commercial driver license manual

commercial driver license manual
MICHIGAN
COMMERCIAL
DRIVER LICENSE
MANUAL
RUTH JOHNSON
SECRETARY OF STATE
Due to frequent changes in federal and state regulations, the Michigan Department of State
cannot ensure the accuracy of the material contained in the Michigan Commercial Driver
License Manual beyond the date of publication.
To obtain current information, please visit www.michigan.gov/sos.
This document is not intended for legal purposes.
This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH61-9-X-00017. Any opinions, finding, conclusions or
recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reflect the view of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Note: Throughout this manual, a commercial motor vehicle will be referred to as a “CMV” and a
Commercial Driver License as a “CDL.”
Table of Contents
Introduction to Michigan’s Commercial Driver License Program ..................................i
PART ONE – For All CDL Drivers
Section 1: Introduction...............................................................................................1
Section 2: Driving Safely ...........................................................................................8
Section 3: Transporting Cargo Safely......................................................................53
PART TWO – For drivers needing specific endorsements or operating vehicles with air
brakes
Section 4: Transporting Passengers Safely ............................................................56
Section 5: Air Brakes ...............................................................................................60
Section 6: Combination Vehicles .............................................................................70
Section 7: Doubles and Triples ...............................................................................82
Section 8: Tank Vehicles .........................................................................................87
Section 9: Hazardous Materials ..............................................................................90
Section 10: School Buses .....................................................................................111
PART THREE – For drivers who need to take skills tests
Overview Michigan CDL Skills Tests .....................................................................123
Third-party Skills Testing .......................................................................................124
Section 11: Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection ................................................................126
Section 12: Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test ........................................................134
Section 13: On-Road Driving .................................................................................137
APPENDICES
Appendix A: Commercial Driver License Certification Form .....................................143
Appendix B: Sample Test Questions .........................................................................146
Appendix C: Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid.............................................................147
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Introduction: Michigan’s Commercial
Driver License Program
This section covers
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Who needs a CDL
Eligibility Requirements
Medical/Physical Requirements
CDL Groups/Endorsements/Exemptions
Application Procedures
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Tests
Restrictions
Fees
Serious Traffic and RRX Violations
Drug/Alcohol-Related Violations
Please read this section very carefully to determine if you need a CDL.
This manual includes the information needed to pass the CDL knowledge and skills tests.
Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of this information, laws and procedures are subject to
change. For exact wording of a law or a specific guideline, contact the Department of State Information Center at
888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).
Who needs a CDL?
You do if you intend to operate:
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VEHICLES:
•
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COMBINATION VEHICLES:
•
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Having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
Towing a trailer or other vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more with a gross combination weight
rating of 26,001 pounds or more.
ANY VEHICLES:
•
•
Designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver).
Carrying hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the recommended maximum total weight of the vehicle and load as
designated by the vehicle manufacturer. The GVWR label is usually found on the driver-side door post of the power
unit and on or near the front of the trailer. The GVWR should not be confused with the elected GVW, which is
declared by the vehicle owner for registration purposes.
Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) means the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum
loaded weight of a combination vehicle. In the absence of a label, the GCWR will be calculated by adding the GVWR
of the power unit to the GVWR of all vehicles or trailers being towed.
What are the driving record eligibility requirements?
Before you may apply for an original CDL, you must qualify for the CDL based on your driving record. Any of the
following will disqualify you from applying for a CDL:
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The inability to make required certifications on the CDL Certification Form (BFS-103). See Appendix A.
•
Effective Jan. 30, 2012 in accordance with state law and federal regulations, a driver applying for an original
or renewal of a CDL must certify to one of four federally defined types of CMV operation. They are:
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
1. Non-excepted interstate. Operates a CMV outside of Michigan and must provide a legible copy of one of
the following medical certification documents to the Secretary of State:
¾ A completed Medical Examiner’s Certificate signed by a medical professional. The Medical
Examiner’s Certificate must be carried with you when operating a CMV until Jan. 30, 2014, even if
you provided it to the Secretary of State before Jan. 30, 2014.
¾ A Medical Examiner’s Certificate and a FMCSA Skills Performance Evaluation Certificate, 49 CFR
391, or
¾ An FMCSA waiver or FMSCA exemption, 49 CFR 381, Subpart C, authorizing the operation of a
CMV.
The FMCSA Skills Performance Evaluation certificate, FMCSA waiver or FMCSA exemption must
always be in your possession when operating a CMV.
2. Excepted interstate. Operates a CMV outside of Michigan, only for “excepted” purposes listed below.
Your medical documentation does not need to be provided to the Secretary of State. However, it must be
in your possession when operating a CMV. Excepted interstate purposes are defined as:
¾ 49 CFR §390.3(f): State and federal transportation, occasional transportation of personal property not
for compensation, transportation of human corpses or sick/injured persons, fire trucks and rescue
vehicles, commercial vehicles designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including
the driver), transportation of propane winter heating fuel.
¾ 49 CFR §391.2: Farm custom operations, apiarian industries (beekeepers seasonally transporting
bees), certain farm vehicle drivers.
¾ 49 CFR §391.68: Private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness).
¾ 49 CFT §398.3: Driver of migrant workers.
3. Non-excepted intrastate. Operates a CMV only within Michigan (intrastate commerce). Your medical
certification or a Motor Carrier Division Medical Waiver does not need to be provided to the Department of
State. However, the medical certification or a Motor Carrier Division Medical Waiver must be in your
possession when operating a commercial vehicle.
4. Excepted intrastate. Operates a CMV only within Michigan (intrastate commerce) for an excepted
purpose listed below.
Excepted Intrastate Purpose:
MCL 480.15(2)-(4): A self-propelled implement of husbandry or an implement of husbandry being drawn
by a farm tractor or another implement of husbandry, public utility, telephone and cable television
company service vehicles that do not meet the definition of a CMV in 49 CFR §383, or a public utility
service vehicle used in cases of emergency.
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The CDL portion of a driver’s operator or chauffeur’s license is valid for the same amount of time as the
medical certificate or SPE; however, the time can vary, up to a maximum of 2 years.
•
If a driver fails to certify to a type of CMV operation, and if required by driving type certification, fails to submit
a medical examiner’s certificate or SPE, the driver may only apply for a noncommercial motor vehicle driver’s
license.
•
You can find additional information regarding certification to driving type and medical certifications at the
Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos.
Having a license from more than one state.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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An active Michigan or out-state suspension, revocation, denial or cancellation of your driving privilege. The
license action must be resolved before you can apply for an original CDL.
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Any active suspension, revocation, denial or cancellation must be terminated before applying for a CDL.
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A suspension or revocation in the 36 months immediately preceding application.
NOTE: Suspensions for Failure to Appear in Court (FAC), Failure to Comply with a Court Judgment (FCJ),
failure to appear for a Driver Assessment re-examination, financial responsibility, nonsufficient funds and a
suspension or revocation for a temporary medical condition will not disqualify you for a CDL.
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Conviction of any six-point violation in the 24 months immediately preceding application. Conviction for
operating a CMV while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
How old must I be to obtain a CDL?
You must be age 21 to drive a CMV across state lines (interstate). You may drive a CMV in Michigan (intrastate) at
age 18, except when transporting hazardous materials in a quantity that requires the vehicle be marked or
placarded. To transport hazardous materials, you must be 21 or older.
What are the driver qualification requirements for the CDL?
Unless exempt, you must comply with the federal commercial driver qualification requirements, including the
medical and physical qualifications found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, 49 CFR §383 – CDL
Standards, Requirements and Penalties and §391 – Qualifications of Drivers.
This includes drivers who operate commercial vehicles only in Michigan. When applying for your CDL, you will certify
by signing a CDL Certification Form (BFS-103 – See Appendix A) stating that you meet these requirements before
receiving your CDL.
Before taking any CDL skills tests, you must provide one of the following to the third-party examiner, allowing you to
operate your truck or bus:
•
•
•
•
A valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (commonly known as a DOT card)
FMCSA waiver
FMCSA exemption
Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card) and a FMCSA Skills Performance Evaluation certificate
Ask your employer about the medical, physical and other driver qualification requirements.
How can I get additional information on medical and physical requirements?
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Intrastate (in Michigan) medical and physical requirements, state commercial truck and bus rules and
regulations, contact: Michigan Center for Truck Safety at www.trucksafety.org.
Interstate (across state lines) medical and physical requirements and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations for trucks and buses, contact: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 315 W. Allegan St.
Room 205, Lansing, Michigan 48933; 517-853-5990 or at www.fmcsa.dot.gov. Note: The Lansing FMCSA
office does not distribute any forms or sell the FMCSR rulebooks.
School bus medical and physical requirements and other school bus regulations, contact: Michigan
Department of Education, Pupil Transportation Program, P.O. Box 30008, Lansing, Michigan 48909;
517-373-6388 or at www.michigan.gov/mde.
What type of CDL do I need?
You will need the appropriate group designation on your CDL to operate the following vehicles:
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GROUP A
•
Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more,
provided the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of any towed vehicles is 10,001 pounds or more.
A Group A designation will allow you to operate a Group B or Group C vehicle provided you have the required
endorsement.
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GROUP B
•
Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, or, any such vehicle
towing a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less.
A Group B designation will allow you to operate a Group C vehicle provided you have the required endorsement.
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GROUP C
•
Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor that of Group
B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is used in the
transportation of materials found to be hazardous and require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the
Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR, part 172, subpart F).
What endorsements do I need?
In addition to the appropriate CDL vehicle group designation, endorsements are required to operate the following:
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T-DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS: (Triple trailer combinations are not permitted in Michigan).
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P-PASSENGER: For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver).
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N-TANK: For vehicles designed to haul liquids or liquefied gasses in bulk in permanently mounted cargo tanks
rated at 119 gallons or more, or portable cargo tanks rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
H-HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: To carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
X-Combined TANK and HAZARDOUS MATERIALS Endorsements: For hauling liquids, liquefied gases and
hazardous materials.
S-SCHOOL BUS: For CMVs used to transport pre-primary, primary or secondary school students from home to
school, school to home or to-and-from school-sponsored events.
Are there CDL exemptions?
You do NOT need a CDL for the following:
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INDIVIDUALS: Operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or
family members for nonbusiness purposes.
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ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY: Operating military vehicles with military licenses (includes the National Guard).
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POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS: Operating authorized emergency vehicles.
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FARMERS: Operating vehicles within a 150-mile radius of their farm.
Farmers will need either an F-endorsement or a CDL under the following conditions:
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An F-endorsement is needed when operating combination vehicles whose towing vehicle has a GVWR of
26,001 pounds or more. A knowledge test, but no skills test, is required to obtain the F-endorsement. The Fendorsement is NOT a CDL.
•
A CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement is required when carrying hazardous materials in
amounts requiring placards while operating combination vehicles whose towing vehicles has a GVWR of
26,001 pounds or more, or a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
How do I obtain a CDL?
When ready to apply for your first CDL, come to a local Secretary of State office and present:
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Your driver’s license.
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Proof of your Social Security number (Social Security card, payroll check stub, W-2 Form).
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(If applying for a hazardous materials endorsement) Proof of U.S. citizenship or Permanent Resident Card.
Acceptable proof for U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency is:
Acceptable Proof of U.S. Citizenship:
x Unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
x Original or certified copy of birth certificate
issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or
outlying possession of the U.S. bearing an
official seal.
x Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the
U.S. Department of State (FS-240, DS-1350 or
FS-545)
x Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-570 or
N578)*
x Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)*
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Acceptable Proof of Lawful Permanent Residency:
x Valid Permanent Resident Card issued by
USCIS or INS.*
*Documents marked with an asterisk are subject to
verification using the Systematic Alien Verification for
Entitlements System (SAVE).
Fill out the CDL Certification Form (BFS-103, see Appendix A), which includes a statement certifying that you
meet the commercial driver medical qualifications. If you have had any change in your physical condition that
could affect your ability to drive since your last driver’s license renewal, the service agent may give you a
physician’s statement to be completed by your physician before you can apply for a driver’s license renewal.
Meet the driver eligibility requirements. (See pages i and iii)
Pass the required knowledge and vision tests. You must pass all required knowledge tests to obtain a CDL
Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP). This allows you to practice driving under the supervision of a driver who
has a CDL for the type of vehicle you are operating. A CDL TIP is also required for taking the CDL skills tests.
Pay your CDL Group Designation and Endorsement fees.
CDL Group Designations and Endorsement Fees
$25 - Standard
$45 – Enhanced
$35 - Standard
$50 – Enhanced
Fees for Group Designation or Endorsement
CDL Vehicle Group Designation
$25
CDL Endorsements (if any)
$ 5 ($10 for an “X” endorsement)
Correction Fees
Operator License
$18 – Standard
$38 – Enhanced
Chauffeur License
$18 – Standard
$43 – Enhanced
Operator License
Chauffeur License
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Contact an approved third-party testing organization to schedule and take your CDL skills test. These public and
private organizations are certified by the state to administer the CDL skills tests.
Call the Department of State Information Center at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) or visit the department website at
www.michigan.gov/sos for information about approved third-party testing organizations in your area.
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After passing your CDL skills test, you will:
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Receive your Michigan Department of State Driver Skills Test Certificate (TPT-010) from the third-party
testing organization. Your certificate is valid for one (1) year from the date it was issued; after the one year,
you cannot apply for a CDL until you have taken and passed all required CDL tests;
•
Take the skills test certificate directly to a Secretary of State office;
•
Pay a correction fee to receive a temporary CDL permit allowing you to operate a CMV for the CDL test
passed;
•
Receive the photo CDL in the mail in approximately 10-14 business days from the time the CDL permit was
issued.
What tests do I need to take?
All drivers applying for their original (first) CDL must take and pass the appropriate CDL written knowledge tests and
a skills test.
Drivers with a CDL from another state must always take the H-Hazardous Materials endorsement written test to
keep the H endorsement. Transferring drivers must also pass the appropriate knowledge tests when changing their
vehicle group, removing vehicle group restrictions or adding vehicle endorsements. They may also need to take the
CDL skills tests if upgrading their vehicle group, removing vehicle group restrictions or adding a vehicle
endorsement of either P-Passenger or S-School Bus to their CDL.
Knowledge tests
You will take one or more knowledge tests. The following chart summarizes the type of tests and number of
questions you are required to pass depending on the type of vehicle you drive and the type of cargo you haul. It is
recommended that you study this manual very carefully as it contains the information you need to pass the
CDL tests. SEE APPENDIX B FOR SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONS.
CDL TESTS
CDL GROUP
KNOWLEDGE TESTS
SKILLS TESTS
GROUP A
GROUP B
GROUP C
70 QUESTIONS*
50 QUESTIONS
50 QUESTIONS
YES
YES
YES
*The Group A knowledge test
includes a 20-question
combination vehicle test.
ENDORSEMENTS
T – DOUBLE TRAILER
P – PASSENGER
S – SCHOOL BUS
N – TANK
H – HAZARDOUS
KNOWLEDGE TESTS
20 QUESTIONS
20 QUESTIONS
20 QUESTIONS
20 QUESTIONS
30 QUESTIONS
AIR BRAKES TEST
SKILLS TESTS
NO
YES
YES
NO
NO
If you want to be licensed to drive vehicles with air brakes, you must pass a 25-question air brake knowledge test.
The vehicle you use for the skills test must be equipped with air brakes. If either of these conditions has not been
met, you will be restricted from operating vehicles with air brakes.
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All CDL knowledge tests are administered in written form. A minimum passing score of 80 percent is required to
pass each test. Anyone applying for the H-Hazardous Materials or S-School Bus endorsement must pass a written
knowledge test.
CDL skills test
You will also need to pass the CDL skills test, which includes three parts:
1. A vehicle inspection test to measure your ability to perform a vehicle safety check. A Vehicle Inspection
Memory Aid is available on the last page of this manual (Appendix C) and may be used during the test.
2. An off-street basic control skills test.
3. An on-street driving test.
All three parts are conducted during the same testing session, in the order listed above. Each portion must be
passed before continuing on to the next. A failure of any segment terminates testing. On subsequent attempts, you
must always start with the vehicle inspection regardless of which part you previously failed. You are allowed one (1)
attempt per day. The Secretary of State has the right to randomly retest anyone tested by a third-party testing
organization.
Call the Department of State Information Center at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) or visit the department website at
www.michigan.gov/sos for information about approved third-party testing organizations in your area.
Skills test fees and refund policies
Skills test fees and refund policies vary. Be sure to discuss and understand your test fees and scheduling
requirements with the third-party testing organization before taking your test.
When taking your CDL skills test
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You must supply an empty vehicle with a GVWR representative of the type you plan to drive (including a trailer if
required).
The vehicle must be equipped with at least two permanently mounted seats for yourself and the examiner.
Safety belts are also required for both the driver and examiner (except for the examiner on buses).
Applicants applying for the P-Passenger endorsement must pass the skills test in a vehicle with a seating
capacity of 16 or more passengers, including the driver. Drivers who are training to become school bus drivers
cannot operate a school bus with students on board if they only hold a temporary instruction permit.
You must show valid registration and proof of insurance for your test vehicle.
You must also be able to furnish the third-party testing organization with your Michigan photo driver’s license,
CDL TIP and Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card, School Bus card) or medical waiver.
See Sections 11, 12 and 13 at the end of this manual for more information about CDL skills tests and the
third-party skills testing program.
Adding CDL privileges – removing a CDL restriction – upgrading a CDL group
Adding CDL privileges, including adding a passenger endorsement, removing a restriction and changing a lower
group designation to a higher group designation requires new skills tests in the appropriate vehicle. These are
considered new CDLs and are charged accordingly, along with a correction fee.
What CDL restrictions could I receive?
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Restriction Code 28: “CDL not valid for operating vehicle equipped with air brakes”
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If you do not pass the air brake knowledge test, or if the vehicle you use for the CLD skills tests is not
equipped with air brakes, you will be restricted from operating vehicles with air brakes.
Restriction Code 29: “CDL-P or S endorsement valid in Group B or C vehicles only.”
•
Adding a P-Passenger endorsement to your current Group A vehicle group designation and completing the
CDL skills test in a Group B bus will limit the operation of buses to Groups B and C buses.
•
Adding the P-Passenger and S-School Bus endorsement to your current Group A designation and completing
the CDL skills test in a school bus will limit the operation of buses to Group B or C school buses.
Restriction Code 30: “CDL-P or S endorsement valid in Group C vehicles only.”
•
Adding a P-Passenger endorsement to your current Group A or B designation and completing your CDL skills
test in a Group C bus will limit the P-Passenger endorsement to operation of a Group C bus.
•
Adding a P-Passenger and S-School Bus endorsement to your current Group A or B designation and
completing your CDL skills test in a school bus will limit the P-Passenger and S-School Bus endorsement to
operation of Group C school buses.
Seasonal Restricted CDL
•
A special seasonal restricted CDL is available for agri-business employees operating Group B and C vehicles
on routes within 150 miles from the place of business. Buses and school buses cannot be operated with this
restricted license. Although CDL knowledge and skills tests are not required, applicants must have held a
valid driver’s license for at least one year and possess a clean driving record for the three-year period
preceding application for the seasonal CDL.
This limited CDL must be applied for each calendar year. Within a one-year period, applicants can choose to
have the CDL valid for 180 days from date of issue or valid for the seasonal periods from April 2 through
June 20 and September 2 through November 20. The restricted CDL permits the driver to transport the
following limited amounts of hazardous materials without the H or X endorsements.
•
Diesel motor fuel in quantities of 1,000 gallons or less.
•
Liquid fertilizers in quantities of 3,000 gallons or less.
•
Solid fertilizers that are not transported with any organic substance.
What about serious traffic violation convictions while driving a CMV?
If you have a CDL and are convicted of certain major or serious traffic offenses (as defined by federal regulations, 49
CFR §383.51) while operating either a CMV or noncommercial vehicle, your CDL will be subject to suspension or
revocation. Your operator or chauffeur license may also be affected, depending on the traffic offense, and your
privilege to operate a noncommercial vehicle may be restricted, suspended or revoked.
Other traffic convictions that result in the suspension or revocation of your operator or chauffeur license when you
were driving a noncommercial vehicle will also suspend or revoke your license to operate a CMV.
The following information explains the various traffic offenses, convictions for major and serious offenses, drug or
alcohol-related offenses and railroad crossing offenses if those offenses were committed while operating a CMV.
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Major traffic violations
Major Traffic Violations
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Under the influence of alcohol.
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Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or
greater while operating a CMV.
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Operating under the influence of a
controlled substance.
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Refusing to take an alcohol test.
•
•
Leaving the scene of an accident.
•
•
Using the vehicle to commit a felony
•
*Operating a CMV only while CMV privileges are suspended, revoked, cancelled or disqualified.
Causing a fatality through the negligent
operation of a CMV
Using the vehicle in the commission of a
felony involving manufacturing, distributing
or dispensing a controlled substance.
If charged and convicted for any of the major traffic offenses listed above while driving *any type of motor vehicle,
your privileges to operate a CMV for a:
•
•
First conviction: 1-year suspension, 3-year suspension if transporting hazardous materials when stopped;
Two convictions, separate incidents, 10-year revocation minimum.
