes on curves that kill people and destroy
buses, result from excessive speed, often when
rain or snow has made the road slippery. Every
banked curve has a safe "design speed." In good
weather, the posted speed is safe for cars but it
may be too high for many buses. With good
traction, the bus may roll over; with poor traction,
it might slide off the curve. Reduce speed for
curves! If your bus leans toward the outside on a
banked curve, you are driving too fast.
4.3.5 – Railroad-highway Crossings Stops
Stop at RR Crossings:
 Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before
railroad crossings.
 Listen and look in both directions for trains.
You should open your forward door if it
improves your ability to see or hear an
approaching train.
 Before crossing after a train has passed,
make sure there isn't another train coming in
the other direction on other tracks.
Section 4 –Transporting Passengers Safely
If your bus has a manual transmission, never
change gears while crossing the tracks.
You do not have to stop, but must slow down
and carefully check for other vehicles:
 At streetcar crossings.
 Where a policeman or flagman is directing
traffic.
 If a traffic signal is green.
 At crossings marked as "exempt" or
"abandoned."
4.3.6 – Drawbridges
Stop at Drawbridges. Stop at drawbridges that
do not have a signal light or traffic control
attendant. Stop at least 50 feet before the draw of
the bridge. Look to make sure the draw is
completely closed before crossing. You do not
need to stop, but must slow down and make sure
it's safe, when:
 There is a traffic light showing green.
 The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer
who controls traffic whenever the bridge
opens.
4.4 – After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Inspect your bus at the end of each shift. If you
work for an interstate carrier, you must complete a
written inspection report for each bus driven. The
report must specify each bus and list any defect
that would affect safety or result in a breakdown. If
there are no defects, the report should say so.
Riders sometimes damage safety-related parts
such as handholds, seats, emergency exits, and
windows. If you report this damage at the end of a
shift, mechanics can make repairs before the bus
goes out again. Mass transit drivers should also
make sure passenger signaling devices and
brake-door interlocks work properly.
4.5 – Prohibited Practices
Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless
absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed
building with riders on board.
Don't talk with riders, or engage in any other
distracting activity, while driving.
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders
aboard the vehicle, unless getting off would be
unsafe. Only tow or push the bus to the nearest
safe spot to discharge passengers. Follow your
employer's guidelines on towing or pushing
disabled buses.
Page 4-3
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
4.6 – Use of Brake-door Interlocks
Urban mass transit coaches may have a brake
and accelerator interlock system. The interlock
applies the service brakes and holds the throttle in
idle position when the rear door is open. The
interlock releases when you close the rear door.
Do not use this safety feature in place of the
parking brake.
Section 4
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Name some things to check in the interior of a
bus during a pre-trip inspection.
What are some hazardous materials you can
transport by bus?
What are some hazardous materials you can’t
transport by bus?
What is a standee line?
Does it matter where you make a disruptive
passenger get off the bus?
How far from a railroad crossing should you
stop?
When must you stop before crossing a
drawbridge?
Describe from memory the “prohibited
practices” listed in the manual.
The rear door of a transit bus has to be open
to put on the parking brake. True or False?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 4.
Section 4 –Transporting Passengers Safely
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 5
AIR BRAKES
This Section Covers