Conviction for:
•
Reckless Driving, Negligent Homicide, Fleeing/Eluding Law Enforcement: 1-year suspension of CMV
privileges;
•
Committing a felony involving the manufacture, distribution or dispensing of a controlled substance: CMV
privileges revoked for life.
Serious traffic violations
Serious Traffic Violations
•
Speeding 15 mph or more over the posted
limit.
•
A traffic violation connected with a fatal
accident.
•
•
•
Following too closely.
•
•
•
Reckless driving.
•
Improper or erratic lane changes
Changing/using lanes erratically/improperly
Operating a CMV without a CDL in the
driver’s possession
Operating a CMV without a CDL
Driving a CMV without proper class of CDL
and/or endorsements
If charged and convicted for any of the serious traffic violations while operating a CMV or are a CDL holder and
operate a noncommercial vehicle, your privilege to operate a CMV will be suspended for:
•
•
2 convictions, separate incidents within 3 years: 60 days.
3 or more convictions, separate incidents within 3 years: 120 days suspension of your CMV privileges.
Also, depending on the severity of the traffic conviction, your noncommercial vehicle privileges may also be
suspended, which will include your privilege to operate a CMV.
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Railroad crossing violations
Railroad Crossing Violations
For drivers who are not required to always stop:
•
Failure to slow down and check the tracks
are clear of an approaching train.
For drivers who are always required to stop:
•
Failure to stop before reaching the crossing
when the tracks are not clear.
•
Failing to stop before driving onto the
crossing.
For all drivers:
•
Failing to have sufficient space to drive
completely through the crossing without
stopping
•
•
Failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance
Failing to obey a traffic control device or
the directions of an enforcement official at
the crossing.
If charged and convicted for a railroad crossing violation listed above, your CDL will be suspended for:
•
•
•
First conviction: 60 days.
Second conviction within three years: 120 days.
Three or more convictions within three years, separate incidents: 1 year.
Points assessed for convictions
A major, serious or railroad crossing conviction will also be assessed for points and posted to your driving record.
If you accumulate a total of 12 or more points within a two-year period, Driver Assessment, by law, may require your
appearance at a re-examination to assess your driving activities and to determine if a suspension or revocation of
your driving privilege is required.
What about serious alcohol violations while operating a CMV?
Ordered out-of-service for 24 hours if you:
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Refuse to take a preliminary breath test (PBT).
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Consume alcohol within four hours prior to operating a CMV.
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Consume alcohol while operating a CMV; or
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Have a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of 0.015 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath
or per 67 milliliters of urine.
Other alcohol violations: If you have consumed too much alcohol, you may be charged with:
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Operating while intoxicated.
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Operating with a high bodily alcohol content of 0.017.
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Operating while impaired by liquor.
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x
Operating with a BAC of 0.04 < 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath or per 67 milliliters
of urine.
Operating while under the influence, while intoxicated or with a high bodily alcohol content causing serious injury
or death.
You may be charged with operating under the influence or while impaired by controlled substances.
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Refusal to submit to a chemical test (Implied Consent*)
*Implied consent means that any person who holds a CDL is considered to have agreed to such testing;
consent is implied by operating a motor vehicle.
If you refuse to submit to a chemical test (Implied Consent), or if you are convicted of any of the alcohol offenses
listed above, your CDL will be:
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Suspended for one year for a first offense, or three years if transporting hazardous materials; and
Revoked for a minimum of 10 years for a second or third offense.
What are the CDL consequences for violations committed while operating
noncommercial vehicles?
Your CDL is a special privilege attached to your operator or chauffeur license. Therefore, if while operating a
noncommercial motor vehicle (including your personal vehicle), you are convicted of a traffic violation that
suspends or revokes your operator or chauffeur license, it will also suspend or revoke your privilege to operate a
CMV.
The length of the suspension or revocation of driving privileges will vary from 90 days to five years, depending on the
current conviction posted to your driving record and how many and the type of convictions already on your driving
record. Below is a partial list of convictions. You may find complete conviction information in the Michigan Vehicle
Code or on the Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos.
9
9
9
9
Refusal to submit to a chemical test (Michigan’s Implied Consent law).
Operating under the influence of liquor or controlled substance.
Operating while impaired by liquor or controlled substance.
Under 21 with a bodily alcohol content of 0.02 < 0.08.
What are the CMV operator’s responsibilities regarding notification of convictions and
suspensions?
You must notify your employer in writing of:
9
Traffic violations (other than a parking ticket) committed in any motor vehicle within 30 days of conviction. The
notification must include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Your full name and signature.
Your driver’s license number.
Date of conviction.
Specific violations committed.
Whether the violation was in a CMV.
The location of the violation.
You should also notify your employer in writing of:
9
9
Any driver’s license action, such as a suspension, revocation, cancellation, other loss of driving privileges or a
driving privilege disqualification by the end of the first business day that follows the day you received notice of
the license action.
Any out-of-service order within 24 hours.
How do I renew my CDL? Can I renew my CDL by mail?
CDLs cannot be renewed by mail. An operator or chauffeur CDL must be renewed every 4 years. Applicants
wanting an original or renewal of a CDL must do so at a Secretary of State office.
Section 1 Introduction
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
At the Secretary of State’s office you will:
•
Complete a BFS-103 CDL Certification Form (BFS-103, Appendix A) at every CDL application;
•
Present proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency. Acceptable proof is listed on the CDL
Certification Form;
•
Take a vision test after the branch receives clearance from both a state and national check;
1. If the commercial driver portion of your driver’s license has expired for 2 or more years, you will be
required to take both the vision and knowledge tests.
2. If the state or national checks reflect that your driving privilege is suspended, revoked, canceled or denied,
you cannot apply for an original or a renewal of a CDL until the state and national checks reflect clear.
What tests do I need to take to renew my CDL?
Unless you have a hazardous materials endorsement, no other tests will be required to renew your CDL.
If you currently have a hazardous materials endorsement on your CDL (H or X), you will be required to take the
hazardous materials endorsement test again, and pass it with a score of 80 percent or higher, to renew the
endorsement. The hazardous materials endorsement test is a written knowledge test consisting of 30 multiple choice
questions. An oral test for this endorsement is not permitted. All information needed to pass this test is in this
manual.
Unless you are adding a CDL privilege or your CDL privilege has expired two years or more, no other CDL
knowledge or skills tests will be required to renew your current CDL.
What happens if I fail the hazardous materials endorsement test?
You may continue using your CDL and hazardous materials endorsement until your driver’s license expires (on your
birthday). If you fail to pass the hazardous materials endorsement test, you may take it again as often as you wish to
try to pass it. If your driver’s license has not expired, you will be encouraged to delay its renewal for as long as
possible while trying to pass the hazardous materials endorsement exam.
However, If your CDL is about to expire, you may want to renew it without the hazardous materials endorsement.
This will allow you to continue to operate private and commercial motor vehicles but not transport hazardous
materials that require placards. If you pass the hazardous materials endorsement test after you renewed your
driver’s license, you may add the H-endorsement to your CDL by paying an $18 correction fee and a $5
endorsement fee.
What else do I need to know?
Do I need a chauffeur license?
A chauffeur license is required when a person is:
9
Employed for the principal purpose of operating a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles with a GVWR,
GCWR, GCW or GVW of 10,000 pounds or more.
9
Operating a motor vehicle as a carrier of passengers or as a common or contract carrier of property.
9
Operating a bus, school bus, taxi or limousine.
9
xii
Drivers operating a single vehicle or a combination of vehicles with a GVW, GVWR, GCW or GCWR of 10,000
pounds or more must meet the commercial driver medical requirements (including possession of the appropriate
medical card or medical waiver).
Section 1 Introduction
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Hazardous materials endorsement (H) - additional requirements: When applying for or renewing a CDL that
will include a hazardous material endorsement (H), you must apply for a background record check with the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and receive TSA approval to include a H-endorsement on your
four-year CDL. More information is available in Section 1, page 4, on the Secretary of State website at:
www.michigan.gov/sos, or on the TSA website at: https://hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov/Public/
If required, the CDL group designations and CDL endorsements are added to the chauffeur license.
What is required to convert my out-of-state CDL to a Michigan CDL?
When moving to Michigan from another state, you must apply for a Michigan CDL to operate a CMV. To obtain a
Michigan CDL, you must visit a Secretary of State office and:
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9
9
9
9
9
9
Surrender your out-of-state CDL.
Complete a computer check of your driving eligibility status through national and state records. If your driving
privilege is suspended, revoked, denied or canceled for any reason in any other state, you cannot receive your
Michigan CDL until the out-of-state licensing issues are resolved. The driving record check must be completed
by the branch office before your CDL can be issued.
Pass the vision test.
If your unexpired out-of-state license includes a hazardous materials endorsement, you will be required to show
proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency (see the CDL Certificate Form and the BFS-103 in
Appendix A for acceptable proof).
Take and pass the appropriate Michigan CDL written test if you are upgrading your group designation, adding
endorsements or removing the air brake restriction. To keep your H endorsement, you must always take and
pass the hazmat written test. Otherwise, written tests are not required if you are not upgrading your CDL.
Take and pass the Michigan CDL skills test if you are upgrading your group designation, adding the P
endorsement or removing a CDL limitation, such as the air brake restriction. If a CDL skills test is required, you
must wait until you receive your photo Michigan base license (operator or chauffeur) to take the test. Your
Michigan photo driver’s license must be presented to the third-party testing organization before your CDL skills
test can be administered. Generally, your regular driver’s license (operator or chauffeur) will be mailed to you
within 10 days.
Receive your Michigan CDL upon proper and successful completion of any necessary CDL tests and payment
of fees.
Do “incidental” drivers need a CDL?
Unless exempt, any driver who operates a CMV on roads or highways that are accessible to the public must have a
CDL regardless of the distance driven or the amount of driving time.
Where can I get additional information?
The following organizations can provide information regarding CDLs, commercial driver qualification requirements
and the operation of CMVs in Michigan:
Michigan Trucking Association
1131 Centennial Way
Lansing, MI 48917
517-321-1951
www.mitrucking.org
Section 1 Introduction
Michigan Center for Truck Safety
Suite 2
1131 Centennial Way
Lansing MI 48917
Lansing office – 800-682-4682
Upper Peninsula office –
800-469-7364
www.truckingsafety.org
Michigan Department of State
Department of State Information
Center
Lansing, MI 48918
888-SOS-MICH (767-6424)
www.Michigan.gov/sos
xiii
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
An “X” will appear on the license when an applicant receives both the N-Tank and H-Hazardous Materials endorsements.
Michigan CDL Guide: The following chart is designed to help you determine the type of CDL you need.
xiv
Section 1 Introduction
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 1
Do you need a CDL?
INTRODUCTION
No
This section covers:
9 CDL tests
9 Driver disqualifications
9 Other safety rules
1.1 – CDL tests
There is a federal requirement that each state have
minimum standards for drivers who wish to have a
CDL. This manual does not provide information on all
federal and state requirements needed before you can
drive a CMV. You may have to contact your state
driver’s licensing authority for additional information.
Does the vehicle or
combination of vehicles have
a manufacturer’s weight
rating (GVWR) over 26,000
pounds?
Yes
Is the vehicle a
combination
vehicle towing a
unit over 10,000
pounds GVWR?
Yes
You need
a Class A
CDL.
No
Does the single
vehicle have a
GVWR over
26,000 pounds?
Yes
You need
a Class B
CDL.
You must have a CDL to operate:
9
9
9
9
Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight
rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
A trailer with a GVWR of more than 10,000
pounds if the gross combination weight rating
(GCRW) is 26,001 pounds or more.
A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more
passengers (including the driver).
Any size vehicle that is used in the transportation
of any material that requires hazardous materials
placards or any quantity of material listed as a
select agent or toxin in 42 CRF 73.
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.
No
Is the vehicle
designed to
carry 16 or
more people
(including the
driver)?
Yes
You need
a Class C
CDL.
No
Does the
vehicle require
hazardous
material
placards or
transport a
select agent or
toxin?
Yes
You need
a Class C
CDL.
No
You DO NOT
need a CDL.
Figure 1.1
Figure 1.1 helps you determine if you need a CDL.
Note: A bus may be Class A, B or C depending on
whether the GVWR is over 26,001 pounds or if the
vehicle is a combination vehicle.
Section 1 Introduction
1
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
1.1.1 – Knowledge tests
On-road test
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:
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.
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9
9
2
X
X
X
3
X
X
X
The doubles/triples test, which is required if you
want to pull double or triple trailers.
The school bus test, which is required if you want
to drive a school bus.
If you pass the required knowledge tests, you can take
the CDL skills test. 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.
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.
Basic Vehicle Control. You will be tested on your skill
to control the vehicle. You will be asked to 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.
X
X
X
4
School Bus
X
Passenger
X
Tank Vehicles
The tanker test, which is required to haul a liquid
or liquid gas in a permanently mounted cargo tank
rated at 119 gallons or more or a portable tank
rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
1.1.2 – Skills test
2
X
Double / Triple
The hazardous materials test, which is required to
haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts that
require placarding or any quantity of a material
listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CRF 73.
Hazardous
Materials
9
Class C
9
1
The combination vehicles test, which is required if
you want to drive combination vehicles.
Sections to Study
9
What Sections Should You Study?
LICENSE
ENDORSEMENT
TYPE
The air brakes test, which you must take if your
vehicle has air brakes, including air-over-hydraulic
brakes.
Class B
9
The passenger transport test, taken by all bus
driver applicants.
Figure 1.2 details which sections of this manual you
should study for each particular class of license and
for each endorsement.
Class A
9
The general knowledge test, taken by all
applicants.
X
5*
X
6
X
X
X
X
X
7
X
X
8
X
9
X
X
10
X
11
X
X
X
X
X
12
X
X
X
X
X
13
X
X
X
X
X
*Study section 5 if you plan to operate vehicles
equipped with air brakes.
Figure 1.2 – What to study
1.2 – Driver disqualifications
1.2.1 - General
You may not drive a CMV if you are disqualified for
any reason.
Section 1 Introduction
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
1.2.2 – Alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident,
and commission of a felony
It is illegal to operate a CMV if your bodily alcohol
concentration (BAC) is 0.04 percent 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:
9
9
9
9
For at least 90 days if you have committed your
first violation of an out-of-service violation order.
For at least one year if you have committed two
out-of-service violation orders in a 10-year period.
For at least three years if you have committed
three or more out-of-service violation orders in a
10-year period.
Driving a CMV if your bodily alcohol concentration
is 0.04 percent or higher.
1.2.5 – Railroad-highway grade crossing violations
9
Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol.
9
9
Refusing to undergo bodily alcohol testing.
9
9
Driving a CMV while under the influence of a
controlled substance.
9
Leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV.
9
Committing a felony involving the use 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:
9
You will be put out-of-service for 24 hours if you have
any detectable amount of alcohol under 0.04 percent.
9
9
9
1.2.3 – Serious traffic violations
Serous 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 and traffic offenses committed in a
CMV in a connection with fatal traffic accidents.
9
9
You will lose your CDL:
9
9
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 serious traffic
violations within a three-year period involving a
CMV.
1.2.4 – Violation of out-of-service orders
You will lose your CDL:
Section 1 Introduction
For at least 120 days for your second violation
within any three-year period.
For at least one year for your third violation within
any three-year period.
These violations include violations of a federal, state or
local law or regulation pertaining to one of the
following six offenses at a railroad-highway grade
crossing:
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.
For at least 60 days for your first violation.
9
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.
1.2.6 – Hazardous materials endorsement required
federal background check and federal
disqualifications.
If you require a hazardous materials endorsement you
will be required to show proof of U.S. citizenship or
lawful permanent residency (See Appendix A for
acceptable proof). You will also be required to submit
3
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
your fingerprints and undergo a federal background
check by the Transportation Security Administration.
TSA will disqualify you from having a hazardous
materials endorsement if it finds that you:
•
Have been adjudicated as lacking mental
capacity or committed to a mental facility as
specified in 49 CFR 1572.109.
9
Are not a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
•
Renounce your U.S. citizenship.
9
Renounced your U.S. citizenship.
9
9
9
9
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 TSA.
1.3 – Other CDL rules
There are other federal and state rules that affect
drivers operating CMVs in all states. Among them are:
9
9
9
9
9
9
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, confiscate 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 employer 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 CMV 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 H
endorsement to the state that issued your CDL
within 24 hours if you:
•
4
9
Are convicted or found not guilty by reason of
insanity in a civilian or military jurisdiction of a
disqualifying felony listed in 49 CRF 1572.103.
9
Your employer may not let you drive a CMV if you
have more than one license or if your CDL is
suspended or revoked. A court may fine the
employer up to $25,000 or put him or her in jail for
breaking this rule.
All states are connected to a computerized system
to share information about CDL drivers. The states
will check drivers’ accident records and be sure
that drivers do not have more than one CDL.
Your state may have additional rules that you must
also follow.
1.4 – International Registration Plan;
International Fuel Tax Agreement
If you operate a CMV in interstate commerce, the
vehicle, with a 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 fuel taxes for vehicles traveling
throughout the 48 contiguous United States and 10
Canadian provinces.
Under the IRP, jurisdictions must register apportioned
vehicles which include 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 IRP include applying
for IRP registration with the base jurisdiction, providing
proper documentation for registration, paying the
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
Section 1 Introduction
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
with the 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.
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.
An IFTA licensee must retain records to support the
information reported on the IFTA quarterly tax return.
Although the actual format of the IVDR may vary,
the information that is required for proper record
keeping does not.
The IRP registrant and the IFTA licensee may be
the vehicle owner or the vehicle operator.
In order to satisfy the requirements for the IVDR, the
following information must be included:
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 motor vehicles:
Distance
Per Article IV of the IRP Plan
1. Date of trip (starting and ending).
For purposes of IRP
2. Trip origin and destination – city, state or
province.
Except as provided below, a qualified vehicle is 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:
3. Beginning and ending odometer or hub
odometer reading of the trip.
4. Total distance traveled.
1. Has two axles and a GVW or registered
5. In-jurisdiction distance.
GVW in excess of 26,000 pounds
(11,793.401 kilograms), or
6. Power unit number or vehicle identification
number.
2. Has three or more axles, regardless of
weight, or
3. Is used in combination, when the GVW of
such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds
(11,793.401 kilograms).
While similar, a qualified motor vehicle in IFTA means
a motor vehicle used, designed or maintained for
transportation of person or property and:
1. Having two axles and a GVW or registered
GVW exceeding 26,000 pounds (11,793.401
kilograms), or
Fuel
The IFTA Procedures Manual (Section P560) states:
1. Section P560.300 – An acceptable receipt or
invoice must include but shall not be limited
to the following:
¾ P560.005 – Date of purchase.
¾ P560.010 – Seller’s name and address.
¾ P560.015 – Number of gallons or liters
purchased.
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
(11,793.401 kilograms) GVW or registered
GVW. Qualified motor vehicles do 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 recordSection 1 Introduction
¾ P560.020 – Fuel type.
¾ P560.025 – Price per gallon or litter, or
total amount of sale.
¾ P560.30 – Unit number or other unique
vehicle identifier.
¾ P560.035 – Purchaser’s name.
5
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
An example of an IVDR that must be completed in its
entirety for each trip can be found in Figure 1. Each
individual IVDR should be filled out for only one
vehicle. The rules for determining how and when to log
an odometer reading are the following:
9
9
9
At the beginning of the day.
When leaving the state or province.
At the end of the trip or 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 states and provinces that you traveled
through on your route.
There are different routes that you 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.
will have ensured that you and your company are in
compliance with all state and provincial laws for 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 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 www.iftach.org/index.php.
By completing this document in full and keeping all
records required by both the IRP and the IFTA, you
6
Section 1 Introduction
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Figure 1 – Individual vehicle mileage and fuel record example
Section 1 Introduction
7
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 2
DRIVING SAFELY
This section covers:
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
Vehicle inspection
Basic control of your vehicle
Shifting gears
Seeing
Communicating
Controlling your speed
Space management
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, others 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 11 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
hazardous materials endorsement, you should study
Section 9.
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 vehicle. 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:
9
9
9
Watch gauges for signs of trouble.
Use your senses to check for problems (look,
listen, smell, feel).
Check critical items when you stop:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Tires, wheels and rims.
Brakes.
Lights and reflectors.
Brake and electrical connections to the trailer.
Trailer coupling devices.
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
9
9
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.
9
Cuts or damage.
2.1.1 Why inspect?
9
Tread separation.
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 breakdown on
9
2.1 Vehicle inspection
8
9
Dual tires that come in contact with each other or
parts of the vehicle.
Mismatched sizes.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Radial- and bias-ply tires used together.
suspension parts can be extremely dangerous. Look
for:
9
Cut or cracked valve stems.
9
9
Regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on the
front wheels of a bus. These are prohibited.
Wheel and rim problems
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
Damaged rims.
Rust around wheel nuts may mean the nuts are
loose; check their 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.
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9
9
Mismatched, bent or cracked lock rings are
dangerous.
Wheels of rims that have had welding repairs are
not safe.
Bad brake drums or shoes
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9
9
9
Spring hangers that allow movement of the axle
from its 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.
Air suspension systems that are damaged or
leaking. See Figure 2.4.
Any loose, cracked, broken or missing frame
members.
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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9
9
9
Missing nuts, bolts, cotter keys or other parts.
Bent, loose or broken parts, such as the steering
column, steering gear box or tie rods.
If power steering equipped, check hoses, pumps
and fluid level, check for leaks.
Steering wheel play of more than 10 degrees
(approximately 2 inches of movement at the rim
of a 20-inch steering wheel) can make it hard to
steer.
Figure 2.1
Figure 2.1 illustrates a typical steering system.
Suspension system defects
The suspension system holds up the vehicle and its
load. It keeps the axles in place. Therefore, broken
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Figure 2.4
Exhaust system defects
A broken exhaust system can let poisonous fumes
into the cab or sleeper berth. Look for:
Figure 2.2
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9
9
9
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 the
vehicle.
Exhaust system parts that are leaking.
Emergency equipment
Vehicles must be equipped with emergency
equipment. Look for:
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9
Figure 2.3
9
Fire extinguishers.
Spare electrical fuses (unless equipped with
circuit breakers).
Warning devices for parked vehicles (for
example, three reflective warning triangles).
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.
2.1.4 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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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.
2.1.5 Seven-step inspection method
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9
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 the general condition. Look for damage and
whether the vehicle is 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 the vehicle’s movement (people, other vehicles,
objects, low-hanging wires, limbs, etc.)
Vehicle inspection guide
Step 1: Vehicle overview
9
Step 2: Check engine compartment
Check that the parking brakes are on and that the
wheels are chocked. You may have to raise the
hood, tilt the cab (secure loose items so they don’t
fall and break something), or open the engine
compartment door. Check the following:
9
Engine oil level.
9
Coolant level in radiator, condition of hoses.
9
9
9
9
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).
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 the engine
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9
9
Make sure the parking brake is on.
Put gearshift in “neutral” (or “park” if automatic).
Start engine, listen for unusual noises.
Look at gauges
9
Review the last vehicle inspection report
You 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.
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.
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9
9
9
9
Oil pressure. 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.
Ammeter and voltmeter. Meters should be in the
normal range.
Coolant temperature. Temperature should begin
gradual rise to normal operating range.
Engine oil temperature. Temperature should
begin gradual rise to normal operating range.
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:
9
Steering wheel.
9
Clutch.
9
Accelerator (gas pedal).
Automatic transmission fluid level (may require
engine to be running).
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Brake controls, including the:
•
•
•
•
Check emergency equipment
9
Foot brake.
Trailer brake (if vehicle has one).
Parking brake.
Check for safety equipment:
•
Spare electrical fuses (unless vehicle has
circuit breakers).
•
Three, red reflective triangles.
•
Properly charged and rated fire extinguisher.
Retarder controls (if vehicle has them).
9
Transmission controls.
9
Interaxle differential lock (if vehicle has one).
9
Horn or horns.
9
Windshield wiper and washer.
9
Lights, including the:
9
List of emergency phone numbers.
•
Headlights.
9
Accident reporting kit (packet).
•
Dimmer switch.
Step 4: Turn off engine and check lights
•
Turn signal.
•
Four-way flashers.
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 flasher and get
out of the vehicle.
•
Parking, clearance, identification and marker
switch or switches.
9
Check for optional items such as:
•
•
Chains (where winter conditions require).
Tire changing equipment.
Step 5: Conduct a walk-around inspection
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9
9
9
9
Go to the front of the vehicle and check that low
beams are on and both of the four-way flashers
are working.
Push the 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 right-turn signal and start walk-around
inspection.
General
9
Figure 2.5
Check mirrors and windshield
Inspect mirrors and windshield for cracks, dirt, illegal
stickers or other obstructions to seeing clearly. Clean
and adjust as necessary.
12
9
Walk around and inspect the vehicle.
Clean all lights, reflectors and glass as you go
along.
Left front side
9
Driver’s door glass should be clean.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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Door latches or locks should work properly.
9
Left front wheel:
•
•
9
Condition of tires: Are they properly inflated,
are the valve stem and cap okay, with no
serious cuts, bulges or tread wear?
Use a wrench to test rust-streaked lug nuts,
indicating looseness.
9
•
Is the hub oil level okay, with no leaks?
9
Left front suspension:
•
Parking, clearance and identification lights
should be clean, operating and the proper
color (amber at front).
•
Reflectors should be clean and the proper
color (amber at front).
•
Right front turn signal light should be clean,
operating and the proper color (amber or white
signals facing forward).
Right Side
•
•
9
Condition of wheel and rims: Are they missing,
bent, have broken studs, clamps, lugs or any
signs of misalignment?
•
9
Condition of spring, spring hangers, shackles
and u-bolts.
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 or tanks:
•
•
•
•
Shock absorber condition.
Securely mounted, not damaged or leaking.
Fuel crossover line is secure.
All tanks contain enough fuel.
All caps are on and secure.
Left front brake
•
•
9
Condition of visible parts.
Condition of brake drum or disc.
•
Rear of engine – not leaking.
Front
•
Transmission – not leaking.
9
Condition of front axle.
•
9
Exhaust system – secure, not leaking, not
touching wires or fuel and air lines.
Condition of steering system.
•
Frame and cross members – no bends or
cracks.
•
Air lines and electrical wiring – secured against
snagging, rubbing and wearing.
•
Spare tire carrier or rack is not damaged (if so
equipped).
9
•
No loose, worn, bent, damaged or missing
parts.
•
Must grab steering mechanism to test for
looseness.
Condition of windshield
•
Check for damage and clean if dirty.
•
Spare tire or wheel is securely mounted in
rack.
•
Check windshield wiper arms for proper spring
tension.
•
Spare tire and wheel are the proper size and
properly inflated.
•
9
Condition of hoses.
Check wiper blades for damage, “stiff” rubber
and securement.
Lights and reflectors:
Section 2 Driving Safely
9
Cargo securement (trucks).
•
Cargo is properly blocked, braced, tied,
chained, etc.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
•
Header board is adequate and secure (if
required).
•
Side boards and stakes are strong enough,
free of damage, properly set in place (if so
equipped).
•
•
•
9
Canvas or tarp (if required) is properly secured
to prevent tearing, billowing or blocking of
mirrors.
If oversized, all required signs (flags, lamps
and reflectors) are safely and properly
mounted and all required permits in the driver’s
possession.
Curbside cargo compartment doors are in
good condition, securely closed, latched or
locked and the required security seals are in
place.
9
Right rear
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9
9
Condition of wheels and rims: Are there missing,
bent or broken spacers, studs, clamps or lug
nuts?
9
Tires should be the same type, e.g., not mixing
radial and bias types.
9
Tires should be evenly matched (same sizes).
9
Wheel bearings and seals should not be leaking.
9
Suspension:
9
•
Condition of the springs, spring hangers,
shackles and u-bolts.
9
•
Axle secure.
•
Powered axles not leaking lube (gear oil).
14
Condition of the torque rod arms and bushings.
•
Condition of the shock absorbers.
If retractable axle equipped, check the
condition of the lift mechanism. If air powered,
check for leaks.
•
Condition of air ride components.
Brakes.
•
Brake adjustment.
•
Condition of brake drums or discs.
•
Condition of hoses – look for any wear due to
rubbing.
Lights and reflectors.
•
Side-marker lights clean, operating and the
proper color (red at rear, others are amber).
•
Side-marker reflectors clean and the proper
color (red at rear, others are amber).
Rear
Condition of tires: Are they properly inflated, with
no serious cuts, bulges or tread wear, are the
valve stems and caps okay, are the tires rubbing
against each other or is anything stuck between
them?
•
•
Lights and reflectors.
•
Rear clearance and identification lights clean,
operating and the proper color (red at rear).
•
Reflectors clean and the proper color (red at
rear).
•
Taillights clean, operating and the proper color
(red at rear).
•
Right rear turn signal operating and the proper
color (red, yellow or amber at rear).
License plates are present, clean and secured.
Splash guards are present, not damaged, are
properly fastened, not dragging on the ground or
rubbing against the tires.
9
Cargo secure (trucks).
9
Cargo properly blocked, brace, tied or chained.
9
Tailboards are up and properly secured.
9
End gates free of damage, properly secured in
stake sockets.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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9
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Canvas or tarp (if required) is 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
or additional lights and flags are safely and
properly mounted and all required permits are in
the driver’s possession.
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9
9
Check all times as done on right side, plus:
•
All batteries (if not mounted in engine
compartment).
Left rear turn signal light and both stop lights
should be clean, operating and the proper color
(red, yellow or amber).
Get in vehicle
Rear doors securely closed, latched or locked.
Left side
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9
9
Turn off lights not needed for driving.
Check for all required papers, trip manifests,
permits, etc.
Secure all loose articles in the 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
•
All battery boxes should be securely mounted
to the vehicle.
•
All battery boxes should have a secure cover.
•
All batteries should be secured against
movement.
•
All batteries should not be broken or leaking.
•
Fluid in all batteries should be at the proper
level (maintenance-free batteries are sealed
and cannot be checked).
•
•
Cell caps should be present and securely
tightened (maintenance-free batteries are
sealed and cannot be checked).
Vents in cell caps should be free of foreign
material (maintenance-free batteries are
sealed and cannot be checked).
Step 6: Check signal lights
Get in and turn off lights
9
9
9
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.
Get out and check lights
9
Left front turn signal light should be clean,
operating and the proper color (amber or white
on signals facing the front).
Section 2 Driving Safely
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 5 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
Test parking brake
9
Fasten seal belt.
9
Allow vehicle to move forward slowly.
9
Apply parking brake.
9
If the parking brake fails and does not stop the
vehicle, get it fixed.
Test service brake stopping action
9
Get vehicle up to about 5 mph.
9
Push brake pedal firmly.
9
9
“Pulling” to one side or the other can mean brake
trouble.
Any unusual brake pedal “feel” or delayed
stopping action can mean trouble.
If you find anything unsafe during the pre-trip
inspection, get it fixed. Federal and state laws forbid
operating an unsafe vehicle.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
2.1.6 Inspection during a trip
7. Name some things you should check on the
front of your vehicle during the walk-around
inspection.
Check vehicle operation regularly
8. What should wheel bearing seals be
You should check:
checked for?
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
Instruments.
Air pressure gauge (if you have air brakes).
Temperature gauges.
Pressure gauges.
Ammeter and voltmeter.
Mirrors.
Tires.
Cargo and cargo covers.
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 after that (whichever comes
first).
2.1.7 After-trip inspection and report
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.
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 CMV
requires skill in:
9
9
9
9
Accelerating.
Steering.
Stopping.
Backing safely.
You may have to make a written report each day on
the condition of the vehicle you drove. Report
anything affecting safety or possibly leading to
mechanical breakdown.
Fasten your seatbelt when on the road. Apply the
parking brake when you leave your vehicle.
Subsection 2.1 Test your knowledge
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 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.
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?
2.2.1 Accelerating
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
16
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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
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:
9
Start in the proper position.
9
Look at your path.
9
Use mirrors on both sides.
9
Back slowly.
9
9
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 to maximize your ability to
see your vehicle and the area around it. 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
Back and turn toward the driver’s side whenever
possible.
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
Use a helper whenever possible.
Basic method for shifting up
These rules are discussed in turn below.
Start in the proper position
Most heavy vehicles with manual transmissions
require double clutching to change gears. This is the
basic method:
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.
9
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.
9
9
9
9
Release accelerator, push in the clutch and shift
to neutral at the same time.
Release the clutch.
Let engine and gears slow down to the rpm
required for the next gear (this takes practice).
Push in the clutch and shift to the higher gear at
the same time.
Release clutch and press the accelerator at the
same time.
Shifting gears using double clutching requires
practice. If you remain too long in neutral, you may
have difficulty putting the vehicle into the next gear. If
Section 2 Driving Safely
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
so, don’t try to force it. Return to neutral, release the
clutch, increase the engine speed to match road
speed and try again.
Knowing when to shift up
There are two ways of knowing when to shift up.
1. Use engine speed (rpm)
2. Before entering a curve
Slow down to a safe speed and downshift to the right
gear before entering the curve. 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
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.)
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. Use road speed (mph)
2.3.3 Automatic transmissions
Learn what speeds each gear is good for. Then, by
using the speedometer, you’ll know when to shift up.
Basic procedures for shifting down
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.
9
2.3.4 Retarders
With either method, you may learn to use engine
sounds to know when to shift.
9
9
9
9
9
Release the accelerator, push in the clutch and
shift to neutral at the same time.
Release the clutch.
Press the accelerator, increase engine and gear
speed to the rpm required in the lower gear.
Push in the clutch and shift to the lower gear at
the same time.
Release the clutch and press the 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:
1. 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.
18
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.
Subsections 2.2 and 2.3 Test your knowledge
1. Why should you back toward the driver’s
side?
2. If stopped on a hill, how can you start
moving without rolling back?
3. When backing, why is it important to use a
helper?
4. What’s the most important hand signal that
you and the helper should agree on?
5. What are the two special conditions where
you should downshift?
Section 2 Driving Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
6. When should you downshift automatic
transmissions?
7. Retarders keep you from skidding when the
before you get there. Start slowing down and be
ready to stop.
2.4.2 Seeing to the sides and rear
road is slippery. True or false?
8. 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.
2.4.1 Seeing ahead
All drivers look ahead; but many don’t look far
enough ahead.
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
trailers 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.
Importance of looking far enough ahead
Regular checks
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 to look ahead.
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.
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.
Special situations
Special situations require more regular mirror checks.
These are lane changes, turns, merges and tight
maneuvers.
Lane changes
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
Section 2 Driving Safely
You need to check your mirrors to make sure no one
is alongside you or about to pass you. Check your
mirrors:
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Before you change lanes to make sure there is
enough room.
After you have signaled, check that no one has
moved into your blind spot.
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Right after you start the lane change, to doublecheck 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.
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
Merges
When merging, use your mirrors to make sure the
gap in traffic is large enough for you to enter safely.
There are three good rules for using turn signals:
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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.
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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” or “bug eye”) 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.
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Cancel your signal. Don’t forget to turn off your
turn signal after you’ve turned (if you don’t have
self-canceling signals).
Put your turn signal on before changing lanes.
Change lanes slowly and smoothly. That way, drivers
you didn’t see may have a chance to sound their horn
and alert you to their presence or take measures to
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 drivers in any of the
following situations:
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Signal continuously. You need both hands on the
wheel to turn safely. Don’t cancel the signal until
you have completed the turn.
Lane changes
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Figure 2.7
Signal early. Signal well before you turn. It is the
best way to keep others from trying to pass you.
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 a 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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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Drive 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.)
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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.
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
Figure 2.8
At dawn and 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.
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 10 minutes. Place your warning
devices at the following locations:
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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.
Section 2 Driving Safely
Figure 2.9
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 a
hill or curve, move the rear-most triangle to a point
back down the road so warning is provided. When
putting out the triangles, hold them between yourself
and the oncoming traffic for your own safety – so
other drivers can see you. See Figure 2.10.
Perception distance
This is the distance your vehicle travels from the time
your eyes see a hazard until your brain recognizes it.
The perception time for an alert driver is about 3/4
second. At 55 mph, you travel 60 feet in 3/4 second
or about 81 feet per second.
Reaction distance
The distance traveled from the time your brain tells
your foot to move from the accelerator until your foot
is actually pushing the brake pedal. The average
driver has a reaction time of 3/4 second. This
accounts for an additional 60 feet traveled at 55 mph.
Braking distance
The distance it takes to stop once the brakes are put
on. At 55 mph on dry pavement with good brakes, it
can take a heavy vehicle about 390 feet to stop. It
takes about 4 ½ seconds.
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 2.10
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
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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 times greater.
The braking distance is also four times longer. Triple
the speed from 20 to 60 mph and the impact and
Section 2 Driving Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
braking distance is nine 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.
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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 distance 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. 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 half or more. If the
surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop
driving as soon as you can safely do so.
Identifying slippery surfaces
Sometimes it’s hard to know if the road is slippery.
Here are some signs of slippery roads:
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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 of ice that is
clear enough that you can see the road
underneath it. It makes the road look wet.
Anytime the temperature is below freezing and
the road looks wet, watch out for black ice.
Section 2 Driving Safely
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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 is ice on these
structures, 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 enough, they
don’t work well.)
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.
2.6.3 Speed and curves
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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 traffic, if you can, without going at an
illegal or unsafe speed. Keep a safe following
distance.
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. How far does the manual say you should
look?
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.
2.6.6 Speed on downgrades
2. What are two main things to look for
ahead?
3. What’s your most important way to see the
sides and rear of your vehicle?
4. What does “communicating” mean in safe
driving?
5. Where should your reflectors be placed
when stopped on a divided highway?
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:
6. What three things add up to total stopping
distance?
7. If you go twice as fast, will your stopping
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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
the 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.”
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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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 the
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 4 seconds between you
and the vehicle ahead. In a 60-foot rig, you’ll need 6
seconds. Over 40 mph, you’d need 5 seconds for a
40-foot vehicle and 7 seconds for a 60-foot vehicle.
See Figure 2.12.
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 thousandand-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 10 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 4 seconds of following
distance (or 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 1 second for speeds
above 40 mph. Also, remember that when the road is
slippery, you need much more space to stop.
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 vehicle 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 not pass another slow vehicle
unless you can 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:
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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.
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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.
Figure 2.12
Section 2 Driving Safely
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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.
posted on low bridges or underpasses, but not
always.
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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.
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Traveling next to others
There are two dangers in traveling alongside other
vehicles:
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Another driver may change lanes suddenly and
turn into you.
You may be trapped when you need to change
lanes.
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 tree limbs or
electrical 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 ends of some vehicles to drag. Cross such
depressions carefully.
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.
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.
Strong winds
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.
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.
2.7.6 Space for turns
Right turns
2.7.4 Space overhead
Here are some rules to help prevent right-turn
crashes:
Hitting overhead objects is a danger. Make sure you
always have overhead clearance.
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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. Do not
assume that if your vehicle made it under a
bridge when carrying cargo that it will also be
able to do so when it is 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
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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,
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
don’t back up for them because you might hit
someone behind you. See Figure 2.13.
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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.
2.8 Seeing hazards
2.8.1 Importance of seeing hazards
What is a hazard?
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 Figure 2.14.
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 its brake lights come on.
This could mean that the driver is uncertain about
taking the off-ramp and the vehicle might suddenly
return to the highway. This car is a hazard. If the
driver cuts in front of you, it is no longer just a hazard;
it is an emergency.
Seeing hazards lets you be prepared
You will have more time to act if you see hazards
before they become emergencies. In the example
just given, you might make a lane change or slow
down to prevent a crash if the car suddenly cut in
front of you. Seeing this hazard give 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
Figure 2.14
2.7.7 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
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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
zones. Use your four-way flashers or brake lights to
warn drivers behind you.
Drop offs
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.
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 the driver may back out or
enter into your lane. Always be prepared to stop.
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.
Foreign objects
Parked vehicles can be hazards
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.
Parked vehicles can be hazards, especially when
people start to get out of them. Or, the driver may
suddenly pull out from the parking space into your
lane. Watch for movement inside the vehicle and
movement of the vehicle itself that may indicate the
vehicle is leaving the parking space and in which
direction. Watch for brake lights, backup lights,
exhaust and other clues that a parked vehicle 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.
Off-ramps and on-ramps
Pedestrians and bicyclists can also be a hazard
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 offramp or on-ramp.
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.
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, ice-covered
or snow-covered windows are hazards.
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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.
They may dart out unexpectedly from a side street or
from between parked vehicles. 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.
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Workers
People working on or near the roadway are a
possible hazard. Their work creates a distraction for
other drivers and the workers themselves may not
see you.
prevent a crash. Some vehicles because of their
function and design are slow moving and seeing
them is a hazard clue (for example, mopeds, farm
machinery, construction equipment, 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.
Ice cream trucks
Driver signaling a turn may be a hazard.
The presence of an ice cream truck is another clue to
a possible hazard. Children may unexpectedly run
into the street, forget to look for traffic and not see
you.
Disabled vehicles
Drivers changing a tire or fixing an engine often do
not pay attention to the danger that traffic presents.
They may be distracted and may not take
precautions to ensure their safety while stopped on
the side of the road. Vehicles on jacks or with raised
hoods are clues that a hazard may be present.
Crashes
Crashes are particularly hazardous. People involved
in a crash may not look for traffic. Passing drivers
tend to “rubberneck” or slow down to see what
happened. Vehicles may slow or stop suddenly.
Shoppers
People in and around shopping areas are often not
watching traffic because they are looking for stores or
gazing in 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. Take care if you notice vehicles with
car-top luggage and out-of-state license plates.
Unexpected actions (stopping in the middle of the
block, changing lanes for no apparent reason or
backup lights suddenly going on) are clues that the
driver may be uncertain as to what to do and may
alter his or her course with little or no warning.
Hesitation is another clue that a driver may be
distracted, including driving very slowly, using the
brakes often or stopping in the middle of an
intersection. You may also see drivers who are
looking for street signs or house numbers or reading
maps. These drivers may not be paying attention to
you.
Slow drivers
Motorists who fail to maintain proper speeds are
hazards. Seeing slow moving vehicles early may
Section 2 Driving Safely
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 traffic.
Drivers in a hurry
Drivers may feel your 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 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 present a serious hazard
to other drivers. If you see drivers engaged in any of
the following behaviors, use extra caution:
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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).