Air Brake System Parts
Dual Air Brake Systems
Inspecting Air Brakes
Using Air Brakes
This section tells you about air brakes. If you want
to drive a truck or bus with air brakes, or pull a
trailer with air brakes, you need to read this
section. If you want to pull a trailer with air brakes,
you also need to read Section 6, Combination
Vehicles.
Air brakes use compressed air to make the brakes
work. Air brakes are a good and safe way of
stopping large and heavy vehicles, but the brakes
must be well maintained and used properly.
Air brakes are really three different braking
systems: service brake, parking brake, and
emergency brake.
 The service brake system applies and
releases the brakes when you use the brake
pedal during normal driving.
 The parking brake system applies and
releases the parking brakes when you use the
parking brake control.
 The emergency brake system uses parts of
the service and parking brake systems to stop
the vehicle in a brake system failure.
The parts of these systems are discussed in
greater detail below.
5.1.2 – Air Compressor Governor
The governor controls when the air compressor
will pump air into the air storage tanks. When air
tank pressure rises to the "cut-out" level (around
125 pounds per-square-inch or "psi"), the
governor stops the compressor from pumping air.
When the tank pressure falls to the "cut-in"
pressure (around 100 psi), the governor allows
the compressor to start pumping again.
5.1.3 – Air Storage Tanks
Air storage tanks are used to hold compressed
air. The number and size of air tanks varies
among vehicles. The tanks will hold enough air to
allow the brakes to be used several times, even if
the compressor stops working.
5.1.4 – Air Tank Drains
Compressed air usually has some water and
some compressor oil in it, which is bad for the air
brake system. For example, the water can freeze
in cold weather and cause brake failure. The
water and oil tend to collect in the bottom of the
air tank. Be sure that you drain the air tanks
completely. Each air tank is equipped with a drain
valve in the bottom. There are two types:
 Manually operated by turning a quarter turn or
by pulling a cable. You must drain the tanks
yourself at the end of each day of driving. See
Figure 5.1.
 Automatic--the water and oil are automatically
expelled. These tanks may be equipped for
manual draining as well.
Automatic air tanks are available with electric
heating devices. These help prevent freezing of
the automatic drain in cold weather.
5.1 – The Parts of an Air Brake System
There are many parts to an air brake system. You
should know about the parts discussed here.
5.1.1 – Air Compressor
The air compressor pumps air into the air storage
tanks (reservoirs). The air compressor is
connected to the engine through gears or a v-belt.
The compressor may be air cooled or may be
cooled by the engine cooling system. It may have
its own oil supply or be lubricated by engine oil. If
the compressor has its own oil supply, check the
oil level before driving.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
Figure 5.1
Page 5-1
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
5.1.5 – Alcohol Evaporator
Some air brake systems have an alcohol
evaporator to put alcohol into the air system. This
helps to reduce the risk of ice in air brake valves
and other parts during cold weather. Ice inside the
system can make the brakes stop working.
Check the alcohol container and fill up as
necessary, every day during cold weather. Daily
air tank drainage is still needed to get rid of water
and oil. (Unless the system has automatic drain
valves.)
S-cam Brakes. When you push the brake pedal,
air is let into each brake chamber. Air pressure
pushes the rod out, moving the slack adjuster,
thus twisting the brake camshaft. This turns the scam (so called because it is shaped like the letter
"S"). The s-cam forces the brake shoes away from
one another and presses them against the inside
of the brake drum. When you release the brake
pedal, the s-cam rotates back and a spring pulls
the brake shoes away from the drum, letting the
wheels roll freely again. See Figure 5.2.
5.1.6 – Safety Valve
A safety relief valve is installed in the first tank the
air compressor pumps air to. The safety valve
protects the tank and the rest of the system from
too much pressure. The valve is usually set to
open at 150 psi. If the safety valve releases air,
something is wrong. Have the fault fixed by a
mechanic.
5.1.7 – The Brake Pedal
You put on the brakes by pushing down the brake
pedal. (It is also called the foot valve or treadle
valve.) Pushing the pedal down harder applies
more air pressure. Letting up on the brake pedal
reduces the air pressure and releases the brakes.
Releasing the brakes lets some compressed air
go out of the system, so the air pressure in the
tanks is reduced. It must be made up by the air
compressor. Pressing and releasing the pedal
unnecessarily can let air out faster than the
compressor can replace it. If the pressure gets too
low, the brakes won't work.
5.1.8 – Foundation Brakes
Foundation brakes are used at each wheel. The
most common type is the s-cam drum brake. The
parts of the brake are discussed below.
Brake Drums, Shoes, and Linings. Brake drums
are located on each end of the vehicle's axles.
The wheels are bolted to the drums. The braking
mechanism is inside the drum. To stop, the brake
shoes and linings are pushed against the inside of
the drum. This causes friction, which slows the
vehicle (and creates heat). The heat a drum can
take without damage depends on how hard and
how long the brakes are used. Too much heat can
make the brakes stop working.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
Figure 5.2
Wedge Brakes. In this type of brake, the brake
chamber push rod pushes a wedge directly
between the ends of two brake shoes. This
shoves them apart and against the inside of the
brake drum. Wedge brakes may have a single
brake chamber, or two brake chambers, pushing
wedges in at both ends of the brake shoes.
Wedge type brakes may be self-adjusting or may
require manual adjustment.
Disc Brakes. In air-operated disc brakes, air
pressure acts on a brake chamber and slack
adjuster, like s-cam brakes. But instead of the scam, a "power screw" is used. The pressure of the
brake chamber on the slack adjuster turns the
power screw. The power screw clamps the disc or
rotor between the brake lining pads of a caliper,
similar to a large c-clamp.
Wedge brakes and disc brakes are less common
than s-cam brakes.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
5.1.9 – Supply Pressure Gauges
All vehicles with air brakes have a pressure gauge
connected to the air tank. If the vehicle has a dual
air brake system, there will be a gauge for each
half of the system (or a single gauge with two
needles). Dual systems will be discussed later.
These gauges tell you how much pressure is in
the air tanks.
5.1.10 – Application Pressure Gauge
This gauge shows how much air pressure you are
applying to the brakes. (This gauge is not on all
vehicles.) Increasing application pressure to hold
the same speed means the brakes are fading.
You should slow down and use a lower gear. The
need for increased pressure can also be caused
by brakes out of adjustment, air leaks, or
mechanical problems.
5.1.11 – Low Air Pressure Warning
A low air pressure warning signal is required on
vehicles with air brakes. A warning signal you can
see must come on before the air pressure in the
tanks falls below 60 psi. (Or one half the
compressor governor cutout pressure on older
vehicles.) The warning is usually a red light. A
buzzer may also come on.
Another type of warning is the "wig wag." This
device drops a mechanical arm into your view
when the pressure in the system drops below 60
psi. An automatic wig wag will rise out of your
view when the pressure in the system goes above
60 psi. The manual reset type must be placed in
the "out of view" position manually. It will not stay
in place until the pressure in the system is above
60 psi.
On large buses it is common for the low pressure
warning devices to signal at 80-85 psi.
5.1.12 – Stop Light Switch
Drivers behind you must be warned when you put
your brakes on. The air brake system does this
with an electric switch that works by air pressure.
The switch turns on the brake lights when you put
on the air brakes.
5.1.13 – Front Brake Limiting Valve
Some older vehicles (made before 1975) have a
front brake limiting valve and a control in the cab.
The control is usually marked "normal" and
Section 5 –Air Brakes
"slippery." When you put the control in the
"slippery" position, the limiting valve cuts the
"normal" air pressure to the front brakes by half.
Limiting valves were used to reduce the chance of
the front wheels skidding on slippery surfaces.
However, they actually reduce the stopping power
of the vehicle. Front wheel braking is good under
all conditions. Tests have shown front wheel skids
from braking are not likely even on ice. Make sure
the control is in the "normal" position to have
normal stopping power.
Many vehicles have automatic front wheel limiting
valves. They reduce the air to the front brakes
except when the brakes are put on very hard (60
psi or more application pressure). These valves
cannot be controlled by the driver.
5.1.14 – Spring Brakes
All trucks, truck tractors, and buses must be
equipped with emergency brakes and parking
brakes. They must be held on by mechanical
force (because air pressure can eventually leak
away). Spring brakes are usually used to meet
these needs. When driving, powerful springs are
held back by air pressure. If the air pressure is
removed, the springs put on the brakes. A parking
brake control in the cab allows the driver to let the
air out of the spring brakes. This lets the springs
put the brakes on. A leak in the air brake system,
which causes all the air to be lost, will also cause
the springs to put on the brakes.
Tractor and straight truck spring brakes will come
fully on when air pressure drops to a range of 20
to 45 psi (typically 20 to 30 psi). Do not wait for
the brakes to come on automatically. When the
low air pressure warning light and buzzer first
come on, bring the vehicle to a safe stop right
away, while you can still control the brakes.
The braking power of spring brakes depends on
the brakes being in adjustment. If the brakes are
not adjusted properly, neither the regular brakes
nor the emergency/parking brakes will work right.
5.1.15 – Parking Brake Controls
In newer vehicles with air brakes, you put on the
parking brakes using a diamond-shaped, yellow,
push-pull control knob. You pull the knob out to
put the parking brakes (spring brakes) on, and
push it in to release them. On older vehicles, the
parking brakes may be controlled by a lever. Use
the parking brakes whenever you park.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Caution. Never push the brake pedal down when
the spring brakes are on. If you do, the brakes could
be damaged by the combined forces of the springs
and the air pressure. Many brake systems are
designed so this will not happen. But not all systems
are set up that way, and those that are may not
always work. It is much better to develop the habit of
not pushing the brake pedal down when the spring
brakes are on.
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on
the left side, either on the front or rear corner. Dollies
manufactured on or after March 1, 1998 are required
to have a lamp on the left side.
Modulating Control Valves. In some vehicles a
control handle on the dash board may be used to
apply the spring brakes gradually. This is called a
modulating valve. It is spring-loaded so you have a
feel for the braking action. The more you move the
control lever, the harder the spring brakes come on.
They work this way so you can control the spring
brakes if the service brakes fail. When parking a
vehicle with a modulating control valve, move the
lever as far as it will go and hold it in place with the
locking device.
Dual Parking Control Valves. When main air
pressure is lost, the spring brakes come on. Some
vehicles, such as buses, have a separate air tank
which can be used to release the spring brakes. This
is so you can move the vehicle in an emergency.
One of the valves is a push-pull type and is used to
put on the spring brakes for parking. The other valve
is spring loaded in the "out" position. When you push
the control in, air from the separate air tank releases
the spring brakes so you can move. When you
release the button, the spring brakes come on again.
There is only enough air in the separate tank to do
this a few times. Therefore, plan carefully when
moving. Otherwise, you may be stopped in a
dangerous location when the separate air supply
runs out. See Figure 5.3.
5.1.16 – Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
Truck tractors with air brakes built on or after March
1, 1997, and other air brakes vehicles, (trucks,
buses, trailers, and converter dollies) built on or after
March 1, 1998, are required to be equipped with
antilock brakes. Many commercial vehicles built
before these dates have been voluntarily equipped
with ABS. Check the certification label for the date of
manufacture to determine if your vehicle is equipped
with ABS. ABS is a computerized system that keeps
your wheels from locking up during hard brake
applications.
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps to
tell you if something isn’t working.
Tractors, trucks, and buses will have yellow ABS
malfunction lamps on the instrument panel.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
Figure 5.3
On newer vehicles, the malfunction lamp comes on
at start-up for a bulb check, and then goes out
quickly. On older systems, the lamp could stay on
until you are driving over five mph.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes on
once you are under way, you may have lost ABS
control at one or more wheels.
In the case of towed units manufactured before it
was required by the Department of Transportation, it
may be difficult to tell if the unit is equipped with
ABS. Look under the vehicle for the electronic
control unit (ECU) and wheel speed sensor wires
coming from the back of the brakes.
ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It does not
decrease or increase your normal braking capability.
ABS only activates when wheels are about to lock
up.
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle under
control during hard braking.
Page 5-4
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Figure 5.4
Section 5 –Air Brakes
Page 5-5
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Subsection 5.1
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Why must air tanks be drained?
What is a supply pressure gauge used for?
All vehicles with air brakes must have a low
air pressure warning signal. True or False?
What are spring brakes?
Front wheel brakes are good under all
conditions. True or False?
How do you know if your vehicle is equipped
with antilock brakes?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.1.
5.2 – Dual Air Brake
Most heavy-duty vehicles use dual air brake
systems for safety. A dual air brake system has
two separate air brake systems, which use a
single set of brake controls. Each system has its
own air tanks, hoses, lines, etc. One system
typically operates the regular brakes on the rear
axle or axles. The other system operates the
regular brakes on the front axle (and possibly one
rear axle). Both systems supply air to the trailer (if
there is one). The first system is called the
"primary" system. The other is called the
"secondary" system. See Figure 5.4.
Before driving a vehicle with a dual air system,
allow time for the air compressor to build up a
minimum of 100 psi pressure in both the primary
and secondary systems. Watch the primary and
secondary air pressure gauges (or needles, if the
system has two needles in one gauge). Pay
attention to the low air pressure warning light and
buzzer. The warning light and buzzer should shut
off when air pressure in both systems rises to a
value set by the manufacturer. This value must be
greater than 60 psi.
The warning light and buzzer should come on
before the air pressure drops below 60 psi in
either system. If this happens while driving, you
should stop right away and safely park the
vehicle. If one air system is very low on pressure,
either the front or the rear brakes will not be
operating fully. This means it will take you longer
to stop. Bring the vehicle to a safe stop, and have
the air brakes system fixed.
5.3 – Inspecting Air Brake Systems
You should use the basic seven-step inspection
procedure described in Section 2 to inspect your
Section 5 –Air Brakes
vehicle. There are more things to inspect on a
vehicle with air brakes than one without them.
These things are discussed below, in the order
they fit into the seven-step method.
5.3.1 – During Step 2 Engine Compartment
Checks
Check Air Compressor Drive Belt (if compressor is
belt-driven). If the air compressor is belt-driven,
check the condition and tightness of the belt. It
should be in good condition.
5.3.2 – During Step 5 Walk-around Inspection
Check Slack Adjusters on S-cam Brakes. Park on
level ground and chock the wheels to prevent the
vehicle from moving. Release the parking brakes
so you can move the slack adjusters. Use gloves
and pull hard on each slack adjuster that you can
reach. If a slack adjuster moves more than about
one inch where the push rod attaches to it, it
probably needs adjustment. Adjust it or have it
adjusted. Vehicles with too much brake slack can
be very hard to stop. Out-of-adjustment brakes
are the most common problem found in roadside
inspections. Be safe. Check the slack adjusters.
All vehicles built since 1994 have automatic slack
adjustors. Even though automatic slack adjustors
adjust themselves during full brake applications,
they must be checked.
Automatic adjusters should not have to be
manually adjusted except when performing
maintenance on the brakes and during installation
of the slack adjusters. In a vehicle equipped with
automatic adjusters, when the pushrod stroke
exceeds the legal brake adjustment limit, it is an
indication that a mechanical problem exists in the
adjuster itself, a problem with the related
foundation brake components, or that the adjuster
was improperly installed.
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster
to bring a brake pushrod stroke within legal limits
is generally masking a mechanical problem and is
not fixing it. Further, routine adjustments of most
automatic adjusters will likely result in premature
wear of the adjuster itself. It is recommended that
when brakes equipped with automatic adjusters
are found to be out of adjustment, the driver take
the vehicle to a repair facility as soon as possible
to have the problem corrected. The manual
adjustment of automatic slack adjusters is
dangerous because it may give the driver a false
Page 5-6
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
sense of security regarding the effectiveness of
the braking system.
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster
should only be used as a temporary measure to
correct the adjustment in an emergency situation
as it is likely the brake will soon be back out of
adjustment since this procedure usually does not
fix the underlying adjustment problem.
Note: Automatic slack adjusters are made by
different manufacturers and do not all operate the
same. Therefore, the specific manufacturer’s
Service Manual should be consulted prior to
troubleshooting a brake adjustment problem.
Check Brake Drums (or Discs), Linings and
Hoses. Brake drums (or discs) must not have
cracks longer than one half the width of the friction
area. Linings (friction material) must not be loose
or soaked with oil or grease. They must not be
dangerously thin. Mechanical parts must be in
place, not broken or missing. Check the air hoses
connected to the brake chambers to make sure
they aren't cut or worn due to rubbing.
5.3.3 – Step 7 Final Air Brake Check
Do the following checks instead of the hydraulic
brake check shown in Section 2, Step 7: Check
Brake System.
Test Low Pressure Warning Signal. Shut the
engine off when you have enough air pressure so
that the low pressure warning signal is not on.
Turn the electrical power on and step on and off
the brake pedal to reduce air tank pressure. The
low air pressure warning signal must come on
before the pressure drops to less than 60 psi in
the air tank (or tank with the lowest air pressure,
in dual air systems). See Figure 5.5.
If the warning signal doesn't work, you could lose
air pressure and you would not know it. This could
cause sudden emergency braking in a singlecircuit air system. In dual systems the stopping
distance will be increased. Only limited braking
can be done before the spring brakes come on.
Figure 5.5
Check That Spring Brakes Come On
Automatically. Continue to fan off the air
pressure by stepping on and off the brake pedal to
reduce tank pressure. The tractor protection
valve and parking brake valve should close (pop
out) on a tractor-trailer combination vehicle and
the parking brake valve should close (pop out) on
other combination and single vehicle types when
the air pressure falls to the manufacturer’s
specification (20 – 45 psi). This will cause the
spring brakes to come on.
Check Rate of Air Pressure Buildup. When the
engine is at operating rpms, the pressure should
build from 85 to 100 psi within 45 seconds in dual
air systems. (If the vehicle has larger than
minimum air tanks, the buildup time can be longer
and still be safe. Check the manufacturer's
specifications.) In single air systems (pre-1975),
typical requirements are pressure build up from 50
to 90 psi within 3 minutes with the engine at an
idle speed of 600-900 rpms.
If air pressure does not build up fast enough, your
pressure may drop too low during driving,
requiring an emergency stop. Don't drive until you
get the problem fixed.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Test Air Leakage Rate. With a fully-charged air
system (typically 125 psi), turn off the engine,
chock your wheels if necessary, release the
tractor protection valve and parking brake (push
in), and time the air pressure drop. The loss rate
with no brakes applied should be less than two psi
in one minute for single vehicles and less than
three psi in one minute for combination vehicles.
Then fully apply the foot brake and hold it for one
minute. After the initial pressure drop, check the
air gauge to see if the air pressure drops more
than three pounds in one minute (single vehicle)
or four pounds in one minute (combination
vehicle). If the air pressure falls more than three
psi in one minute for single vehicles (more than
four psi for combination vehicles), the air loss rate
is too much. Check for air leaks and fix before
driving the vehicle. Otherwise, you could lose your
brakes while driving.
Check Air Compressor Governor Cut-in and
Cut-out Pressures. Pumping by the air
compressor should start at about 100 psi and stop
at about 125 psi. (Check manufacturer's
specifications.) Run the engine at a fast idle. The
air governor should cut-out the air compressor at
about the manufacturer's specified pressure. The
air pressure shown by your gauge(s) will stop
rising. With the engine idling, step on and off the
brake to reduce the air tank pressure. The
compressor should cut-in at about the
manufacturer's specified cut-in pressure. The
pressure should begin to rise.
If the air governor does not work as described
above, it may need to be fixed. A governor that
does not work properly may not keep enough air
pressure for safe driving.
Test Parking Brake. Stop the vehicle, put the
parking brake on, and gently pull against it in a
low gear to test that the parking brake will hold.
Test Service Brakes. Wait for normal air
pressure, release the parking brake, move the
vehicle forward slowly (about five mph), and apply
the brakes firmly using the brake pedal. Note any
vehicle "pulling" to one side, unusual feel, or
delayed stopping action.
This test may show you problems, which you
otherwise wouldn't know about until you needed
the brakes on the road.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
Subsections 5.2 and 5.3
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What is a dual air brake system?
What are the slack adjusters?
How can you check slack adjusters?
How can you test the low pressure warning
signal?
How can you check that the spring brakes
come on automatically?
What are the maximum leakage rates?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 5.2 and 5.3.
5.4 – Using Air Brakes
5.4.1 – Normal Stops
Push the brake pedal down. Control the pressure
so the vehicle comes to a smooth, safe stop. If
you have a manual transmission, don't push the
clutch in until the engine rpm is down close to idle.
When stopped, select a starting gear.
5.4.2 – Braking with Antilock Brakes
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid, jackknife, or even spin the vehicle.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The computer
senses impending lockup, reduces the braking
pressure to a safe level, and you maintain control.
You may or may not be able to stop faster with
ABS, but you should be able to steer around an
obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused by
over braking.
Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer, or
even on only one axle, still gives you more control
over the vehicle during braking. Brake normally.
When only the tractor has ABS, you should be
able to maintain steering control, and there is less
chance of jackknifing. But, keep your eye on the
trailer and let up on the brakes (if you can safely
do so) if it begins to swing out.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control
or start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes (if
you can safely do so) until you gain control.
When you drive a tractor-trailer combination with
ABS, you should brake as you always have. In
other words:
 Use only the braking force necessary to stop
safely and stay in control.
 Brake the same way, regardless of whether
you have ABS on the tractor, the trailer, or
both.
 As you slow down, monitor your tractor and
trailer and back off the brakes (if it is safe to
do so) to stay in control.
There is only one exception to this procedure, if
you always drive a straight truck or combination
with working ABS on all axles, in an emergency
stop, you can fully apply the brakes.
Without ABS, you still have normal brake
functions. Drive and brake as you always have.
5.4.4 – Stopping Distance
Stopping distance was described in Section 2
under "Speed and Stopping Distance." With air
brakes there is an added delay - “Brake Lag”.
This is the time required for the brakes to work
after the brake pedal is pushed. With hydraulic
brakes (used on cars and light/medium trucks),
the brakes work instantly. However, with air
brakes, it takes a little time (one half second or
more) for the air to flow through the lines to the
brakes. Thus, the total stopping distance for
vehicles with air brake systems is made up of four
different factors.
Perception Distance + Reaction Distance + Brake
Lag Distance + Braking Distance = Total Stopping
Distance
The air brake lag distance at 55 mph on dry
pavement adds about 32 feet. So at 55 mph for an
average driver under good traction and brake
conditions, the total stopping distance is over 450
feet. See Figure 5.6.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
5.4.3 – Emergency Stops
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you,
your natural response is to hit the brakes. This is
a good response if there's enough distance to
stop, and you use the brakes correctly.
You should brake in a way that will keep your
vehicle in a straight line and allow you to turn if it
becomes necessary. You can use the "controlled
braking" method or the "stab braking" method.
Controlled Braking. With this method, you apply
the brakes as hard as you can without locking the
wheels. Keep steering wheel movements very
small while doing this. If you need to make a
larger steering adjustment or if the wheels lock,
release the brakes. Re-apply the brakes as soon
as you can.
Stab Braking. Apply your brakes all the way.
Release brakes when wheels lock up. As soon as
the wheels start rolling, apply the brakes fully
again. It can take up to one second for the wheels
to start rolling after you release the brakes. If you
re-apply the brakes before the wheels start rolling,
the vehicle won't straighten out.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
Figure 5.6
5.4.5 – Brake Fading or Failure
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub
against the brake drum or disks to slow the
vehicle. Braking creates heat, but brakes are
designed to take a lot of heat. However, brakes
can fade or fail from excessive heat caused by
using them too much and not relying on the
engine braking effect.
Excessive use of the service brakes results in
overheating and leads to brake fade. Brake fade
results from excessive heat causing chemical
changes in the brake lining, which reduce friction,
and also causing expansion of the brake drums.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
As the overheated drums expand, the brake
shoes and linings have to move farther to contact
the drums, and the force of this contact is
reduced. Continued overuse may increase brake
fade until the vehicle cannot be slowed down or
stopped.
Brake fade is also affected by adjustment. To
safely control a vehicle, every brake must do its
share of the work. Brakes out of adjustment will
stop doing their share before those that are in
adjustment. The other brakes can then overheat
and fade, and there will not be enough braking
available to control the vehicle(s). Brakes can get
out of adjustment quickly, especially when they
are hot. Therefore, check brake adjustment often.
5.4.6 – Proper Braking Technique
Remember. The use of brakes on a long and/or
steep downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is in
the proper low gear, the following is the proper
braking technique:
 Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
 When your speed has been reduced to
approximately five mph below your "safe"
speed, release the brakes. (This application
should last for about three seconds.)
 When your speed has increased to your
"safe" speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
For example, if your "safe" speed is 40 mph, you
would not apply the brakes until your speed
reaches 40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard
enough to gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph
and then release the brakes. Repeat this as often
as necessary until you have reached the end of
the downgrade.
5.4.7 – Low Air Pressure
If the low air pressure warning comes on, stop
and safely park your vehicle as soon as possible.
There might be an air leak in the system.
Controlled braking is possible only while enough
air remains in the air tanks. The spring brakes will
come on when the air pressure drops into the
range of 20 to 45 psi. A heavily loaded vehicle will
take a long distance to stop because the spring
brakes do not work on all axles. Lightly loaded
vehicles or vehicles on slippery roads may skid
out of control when the spring brakes come on. It
is much safer to stop while there is enough air in
the tanks to use the foot brakes.
Section 5 –Air Brakes
5.4.8 – Parking Brakes
Any time you park, use the parking brakes, except
as noted below. Pull the parking brake control
knob out to apply the parking brakes, push it in to
release. The control will be a yellow, diamondshaped knob labeled "parking brakes" on newer
vehicles. On older vehicles, it may be a round
blue knob or some other shape (including a lever
that swings from side to side or up and down).
Don't use the parking brakes if the brakes are very
hot (from just having come down a steep grade),
or if the brakes are very wet in freezing
temperatures. If they are used while they are very
hot, they can be damaged by the heat. If they are
used in freezing temperatures when the brakes
are very wet, they can freeze so the vehicle
cannot move. Use wheel chocks on a level
surface to hold the vehicle. Let hot brakes cool
before using the parking brakes. If the brakes are
wet, use the brakes lightly while driving in a low
gear to heat and dry them.
If your vehicle does not have automatic air tank
drains, drain your air tanks at the end of each
working day to remove moisture and oil. Otherwise,
the brakes could fail.
Never leave your vehicle unattended without
applying the parking brakes or chocking the wheels.
Your vehicle might roll away and cause injury and
damage.
Subsection 5.4
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Why should you be in the proper gear before
starting down a hill?
What factors can cause brakes to fade or fail?
The use of brakes on a long, steep downgrade
is only a supplement to the braking effect of the
engine. True or False?
If you are away from your vehicle only a short
time, you do not need to use the parking brake.
True or False?
How often should you drain air tanks?
How do you brake when you drive a tractortrailer combination with ABS?
You still have normal brake functions if your
ABS is not working. True or False?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.4.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Commercial Vehicle Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist
The Commercial Vehicle Pre-Trip Inspection Test is designed to test your ability to check a variety of commercial vehicle safety equipment and
vehicle components. You are required to check the items listed below that relate to the operation of your vehicle. You will need to point out the
item to be checked and explain how you check that item. You may use this checklist during your pre-trip inspection.
All commercial vehicles must display a current inspection sticker to receive a road test.
Combination Vehicle Type
Truck
Trailer
Tractor
Semi-Trailer
Air & electric connectors
Air & electric connectors
Tongue storage area
Air & electric connectors
Air & electric connectors
Coupling System
mounting bolts
pintle hook
hitch release lever
safety devices
Coupling System
tongue or drawbar
mounting bolts
safety devices
sliding pintle
Coupling System
mounting bolts
platform
locking jaws or lever
release arm & safety latch
5th wheel skid plate
slide 5th wheel pins
Coupling System
kingpin
apron
gap
All Vehicles
Front of Vehicle
Combination Vehicles
Trailer Front
Driver/Fuel Area
lights & reflectors
mirrors
door & mirror
fuel tank & cap & leaks
catwalk & steps
battery/box
lights & reflectors
Engine Compartment
oil level
coolant level
power steering fluid
water pump
alternator
leaks & hoses
*air compressor
master cylinder
automatic transmission fluid
header board or bulkhead
lights & reflectors
Side of Trailer
landing gear
frame & tandem release
doors & ties & lifts
lights & reflectors
Under Vehicle
drive shaft
exhaust system
frame
Trailer Wheels
Rear Axles
Steering
steering box & hoses
steering linkage
tires
rims
lug nuts
hub oil seal
spacers or budd spacing
Front Wheel
Rear Suspension
tires
rims
lug nuts
hub oil seal
tires
rims
lug nuts
hub oil seal
spacers or budd spacing
Trailer Suspension
springs & shocks & airbags
u-bolts
spring/air mounts
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
springs & shocks
u-bolts
spring mounts
brake hoses or lines
*brake chamber
*slack adjustor & push-rod
drum & linings or rotor & disk
Front Brake
Rear of Vehicle
Trailer Brakes
brake hoses or lines
*brake chamber
*slack adjustor & push-rod
drum & linings or rotor & disk
Rear of Trailer
doors & lift
splash guards
lights & reflectors
doors & lift
splash guards
lights & reflectors
brake hoses or lines
*brake chamber
*slack adjustor & push-rod
drum & linings or rotor & disk
springs & shocks & airbags
u-bolts
spring/air mounts
Passenger Bus Vehicles
Passenger entry & lift
Emergency exits
Seating
8-Lamp system
First aid kit
Safety belt
Emergency equipment
Safe start
Temperature gauge
Oil pressure gauge
Ammeter or voltmeter gauge
*Air gauge
Lighting indicators
Baggage doors secure
School Buses
Body fluid kit
Emergency exit types
Inside Vehicle
Horn(s)
Heater & defroster
Windshield & mirrors
Wipers & washers
Parking brake
Service brake
*Air brake check
Hydraulic brake check/elec assist
* Air brake system only
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 10
Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test
This Section Covers