Opening a window in cold weather.
Speeding up or slowing down suddenly, driving
too fast or too slow.
Be alert for drunken 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 the vehicle is about to turn
even though the turn signals aren’t on. Drivers
making over-the-shoulder checks may be going to
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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
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 crash scenes. Watch for other drivers
who are in a conflict because they are a hazard to
you. When they react to the 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 hazards – they may
turn into emergencies. You look for hazards in order
to have time to plan a way of avoiding an emergency.
When you see a hazard, think about all of the
dangerous situations that could emerge and decide
how you would react to each to keep yourself and
others as safe as possible. Always be prepared to
take action based on your plans. In this way, you will
be a prepared, defensive driver who will improve your
own safety as well as the safety of all road users.
2.9 Distracted driving
Whenever you are driving a vehicle and your
attention is not on the road, you’re putting yourself,
your passengers, other vehicles and pedestrians in
danger. Distracted driving can result when you
perform any activity that may shift your full attention
from the driving task. Taking your eyes off the road or
hands off the steering wheel presents obvious risks.
Mental activities that take your mind away from
driving are just as dangerous. Your eyes can gaze at
objects in the driving scene but fail to see them
because your attention is diverted elsewhere.
Activities 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, reading billboards and other road
advertisements, watching other people and vehicles
including aggressive drivers, talking on a cell phone
or CB radio, using telematic devices (such as
navigation systems, pagers, etc.), daydreaming or
being occupied with other mental distractions.
2.9.1 Don’t drive distracted
If drivers react a half-second slower because of
distractions, crash rates double. Some tips to follow
to avoid distracted driving:
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Subsections 2.7 and 2.8 Test your knowledge
Review and be totally familiar with all safety and
usage features on any in-vehicle electronics,
including your wireless or cell phone, before you
drive.
1. How do you find out how many seconds of
following distance space you have?
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Preprogram radio stations.
2. If you are driving a 30-foot vehicle at 55
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Preload your favorite CDs or cassette tapes.
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Clear any vehicle of any unnecessary objects.
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?
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5. What is a hazard?
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6. Why make emergency plans when you see
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a hazard?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.7 and 2.8.
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Review maps and plan your route before you
begin driving.
Adjust all mirrors for best all-round visibility
before starting your trip.
Don’t attempt to read or write while you drive.
Avoid smoking, eating and drinking while you
drive.
Don’t engage in complex or emotionally intense
conversations with other occupants.
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2.9.2 Use in-vehicle communication equipment
cautiously
Give a distracted driver plenty of room and maintain
your safe following distance.
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Be very careful when passing a driver who seems to
be distracted. The other driver may not be aware of
your presence, and he or she may drift in front of you.
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When possible, pull off the road in a safe, legal
place when making or receiving a call on
communication equipment.
If possible, turn the cell phone off until your
destination is reached.
Position the cell phone within easy reach.
Preprogram cell phones with commonly called
numbers.
If you have to place a call, find a safe place to
pull off the road. Do not place a call while driving.
Some jurisdictions required that only hands-free
devices can be used while driving. Even these
devices are unsafe to use when you are moving
down the road.
2.10 Aggressive drivers and 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
regards for the rights or safety of others.
If you must use your cell phone, keep
conversations short. Develop ways to get free of
long-winded friends and associates while on the
road. Never use the cell phone for social visiting.
Road rage is operating a motor vehicle with the intent
of doing harm to others or physically assaulting a
driver or vehicle.
Hang up in tricky traffic situations.
2.10.2 Don’t be an aggressive driver
Do not use the equipment when approaching
locations with heavy traffic, road construction,
heavy pedestrian traffic or in severe weather
conditions.
Do not attempt to type or read messages on your
satellite system while driving.
How you feel before you even start your vehicle has
a lot to do with how stress will affect you while
driving.
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2.9.3 Watch out for other distracted drivers
You need to be able to recognize other drivers who
are engaged in any form of distracted driving. Not
recognizing other distracted drivers can prevent you
from perceiving or reacting correctly in time to
prevent a crash. Watch for:
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Vehicles that may drift over the lane divider lines
or within their own lane.
Vehicles traveling at inconsistent speeds.
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Drivers who are preoccupied with maps, food,
cigarettes, cell phone or other objects.
Drivers who appear to be involved in
conversations with their passengers.
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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 drives 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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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Don’t drive slowly in the left lane of traffic.
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.9 and 2.10.
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.
2.11 Driving at night
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
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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-yourown in your travel lane.
Avoid eye contact.
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Ignore gestures and refuse to react to them.
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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 nighttime driving involve the driver, the roadway
and the vehicle.
2.11.2 Driver factors
Vision
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2.11.1 It’s more dangerous
Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate
authorities by providing a vehicle description,
license plate 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.
Subsections 2.9 and 2.10 Test your knowledge
1. What are some tips to follow so you won’t
become a distracted driver?
2. How do you use in-vehicle communications
equipment cautiously?
People can’t see as sharply at night or in dim light.
Also, their eyes need time to adjust to seeing in dim
light. Most people have noticed this when walking
into a dark movie theater.
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 (being tired) and lack of alertness are bigger
problems at night. The body’s need for sleep is
beyond a person’s control. Most people are less alert
at night, especially after midnight. This is particularly
true if you have been driving for a long time. Drivers
may not see hazards as soon or react as quickly, so
the chance of a crash is greater. If you are sleepy,
the only safe cure it to get off the road and get some
sleep. If you don’t, you risk your life and the lives of
others.
3. How do you recognize a distracted driver?
2.11.3 Roadway factors
4. What is the difference between aggressive
Poor lighting
driving and road rage?
5. What should you do when confronted with
an aggressive driver?
6. What are some things you can do to reduce
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.
your stress before and while you drive?
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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.
Drunken drivers
Drunken 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 350-500 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.
Nighttime 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 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.
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Reflectors.
Marker lights.
Clearance lights.
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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, obscuring 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 okay 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. Glare can also bother
other drivers ahead of you when your lights shine in
their rearview mirrors. Dim your lights before they
cause glare for other drivers. Dim your lights within
500 feet of an oncoming vehicle and when following
another vehicle within 500 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 high beams on. This increases glare for
oncoming drivers and increases the chances 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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
see ahead. Use high beams when it is safe and legal
to do so. Use them when you are not within 500 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 driving 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
and effective remedy is to get some 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 “don’t.” 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:
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Obey all fog-related warning signs.
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Slow down before you enter fog.
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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 four-way flashers. This will give
vehicles approaching you from behind a greater
chance of seeing 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.
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Listen for traffic you cannot see.
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Avoid passing other vehicles.
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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 pre-trip
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., heaters for the
mirrors, battery boxes or fuel tanks), 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 of 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 crosslinks. Make sure they will fit your drive tires. Check
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
the chains for broken hooks, worn or broken crosslinks and bent or broken side chains. Learn how to
put the chains on before you need to do it in snow
and ice.
your mirrors and wiper blades for ice. If they have ice,
the road most likely will be icy as well.
Lights and reflectors
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.)
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 and slush from the
windshield, windows and mirrors before starting. Use
a windshield scraper, snow brush and windshield
defroster as necessary.
Adjust turning and braking to conditions
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 point where ice begins to melt, the road becomes
even more slippery. Slow down more.
Hand holds, steps and deck plates
Adjust space to conditions
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 (a colorless, odorless gas) 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
Don’t drive alongside other vehicles. Keep a longer
following distance. When you see a traffic jam ahead,
slow down or stop and 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 of the other and even
jackknifing if you’re pulling a trailer.
Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing water if
possible. If not, you should:
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Slippery surfaces
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Drive slowly and smoothly on slippery roads. If it is
very slippery, you shouldn’t drive at all. Stop at the
first safe place.
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Start gently and slowly
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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
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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 and 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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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Shut the engine off.
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Wait until the engine has cooled.
2.14.1 Vehicle checks
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Protect your hands (use gloves or a thick cloth).
Do a normal pre-trip inspection but pay special
attention to the following items.
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Tires
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pressure and accelerator at the same time or you
can overheat brake drums and linings.)
2.14 Driving in very hot weather
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 and
lubricated. Make sure there is enough engine oil. If
you have an oil temperature 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.
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:
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Turn the radiator cap slowly to the first stop,
which releases the pressure seal.
Step back while pressure is released from the
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 the cap and turn it 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 or fan properly. This will result in
overheating. Also, check belts for cracking or other
signs of wear.
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 were 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. You should use low beams whenever you
can. True or false?
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2. What should you do before you drive if you
are drowsy?
3. What effects can wet brakes cause? How
can you avoid these problems?
4. You should let air out of hot tires so the
pressure goes back to normal. True or
false?
5. 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 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.
2.15.1 Types of crossings
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 no-passing marking on two-lane roads.
See Figure 2.16.
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 on the
tracks 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-on-yellow warning sign is place
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 one is coming. See Figure 2.15.
Section 2 Driving Safely
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 a
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
line painted on the pavement, you must stop the bus
before the crossbuck sign. 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.
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Reduce speed
Speed must be reduced in accordance with your
ability to see approaching trains in any direction.
Proceed at a speed which would permit you to stop
your vehicle safely and quickly before the tracks if a
short-stop maneuver becomes necessary.
Don’t expect to hear a train
Because of noises within the environment and your
vehicle, you cannot expect to hear a train’s horn until
the train is dangerously close to the crossing.
Don’t rely on signals
You should not rely solely on the presence of warning
signals, gates or flagmen to warn of the approach of
a train. Be especially alert at crossings that do not
have gates or flashing red-light signals.
Figure 2.17
Flashing red light signals
At many highway-rail 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.
Double tracks require a double check
Remember that a train on one track may hide a train
on another track. Look both ways before crossing.
After one train has passed a crossing, be sure that no
other trains are approaching and that the crossing is
clear 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 urban yard areas and grade crossings with
as much caution as you would a rural crossing.
2.15.4 Stopping safely at railroad-highway
crossings
A full stop is required at grade crossings whenever:
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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:
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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.
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Check for traffic behind you while coming to a
gradual stop. Use a pullout land if available.
Turn on your four-way emergency flashers.
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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
are forced to stop on the tracks. Be sure you can get
all the way across the tracks before proceeding. It
takes a typical tractor-trailer 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 at raised
crossings:
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Low slung units (lowboys, car carriers, moving
vans or possum-belly livestock trailers).
Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle
tractor.
If for any reason, you get stuck on the tracks, get out
of the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check
signposts or the 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 or the heavier your
load, the more you will have to use lower gears to
climb hills or mountains. In coming down long, steep
grades, gravity causes the speed of your vehicle to
increase. You must select an appropriate safe speed;
use a low gear and proper braking techniques. You
should plan ahead and obtain information about any
long, steep grades along your route. If possible, talk
to other drivers who are familiar with the area 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
overheated brakes, they can continue fading until
they fail and 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:
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Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
Length of the grade.
Steepness of the grade.
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Road conditions.
Weather.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign indicating
the maximum safe speed, never exceed the speed
limit 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
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 power
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 power.
With older trucks, a rule of thumb 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, brake linings wear faster
when they are hot. Therefore, brake adjustment must
be checked frequently.
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2.16.4 Proper braking technique
2.17 Driving emergencies
Remember
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. Following are some fundamental
strategies for responding to emergency situations.
The use of brakes on a long or steep down grade 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:
Step 1. Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
Step 2. When your speed has been reduced to
approximately 5 mph below your “safe” speed,
release the brakes. (This brake application should
last for about 3 seconds.)
Step 3. 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 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.
2.17.1 Steering to avoid a crash
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. Steering to
avoid a crash may cause a top heavy vehicle or a
tractor with multiple trailers to 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
ensure that you’ll be prepared to react quickly in the
event of an emergency is to make it a practice to
always drive with both hands on the wheel.
How to turn quickly and safely
A quick turn can be made safely if it’s done the right
way. Safe drivers will keep the following points in
mind:
Know escape ramp locations on your route. Signs
show drivers where ramps are located. Escape
ramps save lives, equipment and cargo.
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Subsections 2.15 and 2.16 Test your knowledge
9
1. 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 tractor-
trailer 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.
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Do not apply the brakes 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 “counter-steer,” 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 counter-steer, you won’t be able
to do it quickly enough. You should think of
emergency steering and counter-steering as two
parts of one driving action.
Where to steer
If an oncoming vehicle 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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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If you have been using your mirrors, you’ll know
which lane is empty and can be safely used.
If the shoulder is clear, moving to the 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.
Most shoulders are strong enough to support the
weight of a large vehicle and, therefore, offer an
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.
2.17.2 How to stop quickly and safely
If somebody suddenly pulls 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 your 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
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Apply your brakes all the way.
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Release the brakes when the wheels lock up.
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Keep one set of wheels on the pavement if
possible.
Keeping at least one set of wheels on the pavement
will help you better control the vehicle.
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:
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Hold the wheel tightly with both hands 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,
counter-steer immediately. The two turns should
be made as a single “steer-counter-steer”
movement.
Section 2 Driving Safely
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.)
Don’t jam on the brakes
Emergency braking does not mean pushing 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.)
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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.
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Downshift. Putting the vehicle into a lower gear
will help slow the vehicle.
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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.
Your best hope is an escape ramp. If there is one,
there will 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 helps slow the vehicle and bring 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 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 the failure
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Sound. The long “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:
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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.
Stay off the brakes. 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 correctly. 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 activate 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.
Quickly knowing you have a tire failure will let you
have more time to react. 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:
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2.18.1 How ABS works
2.18.4 How ABS helps you
Sensors detect potential wheel lockup. An electronic
control unit (ECU) will then decrease brake pressure
to avoid wheel lockup.
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 wheels.
Brake pressure is adjusted to provide the maximum
braking without danger of lockup.
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 ABS
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that
ABS be on:
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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 pounds or
more built on or after March 1, 1999.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lockup 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 the skids caused by
over-braking.
2.18.5 ABS on only the tractor or only the trailer
Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer or
even only on 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.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less likely
to swing out. 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.
Many commercial vehicles built before these dates
have been voluntarily equipped with ABS.
2.18.6 Braking with ABS
2.18.3 How to know if your vehicle is equipped
with ABS
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should brake
as you always have.
Tractors, trucks and buses will have yellow ABS
malfunction lamps on the instrument panel.
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Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on
the left side, either on the front or rear corner.
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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 quickly out. On older systems,
the lamp could stay on until you are driving over
5 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 ABS
was required by the U.S. 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.
Section 2 Driving Safely
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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, trailer or on both
the tractor and trailer.
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.
As a system check on new vehicles, the malfunction
lamp comes on at the start-up for a bulb check and
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
then goes out quickly. On older systems the lamp
could stay on until you are driving over 5 mph.
occur when using the speed retarder on a slippery
road.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes on
once you are underway, you may have lost ABS
control on one or more wheels.
Over-steering
Over-steering is when the wheels are turned more
sharply than the vehicle can turn.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have
regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the system
serviced soon.
Over-acceleration
2.18.8 Safety reminders
Your vehicle will over-accelerate when too much
power is supplied to the drive wheels, causing them
to spin.
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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.
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
over-brake or over-steer from too much speed.
2.19.1 Drive-wheel skids
ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping distance.
ABS will help maintain vehicle control, but not
always shorten stopping distance.
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.
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 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:
•
The best vehicle safety feature is still a safe
driver.
•
Drive so you never need to use your ABS.
•
If you need it, ABS could help prevent a
serious crash.
2.19 Skid control and recovery
A skid happens whenever the tires lose their grip on
the road. This is cause in one of four ways.
Over-braking
Braking too hard and locking up the wheels is overbraking, which can lead to a skid. Skids can also
Figure 2.19
44
Section 2 Driving Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
2.19.2 Correcting a drive-wheel braking skid
2.20 Accident procedures
Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking skid.
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:
9
9
Stop braking. This will let the rear wheels roll
again and keep the rear wheels from sliding.
Counter-steer. 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 counter-steer in a skid
takes a lot of practice. The best place to practice is
on a large driving range or “skid pad.”
9
9
9
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:
9
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 that is improperly loaded so
that not enough weight is on the front axle. In a frontwheel skid, the front tend 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
or braking so hard. Slow down as quickly as possible
without skidding.
Subsections 2.17, 2.18 and 2.19 – Test your
knowledge
1. Stopping is not always the safest thing to
do in an emergency. True or false?
2. What are some advantages of going right
instead of left around an obstacle?
3. What is an “escape ramp”?
4. If a tire blows out, you should put the
brakes on hard to stop quickly. True or
false?
5. How do you know if your vehicle has ABS?
9
9
9
Section 2 Driving Safely
If you’re stopping to help, park away from the
accident. The area immediately around the
accident will be needed for emergency vehicles.
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.
If you have a cell phone or CB, call for assistance
before you get out of your vehicle. If not, wait until
after the crash scene has been properly protected,
then phone or send someone to phone 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 scene 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:
9
driving a vehicle with ABS?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.17, 2.18 and
2.19.
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.
2.20.2 Notify authorities
6. What is the proper braking technique when
7. How does ABS help you?
Protect the area.
Notify authorities.
Care for the injured.
9
9
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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
2.21 Fires
Pull off the road
Truck fires can cause damage and injury. Learn the
causes of fires and how to prevent them. Know what
to do to extinguish fires.
The first step is to get the vehicle off the road and
stop. In doing so:
2.21.1 Causes of fire
9
The following are some causes of vehicle fires:
9
9
9
9
9
After a crash: Spilled fuel or combustible cargo
and improper use of flares.
9
9
Tires: Underinflated tires and duals that touch.
9
9
9
Fuel: Driver smoking, improper fueling and loose
fuel connections.
9
Cargo: Flammable cargo, improperly sealed or
loaded cargo and poor ventilation.
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 safety procedures. Follow correct safety
procedures for fueling the vehicle, using the
brakes, handling flares and other activities that
can cause a fire.
9
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.
Here are some rules to follow when putting out a fire:
9
9
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.
Use the correct fire extinguisher
Figures 2.20 and 2.21 detail the type of fire
extinguisher to use by the class of fire.
9
Caution. Use normal caution in handling anything
flammable.
9
Knowing how to fight fires is important. Drivers, who
don’t know what to do, 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.
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.
Extinguish the 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.
2.21.3 Fire fighting
46
Notify emergency services of your problem and
your location.
Before trying to put out the fire, make sure that it
doesn’t spread any further.
Pay attention to the following:
9
Don’t pull into a service station.
Keep the fire from spreading
Electrical system: Short circuits due to damaged
insulation or loose connections.
2.21.2 Fire prevention
9
Park in an open area, away from buildings, trees,
brush, other vehicles or anything that might catch
fire.
9
9
The B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to
work on electrical fires and burning liquids.
The A:B:C type of extinguisher is designed to
work on burning wood, paper and cloth.
Water can be used on wood, paper or cloth, but
don’t use it on an electrical fire (it can cause
shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread the
flames).
A burning tire must be cooled. Lots of water may
be required.
Section 2 Driving Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
9
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
Class
A
B
C
D
Type
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
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
Subsections 2.20 and 2.21 Test your knowledge
1. What are some things to do at an accident?
2. Name two causes of tire fires.
3. What kinds of fires is a B:C extinguisher not
good for?
5. 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.
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 more than
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 of 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 Bodily 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:
9
9
9
A 12-ounce glass of beer (5 percent alcohol by
volume)
A 5-ounce glass of wine (12 percent alcohol by
volume)
A 1.5-ounce shot of liquor (80 proof or 40 percent
alcohol by volume)
What determines BAC?
BAC is determined by the amount of alcohol you
drink (more alcohol means a higher BAC), how fast
you drink (faster drinking means a higher BAC) and
your weight (a small person doesn’t have to drink as
much to reach the same BAC as a larger person).
See Figure 2.22.
4. When using your extinguisher, should you
get as close as possible to the fire?
Section 2 Driving Safely
47
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
What Is a drink?
It is the alcohol in drinks that affects human
performance. It doesn't make any difference
whether that alcohol comes from "a couple of
beers,” two glasses of wine or two shots of hard
liquor. Approximate Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC)
Effects
Drinks
Body Weight in Pounds
may find yourself doing one or more of the following
when driving after drinking alcohol:
9
9
9
9
9
Straddling lanes.
Making quick, jerky starts.
Not signaling, failing to use lights.
Running stop signs and red lights.
Passing improperly.
240
220
200
180
160
140
120
100
See Figure 2.23.
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
Only Safe
Driving Limit
1
.04
.03
.03
.02
.02
.02
.02
.02
Impairment
Begins
2
.08
.06
.05
.05
.04
.04
.03
.03
3
.11
.09
.08
.07
.06
.06
.05
.05
4
.15
.12
.11
.09
.08
.08
.07
.06
5
.19
.16
.13
.12
.11
.09
.09
.08
6
.23
.19
.16
.14
.13
.11
.10
.09
7
.26
.22
.19
.16
.15
.13
.12
.11
8
.30
.25
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
.13
9
.34
.28
.24
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
10
.38
.31
.27
.23
.21
.19
.17
.16
Driving Skills Significantly Affected
Criminal Penalties
0
Legally Intoxicated
Criminal Penalties
Subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking. One drink
is 1.25 oz. of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of
table wine.
Effects Of Increasing
Bodily Alcohol Content
Bodily Alcohol Content is the amount of alcohol in your
blood recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters
of blood. Your BAC depends on the amount of blood
(which increases with weight) and the amount of alcohol
you consume over time (how fast you drink). The faster
you drink, the higher your BAC, as the liver can only
handle about one drink per hour - the rest builds up in
your blood.
Effects on driving
BAC
Effects on body
condition
Mellow feeling, slight
.02
Less inhibited.
body warmth.
Less alert, less self.05
Noticeable relaxation.
focused, coordination
impairment begins.
Definite impairment in
Drunken driving limit,
.08
coordination and
impaired coordination
judgment.
& judgment.
Noisy, possible
Reduction in reaction
.10*
embarrassing behavior,
time.
mood swings.
Impaired balance and
.15
movement, clearly
Unable to drive.
drunk.
Many lose
.30
consciousness.
Most lose
.40
consciousness, some
die.
Breathing stops, many
.50
die.
BAC of 0.10 means that 1/10 of 1 percent (or 1/1000) of
your total blood content is alcohol.
Figure 2.23
Figure 2.22
Alcohol and the brain
Alcohol affects more and more of the brain as your
BAC builds up. The first part of the brain affected
regulates judgment and self-control. One of the bad
things about this is it can keep drinkers from knowing
they are getting drunk. And, of course, good
judgment and self-control are absolutely necessary
for safe driving.
As BAC continues to increase, muscle control, vision
and coordination are affected more and more. You
48
The increasing effects of blood alcohol content
increase your chances of crashing and 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 been drinking.
How alcohol affects driving
All drivers are affected by drinking alcohol. Alcohol
affects judgment, vision, coordination and reaction
time. It causes serious driving errors, such as:
9
Increased reaction time to hazards.
Section 2 Driving Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
9
9
Driving too fast or too slow.
Driving in the wrong lane.
Running over the curb.
Weaving.
2.22.2 Other drugs
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 that can
make you an unsafe driver. This could include a
variety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs
(cold medicines) that may make you drowsy or
otherwise affect your safe driving ability. However,
possession and use of a drug given by a doctor is
permitted if the doctor informs you that it will not
adversely affect your ability to drive safely.
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 don’t 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 your
commercial driving career.
2.23 Staying alert and fit to drive
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.
Be careful about taking medications
2.23.1 Be ready to drive
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. If you have any
concerns about whether any medications you take
may affect your driving, speak to your doctor.
Get enough sleep
Visit your doctor
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 will power, and it won’t go away by itself. The
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
beforehand so that you don’t start the trip with a
sleep deficit.
Regular checkups save lives. Illnesses such as
diabetes, heart disease and skin and colon cancers
can be detected easily and treated if found in time.
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.
Section 2 Driving Safely
You should consult your physician or a local sleep
disorder clinic 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 or wake up
feeling as though you have not had enough sleep.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
2.23.2 While you are driving
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.
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 satisfy it. 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 littler earlier the next day, you can keep
on schedule without the danger of driving while you
are not alert.
Take a nap
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 4 or 5 seconds). At 55 mph, 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:
9
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 an 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.
Do not . . . .
Your eyes close or go out of focus by
themselves.
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.
9
You have trouble keeping your head up.
2.23.4 Illness
9
You can’t stop yawning.
9
You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
9
You don’t remember driving the last few miles.
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
emergency, you may drive to the nearest place
where you can safely stop.
You drift between lanes, tailgate or miss traffic
signs.
2.24 Hazardous materials rules for all
commercial drivers
9
9
9
You keep jerking the truck back into the lane.
You have drifted off the road and narrowly
missed crashing.
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.
2.23.3 When you do become sleepy
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.
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.
When you are sleepy, trying to “push on” is far more
50
Section 2 Driving Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Class
1
Hazard Class Definitions
Class Name
Example
Explosives
Ammunition,
Dynamite, Fireworks
2
Gases
3
Flammable
4
Flammable Solids
5
Oxidizers
Ammonium Nitrate,
Hydrogen Peroxide
6
Poisons
Pesticides, Arsenic
7
Radioactive
Uranium, Plutonium
8
Corrosives
9
Miscellaneous
Hazardous
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated
Material-Domestic)
Hydrochloric Acid,
Battery Acid
Formaldehyde,
Asbestos
None
None
Combustible
Liquids
Propane, Oxygen,
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Acetone
Matches, Fuses
Hair Spray or
Charcoal
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Fluid
Figure 2.24
transporting. Firefighters and police can prevent or
reduce the amount of damage or injury at the scene if
they know what hazardous materials are present.
Your life and the lives of others may depend on
quickly locating the hazardous materials shipping
papers. For that reason, you must tab shipping
papers related to hazardous materials or keep them
on top of other shipping papers. You must also keep
shipping papers:
9
9
9
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 List of regulated products
Placards
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. These signs should be at least 10 ¾
inches square and are displayed with the square
turned so that its corners form the top, bottom, left
and right points of a diamond. Cargo tanks and other
bulk packaging display the identification number of
their contents on placards or orange panels.
2.24.2 Why are there rules?
Identification numbers
You must follow the many rules about transporting
hazardous materials. The intent of the rules is to:
9
Contain the product.
9
Communicate the risk.
9
Ensure the safety of the driver, vehicle and
equipment.
To contain the product
Many hazardous products can injure or kill on
contact. To protect drivers and others, the rules tell
shippers how to package these materials safely.
Similar rules inform drivers how to load, transport and
unload bulk tanks. These are containment rules.
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 U.S. Department of Transportation
Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) lists the
chemicals and their corresponding identification
numbers.
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’s license has the H-endorsement.
See Figure 2.25.
To communicate the risk
The shipper uses a shipping paper and diamondshaped hazard labels to warn dock workers and
drivers of the risk.
After an accident or hazardous materials spill or leak,
you may be injured and unable to communicate little
if anything about the hazardous materials you are
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 further. 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.
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 together. If
you do not know, ask your employer.
Subsections 2.22, 2.23 and 2.24 Test your
knowledge
1. Common medicines for colds can make you
sleepy. True or false?
2. What should you do if you become sleepy
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 CDL with the Hendorsement. To get the required endorsement, you
must pass a written test on material found in Section
9 of this manual. A tank endorsement is required for
certain vehicles that transport liquids or gases. The
liquid or gas does not have to be a hazardous
material. A tank endorsement is only required if your
vehicle needs a Class A or B CDL and your vehicle
has a permanently mounted cargo tank of any
capacity; or if your vehicle is carrying a portable tank
with a capacity of 1,000 gallons or more.
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while driving?
3. Coffee and a little fresh air will help a
drinker sober up. True or false?
4. What is a hazardous materials placard?
5. Why are placards used?
6. What is “sleep debt”?
7. 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
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 3
TRANSPORTING CARGO
SAFELY
This section covers:
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Inspecting cargo
Cargo weight and balance
Securing cargo
Cargo needing special attention
This section tells you about hauling cargo safely. You
must understand basic cargo safety rules to get a
CDL.
If you load cargo wrong or do not secure it, it can be
a danger to others and yourself. Loose cargo that
falls off a vehicle can cause traffic problems and
others could be hurt or killed. Loose cargo could hurt
or kill you during a quick stop or crash. Your vehicle
could be damaged by an overload. Steering could be
affected by how a vehicle is loaded, making it more
difficult to control the vehicle.
Re-check
Re-check the cargo and securing devices as often as
necessary during a trip to keep the load secure. A
good habit is to inspect:
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Federal, state and local regulations for commercial
vehicle weight, securing cargo, covering loads and
where you can drive large vehicles vary from place to
place. Know the rules where you will be driving.
3.2 Weight and balance
You are responsible for not being overloaded. The
following are some definitions of weight you should
know.
3.2.1 Definitions you should know
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Whether or not your load and secure the cargo
yourself, you are responsible for:
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Inspecting your cargo.
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Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced
weight.
Knowing your cargo is properly secured and does
not obscure your view ahead or to the sides.
Knowing your cargo does not restrict your access
to emergency equipment.
If you intend to carry hazardous materials that require
placards on your vehicle, you will also need to have a
hazardous materials endorsement. Section 9 of this
manual has the information you need to pass the
hazardous materials test.
3.1 Inspecting cargo
As part of your pre-trip inspection, make sure the
truck is not overloaded and the cargo is balanced and
secured properly.
After starting
Inspect the cargo and its securing devices again
within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip. Make
any adjustments needed.
Section 3 Transporting Cargo Safely
After you have driven for 3 hours or 150 miles.
After every break you take during driving.
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Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): The total weight
of a vehicle and its cargo.
Gross Combination Weight (GCW): The total
weight of the powered unit, all of the trailers it is
towing and its cargo.
Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR):
The maximum GCW specified by the
manufacturer for a specific combination of
vehicles plus cargo.
Axle weight: The weight transmitted to the
ground by one axle or one set of axles.
Tire load: The maximum safe weight a tire can
carry at a specified pressure. This rating is stated
on the side of each tire.
Suspension systems: The weight capacity
rating for the suspension system is specified by
the manufacturer.
Coupling device capacity: Coupling devices are
rated for the maximum weight they can pull or
carry.
3.2.2 Legal weight limits
You must keep weights within legal limits. States
have maximums for GVWs, GCWs and axle weights.
Often, maximum axle weights are set by a bridge
formula. A bridge formula permits less maximum axle
weight for axles that are closer together. This is to
prevent overloading bridges and roadways.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Overloading can have bad effects on steering,
braking and speed control. Overloaded trucks have to
go very slowly on upgrades. Worse, they may gain
too much speed on down grades. Stopping distance
increases. Brakes can fail when forced to work too
hard.
During bad weather or in mountains, it may not be
safe to operate at legal maximum weights. Take this
into account before driving.
3.2.3 Don’t be top heavy
The height of the vehicle’s center of gravity is very
important for safe handling. A high center of gravity
(cargo piled up high or heavy cargo on top) means
you are more likely to tip over. It is most dangerous in
curves or if you have to swerve to avoid a hazard. It
is very important to distribute the cargo so it is as low
as possible. Put the heaviest parts of the cargo under
the lightest parts.
3.2.4 Balance the weight
Poor weight balance can make vehicle handling
unsafe. Too much weight on the steering axle can
cause hard steering. It can damage the steering axle
and tires. Under-loaded front axles (caused by
shifting weight too far to the rear) can make the
steering axle weight too light to steer safely. Too little
weight on the driving axles can cause poor traction.
The drive wheels may spin easily. During bad
weather, the truck may not be able to keep going.
Weight that is loaded so there is a high center of
gravity increases the chances of a rollover. On flat
bed vehicles, there is also a greater chance that the
load will shift to the side or fall off. See Figure 3.1.
3.3 Securing cargo
3.3.1 Blocking and bracing
Blocking is used in the front, back or sides of a piece
of cargo to keep it from sliding. Blocking is shaped to
fit snugly against cargo. It is secured to the cargo
deck to prevent cargo movement. Bracing is also
used to prevent movement of cargo. Bracing goes
from the upper part of the cargo to the floor or walls
of the cargo compartment.
3.3.2 Cargo tie-down
On flat bed trailers or trailers without sides, cargo
must be secured to keep it from shifting or falling off.
In closed vans, tie-downs can also be important to
prevent cargo shifting that may affect the handling of
the vehicle. Tie-downs must be of the proper type
and strength. The combined strength of all cargo tiedowns must be strong enough to lift one-and-a-half
times the weight of the cargo they are securing.
Proper tie-down equipment must be used, including
ropes, straps, chains and tensioning devices
(winches, ratchets and cinching components). Tiedowns must be attached to the vehicle correctly with
the proper hooks, bolts, rails or rings. See Figure 3.2.
Figure 3.2
Cargo should have at least one tie-down for each 10
feet of cargo. Make sure you have enough tie-downs
to meet this need. No matter how small the cargo, it
should have at least two tie-downs.
There are special requirements for securing various
heavy pieces of metal. Find out what they are if you
are to carry such loads.
3.3.3 Header boards
Front-end header boards (“headache racks”) protect
you from your cargo in case of a crash or emergency
stop. Make sure the front-end structure is in good
condition. The front-end structure should block the
forward movement of any cargo you carry.
Figure 3.1
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Section 3 Transporting Cargo Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
3.3.4 Covering cargo
3.4.3 Livestock
There are two basic reasons for covering cargo:
Livestock can move around in a trailer, causing
unsafe handling. With less than a full load, use false
bulkheads to keep livestock confined to one area.
Even when confined, special care is necessary
because livestock can still move and lean as the
vehicle goes around a curve. This shifts the center of
gravity and makes a rollover more likely.
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To protect people from spilled cargo.
To protect the cargo from the weather.
Spill protection is a safety requirement in many
states. Be familiar with the laws in the states you
drive in.
You should look at your cargo covers in the mirrors
periodically while driving. A flapping cover can tear
loose, uncovering the cargo and possibly block your
view or someone else’s.
3.3.5 Sealed and containerized loads
Containerized loads generally are used when freight
is carried part way by rail or ship. Delivery by truck
occurs at the beginning or end of the journey. Some
containers have their own tie-down devices or locks
that attach direction to a special frame. Others have
to be loaded onto flatbed trailers. They must be
properly secured just like any other cargo.
You cannot inspect sealed loads, but you should
check that you don’t exceed gross weight and axle
weight limits.
3.4 Cargo needing special attention
3.4.1 Dry bulk
Dry bulk tanks require special care because they
have a high center of gravity and the load can shift.
Be extremely cautious (slow and careful) going
around curves and making sharp turns.
3.4.2 Hanging meat
Hanging meat (suspended beef, pork, lamb, etc.) in a
refrigerated truck can be a very unstable load with a
high center of gravity. Particular caution is needed on
sharp curves such as off-ramps and on-ramps. Go
slowly.
3.4.4 Oversized loads
Over-length, over-width or overweight loads require
special transit permits. Driving is usually limited to
certain times. Special equipment may be necessary
such as “wide load” signs, flashing lights, flags, etc.
Such loads may require a police escort or pilot
vehicles bearing warning signs or flashing lights.
These special loads require special driving care.
Section 3 Test your knowledge
1. What four things related to cargo are
drivers responsible for?
2. How often must you stop while on the road
to check your cargo?
3. How is Gross Combination Weight Rating
different from Gross Combination Weight?
4. Name two situations where legal maximum
weights may not be safe.
5. What can happen if you don’t have enough
weight on the front axle?
6. What is the minimum number of tie-downs
for any flatbed load?
7. What is the minimum number of tie-downs
for a 20-foot load?
8. Name the two basic reasons for covering
cargo on an open bed.
9. What must you check before transporting a
sealed load?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 3.
Section 3 Transporting Cargo Safely
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 4
9
Rearview mirror or mirrors.
TRANSPORTING
PASSENGERS SAFELY
9
Coupling devices (if present).
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Wheels and rims.
9
Emergency equipment.
This section covers:
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Vehicle inspection
Loading
On the road
After-trip vehicle inspection
Prohibited practices
Use of brake-door interlocks
Bus drivers must have a CDL if they drive a vehicle
designed to seat 16 or more people, including the
driver.
Bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement on
their CDL. 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 test required for the class of vehicle you
drive.
4.1 Vehicle inspection
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 as not needing repair
should you sign the previous driver’s report. This is
your verification that the problem was evaluated and
resolved.
4.1.1 Vehicle systems
Make sure these things are in good working order
before driving:
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Service brakes, including air hose couplings (if
your bus has a trailer or semi-trailer).
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Parking brake.
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Steering mechanism.
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Lights and reflectors.
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Tires (front wheels must not have recapped or
regrooved tires).
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:
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Each handhold and railing.
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Floor covering.
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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.
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.
4.1.4 Roof hatches
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 will
have a higher clearance when the roof hatches are
open.
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!
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Horn.
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Windshield wiper or wipers.
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4.1.2 Access doors and panels
The driver’s seat should have a seat belt. Always
use it for safety.
Section 4 – Transporting Passengers Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
4.2 Loading and trip start
4.2.2 Forbidden hazardous materials
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:
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;
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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-on luggage falls
or shifts.
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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 materials with the name of the material,
identification number and hazard label. There are
nine different four-inch, diamond-shaped hazard
labels. See Figure 4.1. Watch for the diamondshaped labels. Do not transport any hazardous
material unless you are sure the rules allow it.
Class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
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None
None
Hazard Class Definitions
Class Name
Example
Ammunition,
Explosives
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Gases
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Flammable
Acetone
Flammable
Matches, Fuses
Solids
Ammonium
Oxidizers
Nitrate, Hydrogen
Peroxide
Pesticides,
Poisons
Arsenic
Uranium,
Radioactive
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Corrosives
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous
Asbestos
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Hair Spray or
Regulated
Charcoal
MaterialDomestic)
Combustible
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Liquids
Fluid
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Division 2.3 poison gas, liquid Class 6 poison,
tear gas and irritating material.
More than 100 pounds of solid Class 6 poisons.
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:
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The location.
Reason for stopping.
Next departure time.
Bus number.
Remind riders to take carry-on baggage 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.
Figure 4.1
Section 4 Transporting Passengers Safely
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
4.3 On the road
4.3.5 Railroad-highway crossing stops
4.3.1 Passenger supervision
Stop at RR crossings:
Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger
comfort and safety rules. Mention rules about
smoking, drinking or use of radios, mobile phones,
smart devices, laptops and m3p players or I-Pods at
the start of the trip. Explaining the rules at the start
will help avoid trouble later.
9
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 such as
keeping arms and heads inside the bus.
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.
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Occasionally, you may have a drunken 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 accidents
Bus accidents 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.
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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.
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 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
is safe, when:
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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 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,
Section 4 – Transporting Passengers Safely
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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.
Section 4 Test your knowledge
1. Name some things to check in the interior
of a bus during a pre-trip inspection.
2. What are some hazardous materials you
can transport by bus?
3. What are some hazardous materials you
can’t transport by bus?
Don’t talk with riders or engage in any other
distracting activity while driving.
4. What is a standee line?
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders
aboard, 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.
5. Does it matter where you make a
4.6 Use of brake-door interlocks
7. When must you stop before crossing a
Urban mass transit coaches may have a brake-andaccelerator interlock system. The interlock applies
the brakes and holds the throttle in the 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.
disruptive passenger get off the bus?
6. How far from a railroad crossing should
you stop?
drawbridge?
8. Describe from memory the “prohibited
practices” listed in the manual.
9. 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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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 5
AIR BRAKES
This section covers:
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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. An air brake
endorsement is only required if your vehicle needs a
CDL.
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.
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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.
5.1 The parts of an air brake system
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 of drain valves:
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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.
Automatically operated, 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.
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.
Figure 5.1
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Section 5 – Air Brakes
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
5.1.5 Alcohol evaporator
away from the drum, letting the wheels roll freely
again. See Figure 5.2.
Some air brake systems have an alcohol evaporator
to put alcohol into the air system. This helps reduce
the risk of ice in the air brake valves and other parts
during cold weather. Ice inside the system can make
the brakes stop working.
5.1.6 Safety valve
A safety 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.
S-cam brakes
When you push the brake pedal, air is let out into
each brake chamber. Air pressure pushes the rod
out, moving the slack adjuster, thus twisting the
brake camshaft. This turns the s-cam (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
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 selfadjusting 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 s-cam, 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.
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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 fall 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
sound.
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.
or more of applied 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 apply the brakes. A
leak in the air brake system, which causes all the air
to be lost, will also cause the springs to engage 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 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 or parking brakes will work right.
5.1.15 Parking brake controls
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.
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.
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
“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
62
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.
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.
Section 5 – Air Brakes
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 vehicles with air brakes built on
or after March 1, 1998, such as trucks, buses,
trailers and converter dollies, 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 state 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 braking.
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. Trailers will have yellow
ABS malfunction lamps on the left side, either on the
front or the rear corner. Dollies manufactured on or
after March 1, 1998, are required to have a lamp on
the left side.
Figure 5.3
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.
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 5 mph.
In the case of towed units manufactured before ABS
was required by the U.S. Department of
Transportation, it may be difficult to tell if the unit is
equipped with ABS. 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.
Look under the vehicle for the electronic control unit
(ECU) and wheel speed sensor wires coming from
the back of the brakes.
Section 5 Air Brakes
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Figure 5.4
Subsection 5.1 Test your knowledge
1. Why must air tanks be drained?
2. What is a supply pressure gauge used for?
3. All vehicles with air brakes must have a
low air pressure warning signal. True or
false?
4. What are spring brakes?
5. Front wheel brakes are good under all
conditions. True or false?
6. How do you know if your vehicle is
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.
equipped with ABS?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.1.
5.2 Dual air brakes
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
64
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.
Section 5 – Air Brakes
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
5.3 Inspecting air brake systems
You should use the basic seven-step inspection
procedure described in Section 2 to inspect your
vehicle. There are more things to inspect on a
vehicle with air brakes than one without them. These
inspection points are discussed below, in the order
they fit into the seven-step method.
5.3.1 During step 2 of the engine compartment
checks
Check the air compressor drive belt (if compressor is
belt-driven). Check the condition and tightness of the
belt. It should be in good condition.
5.3.2 During Step 5 of the walk-around
inspection
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. The manual
adjustment of automatic slack adjusters is
dangerous because it may give the driver a false
sense of security regarding the effectiveness of the
braking system.
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.
Check the slack adjusters on S-cam brakes.