Internal Inspection
External Inspection
During the pre-trip inspection, you must show that
the vehicle is safe to drive. You will have to walk
around the vehicle and point to or touch each item
and explain to the examiner what you are
checking and why. You will NOT have to crawl
under the hood or under the vehicle.
10.1
Note: If any of the components listed above are
not belt driven, you must:
o Tell the examiner which component(s)
are not belt driven.
Water Pump
 Indicate where the water pump is located.
 Check securely mounted and not leaking.
Alternator
 Indicate where the alternator is located.
 Check securely mounted and all wires
securely fastened.
Air Compressor
 Indicate where the air compressor is located.
 Check securely mounted and not leaking.
All Vehicles
Study the following vehicle parts for the type of
vehicle you will be using during the CDL skills
tests. You should be able to identify each part and
tell the examiner what you are looking for or
inspecting.
10.1.1 Engine Compartment (Engine Off)
Leaks/Hoses
 Look for puddles on the ground.
 Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine
and transmission.
 Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.
Oil Level
 Indicate where dipstick is located.
 See that oil level is within safe operating
range. Level must be above refill mark.
Coolant Level
 Inspect reservoir sight glass, or
 (If engine is not hot), remove radiator cap and
check for visible coolant level.
Power Steering Fluid
 Indicate where power steering fluid dipstick is
located.
 Check for adequate power steering fluid level.
Level must be above refill mark.
Engine Compartment Belts
 Check the following belts for snugness (up to
3/4 inch play at center of belt), cracks, or
frays:
o Power steering belt.
o Water pump belt.
o Alternator belt.
o Air compressor belt.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
Master Cylinder
 Indicate where master cylinder is located.
 Check securely mounted and not leaking.
 Check fluid level (if visible).
Automatic Transmission Fluid
 Indicate where the dipstick is located.
 See that transmission fluid level is within safe
operating range. State that the engine needs
to be running to properly check fluid level.
10.1.2 – Inside Cab/Engine Start
Safe Start
 Depress clutch.
 Place gearshift lever in neutral (or park, for
automatic transmissions).
 Start engine, then release clutch slowly.
Safety Belt
 Check that the safety belt is securely
mounted, adjusts, latches properly and is not
ripped or frayed.
Oil Pressure Gauge
 Make sure oil pressure gauge is working.
 Check that pressure gauge shows increasing
or normal oil pressure or that the warning light
goes off.
 If equipped, oil temperature gauge should
begin a gradual rise to the normal operating
range.
Temperature Gauge
 Make sure the temperature gauge is working.
 Temperature should begin to climb to the
normal operating range or temperature light
should be off.
Page 10-2
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Air Gauge
 Make sure the air gauge is working properly.
 Build air pressure to governor cut-out, roughly
120-140 psi.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
 Check that gauges show alternator and/or
generator is charging or that warning light is
off.
Mirrors and Windshield
 Mirrors should be clean and adjusted properly
from the inside.
 Windshield should be clean with no illegal
stickers, no obstructions, or damage to the
glass.
Emergency Equipment
 Check for spare electrical fuses.
 Check for three red reflective triangles, 6
fusees or 3 liquid burning flares.
 Check for a properly mounted, charged and
rated fire extinguisher.
Note: If the vehicle is not equipped with electrical
fuses, you must mention this to the examiner.
Steering Play
 Non-power steering: Check for excessive
play by turning steering wheel back and forth.
Play should not exceed 10 degrees (or about
two inches on a 20-inch wheel).
 Power steering: With the engine running,
check for excessive play by turning the
steering wheel back and forth. Play should not
exceed 10 degrees (or about two inches on a
20-inch wheel) before front left wheel barely
moves.
Wipers/Washers
 Check that wiper arms and blades are secure,
not damaged, and operate smoothly.
 If equipped, windshield washers must operate
correctly.
Lights/Reflectors/Reflector Tape Condition
(Sides & Rear)
Lighting Indicators on the dash
 Test that dash indicators work when
corresponding lights are turned on:
o Left turn signal.
o Right turn signal.
o Four-way emergency flashers.
o High beam headlight.
o Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
indicator.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
External lights and reflective equipment
 Check that all external lights and reflective
equipment are clean and functional. Light and
reflector checks include:
o Clearance lights (red on rear, amber
elsewhere).
o Headlights (high and low beams).
o Taillights.
o Backing lights.
o Turn signals.
o Four-way flashers.
o Brake lights (ask for assistance).
o Red reflectors (on rear) and amber
reflectors (elsewhere).
o Reflector tape condition.
Note: Checks of brake, turn signal and four-way
flasher functions must be done separately.
Horn
 Check that air horn and/or electric horn work.
Heater/Defroster
 Test that the heater and defroster work.
Parking Brake Check
 With the parking brake engaged (trailer
brakes released on combination vehicles),
check that the parking brake will hold vehicle
by gently trying to pull forward with parking
brake on.
 With the parking brake released and the trailer
parking brake engaged (combination vehicles
only), check that the trailer parking brake will
hold vehicle by gently trying to pull forward
with the trailer parking brake on.
Hydraulic Brake Check
 Pump the brake pedal three times, then hold it
down for five seconds. The brake pedal
should not move (depress) during the five
seconds.
 If equipped with a hydraulic brake reserve
(back-up) system, with the key off, depress
the brake pedal and listen for the sound of the
reserve system electric motor.
 Check that the warning buzzer or light is off.
Air Brake Check (Air Brake Equipped Vehicles
Only)
 Air brake safety devices vary. However, this
procedure is designed to see that any safety
device operates correctly as air pressure
drops from normal to a low air condition.
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
For safety purposes, in areas where an incline
is present, you will use wheel chocks during
the air brake check. The proper procedures
for inspecting the air brake system are as
follows:
o Shut off the engine, chock your wheels,
if necessary, release the tractor
protection valve and parking brake
(push in), fully apply the foot brake and
hold it for one minute. Check the air
gauge to see if the air pressure drops
more than three pounds in one minute
(single vehicle) or four pounds in one
minute (combination vehicle).
o Turn electrical power on and begin
fanning off the air pressure by rapidly
applying and releasing the foot brake.
Low air warning devices (buzzer, light,
flag) should activate before air pressure
drops below 60 psi.
o Continue to fan off the air pressure. At
approximately 40 psi on a tractor-trailer
combination vehicle, the tractor
protection valve and parking brake
valve should close (pop out). On other
combination vehicle types and single
vehicle types, the parking brake valve
should close (pop out).
o Start engine, and attempt to pull
forward to check that the emergency
brakes are operating properly.
Note: Failure to perform 3 of the 4 components of
the air brake check correctly will result in an
automatic failure of the pre-trip inspection test.
Service Brake Check
 You will be required to check the application
of air or hydraulic service brakes. This
procedure is designed to determine that the
brakes are working correctly and that the
vehicle does not pull to one side or the other.
 Pull forward at 5 mph, apply the service brake
and stop. Check to see that the vehicle does
not pull to either side and that it stops when
brake is applied.
10.2 – External Inspection (All
Vehicles)
10.2.1 – Steering
Steering Box/Hoses
 Check that the steering box is securely
mounted and not leaking. Look for any
missing nuts, bolts, and cotter keys.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection

Check for power steering fluid leaks or
damage to power steering hoses.
Steering Linkage
 See that connecting links, arms, and rods
from the steering box to the wheel are not
worn or cracked.
 Check that joints and sockets are not worn or
loose and that there are no missing nuts,
bolts, or cotter keys.
10.2.2 – Suspension
Springs/Air/Torque
 Look for missing, shifted, cracked, or broken
leaf springs.
 Look for broken or distorted coil springs.
 If vehicle is equipped with torsion bars, torque
arms, or other types of suspension
components, check that they are not
damaged and are mounted securely.
 Air ride suspension should be checked for
damage and leaks.
Spring/Air Mounts
 Look for cracked or broken spring hangers,
missing or damaged bushings, and broken,
loose, or missing bolts, u-bolts or other axle
mounting parts. The mounts should be
checked at each point where they are secured
to the vehicle frame and axle[s].
U-Bolts
 Look for broken, missing, or loose bolts
(including u-bolts) that are used in attaching
the suspension assembly to the axle.
Shock Absorbers
 See that shock absorbers are secure and that
there are no leaks.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same
suspension components inspection on every axle
(power unit and trailer, if equipped).
10.2.3 – Brakes
Slack Adjustors and Pushrods
 Look for broken, loose, or missing parts.
 For manual slack adjustors, the brake
pushrod should not move more than one inch
(with the brakes released) when pulled by
hand.
Page 10-4
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual

Vehicles with automatic slack adjusters need
to be checked for proper adjustment.
Note: Explain that when checking the rear
slack adjusters, the brakes need to be
released and wheels chocked to check
distance that pushrod moves.
o
o
Tire inflation: Check for proper
inflation by using a tire gauge or
mallet. Note: You will not get credit if
you simply kick the tires to check for
proper inflation.
If dual tires, check between the tires
for damage or foreign objects.
Brake Chambers
 See that brake chambers are not leaking,
cracked, or dented and are mounted securely.
 Check for loose or missing clamps.
Hub Oil Seals/Axle Seals
 See that hub oil/grease seals and axle seals
are not leaking and, if wheel has a sight glass,
oil level is adequate.
Brake Hoses/Lines
 Look for cracked, worn or frayed hoses.
 Check that all couplings and fittings are
secure and not leaking.
Lug Nuts
 Check that all lug nuts are present, free of
cracks and distortions, and show no signs of
looseness such as rust trails or shiny threads.
 Make sure all bolt holes are not cracked or
distorted.
Drum Brake or Rotors
 Check for cracks, dents, or holes. Also check
for loose or missing bolts.
 Check for contaminates such as debris or
oil/grease.
Brake Linings or Disk Pads
 Brake linings (where visible) should not be
worn dangerously thin.
 On some brake drums, there are openings
where the brake linings can be seen from
outside the drum. For this type of drum, check
that a visible amount of brake lining is
showing
Note: Be prepared to perform the same brake
components inspection on every axle (power unit
and trailer, if equipped). Electric trailer brakes –
check that electric lines are secure and casing is
not worn or cracked.
10.2.4 – Wheels
Rims
 Check for damaged or bent rims. Rims cannot
have welding repairs.
Tires
 The following items must be inspected on
every tire:
o Tread depth: Check for minimum tread
depth (4/32 on steering axle tires, 2/32
on all other tires). Retreads not
allowed on steering axle of buses.
o Tire condition: Check that tread is
evenly worn and look for cuts or other
damage to tread or sidewalls. Also,
make sure that valve caps and stems
are not missing, broken, or damaged.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
Spacers or Budd Spacing
 If equipped, check that spacers are not bent,
damaged, or rusted through.
 Spacers should be evenly centered, with the
dual wheels and tires evenly separated.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same wheel
inspection on every axle (power unit and trailer, if
equipped).
10.2.5 – Side of Vehicle
Door(s)/Mirror(s)
 Check that door(s) are not damaged and that
they open and close properly from the
outside.
 Hinges should be secure with seals intact.
 Check that mirror(s) and mirror brackets are
not damaged and are mounted securely with
no loose fittings.
Fuel Tank
 Check that tank(s) are secure, cap(s) are
tight, and that there are no leaks from tank(s)
or lines.
Battery/Box
 Wherever located, see that battery(s) are
secure, connections are tight, and cell caps
are present.
 Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
 Battery box and cover or door must be
secure.
Page 10-5
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Drive Shaft
 See that drive shaft is not bent or cracked.
 Couplings should be secure and free of
foreign objects.
Catwalk/Steps
 Check that the catwalk and steps are solid,
clear of objects, and securely bolted to tractor
frame.
Exhaust System
 Check system for damage and signs of leaks
such as rust or carbon soot.
 System should be connected tightly (no loose
clamps) and mounted securely.
Mounting Bolts
 Look for loose or missing mounting brackets,
clamps, bolts, or nuts. Both the fifth wheel and
the slide mounting must be solidly attached.
 On other types of coupling systems (i.e., ball
hitch, pintle hook, etc.), inspect all coupling
components and mounting brackets for
missing or broken parts.
Frame
 Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the longitudinal frame members,
cross members, box, and floor.
10.2.6 – Rear of Vehicle
Splash Guards
 If equipped, check that splash guards or mud
flaps are not damaged and are mounted
securely.
Doors/Ties/Lifts
 Check that doors and hinges are not
damaged and that they open, close, and latch
properly from the outside, if equipped.
 Ties, straps, chains, and binders must also be
secure.
 If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
 Lift must be fully retracted and latched
securely.
10.2.7 – Tractor/Coupling
Air/Electric Connections
 Check that trailer air connectors are sealed
and in good condition.
 Check that glad hands are locked in place and
free of damage.
 Check that trailer electrical plug is firmly
seated and locked into place on both tractor
and trailer.
Air/Electric Lines
 Listen for air leaks. Check that air hoses and
electrical lines are not cut, chafed, spliced, or
worn (steel braid should not show through).
 Make sure air and electrical lines are not
tangled, pinched, or dragging against tractor
parts.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
Pintle Hook
 Check pintle hook for cracks or excessive
wear.
Hitch Release Lever
 Check to see that the hitch release lever is in
place and is secure.
Locking Jaws
 Look into fifth wheel gap and check that
locking jaws are fully closed around the
kingpin.
Safety Devices
On other types of coupling systems (i.e., ball
hitch, pintle hook, etc.):
 Check to make sure the latch is secured and
locked into place; cotter pin is not missing or
damaged.
 If present, safety cables or chains must be
secure and free of kinks and excessive slack.
 Safety chains are hooked and crisscrossed,
cotter pins to hooks are in place and hooks
are secured pointing in an outward position.
 If trailer is equipped with electric brakes,
check that the battery box is secure. Note: If
the battery box is too corroded to check or is
missing, the test will be denied.
5th Wheel Skid Plate
 Check for proper lubrication and that 5th
wheel skid plate is securely mounted to the
platform and that all bolts and pins are secure
and not missing.
Platform Base (Fifth Wheel)
 Check for cracks or breaks in the platform
structure which supports the fifth wheel skid
plate.
 Check that platform is securely mounted to
the frame or sliding assembly.
Page 10-6
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Release Arm - Safety Latch (Fifth Wheel)
 Check that the release arm is secure and all
the way in.
 If equipped with safety latch, make sure the
release arm is in the engaged position and the
safety latch is in place.
Kingpin/Apron/Gap
 Check that the kingpin is not bent and locking
jaw holds kingpin in place.
 Make sure the visible part of the apron is not
bent, cracked, or broken.
 Check that the trailer is laying flat on the fifth
wheel skid plate (no gap).
Sliding Fifth Wheel Locking Pins
 If equipped, look for loose or missing pins in
the slide mechanism of the sliding fifth wheel.
If air powered, check for leaks.
 Make sure locking pins are fully engaged.
 Check that the fifth wheel is positioned
properly so that the tractor frame will clear the
landing gear during turns.
Sliding Pintle
 Check that the sliding pintle is secured with no
loose or missing nuts or bolts and cotter pin is
in place.
Tongue or Draw-bar
 Check that the tongue/draw-bar is not bent or
twisted and check for broken welds and stress
cracks.
 Check that the tongue/draw-bar is not worn
excessively.
Tongue Storage Area
 Check that the storage area is solid and
secured to the tongue.
 Check that cargo in the storage area i.e.
chains, binders, etc. are secure.
10.3 – Trailer
10.3.1 – Trailer Front
Air/Electrical Connections
 Check that trailer air connectors are sealed
and in good condition.
 Make sure glad hands are locked in place,
free of damage or air leaks.
 Make sure the trailer electrical plug is firmly
seated and locked in place.
Header Board
 If equipped, check the header board to see
that it is secure, free of damage, and strong
enough to contain cargo.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection


If equipped, the canvas or tarp carrier must be
mounted and fastened securely.
On enclosed trailers, check the front area for
signs of damage such as cracks, bulges, or
holes.
10.3.2 – Side of Trailer
Landing Gear
 Check that the landing gear is fully raised, has
no missing parts, crank handle is secure, and
the support frame is not damaged.
 If power operated, check for air or hydraulic
leaks.
Doors/Ties/Lifts
 If equipped, check that doors are not
damaged. Check that doors open, close, and
latch properly from the outside.
 Check that ties, straps, chains, and binders
are secure.
 If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
 Lift should be fully retracted and latched
securely.
Frame
 Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the frame, cross members, box,
and floor.
Tandem Release Arm/Locking Pins
 If equipped, make sure the locking pins are
locked in place and release arm is secured.
10.3.3 – Remainder of Trailer
Remainder of Trailer
 Please refer to Section 10.2 of this manual for
detailed inspection procedures regarding the
following components:
o Wheels.
o Suspension system.
o Brakes.
o Doors/ties/lift.
o Splash guards.
10.4 – School Bus Only
First Aid Kit and Body Fluid Cleanup Kit
 In addition to checking for spare electrical
fuses (if equipped); three red reflective
triangles; and a properly mounted, charged
and rated fire extinguisher; school bus drivers
must also identify the location of the following:
o First Aid Kit
Page 10-7
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
o
Body Fluid Cleanup Kit
Lighting Indicators
 In addition to checking the lighting indicators
listed in Section 10.1.2 of this manual, school
bus drivers must also check the following
lighting indicators (internal panel lights):
o Alternately flashing amber lights
indicator, if equipped.
o Alternately flashing red lights
indicator.
o Strobe light indicator, if equipped.
8-Lamp System Lights/Reflectors
 In addition to checking the lights and reflective
devices listed in Section 10.1.2 of this manual,
school bus drivers must also check the
following (external) lights:
o Strobe light, if equipped.
o Stop arm light, if equipped.
o Alternately flashing amber lights.
o Alternately flashing red lights.
Student Mirrors
 In addition to checking the external mirrors,
school bus drivers must also check the
internal and external mirrors used for
observing students:
o Check for proper adjustment.
o Checks that all internal and external
mirrors and mirror brackets are not
damaged and are mounted securely
with no loose fittings.
o Checks that visibility is not impaired
due to dirty mirrors.
Stop Arm
 Check the stop arm to see that it is mounted
securely to the frame of the vehicle. Also,
check for loose fittings and damage.
Passenger Entry/Lift
 Check that the entry door is not damaged,
operates smoothly, and closes securely from
the inside.
 Hand rails are secure and the step light is
working, if equipped.
 The entry steps must be clear with the treads
not loose or worn excessively.
 If equipped with a wheelchair lift, look for
leaking, damaged, or missing parts and
explain how lift should be checked for correct
operation. Lift must be fully retracted and
latched securely.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
Emergency Exit Types
 Identify and properly demonstrate one of each
type of emergency exit: window, roof hatch
and rear door.
 Make sure that all emergency exits are not
damaged, operate smoothly, and close
securely from the inside.
 Check that each emergency exit has an
audible warning device when opened.
Seating
 Look for broken seat frames and check that
seat frames are firmly attached to the floor.
 Check that seat cushions are attached
securely to the seat frames.
10.5 – Coach/Transit Bus
10.5.1 – Passenger Items
Passenger Entry/Lift
 Check that entry doors are not damaged;
operate smoothly and securely closes from
the inside.
 Check that hand rails are secure and, if
equipped, that the step light(s) are working.
 Check that the entry steps are clear, with the
treads not loose or worn excessively.
 If equipped with a wheelchair lift, look for any
leaking, damaged or missing part, and explain
how it should be checked for correct
operation.
 Lift should be fully retracted and latched
securely.
Emergency Exits
 Identify and properly demonstrate one of each
type of emergency exit.
 Demonstrate release handle both from inside
and outside.
 Make sure that all emergency exits are not
damaged, operate smoothly, and close
securely from the inside.
 Check that any emergency exit warning
devices are working.
Passenger Seating
 Look for broken seat frames and check that
seat frames are firmly attached to the floor.
 Check that seat cushions are attached
securely to the seat frames.
10.5.2 – Entry/Exit
Doors/Mirrors
 Check that entry/exit doors are not damaged
and operate smoothly from the outside.
Hinges should be secure with seals intact.
Page 10-8
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual

Make sure that the passenger exit mirrors and
all external mirrors and mirror brackets are not
damaged and are mounted securely with no
loose fittings.
10.5.3 – External Inspection of Coach/ Transit
Bus
Level/Air Leaks
 See that the vehicle is sitting level (front and
rear), and if air-equipped, check for audible air
leaks from the suspension system.
Fuel Tank(s)
 See that fuel tank(s) are secure with no leaks
from tank(s) or lines.
10.6.2 – Class B and C Pre-trip Inspection Test
If you are applying for a Class B or C CDL, you
will be required to perform one of the three
versions of a pre-trip inspection in the vehicle you
have brought with you for testing. Each of the
three tests are equivalent and you will not know
which test you will take until just before the testing
begins.
All of the tests include an engine start and an incab inspection. Then, your test may require an
inspection of the entire vehicle or only a portion of
the vehicle which your CDL Examiner will explain
to you. You will also have to inspect any special
features of your vehicle (e.g, school or transit
bus).
Baggage Compartments
 Check that baggage and all other exterior
compartment doors are not damaged, operate
properly, and latch securely.
Battery/Box
 Wherever located, see that battery(s) are
secure, connections are tight, and cell caps
are present.
 Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
 Check that battery box and cover or door is
not damaged and is secure.
10.5.4 – Remainder of Coach/ Transit Bus
Remainder of Vehicle
 Please refer to Section 10.2 of this manual for
detailed inspection procedures for the
remainder of the vehicle.
10.6 – Taking the CDL Pre-trip
Inspection Test
10.6.1 – Class A Pre-trip Inspection Test
If you are applying for a Class A CDL, you will be
required to perform one of the three versions of a
pre-trip inspection in the vehicle you have brought
with you for testing. Each of the three tests are
equivalent and you will not know which test you
will take until just before the testing begins.
All of the tests include an engine start, an in-cabinspection, and an inspection of the coupling
system. Then, your test may require an inspection
of the entire vehicle or only a portion of the vehicle
which your CDL Examiner will explain to you.
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
Page 10-9
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Figure 10.1
Section 10 – Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
Page 10-10
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 11
Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test
This Section Covers


Skills Test Exercises
Skills Test Scoring
Your basic control skills are tested using the
following exercises off-road or somewhere on the
street during the road test:
 Straight line backing.
 Offset back/right
 Offset back/left
 Alley dock.
These exercises are shown in Figures 11-1 through
11-4.
11.1




SCORING
Crossing Boundaries (encroachments)
Pull-ups
Vehicle Exits
Final Position
Encroachments – The examiner will score the
number of times you touch or cross over an exercise
boundary line with any portion of your vehicle. Each
encroachment will count as an error.
Pull-ups – When a driver stops and reverses
direction to get a better position, it is scored as a
“pull-up”. Stopping without changing direction does
not count as a pull-up. You can be penalized for pullups.
penalized and could fail the basic skills test.
Note: Each basic control exercise performed during
the test has a five minute limit.
11.2
EXERCISES
11.2.1 – Straight Line Backing
You may be asked to back your vehicle in a straight
line between two rows of cones without touching or
crossing over the exercise boundaries. (See Figure
11.1)
11.2.2 – Offset Back/Right
You may be asked to back into a space that is to the
right rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight
forward and back your vehicle into that space
without striking the side or rear boundaries marked
by cones. You must place your vehicle completely
into the space. (See Figure 11.2)
11.2.3 – Offset Back/Left
You may be asked to back into a space that is to the
left rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight
forward and back your vehicle into that space
without striking the side or rear boundaries marked
by cones. You must place your vehicle completely
into the space. (See Figure 11.3)
11.2.4 – Alley Dock
You may be asked to sight-side back your vehicle
into an alley, bringing the rear of your vehicle as
close as possible to the rear of the alley without
going beyond the exercise boundary marked by a
line or row of cones. You are required to get your
vehicle completely into the space with your entire
vehicle straight with the alley (See Figure 11.4).
Outside Vehicle Observations (Looks) – You may
be permitted to safely stop and exit the vehicle to
check the external position of the vehicle (look).
When doing so, you must place the vehicle in neutral
and set the parking brake(s).
Then, when exiting the vehicle, you must do so
safely by facing the vehicle and maintaining three
points of contact with the vehicle at all times (when
exiting a bus, maintain a firm grasp on the handrail
at all times). If you do not safely secure the vehicle
or safely exit the vehicle it may result in an automatic
failure of the basic control skills test.
Each time you open the door, move from a seated
position where in physical control of the vehicle or on
a bus walk to the back of a bus to get a better view,
it is scored as a “look”.
Final Position – It is important that you finish each
exercise exactly as the examiner has instructed you.
If you do not maneuver the vehicle into its final
position as described by the examiner, you will be
Section 11 –Basic Control Skills
Page 11-1
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Figure 11.1: Straight Line Backing
Figure 11.2: Offset Back/Right
Figure 11.3: Offset Back/Left
Section 11 –Basic Control Skills
Page 11-2
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Figure 11.4: Alley Dock
Section 11 –Basic Control Skills
Page 11-3
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2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
Section 12
On-road Driving
This Section Covers