Park on level ground and chock the wheels to
prevent the vehicle from moving. Turn off the
parking brakes so you can move the slack adjusters.
Use gloves and pull hard on each slack adjuster 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 1991 have automatic slack
adjustors. Even though automatic slack adjustors
adjust themselves during full brake applications,
they still 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.
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.
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 adjustment 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.
Section 5 Air Brakes
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License
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.
Test the air leakage rate
With a fully-charged air system (typically 125 psi),
turn off the engine, release the parking brake and
time the air-pressure drop. The loss rate should be
less than two psi in one minute for single vehicles
and less than three psi in one minute for
combination vehicles. Then apply 90 psi or more
with the brake pedal. After the initial pressure drop, 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 the air compressor governor cut-in and
cut-out pressures
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 single-circuit
air system. In dual systems, the stopping distance
will be increased. Only limited braking can be done
before the spring brakes come on.
Check that the 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 – 40 psi). This will
cause the spring brakes to come on.
Check the rate of air pressure build-up
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),
66
The air compressor should start pumping 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 gauges
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 the parking brake
Stop the vehicle, put the parking brake on and gently
pull against it in a low gear to test that the parking
will hold.
Test the service brakes
Wait for normal air pressure, release the parking
brake, move the vehicle forward slowly (about 5
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
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Subsections 5.2 and 5.3 Test your knowledge
start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes (if you
can safely do so) until you gain control.
2. What are the slack adjusters?
When you drive a tractor-trailer combination with
ABS, you should brake as you always have. In other
words:
3. How can you check the slack adjusters?
9
1. What is a dual air brake system?
4. How can you test the low pressure warning
signal?
9
5. How can you check that the spring brakes
come on automatically?
9
6. What are the maximum leakage rates?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.1.
5.4 Using air brakes
Push the brake 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 ABS
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 a 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.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have
regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the system
serviced soon.
5.4.3 Emergency stops
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.
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.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The computer
senses impending lockup, reduces the braking
pressure to a safe level, allowing you to maintain
control.
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.
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 overbraking.
Controlled 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.
With this method, you apply the brakes as hard as
you can without locking the wheels. Keep steering
wheel movements very small while braking hard. If
you need to make a larger steering adjustment or if
the wheels lock, release the brakes. Reapply the
brakes as soon as you can.
Stab braking
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.
9
Apply your brakes all the way.
9
Release brakes when wheels lock up.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control or
9
Section 5 Air Brakes
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
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License
the brakes. If you reapply the brakes before the
wheels start rolling, the vehicle won't straighten
out.)
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 – the time required for the
brakes to work after the brake pedal is pushed. With
hydraulic brakes (used on cars and light- or mediumweight 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 + Effective 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
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 begin to fail
before those that are in adjustment. The added
stress causes the remaining brakes to overheat and
fade, and there will not be enough braking to control
the vehicle. Brakes can get out of adjustment
quickly, especially when they are hot. Therefore,
check brake adjustment often.
5.4.6 Proper braking technique
9
9
9
Step 1. Apply the brakes just hard enough to
feel a definite slowdown.
Step 2. When your speed has been reduced to
approximately 5 mph below your "safe" speed,
release the brakes. (This application should last
for about three seconds.)
Step 3. When your speed has increased to your
"safe" speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
Miles
Per Hour
How Far
The Rig
Will
Travel in
One
Second
Driver
Reaction
Distance
Vehicle
Braking
Distance
Total
Stopping
Distance
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.
15 mph
22 ft.
17 ft.
29 ft.
46 ft.
5.4.7 Low air pressure
30 mph
44 ft.
33 ft.
115 ft.
148 ft.
45 mph
66 ft.
50 ft.
260 ft.
310 ft.
50 mph
73 ft.
55 ft.
320 ft.
375 ft.
55 mph
81 ft.
61 ft.
390 ft.
451 ft.
Stopping Distance Chart
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
handle heat. However, brakes can fade or fail from
too much heat caused by excessive use and by not
engaging the slowing powers of 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 cause the brake drums to expand. 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
68
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.
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
them. The control will be a yellow, diamond-shaped
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).
Section 5 – Air Brakes
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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 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 wet, they can
freeze so the vehicle cannot move. Use wheel
chocks 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. Why should you be in the proper gear
before starting down a hill?
2. What factors can cause brakes to fade or
fail?
3. The use of brakes on a long, steep
downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. True or false?
4. If you are away from your vehicle only a
short time, you do not need to use the
parking brake. True or false?
5. How often should you drain air tanks?
6. How do you brake when you drive a
tractor-trailer combination with ABS?
7. 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.
Section 5 Air Brakes
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 6
COMBINATION VEHICLES
This section covers:
9
9
9
9
9
Driving combinations
Combination vehicle air brakes
Antilock brake systems
Coupling and uncoupling
Inspecting combinations
This section provides information needed to pass
the tests for combination vehicles (tractor-trailer,
doubles, triples and straight truck with trailer). The
information is only to give you the minimum
knowledge needed for driving common combination
vehicles. You should also study Section 7 if you
need to pass the test for doubles and triples.
6.1 Driving combination vehicles
safely
Combination vehicles are usually heavier, longer
and require more driving skill than single commercial
vehicles. This means that drivers of combination
vehicles need more knowledge and skill than drivers
of single vehicles. In this section, we talk about
some important safety factors that apply specifically
to combination vehicles.
6.1.1 Rollover risks
More than half of truck driver deaths in crashes are
the result of truck rollovers. When more cargo is
piled up in a truck, the center of gravity shifts upward
away from the road so that the truck becomes easier
to turn over. Fully loaded rigs are 10 times more
likely to roll over in a crash than empty rigs.
The following three things will help you prevent
rollover. Cargo distribution is covered in-depth in
Section 3.
9
9
9
70
Load cargo so that it sits as low to the ground as
possible. Loading cargo (so that it is not stacked
too high) is even more important in combination
vehicles than in straight trucks.
Keep the load centered on your rig. If the load is
stacked to one side so that the trailer leans, a
rollover is more likely. Make sure your cargo is
centered and spread out as much as possible.
6.1.2 Steer gently
Trucks with trailers can experience a dangerous
"crack-the-whip" effect when accelerating and
turning too quickly. When you make a quick lane
change, the speed and suddenness of the lane
change can create a crack-the-whip effect that can
overturn the trailer. There are many crashes where
only the trailer has overturned.
"Rearward amplification" causes the crack-the-whip
effect. Figure 6.1 shows eight types of combination
vehicles and the rearward amplification each has in
a quick lane change. Rigs with the least crack-thewhip effect are shown at the top and while those
with the most are at the bottom. Rearward
amplification of 2.0 means that the rear trailer is
twice as likely to turn over as the tractor. You can
see that triples have a rearward amplification of 3.5.
This means you can roll the last trailer of triples 3.5
times as easily as a five-axle tractor.
Steer gently and smoothly when you are pulling
trailers. If you make a sudden movement with your
steering wheel, your trailer could tip over. Follow far
enough behind other vehicles (at least 1 second for
each 10 feet of your vehicle length, plus another
second if going over 40 mph). Look far enough down
the road to avoid being surprised and having to
make a sudden lane change. At night, drive slowly
enough to see obstacles with your headlights before
it is too late to change lanes or stop gently. Slow
down to a safe speed before going into a turn.
6.1.3 Brake early
Control your speed whether fully loaded or empty.
Large combination vehicles may take longer to stop
than drivers realize; even when lightly loaded. In
lightly loaded vehicles, the very stiff suspension
springs and strong brakes will give poor traction and
make it very easy to lock up the wheels. Your trailer
can swing out and strike other vehicles. Your tractor
can jackknife very quickly. You also must be very
careful about driving "bobtail" tractors (tractors
without semi-trailers). Tests have shown that
bobtails can be very hard to stop smoothly. It takes
them longer to stop than a tractor and semi-trailer
loaded to maximum gross weight.
In any combination rig, allow lots of following
distance and look far ahead, so you can brake early.
Don't be caught by surprise and have to make a
"panic" stop.
Drive slowly around turns. Rollovers happen
when you turn too fast. Drive slowly around
corners, on-ramps and off-ramps. Avoid quick
lane changes, especially when fully loaded.
Section 6 – Combination Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Figure 6.1
*From R.D. Ervin, R.L. Nisconger, C.C. MacAdam, and P.S. Fancher, “Influence of size and weigh variables on the stability
and control properties of heavy trucks, “University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 1983.
6.1.4 Railroad-highway crossings
6.1.5 Prevent trailer skids
Railroad-highway crossings can also cause
problems, particularly when pulling trailers with low
underneath clearance.
These trailers can get stuck on raised crossings:
When the wheels of a trailer lock up, the trailer will
tend to swing around. This is more likely to happen
when the trailer is empty or lightly loaded. This type
of jackknife is often called a "trailer jackknife." See
Figure 6.2.
9
The procedure for stopping a trailer skid is:
9
Low-slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving van
or possum-belly livestock trailer).
9
Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle
tractor.
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get out
of the vehicle and away from the tracks. 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.
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
9
Recognize the skid: The earliest and best way
to recognize that the trailer has started to skid is
by seeing it in your mirrors. Any time you apply
the brakes hard; check the mirrors to make sure
the trailer is staying where it should be. Once
the trailer swings out of your lane, it's very
difficult to prevent a jackknife.
Stop using the brake: Release the brakes to
get traction back. Do not use the trailer hand
brake (if you have one) to "straighten out the
rig." This is the wrong thing to do since the
brakes on the trailer wheels caused the skid in
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the first place. Once the trailer wheels grip the
road again, the trailer will start to follow the
tractor and straighten out.
the turn because it will keep other drivers from
passing you on the right. See Figure 6.4.
Figure 6.3
Figure 6.2
6.1.6 Turn wide
When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear
wheels follow a different path than the front wheels.
This is called off-tracking or "cheating." Figure 6.3
shows how off-tracking causes the path followed by
a tractor to be wider than the rig itself. Longer
vehicles will off-track more. The rear wheels of the
truck or tractor will off-track some, and the rear
wheels of the trailer will off-track even more. If there
is more than one trailer, the rear wheels of the last
trailer will off-track the most.
Steer the front end wide enough around a corner so
the rear end does not run over the curb, sidewalk,
signs or other items located along the street or put
pedestrians at risk. However, keep the rear of your
vehicle close to the curb. This will stop other drivers
from passing you on the right. If you cannot
complete your turn without entering another traffic
lane, turn wide as you complete the turn. This is
better than swinging wide to the left before starting
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Figure 6.4
6.1.7 Backing with a trailer
When backing a car, straight truck or bus, you turn
the top of the steering wheel in the direction you
want to go. When backing a trailer, you turn the
steering wheel in the opposite direction. Once the
trailer starts to turn, you must turn the wheel the
other way to follow the trailer.
Whenever you back up with a trailer, try to position
your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If you
must back on a curved path, back to the driver's
side. See Figure 6.5.
Section 6 – Combination Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Pull forward
When backing a trailer, make pull-ups to reposition
your vehicle as needed.
Subsection 6.1 – Test your knowledge
1. What two things are important to prevent
rollover?
2. When you turn suddenly while pulling
doubles, which trailer is most likely to turn
over?
3. Why should you not use the trailer hand
brake to straighten out a jackknifing trailer?
4. What is off-tracking?
5. When you back a trailer, you should
position your vehicle so you can back in a
curved path to the driver’s side. True or
false?
6. What type of trailers can get stuck on
railroad-highway crossings?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 6.1.
6.2 Combination vehicle air brakes
Figure 6.5
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 as well as in and near the
path your vehicle.
Use the mirrors on both sides
Check the outside mirrors on both sides frequently.
Get out of the vehicle and reinspect your path if you
are unsure.
Back slowly
This will let you make corrections before you get too
far off course.
Correct drift immediately
As soon as you see the trailer getting off the proper
path, correct it by turning the top of the steering
wheel in the direction of the drift.
You should study Section 5: Air Brakes before
reading this. In combination vehicles the braking
system has parts to control the trailer brakes, in
addition to the parts described in Section 5. These
parts are described below.
6.2.1 Trailer hand valve
The trailer hand valve (also called the trolley valve or
Johnson bar) works the trailer brakes. The trailer
hand valve should be used only to test the trailer
brakes. Do not use it in driving because of the
danger of trailer skids. The foot brake sends air to all
of the brakes on the vehicle, including the trailers.
There is much less danger of causing a skid or
jackknife when using just the foot brake.
Never use the hand valve for parking because all the
air might leak out unlocking the brakes (in trailers
that don't have spring brakes). Always use the
parking brakes when parking. If the trailer does not
have spring brakes, use wheel chocks to keep the
trailer from moving.
6.2.2 Tractor protection valve
The tractor protection valve keeps air in the tractor
or truck brake system should the trailer break away
or develop a bad leak. The tractor protection valve is
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
controlled by the "trailer air supply" control valve in
the cab. The control valve allows you to open and
shut the tractor protection valve. The tractor
protection valve will close automatically if air
pressure is low (in the range of 20 to 45 psi). When
the tractor protection valve closes, it stops any air
from going out of the tractor. It also lets the air out of
the trailer emergency line. This causes the trailer
emergency brakes to come on, with possible loss of
control. (Emergency brakes are covered later.)
6.2.3 Trailer air supply control
The trailer air supply control on newer vehicles is a
red eight-sided knob, which you use to control the
tractor protection valve. You push it in to supply the
trailer with air, and pull it out to shut the air off and
put on the trailer emergency brakes. The valve will
pop out (thus closing the tractor protection valve)
when the air pressure drops into the range of 20 to
45 psi. Tractor protection valve controls or
"emergency" valves on older vehicles may not
operate automatically. There may be a lever rather
than a knob. The "normal" position is used for pulling
a trailer. The "emergency" position is used to shut
the air off and put on the trailer emergency brakes.
6.2.4 Trailer air lines
Every combination vehicle has two air lines, the
service line and the emergency line. They run
between each vehicle (tractor to trailer, trailer to
dolly, dolly to second trailer, etc.)
Service air line
The service line (also called the control line or signal
line) carries air, which is controlled by the foot brake
or the trailer hand brake. Depending on how hard
you press the foot brake or hand valve, the pressure
in the service line will similarly change. The service
line is connected to relay valves. These valves allow
the trailer brakes to be applied more quickly than
would otherwise be possible.
Emergency air line
The emergency line (also called the supply line) has
two purposes. First, it supplies air to the trailer air
tanks. Second, the emergency line controls the
emergency brakes on combination vehicles. Loss of
air pressure in the emergency line causes the trailer
emergency brakes to come on. The pressure loss
could be caused by a trailer breaking loose, thus
tearing apart the emergency air hose. Or it could be
caused by a hose, metal tubing or other part
breaking and letting the air out. When the
emergency line loses pressure, it also causes the
tractor protection valve to close (the air supply knob
will pop out).
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Emergency lines are often color coded with red (red
hose, red couplers or other parts) to keep from
getting them mixed up with the blue service line.
6.2.5 Hose couplers (‘glad hands’)
Glad hands are coupling devices used to connect
the service and emergency air lines from the truck or
tractor to the trailer. The couplers have a rubber
seal, which prevents air from escaping. Clean the
couplers and rubber seals before a connection is
made. When connecting the glad hands, press the
two seals together with the couplers at a 90-degree
angle to each other. A turn of the glad hand attached
to the hose will join and lock the couplers.
When coupling, make sure to couple the proper glad
hands together. To help avoid mistakes, colors are
sometimes used. Blue is used for the service lines
and red for the emergency (supply) lines.
Sometimes, metal tags are attached to the lines with
the words "service" and "emergency" stamped on
them. See Figure 6.6.
If you do cross the air lines, supply air will be sent to
the service line instead of going to charge the trailer
air tanks. Air will not be available to release the
trailer spring brakes (parking brakes). If the spring
brakes don't release when you push the trailer air
supply control, check the air line connections.
Older trailers do not have spring brakes. If the air
supply in the trailer air tank has leaked away there
will be no emergency brakes, and the trailer wheels
will turn freely. If you crossed the air lines, you could
drive away but you wouldn't have trailer brakes. This
would be very dangerous. Always test the trailer
brakes before driving with the hand valve or by
pulling the air supply (tractor protection valve)
control. Pull gently against them in a low gear to
make sure the brakes work.
Some vehicles have "dead end" or dummy couplers
to which the hoses may be attached when they are
not in use. This will prevent water and dirt from
getting into the coupler and the air lines. Use the
dummy couplers when the air lines are not
connected to a trailer. If there are no dummy
couplers, the glad hands can sometimes be locked
together (depending on the couplings). It is very
important to keep the air supply clean.
Section 6 – Combination Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
6.2.8 Trailer service, parking and emergency
brakes
Newer trailers have spring brakes just like trucks and
truck tractors. However, converter dollies and trailers
built before 1975 are not required to have spring
brakes. Those that do not have spring brakes have
emergency brakes, which work from the air stored in
the trailer air tank. These trailers have no parking
brake. If air pressure within the emergency line is
lost, the emergency brakes will come on. A major
leak in the emergency line will cause the tractor
protection valve to close, activating the emergency
brakes. But the brakes will hold only as long as there
is adequate air pressure in the trailer air tank.
Eventually, the air will leak away and then there will
be no brakes. The emergency brakes will also come
on whenever the air supply knob is pulled out or the
trailer is disconnected. Therefore, it is very important
for safety that you use wheel chocks when you park
trailers without spring brakes.
Figure 6.6
6.2.6 Trailer air tanks
Each trailer and converter dolly has one or more air
tanks. They are filled by the emergency (supply) line
from the tractor. They provide the air pressure used
to operate trailer brakes. Air pressure is sent from
the air tanks to the brakes by relay valves.
The pressure in the service line tells how much
pressure the relay valves should send to the trailer
brakes. The pressure in the service line is controlled
by the brake pedal (and the trailer hand brake).
It is important that you don't let water and oil build up
in the air tanks. If you do, the brakes may not work
correctly. Each tank has a drain valve on it and you
should drain each tank every day. If your tanks have
automatic drains, they will keep most moisture out.
But you should still open the drains to make sure the
tanks are properly maintained.
You may not notice a major leak in the service line
until you try to put the brakes on. Then, the air loss
from the leak will lower the air tank pressure quickly.
If it goes low enough, the trailer emergency brakes
will come on.
Subsection 6.2 Test your knowledge
1. Why should you not use the trailer hand
valve while driving?
2. Describe what the trailer air supply control
does.
3. Describe what the service line is for.
4. What is the emergency air line for?
5. Why should you use chocks when parking
a trailer without spring brakes?
6. Where are shut-off valves?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 6.2.
6.3 Antilock brake systems (ABS)
6.2.7 Shut-off valves
6.3.1 Trailers required to have ABS
Shut-off valves (also called cut-out cocks) are used
in the service and supply air lines at the back of
trailers that are used to tow other trailers. These
valves permit closing the air lines off when another
trailer is not being towed. You must check that all
shut-off valves are in the open position except the
ones at the back of the last trailer, which must be
closed.
All trailers and converter dollies built on or after
March 1, 1998, are required to have ABS. However,
many trailers and converter dollies built before this
date have been voluntarily equipped with ABS.
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on
the left side, either on the front or rear corner. See
Figure 6.7. Dollies manufactured on or after March
1, 1998, are required to have a lamp on the left side.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
In the case of vehicles manufactured before the
required date, 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 you drive a tractor-trailer combination with
ABS, you should brake as you always have. In other
words:
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9
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.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have
regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the system
serviced soon. ABS won’t allow you to drive faster,
follow more closely or drive less carefully.
6.4 Coupling and uncoupling
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is
basic to safe operation of combination vehicles.
Wrong coupling and uncoupling can be very
dangerous. General coupling and uncoupling steps
are listed below. There are differences between
different rigs, so learn the details of coupling and
uncoupling the trucks you will operate.
6.4.1 Coupling tractor-semi-trailers
Figure 6.7
Step 1. Inspect the fifth-wheel
6.3.2 Braking with ABS
9
ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It does not
decrease or increase your normal braking capability.
ABS only activates when the wheels are about to
lock up.
9
9
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle under
control during hard braking.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The computer
senses impending lockup, reduces the braking
pressure to a safe level, allowing you to better
maintain control.
Having ABS on only the trailer, or even on only one
axle, still gives you more control over the vehicle
during braking.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out. 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.
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9
Check for damaged or missing parts.
Check to see that mounting to tractor is secure,
that there are no cracks in frame, etc.
Be sure that the fifth-wheel plate is greased as
required. Failure to keep the fifth-wheel plate
lubricated could cause steering problems
because of friction between the tractor and
trailer.
Check if the fifth-wheel is in proper position for
coupling.
•
Wheel tilted down toward rear of tractor.
•
Jaws open.
•
Safety unlocking handle in the automatic lock
position.
•
If you have a sliding fifth-wheel, make sure it
is locked.
Section 6 – Combination Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
•
Make sure the trailer kingpin is not bent or
broken.
9
Make sure air lines are safely supported where
they won't be crushed or caught while tractor is
backing under the trailer.
Step 2. Inspect area and chock wheels
Step 8. Supply air to trailer
9
9
9
Make sure the area around the vehicle is clear.
Be sure trailer wheels are chocked or spring
brakes are on.
Check that any cargo is loaded correctly and
securely held in place.