How You Will Be Tested
You will drive over a test route that has a variety
of traffic situations. At all times during the test, you
must drive in a safe and responsible manner; and:





Wear your safety belt.
Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
Complete the test without an accident or
moving violation.
During the driving test, the examiner will be
scoring you on specific driving maneuvers as
well as on your general driving behavior and
observation skills. You will follow the
directions of the examiner. Directions will be
given to you so you will have plenty of time to
do what the examiner has asked. You will not
be asked to drive in an unsafe manner.
If your test route does not have certain traffic
situations, you may be asked to simulate a
traffic situation. You will do this by telling the
examiner what you are or would be doing if
you were in that traffic situation.
12.1 – How You Will Be Tested
12.1.1 – Turns
You have been asked to make a turn:
 Check traffic in all directions.
 Use turn signals and safely get into the lane
needed for the turn.
As you approach the turn:
 Use turn signals to warn others of your turn.
 Slow down smoothly, change gears as
needed to keep power, but do not coast
unsafely. Unsafe coasting occurs when your
vehicle is out of gear (clutch depressed or
gearshift in neutral) for more than the length
of your vehicle.
If you must stop before making the turn:
 Come to a smooth stop without skidding.
 Come to a complete stop behind the stop line,
crosswalk, or stop sign.
 If stopping behind another vehicle, stop where
you can see the rear tires on the vehicle
ahead of you (safe gap).
 Do not let your vehicle roll.
 Keep the front wheels aimed straight ahead.
Section 12 – On-road Driving
When ready to turn:
 Check traffic in all directions.
 Keep both hands on the steering wheel during
the turn.
 Keep checking your mirror to make sure the
vehicle does not hit anything on the inside of
the turn.
 Vehicle should not move into oncoming traffic.
 Vehicle should finish turn in correct lane.
After turn:
 Make sure turn signal is off.
 Get up to speed of traffic, use turn signal, and
move into right-most lane when safe to do so
(if not already there).
 Check mirrors and traffic.
12.1.2 – Intersections
As you approach an intersection:
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Decelerate gently.
 Brake smoothly and, if necessary, change
gears.
 If necessary, come to a complete stop (no
coasting) behind any stop signs, signals,
sidewalks, or stop lines maintaining a safe
gap behind any vehicle in front of you.
 Your vehicle must not roll forward or
backward.
When driving through an intersection:
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and
traffic in the intersection.
 Do not change lanes while proceeding
through the intersection.
 Keep your hands on the wheel.
Once through the intersection:
 Continue checking mirrors and traffic.
 Accelerate smoothly and change gears as
necessary.
12.1.3 – Urban/Rural Straight
During this part of the test, you are expected to
make regular traffic checks and maintain a safe
following distance. Your vehicle should be
centered in the proper lane (right-most lane) and
you should keep up with the flow of traffic but not
exceed the posted speed limit.
12.1.4 –Lane Changes
During multiple lane portions of the test, you will
be asked to change lanes to the left, and then
back to the right. You should make the necessary
traffic checks first, then use proper signals and
smoothly change lanes when it is safe to do so.
Page 12-1
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
12.1.5 – Expressway

Before entering the expressway:
 Check traffic.
 Use proper signals.
 Merge smoothly into the proper lane of traffic.

Once on the expressway:
 Maintain proper lane positioning, vehicle
spacing, and vehicle speed.
 Continue to check traffic thoroughly in all
directions.
When exiting the expressway:
 Make necessary traffic checks.
 Use proper signals.
 Decelerate smoothly in the exit lane.
 Once on the exit ramp, you must continue to
decelerate within the lane markings and
maintain adequate spacing between your
vehicle and other vehicles.
12.1.6 – Stop/Start
For this maneuver, you will be asked to pull your
vehicle over to the side of the road and stop as if
you were going to get out and check something
on your vehicle. You must check traffic thoroughly
in all directions and move to the right-most lane or
shoulder of road.


Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle
moves.
Check traffic from all directions, especially to
the left.
Steer and accelerate smoothly into the proper
lane when safe to do so.
Once your vehicle is back into the flow of
traffic, cancel your left turn signal.
12.1.7 – Curve
When approaching a curve:
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Before entering the curve, reduce speed so
further braking or shifting is not required in the
curve.
 Keep vehicle in the lane.
 Continue checking traffic in all directions.
12.1.8 – Railroad Crossing
Before reaching the crossing, all commercial
drivers should:
 Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears
as necessary.
 Look and listen for the presence of trains.
 Check traffic in all directions.
 Do not stop, change gears, pass another
vehicle, or change lanes while any part of
your vehicle is in the crossing.
As you prepare for the stop:
 Check traffic.
 Activate your right turn signal.
 Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly, change
gears as necessary.
 Bring your vehicle to a full stop without
coasting.
If you are driving a bus, a school bus, or a vehicle
displaying placards, you should be prepared to
observe the following procedures at every railroad
crossing (unless the crossing is exempt):
Once stopped:
 Vehicle must be parallel to the curb or
shoulder of the road and safely out of the
traffic flow.
 Vehicle should not be blocking driveways, fire
hydrants, intersections, signs, etc.
 Cancel your turn signal.
 Activate your four-way emergency flashers.
 Apply the parking brake.
 Move the gear shift to neutral or park.
 Remove your feet from the brake and clutch
pedals.

When instructed to resume:
 Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in all
directions.
 Turn off your four-way flashers.
 Activate the left turn signal.
 When traffic permits, you should release the
parking brake and pull straight ahead.

Section 12 – On-road Driving





As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing,
activate the four-way flashers.
Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than
15 feet from the nearest rail.
Listen and look in both directions along the track
for an approaching train and for signals
indicating the approach of a train. Note: If
operating a school bus, you are required to open
the driver’s window and front door to look and
listen prior to crossing tracks. Make sure the
door is closed before moving the bus.
Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle
crosses the tracks.
Do not stop, change gears or change lanes
while any part of your vehicle is proceeding
across the tracks.
Four-way flashers should be deactivated after
the vehicle crosses the tracks.
Continue to check mirrors and traffic.
Not all driving road test routes will have a railroad
crossing. You may be asked to explain and
demonstrate the proper railroad crossing
procedures to the examiner at a simulated
location.
Page 12-2
2005 Model Commercial Driver’s License Manual
12.1.9 – Bridge/Overpass/Sign
12.1.15 – Steering
After driving under an overpass, you may be
asked to tell the examiner what the posted
clearance or height was. After going over a
bridge, you may be asked to tell the examiner
what the posted weight limit was. If your test route
does not have a bridge or overpass, you may be
asked about another traffic sign. When asked, be
prepared to identify and explain to the examiner
any traffic sign which may appear on the route.


12.1.10 – Student Discharge (School Bus)
If you are applying for a School Bus endorsement,
you will be required to demonstrate loading and
unloading students. Please refer to Part B of the
Minnesota School Bus Driver’s Handbook on
page 16 of this manual for procedures on loading
and unloading school students.
You will be scored on your overall
performance in the following general driving
behavior categories:
Do not over or under steer the vehicle.
Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all
times unless shifting. Once you have
completed shift, return both hands to the
steering wheel.
12.1.16 – Regular Traffic Checks




Check traffic regularly.
Check mirrors regularly.
Check mirrors and traffic before, while in and
after an intersection.
Scan and check traffic in high volume areas
and areas where pedestrians are expected to
be present.
12.1.17 – Use of Turn Signals




Use turn signals properly.
Activate turn signals when required.
Activate turn signals at appropriate times.
Cancel turn signals upon completion of a turn
or lane change.
12.1.11 – Clutch Usage (for Manual
Transmission)



Use the clutch to shift.
You may need to double-clutch when shifting.
Do not rev or lug the engine.
Do not ride clutch to control speed, coast with
the clutch depressed, or "pop" the clutch.
12.1.12 – Gear Usage (for Manual
Transmission)



Do not grind or clash gears.
Select gear that does not rev or lug engine.
Do not shift in turns and intersections.
12.1.13 – Brake Usage


Do not ride or pump brake.
Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using
steady pressure.
12.1.14 – Lane Usage





Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks or
lane markings.
Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks, or stop
signs.
Complete a turn in the proper lane on a
multiple lane road (vehicle should finish a left
turn in the lane directly to the right of the
center line).
Finish a right turn in the right-most (curb) lane.
Move to or remain in right-most lane unless
lane is blocked.
Section 12 – On-road Driving
Page 12-3
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