Step 3. Position tractor
9
9
9
9
Wait until the air pressure is normal.
9
Check brake system for crossed air lines.
Put the tractor directly in front of the trailer.
(Never back under the trailer at an angle
because you might push the trailer sideways
and break the landing gear.)
9
Back up until the fifth-wheel just touches the
trailer.
9
•
Apply and release trailer brakes and listen for
sound of trailer brakes being applied and
released. You should hear the brakes move
when applied and air escape when the brakes
are released.
•
Check air brake system pressure gauge for
signs of major air loss.
9
When you are sure trailer brakes are working,
start engine.
9
Make sure air pressure is up to normal.
Step 9. Lock trailer brakes
Put on the parking brake.
Put transmission in neutral.
Step 6. Check trailer height
9
Shut engine off so you can hear the brakes.
Don’t hit the trailer.
Step 5. Secure the tractor
9
9
•
Check position, using outside mirrors and by
looking down both sides of the trailer.
Step 4. Back up slowly
9
From cab, push in "air supply" knob or move
tractor protection valve control from the
"emergency" to the "normal" position to supply
air to the trailer brake system.
The trailer should be low enough that it is raised
slightly by the tractor when the tractor is backed
under it. Raise or lower the trailer as needed. (If
the trailer is too low, the tractor may strike and
damage the trailer nose; if the trailer is too high,
it may not couple correctly.)
Check that the kingpin and fifth-wheel are
aligned.
Pull out the "air supply" knob or move the tractor
protection valve control from "normal" to
"emergency.”
Step 10. Back under trailer
9
9
9
Use lowest reverse gear.
Back tractor slowly under trailer to avoid hitting
the kingpin too hard.
Stop when the kingpin is locked into the fifthwheel.
Step 7. Connect air lines to trailer
Step 11. Check connection for security
9
9
9
Check glad hand seals and connect tractor
emergency air line to trailer emergency glad
hand.
Check glad hand seals and connect tractor
service air line to trailer service glad hand.
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
9
Raise trailer landing gear slightly off ground.
Pull tractor gently forward while the trailer
brakes are still locked to check that the trailer is
locked onto the tractor.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Step 12. Secure vehicle
9
Put transmission in “neutral.”
9
Put parking brakes on.
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
When full weight of trailer is resting on tractor:
•
Check for enough clearance between rear of
tractor frame and the landing gear. (When
tractor turns sharply, it must not hit the landing
gear.)
•
Check that there is enough clearance
between the top of the tractor tires and the
nose of the trailer.
Shut off engine and take key with you so
someone else won't move truck while you are
under it.
Step 13. Inspect coupling
9
After raising landing gear, secure the crank
handle safely.
Use a flashlight if necessary.
Make sure there is no space between upper and
lower fifth-wheel. If there is space, something is
wrong (kingpin may be on top of the closed fifthwheel jaws and the trailer would come loose
very easily).
Step 16: Remove trailer wheel chocks
Go under trailer and look into the back of the
fifth-wheel. Make sure the fifth-wheel jaws have
closed around the shank of the kingpin.
The following steps will help you to uncouple safely.
Check that the locking lever is in the "lock"
position.
Check that the safety latch is in position over
locking lever. (On some fifth-wheels the catch
must be put in place by hand.)
9
Remove and store wheel chocks in a safe place.
6.4.2 Uncoupling tractor-semi-trailers
Step 1. Position rig
9
9
Make sure surface of parking area can support
weight of trailer.
Have tractor lined up with the trailer. (Pulling out
at an angle can damage landing gear.)
Step 2. Ease pressure on locking jaws
9
If the coupling isn't right, don't drive the coupled
unit; get it fixed.
Step 14. Connect the electrical cord and check
air lines
9
9
Plug the electrical cord into the trailer and fasten
the safety catch.
9
9
9
Check both air lines and electrical line for signs
of damage.
Shut off trailer air supply to lock trailer brakes.
Ease pressure on the fifth-wheel locking jaws by
backing up gently. (This will help you release the
fifth-wheel locking lever.)
Put parking brakes on while tractor is pushing
against the kingpin. (This will hold rig with
pressure off the locking jaws.
Step 3. Chock trailer wheels
9
Make sure air and electrical lines will not hit any
moving parts of vehicle.
9
Step 15. Raise front trailer supports (landing
gear)
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Use low gear range (if so equipped) to begin
raising the landing gear. Once free of weight,
switch to the high gear range.
Raise the landing gear all the way up. (Never
drive with landing gear only part way up as it
may catch on railroad tracks or other things.)
Chock the trailer wheels if the trailer doesn't
have spring brakes or if you not sure. The air
could leak out of the trailer air tank, releasing its
emergency brakes. Without chocks, the trailer
could move.
Step 4. Lower the landing gear
9
9
If trailer is empty, lower the landing gear until it
makes firm contact with the ground.
If trailer is loaded, after the landing gear makes
firm contact with the ground, turn crank in low
Section 6 – Combination Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
gear a few extra turns. This will lift some weight
off the tractor. (Do not lift trailer off the fifthwheel.) This will:
Subsections 6.3 and 6.4 Test your knowledge
1. What might happen if the trailer is too high
•
•
when you try to couple?
Make it easier to unlatch fifth-wheel.
Make it easier to couple next time
2. After coupling, how much space should be
between the upper and lower fifth-wheel?
Step 5. Disconnect air lines and electrical cable
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3. You should look into the back of the fifth-
Disconnect air lines from trailer. Connect air line
glad hands to dummy couplers at back of cab or
couple them together.
wheel to see if it is locked onto the kingpin.
True or false?
4. To drive you need to raise the landing gear
only until it just lifts off the pavement. True
or false?
Hang electrical cable with plug down to prevent
moisture from entering it.
5. How do you know if your trailer is equipped
Make sure lines are supported so they won't be
damaged while driving the tractor.
Step 6. Unlock the fifth-wheel
with ABS?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 6.3 and 6.4.
9
Raise the release handle lock.
6.5 Inspecting a combination vehicle
9
Pull the release handle to "open" position.
Step 7. Pull tractor partially clear of trailer
Use the seven-step inspection procedure described
in Section 2 to inspect your combination vehicle.
There are more things to inspect on a combination
vehicle than on a single vehicle. (For example, tires,
wheels, lights, reflectors, etc.) However, there are
also some new things to check. These are
discussed below.
9
6.5.1 Additional items to check during a walkaround inspection
9
9
Keep legs and feet clear of the rear tractor
wheels to avoid serious injury in case the vehicle
moves.
Pull tractor forward until the fifth-wheel comes
out from under the trailer.
Stop with tractor frame under trailer (prevents
trailer from falling to ground if landing gear
should collapse or sink).
Step 8. Secure tractor
9
9
Apply parking brake.
Place transmission in neutral.
Coupling system areas
9
Check fifth-wheel (lower).
•
Securely mounted to frame.
•
No missing or damaged parts.
•
Enough grease.
•
No visible space between upper and lower
fifth-wheel.
Release parking brakes.
•
Locking jaws around the shank, not the head
of kingpin. See Figure 6.8.
Check the area and drive the tractor forward
until it is clear of the trailer.
•
Release arm properly seated and safety
latch/lock engaged.
Step 9. Inspect trailer supports
9
9
The following checks must be completed in addition
to those already listed in Section 2.
Make sure ground is supporting trailer.
Make sure landing gear is not damaged.
Step 10. Pull tractor clear of trailer
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Section 6 Combination Vehicles
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Crank handle in place and secured.
9
If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
6.5.2 Combination vehicle brake check
Do these checks in addition to Section 5.3:
Inspecting Air Brake Systems.
The following section explains how to check air
brakes on combination vehicles. Check the brakes
on a double or triple trailer as you would any
combination vehicle.
Check that air flows to all trailers
Figure 6.8
9
Check the fifth-wheel (upper).
•
•
9
Kingpin not damaged.
Air and electric lines to trailer.
•
Electrical cord firmly plugged in and secured.
•
Air lines properly connected to glad hands, no
air leaks, properly secured with enough slack
for turns.
•
9
Glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame.
All lines free from damage.
Sliding fifth-wheel.
•
Slide not damaged or parts missing.
•
Properly greased.
•
All locking pins present and locked in place.
•
If air powered--no air leaks.
•
Check that fifth-wheel is not so far forward
that tractor frame will hit landing gear or the
cab hit the trailer during turns.
Landing gear
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Fully raised, no missing parts, is not bent or
otherwise damaged.
Use the tractor parking brake, chock the wheels or
do both to hold the vehicle. Wait for air pressure to
reach normal and push in the red "trailer air supply"
knob. This will supply air to the emergency (supply)
lines. Use the trailer handbrake to provide air to the
service line. Go to the rear of the rig. Open the
emergency line shut-off valve at the rear of the last
trailer. You should hear air escaping, showing the
entire system is charged. Close the emergency line
valve. Open the service line valve to check that
service pressure goes through all the trailers (this
test assumes that the trailer handbrake or the
service brake pedal is on), and then close the valve.
If you do not hear air escaping from both lines,
check that the shut-off valves on any trailers and
dollies are in the open position. You must have air
all the way to the back for all the brakes to work.
Test tractor protection valve
Charge the trailer air brake system by building up
normal air pressure and pushing the "air supply"
knob in. Shut the engine off. Step on and off the
brake pedal several times to reduce the air pressure
in the tanks. The trailer air supply control (also called
the tractor protection valve control) should pop out
(or go from "normal" to "emergency" position) when
the air pressure falls into the pressure range
specified by the manufacturer – usually within the
range of 20 to 45 psi.
If the tractor protection valve doesn't work, an air
hose or trailer brake leak could drain all the air from
the tractor. This would cause the emergency brakes
to come on with possible loss of control.
Test trailer emergency brakes
Charge the trailer air brake system and check that
the trailer rolls freely. Then stop and pull out the
trailer air supply control (also called tractor
protection valve control or trailer emergency valve),
or place it in the "emergency" position. Pull gently on
Section 6 – Combination Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
the trailer with the tractor to check that the trailer
emergency brakes are on.
Test trailer service brakes
Subsection 6.5 Test your knowledge
1. Which shut-off valves should be open and
which closed?
Check for normal air pressure, release the parking
brakes, move the vehicle forward slowly and apply
trailer brakes with the hand control (trolley valve) if
so equipped. You should feel the brakes come on.
This tells you the trailer brakes are connected and
working. (The trailer brakes should be tested with
the hand valve but controlled in normal operation
with the foot pedal, which applies air to the service
brakes at all wheels.)
2. How can you test that air flows to all
trailers?
3. How can you test the tractor protection
valve?
4. How can you test the trailer emergency
brakes?
5. How can you test the trailer service
brakes?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer all of them, re-read subsection 6.5.
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 7
DOUBLES AND TRIPLES
This section covers:
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Pulling double and triple trailers
Coupling and uncoupling
Inspecting doubles and triples
Checking air brakes
This section has information you need to pass the
CDL knowledge test for driving safely with double
and triple trailers. It tells about how important it is to
be very careful when driving with more than one
trailer, how to couple and uncouple correctly, and
about inspecting doubles and triples carefully. (You
should also study Sections 2, 5, and 6.)
7.1 Pulling double and triple trailers
Take special care when pulling two and three
trailers. There are more things that can go wrong,
and doubles and triples are less stable than other
commercial vehicles. Some areas of concern are
discussed below.
7.7.1 Prevent trailer from rolling over
To prevent trailers from rolling over, you must steer
gently and go slowly around corners, on-ramps, offramps and curves. A safe speed on a curve for a
straight truck or a single trailer combination vehicle
may be too fast for a set of doubles or triples.
7.1.2 Beware of the “crack-the-whip” effect
Doubles and triples are more likely to turn over than
other combination vehicles because of the "crackthe-whip" effect. You must steer gently when pulling
trailers. The last trailer in a combination is most likely
to turn over. If you don't understand the crack-thewhip effect, study subsection 6.1.2 of this manual.
7.1.3 Inspect completely
7.1.5 Manage space
Doubles and triples take up more space than other
commercial vehicles. They are not only longer, but
also need more space because they can't be turned
or stopped suddenly. Allow more following distance.
Make sure you have large enough gaps before
entering or crossing traffic. Be certain you are clear
at the sides before changing lanes.
7.1.6 Adverse conditions
Be more careful in adverse conditions. In bad
weather, slippery conditions and mountain driving,
you must be especially careful if you drive double
and triple bottoms. You will have greater length and
more dead axles to pull with your drive axles than
other drivers. There is more chance for skids and
loss of traction.
7.1.7 Parking the vehicle
Make sure you do not get in a spot you cannot pull
straight through. You need to be aware of how
parking lots are arranged in order to avoid a long
and difficult escape.
7.1.8 Antilock braking systems (ABS) on
converter dollies
Converter dollies built on or after March 1, 1998, are
required to have antilock brakes. These dollies will
have a yellow lamp on the left side of the dolly.
7.2 Coupling and uncoupling
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is
basic to safe operation of doubles and triples. Wrong
coupling and uncoupling can be very dangerous.
Coupling and uncoupling steps for doubles and
triples are listed below.
7.2.1 Coupling twin trailers
Secure the second (rear) trailer
7.1.4 Look far ahead
If the second trailer doesn't have spring brakes,
drive the tractor close to the trailer, connect the
emergency line, charge the trailer air tank and
disconnect the emergency line. This will set the
trailer emergency brakes (if the slack adjusters are
correctly adjusted). Chock the wheels if you have
any doubt about the brakes.
Doubles and triples must be driven very smoothly to
avoid rollover or jackknife. Therefore, look far ahead
so you can slow down or change lanes gradually
when necessary.
For the safest handling on the road, the more
heavily loaded semi-trailer should be in first position
behind the tractor. The lighter trailer should be in the
rear.
There are more critical parts to check when you
have two or three trailers. Check them all. Follow the
procedures described later in this section.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
A converter gear on a dolly is a coupling device of
one or two axles and a fifth-wheel by which a semitrailer can be coupled to the rear of a tractor-trailer
combination forming a double bottom rig. See Figure
7.1.
9
Hook dolly to front trailer.
9
Lock pintle hook.
9
Secure converter gear support in raised position.
Connect converter dolly to rear trailer
9
9
Figure 7.1
9
Position converter dolly in front of the second
(rear) trailer
9
Release dolly brakes by opening the air tank
petcock. (Or, if the dolly has spring brakes, use the
dolly parking brake control.)
9
If the distance is not too great, wheel the dolly into
position by hand so it is in line with the kingpin.
9
Or, use the tractor and first semi-trailer to pick up the
converter dolly:
9
9
Position combination as close as possible to
converter dolly.
Move dolly to rear of first semi-trailer and couple
it to the trailer.
9
Lock pintle hook.
9
Secure dolly support in raised position.
9
Pull dolly into position as close as possible to
nose of the second semi-trailer.
9
Lower dolly support.
9
Unhook dolly from first trailer.
9
Wheel dolly into position in front of second trailer
in line with the kingpin.
Connect converter dolly to the front of the trailer
9
Back first semi-trailer into position in front of
dolly tongue.
Section 7 Doubles and Triples
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Make sure trailer brakes are locked, the wheels
are chocked or both if possible.
Make sure trailer height is correct. (It must be
slightly lower than the center of the fifth-wheel,
so trailer is raised slightly when dolly is pushed
under.)
Back converter dolly under rear trailer.
Raise landing gear slightly off ground to prevent
damage if trailer moves.
Test coupling by pulling against pin of the
second semi-trailer.
Make visual check of coupling. (No space
between upper and lower fifth-wheel. Locking
jaws closed on kingpin.)
Connect safety chains, air hoses and light cords.
Close converter dolly air tank petcock and shutoff valves at rear of second trailer (service and
emergency shut-offs).
Open shut-off valves at rear of first trailer (and
on dolly if so equipped).
Raise landing gear completely.
Charge trailer brakes (push "air supply" knob in),
and check for air at rear of second trailer by
opening the emergency line shut-off. If air
pressure isn't there, something is wrong and the
brakes won't work.
7.2.2 Uncoupling twin trailers
To uncouple the rear trailer:
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Park rig in a straight line on firm level ground.
9
Apply parking brakes so rig won't move.
9
Chock wheels of second trailer if it doesn't have
spring brakes.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Lower landing gear of second semi-trailer
enough to remove some weight from dolly.
7.2.4 Coupling and uncoupling other
combinations
9
Release dolly brakes.
The methods described so far apply to the more
common tractor-trailer combinations. However, there
are other ways of coupling and uncoupling the many
types of truck-trailer and tractor-trailer combinations
that are in use. There are too many to cover in this
manual. Learn the right way to couple the vehicles
you will drive according to the manufacturer or the
owner.
9
Release converter dolly fifth-wheel latch.
7.3 Inspecting doubles and triples
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Close air shut-offs at rear of first semi-trailer
(and on dolly if so equipped).
Disconnect all dolly air and electric lines and
secure them.
Slowly pull tractor, first semi-trailer and dolly
forward to pull dolly out from under rear semitrailer.
To uncouple the converter dolly:
9
Lower dolly landing gear.
9
Disconnect safety chains.
9
Apply converter gear spring brakes or chock
wheels.
Use the seven-step inspection procedure described
in Section 2 to inspect your combination vehicle.
There are more things to inspect on a combination
vehicle than on a single vehicle. Many of these items
are simply more of what you would find on a single
vehicle. (For example, tires, wheels, lights,
reflectors, etc.) However, there are also some
additional checks that should be made. These are
discussed below.
7.3.1 Additional checks
Do these checks in addition to those already listed in
Section 2, Step 5: Do walk-around inspection.
9
Release pintle hook on first semi-trailer.
Coupling System Areas
9
Slowly pull clear of dolly.
9
Check fifth-wheel (lower).
Never unlock the pintle hook with the dolly still under
the rear trailer. The dolly tow bar may fly up, possibly
causing injury, and making it very difficult to recouple.
•
Securely mounted to frame.
•
No missing or damaged parts.
7.2.3 Coupling and uncoupling triple trailers
•
Enough grease.
Coupling the tractor and trailers
•
No visible space between upper and lower
fifth-wheel.
•
Locking jaws around the shank, not the head
of kingpin.
•
Release arm properly seated and safety latch
or lock engaged.
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9
Couple tractor to first trailer. Use the method
already described for coupling the tractor and
the semi-trailers.
Move converter dolly into position and couple
first trailer to second trailer using the method for
coupling doubles. Triples rig is now complete.
To uncouple a triple-trailer rig
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•
•
Uncouple third trailer by pulling the dolly out,
then unhitching the dolly using the method for
uncoupling doubles.
Uncouple remainder of rig as you would any
double-bottom rig using the method already
described.
Check fifth-wheel (upper).
9
Glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame.
Kingpin not damaged.
Air and electric lines to trailer.
•
Electrical cord firmly plugged in and secured.
Section 7 – Doubles and Triples
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
•
•
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Air lines properly connected to glad hands, no
air leaks, properly secured with enough slack
for turns.
All lines free from damage.
Sliding fifth-wheel.
Properly greased.
•
All locking pins present and locked in place.
7.4.1 Additional air brake checks
•
If air powered, no air leaks.
Check that air flows to all trailers (double and
triple trailers)
•
Check that fifth-wheel is not so far forward
that tractor frame will hit landing gear or the
cab hit the trailer during turns.
Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or
otherwise damaged.
9
If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
Double and triple trailers
Shut-off valves (at rear of trailers, in service and
emergency lines).
•
•
•
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Check the brakes on a double or triple trailer as you
would any combination vehicle. Subsection 6.5.2
explains how to check air brakes on combination
vehicles. You must also make the following checks
on your double or triple trailers.
•
Crank handle in place and secured.
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7.4 Doubles and triples air brake check
Slide not damaged or parts missing.
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Do these checks in addition to subsection 5.3,
Inspecting Air Brake Systems.
•
Landing gear
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7.3.2 Additional things to check during a walkaround inspection
Rear of front trailers: Open.
Rear of last trailer: Closed
Converter dolly air tank drain valve: Closed.
Be sure air lines are supported and glad hands
are properly connected.
If spare tire is carried on converter gear (dolly),
make sure it's secured.
Be sure pintle-eye of dolly is in place in pintle
hook on the trailers.
Use the tractor parking brake, chock the wheels or
both to hold the vehicle. Wait for air pressure to
reach normal and then push in the red "trailer air
supply" knob. This will supply air to the emergency
(supply) lines. Use the trailer handbrake to provide
air to the service line. Go to the rear of the rig. Open
the emergency line shut-off valve at the rear of the
last trailer. You should hear air escaping, showing
the entire system is charged. Close the emergency
line valve. Open the service line valve to check that
service pressure goes through all the trailers (this
test assumes that the trailer handbrake or the
service brake pedal is on), and then close the valve.
If you do not hear air escaping from both lines,
check that the shut-off valves on the trailers and
dollies are in the open position. You must have air
all the way to the back for all the brakes to work.
Test tractor protection valve
Charge the trailer air brake system. (That is, build up
normal air pressure and push the "air supply" knob
in.) Shut the engine off. Step on and off the brake
pedal several times to reduce the air pressure in the
tanks. The trailer air supply control (also called the
tractor protection valve control) should pop out (or
go from "normal" to "emergency" position) when the
air pressure falls into the pressure range specified
by the manufacturer - usually within the range of 20
to 45 psi.
If the tractor protection valve doesn't work properly,
an air hose or trailer brake leak could drain all the air
from the tractor. This would cause the emergency
brakes to come on, with possible loss of control.
9
Make sure pintle hook is latched.
9
Safety chains should be secured to trailers.
Test trailer emergency brakes
Be sure light cords are firmly in sockets on
trailers.
Charge the trailer air brake system and check that
the trailer rolls freely. Then stop and pull out the
trailer air supply control (also called tractor
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Section 7 Doubles and Triples
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
protection valve control or trailer emergency valve)
or place it in the "emergency" position. Pull gently on
the trailer with the tractor to check that the trailer
emergency brakes are on.
4. How do you check to make sure trailer
height is correct before coupling?
5. What do you check when making a visual
check of coupling?
Test trailer service brakes
6. Why should you pull a dolly out from under
Check for normal air pressure, release the parking
brakes, move the vehicle forward slowly, and apply
trailer brakes with the hand control (trolley valve), if
so equipped. You should feel the brakes come on.
This tells you the trailer brakes are connected and
working. (The trailer brakes should be tested with
the hand valve, but controlled in normal operation
with the foot pedal, which applies air to the service
brakes at all wheels.
Section 7 Test your knowledge
1. What is a converter dolly?
a trailer before you disconnect it from the
trailer in front?
7. What should you check for when
inspecting the converter dolly? The pintle
hook?
8. Should the shut-off valves on the rear of
the last trailer be open or closed? On the
first trailer in a set of doubles? On the
middle trailer of a set of triples?
9. How can you test that air flows to all
trailers?
2. Do converter dollies have spring brakes?
10. How do you know if your converter dolly is
3. What three methods can you use to secure
equipped with antilock brakes?
a second trailer before coupling?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 7.
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Section 7 – Doubles and Triples
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 8
9
TANK VEHICLES
Check manhole covers and vents. Make sure
the covers have gaskets and they close
correctly. Keep the vents clear so they work
correctly.
This section covers:
8.1.2 Check special purpose equipment
9 Inspecting tank vehicles
9 Driving tank vehicles
9 Safe driving rules
If your vehicle has any of the following equipment,
make sure it works:
This section has information needed to pass the
CDL knowledge test for driving a tank vehicle. (You
should also study Sections 2, 5, and 6). A tank
endorsement is required for certain vehicles that
transport liquids or gases. The liquid or gas does not
have to be a hazardous material. A tank
endorsement is only required if your vehicle needs a
Class A or B CDL and you want to haul a liquid or
liquid gas in a permanently mounted cargo tank
rated at greater than 450 liters (119 gallons) or a
portable tank rated at greater than 1,000 gallons. A
tank endorsement is also required for Class C
vehicles when the vehicle is used to transport
hazardous materials in liquid or gas form in the
above described rated tanks.
Before loading, unloading or driving a tanker, inspect
the vehicle. This makes sure that the vehicle is safe
to carry the liquid or gas and is safe to drive.
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Vapor recovery kits.
Grounding and bonding cables.
Emergency shut-off systems.
Built in fire extinguisher.
Never drive a tank vehicle with the valves or
manhole covers open.
8.1.3 Special equipment
Check the emergency equipment required for your
vehicle. Find out what equipment you're required to
carry, make sure you have it and make sure it is
working properly.
8.2 Driving tank vehicles
Hauling liquids in tanks requires special skills
because of the high center of gravity and liquid
movement. See Figure 8.1.
8.1 Inspecting tank vehicles
Tank vehicles have special items that you need to
check. Tank vehicles come in many types and sizes.
You need to check the vehicle's operator manual to
make sure you know how to inspect your tank
vehicle.
8.1.1 Leaks
On all tank vehicles, the most important item to
check for is leaks. Check under and around the
vehicle for signs of any leaking. Don't carry liquids or
gases in a leaking tank. To do so is a crime. You will
be cited and prevented from driving further. You may
also be liable for the cleanup of any spill. In general,
check the following:
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Check the tank's body or shell for dents or leaks.
Check the intake, discharge and cut-off valves.
Make sure the valves are in the correct position
before loading, unloading or moving the vehicle.
Figure 8.1
8.2.1 High center of gravity
A high center of gravity means that much of the
load's weight is carried high up off the road. This
makes the vehicle top-heavy and easy to roll over.
Liquid tankers are especially prone to roll over.
Tests have shown that tankers can turn over at the
speed limits posted for curves. Take highway curves
and on-ramp or off-ramp curves well below the
posted speeds.
Check pipes, connections and hoses for leaks,
especially around joints.
Section 8 – Tank Vehicles
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
8.2.2 Danger of surge
Liquid surge results from movement of the liquid in
partially filled tanks. This movement can make
handling the vehicle difficult. For example, when
coming to a stop, the liquid will surge back and forth.
When the wave hits the end of the tank, it tends to
push the truck in the direction the wave is moving. If
the truck is on a slippery surface such as ice, the
wave can shove a stopped truck out into an
intersection. The driver of a liquid tanker must be
very familiar with the handling of the vehicle.
8.2.3 Bulkheads
Some liquid tanks are divided into several smaller
tanks by bulkheads. When loading and unloading
the smaller tanks, the driver must pay attention to
weight distribution. Don't put too much weight on the
front or rear of the vehicle.
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The weight of the liquid.
Legal weight limits.
8.3 Safe driving rules
In order to drive tank vehicles safely, you must
remember to follow all the safe driving rules. A few
important rules to keep in mind follow.
8.3.1 Drive smoothly
Because of the high center of gravity and the surge
of the liquid, you must start, slow down and stop
very smoothly. Also, make smooth turns and lane
changes.
8.3.2 Controlling surge
8.2.4 Baffled tanks
Keep a steady pressure on the brakes. Do not
release too soon when coming to a stop. Brake far in
advance of a stop and increase your following
distance.
Baffled liquid tanks have bulkheads in them with
holes that let the liquid flow through. The baffles help
to control the forward and backward surge of the
tank’s contents. Side-to-side surge can still occur.
This can also cause a rollover.
If you must make a quick stop to avoid a crash, use
controlled or stab braking. If you do not remember
how to stop using these methods, review subsection
2.17.2. Also, remember that if you steer quickly while
braking, your vehicle may roll over.
8.2.5 Unbaffled tanks
8.3.3 Curves
Unbaffled liquid tankers (sometimes called "smooth
bore" tanks) have nothing inside to slow down the
flow of the liquid. Therefore, forward-and-back surge
is highly likely and poses a greater risk of rollover.
Unbaffled tanks are usually those that transport food
products (milk, for example). (Sanitation regulations
forbid the use of baffles because of the difficulty in
cleaning the inside of the tank.) Be extremely
cautious (slow and careful) in driving smooth bore
tanks, especially when starting and stopping.
Slow down before curves, then accelerate slightly
though the curve. The posted speed for a curve may
be too fast for a tank vehicle.
8.2.6 Outage
Never load a cargo tank totally full. Liquids expand
as they warm and you must leave room for the
expanding liquid. This is called "outage." Since
different liquids expand by different amounts, they
require different amounts of outage. You must know
the outage requirement when hauling liquids in bulk.
8.2.7 How much to load?
A full tank of dense liquid (such as some acids) may
exceed legal weight limits. For that reason, you may
often only partially fill tanks with heavy liquids. The
amount of liquid to load into a tank depends on:
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8.3.4 Stopping Distance
Keep in mind how much space you need to stop
your vehicle. Remember that wet roads double the
normal stopping distance. Large combination
vehicles, even when lightly loaded, may take longer
to stop than you realize. Tank vehicles present a
special concern because the movement of their
contents can quickly shift the vehicle’s center of
gravity and make handling and stopping difficult and
present a greater risk of rollover or jackknifing.
8.3.5 Skids
Don't over-steer, over-accelerate or over-brake. If
you do, your vehicle may skid. On tank trailers, if
your drive wheels or trailer wheels begin to skid,
your vehicle may jackknife. When any vehicle starts
to skid, you must take action to restore traction to
the wheels.
The amount the liquid will expand in transit.
Section 8 – Tank Vehicles
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
4. What three things determine how much
Section 8 Test your knowledge
liquid you can load?
1. How are bulkheads different than baffles?
5. What is outage?
2. Should a tank vehicle take curves, on-
6. How can you help control surge?
ramps and off-ramps at posted speed
limits?
7. What two reasons make special care
necessary when driving tank vehicles?
3. How are smooth bore tankers different to
drive than those with baffles?
Section 8 – Tank Vehicles
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read Section 8.
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Section 9
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
This section covers:
9 The intent of the regulations
9 Bulk tank loading, unloading and
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9
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9
marking
Driver responsibilities
Driving and parking rules
Communication rules
Emergencies
Loading and unloading
Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to
health, safety and property during transportation.
The term often is shortened to “HAZMAT,” which you
may see on road signs or to “HM” in government
regulations. Hazardous materials include explosives,
various types of gas, solids, flammable liquids and
other materials. Because of the risks involved and
the potential consequences these risks impose, all
levels of government regulate the handling of
hazardous materials.
The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) is
found in parts 100 – 185 of title 49 of the Code of
Federal Regulations. The common reference for
these regulations is 49 CFR 171-180.
The Hazardous Materials Table in the regulations
contains a list of these items. However, this list is not
all-inclusive. Whether or not a material is considered
hazardous is based on its characteristics and the
shipper's decision on whether or not the material
meets a definition of a hazardous material in the
regulations.
The regulations require vehicles transporting certain
types or quantities of hazardous materials to display
diamond-shaped, square-on-point, warning signs
called placards.
This section is designed to assist you in
understanding your role and responsibilities in
hauling hazardous materials. Due to the constantly
changing nature of government regulations, it is
impossible to guarantee absolute accuracy of the
materials in this section. An up-to-date copy of the
complete regulations is essential for you to have.
Included in these regulations is a complete glossary
of terms.
90
You must have a CDL with a hazardous materials
endorsement before you drive any size vehicle that
is used in the transportation of any material that
requires hazardous material placarding or any
quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin
in 42 CFR 93. You must pass a written test about
the regulations and requirements to get this
endorsement.
Everything you need to know to pass the written test
is in this section. However, this is only a beginning.
Most drivers need to know much more on the job.
You can learn more by reading and understanding
the federal and state rules applicable to hazardous
materials as well as attending hazardous materials
training courses. Your employer, colleges and
universities and various associations usually offer
these courses. You can get copies of the Federal
Regulations (49 CFR) through your local
Government Printing Office bookstore and various
industry publishers. Union or company offices often
have copies of the rules for driver use. Find out
where you can get your own copy to use on the job.
The regulations require training and testing for all
drivers involved in transporting hazardous materials.
Your employer or a designated representative is
required to provide this training and testing.
Hazardous materials employers are required to keep
a record of that training on each employee, as long
as that employee is working with hazardous
materials and for 90 days thereafter. The regulations
require that hazardous materials employees be
trained and tested at least once every three years.
All drivers must be trained in the security risks of
hazardous materials transportation. This training
must include how to recognize and respond to
possible security threats.
The regulations also require that drivers have
special training before driving a vehicle transporting
certain flammable gas materials or highway route
controlled quantities of radioactive materials. In
addition, drivers transporting cargo tanks and
portable tanks must receive specialized training.
Each driver’s employer or his or her designated
representative must provide such training.
Some locations require permits to transport certain
explosives or bulk hazardous wastes. States and
counties also may require drivers to follow special
hazardous materials routes. The federal government
may require permits or exemptions for special
hazardous materials cargo such as rocket fuel. Find
out about permits, exemptions and special routes for
the places you drive.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.1 The Intent of the Regulations
9
9.1.1 Contain the Material
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Transporting hazardous materials can be risky. The
regulations are intended to protect you, those
around you and the environment. They tell shippers
how to package the materials safely and drivers how
to load, transport and unload the material. These are
called "containment rules."
9.1.2 Communicate the Risk
To communicate the risk, shippers must warn drivers
and others about the material's hazards. The
regulations require shippers to put hazard warning
labels on packages, provide proper shipping papers,
emergency response information and placards.
These steps communicate the hazard to the shipper,
the carrier and the driver.
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9.1.3 Assure Safe Drivers and Equipment
In order to get a hazardous materials endorsement
on a CDL, you must pass a written test about
transporting hazardous materials. To pass the test,
you must know how to:
9
Identify what are hazardous materials.
9
Safely load shipments.
9
9
9
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9
Safely transport shipments.
9
Inspect your vehicle before and during each trip.
Law enforcement officers may stop and inspect your
vehicle. When stopped, they may check your
shipping papers, vehicle placards, the hazardous
materials endorsement on your driver license and
your knowledge of hazardous materials.
9.2 Hazardous materials
transportation: Who does what?
Sends products from one place to another by
truck, rail, vessel or airplane.
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
Hazard class.
Identification number.
Packing group.
Correct packaging.
Correct label and markings.
Correct placards.
Must package, mark and label the materials,
prepare shipping papers, provide emergency
response information and supply placards.
Certify on the shipping paper that the shipment
has been prepared according to the rules
(unless you are pulling cargo tanks supplied by
you or your employer).
Takes the shipment from the shipper to its
destination.
Prior to transportation, checks that the shipper
correctly described, marked, labeled and
otherwise prepared the shipment for
transportation.
Refuses improper shipments.
Reports accidents and incidents involving
hazardous materials to the proper government
agency.
9.2.3 The Driver
9
Makes sure the shipper has identified, marked
and labeled the hazardous materials properly.
9
Refuses leaking packages and shipments.
9
Placards his vehicle when loading if required.
9
Safely transports the shipment without delay.
9
9.2.1 The Shipper
9
Proper shipping name.
9.2.2 The Carrier
Properly placard your vehicle in accordance with
the rules.
Learn the rules and follow them. Following the rules
reduces the risk of injury from hazardous materials.
Taking shortcuts by breaking rules is unsafe.
Noncompliance with regulations can result in fines
and jail.
Uses the hazardous materials regulations to
determine the product’s:
9
Follows all special rules about transporting
hazardous materials.
Keep hazardous materials’ shipping papers and
emergency response information in the proper
place.
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9.3 Communication Rules
9.3.1 Definitions
Some words and phrases have special meanings
when talking about hazardous materials. Some of
these may differ from meanings you are used to.
The words and phrases in this section may be on
your test. The meanings of other important words
are in the glossary at the end of Section 9.
The class or division that a material hazard falls into
reflects the risks associated with that material. There
are nine different hazard classes as shown in Figure
9.1.
Hazardous Materials Table
2
Division
Class
1
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
2.1
2.2
2.3
3
4
Examples
Mass Explosion
Projection Hazard
Fire Hazard
Minor Explosion
Very Insensitive
Extremely
Insensitive
Dynamite
Flares
Display Fireworks
Ammunition
Blasting Agents
Explosive Devices
Flammable Gases
Non-Flammable
Gases
Poisonous/Toxic
Gases
Fluorine, Compressed
Flammable Liquids
Gasoline
4.1
4.2
Flammable Solids
Spontaneously
Combustible
Dangerous When
Wet
Ammonium Picrate,
Wetted
White Phosphorus
Sodium
5.1
5.2
Oxidizers
Organic Peroxides
Ammonium Nitrate
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Peroxide
6.1
Poison (Toxic
Material)
Infectious
Substances
Radioactive
Corrosives
Miscellaneous
Hazardous Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated MaterialDomestic)
Combustible Liquids
Potassium Cyanide
6
6.2
7
8
-
9
-
e
-
9
9
9
Shippers to describe hazardous materials
correctly and include an emergency response
telephone number on shipping papers.
Carriers and drivers to quickly identify
hazardous materials shipping papers or keep
them on top of other shipping papers. The
required emergency response information must
also be kept with the shipping papers.
Drivers to keep hazardous materials shipping
papers:
•
In a pouch on the driver's door, or
•
In clear view within immediate reach while the
seat belt is fastened while driving, or
•
On the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
Propane
Helium
-
4.3
5
Name of Class or
Division
After an accident or hazardous materials spill or
leak, you may be injured and unable to
communicate little if anything about the hazardous
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 present. Your life and the lives of
others may depend on quickly locating the
hazardous materials shipping papers. For that
reason, the rules require:
9.3.2 Package Labels
Shippers put diamond-shaped hazard warning labels
on most hazardous materials packages. These
labels inform others of the hazard. If the diamond
label won't fit on the package, shippers may put the
label on a tag securely attached to the package. For
example, compressed gas cylinders that will not hold
a label will have tags or decals. Labels look like the
examples in Figure 9.2.
Anthrax Virus
Uranium
Battery Fluid
Polychlorinated
Biphenyls (PCB)
Food Flavorings,
Medicines
Fuel Oil
Figure 9.1
A shipping paper describes the hazardous materials
being transported. Shipping orders, bills of lading
and manifests are all shipping papers. Figure 9.6
shows an example of a shipping paper.
Figure 9.2 – Examples of hazmat labels
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Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.3.3 Lists of Regulated Products
Identification numbers
Placards
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 U.S. Department of
Transportation Emergency Response Guidebook
(ERG) lists the chemicals and their corresponding
identification numbers.
Placards are used to warn others of hazardous
materials. Placards are signs put on the outside of a
vehicle and on bulk packages 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 of the vehicle. See
Figure 9.3. Placards must be readable from all four
directions. These signs should be at least 10 ¾
inches square and are displayed with the square
turned so that its corners form the top, bottom, left
and right points of a diamond. Cargo tanks and other
bulk packaging display the identification number of
their contents on placards or orange panels or white
square-on-point displays that are the same size as
placards.
There are three main lists used by shippers, carriers
and drivers when trying to identify hazardous
materials. Before transporting a material, look for its
name on three lists. Some materials are on all lists,
others on only one. Always check the following lists:
9
9
9
Section 172.101, the Hazardous Materials
Table.
Appendix A to Section 172.101, the List of
Hazardous Substances and Reportable
Quantities.
Appendix B to Section 172.101, the List of
Marine Pollutants.
The hazardous materials table
Figure 9.4 shows part of the hazardous materials
table. Column 1 tells which shipping modes the entry
affects and other information concerning the
shipping description. The next five columns show
each material's shipping name, hazard class or
division, identification number, packaging group and
required labels.
Figure 9.3 – Examples of hazmat placards
49 CFR 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table
Symbols
(1)
A
Hazardous
Materials
Description &
Proper Shipping
Name
Hazard
Class or
Division
Identification
Numbers
PG
(2)
Acetaldehyde
ammonia
(3)
(4)
(5)
9
UN1841
III
Label
Code
Special
Provisions
(172.102)
Packaging (173. ***)
Exceptions
Nonbulk
Bulk
(6)
(7)
(8A)
(8B)
(8C)
9
IB8, IP6
155
204
240
Figure 9.4
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Appendix A to 49 CFR 172
List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities
Hazardous Substances
Phenyl mercaptan @
Phenylmercury acetate
N-Phenylthiourea
Phorate
Phosgene
Phosphine
Phosphoric acid
Phosphoric acid, diethyl
4-nitrophenyl ester
Phosphoric acid, lead salt
Reportable Quantity (RQ) Pounds
(Kilograms)
100 (45.4)
100 (45.4)
100 (45.4)
10 (4.54)
10 (4.54)
100 (45.4) *
5,000 (2270)
100 (45.4)
10 (.454)
* Spills of 10 pounds or more must be reported.
Figure 9.5
Six different symbols may appear in Column 1 of the
table:
(+)
Shows the proper shipping name, hazard
class and packing group to use, even if the
material doesn't meet the hazard class
definition.
(A)
Means the hazardous material described in
Column 2 is subject to the HMR only when
offered or intended for transport by air,
unless it is a hazardous substance or
hazardous waste.
(W)
(D)
Means the hazardous material described in
Column 2 is subject to the HMR only when
offered or intended for transportation by
water unless it is a hazardous substance,
hazardous waste or marine pollutant.
Means the proper shipping name is
appropriate for describing materials for
domestic transportation, but may not be
proper for international transportation.
(I)
Identifies a proper shipping name that is
used to describe materials in international
transportation. A different shipping name
may be used when only domestic
transportation is involved.
(G)
Means this hazardous material described in
Column 2 is a generic shipping name. A
generic shipping name must be
accompanied by a technical name on the
shipping paper. A technical name is a
specific chemical that makes the product
hazardous. Column 2 lists the proper
94
shipping names and descriptions of
regulated materials. Entries are in
alphabetical order so you can more quickly
find the right entry. The table shows proper
shipping names in regular type. The
shipping paper must show proper shipping
names. Names shown in italics are not
proper shipping names.
Column 3 shows a material’s hazard class, division
or the entry "Forbidden." Never transport a forbidden
material. Placard hazardous materials based on the
quantity and hazard class. You can decide which
placards to use if you know these three things:
9
Material’s hazard class.
9
Amount being shipped.
9
Amount of all hazardous materials of all classes
on your vehicle.
Column 4 lists the identification number for each
proper shipping name. Identification numbers are
preceded by the letters "UN" or "NA." The letters
"NA" are associated with proper shipping names that
are only used within the United States and to and
from Canada. The identification number must
appear on the shipping paper as part of the shipping
description and also appear on the package. It also
must appear on cargo tanks and other bulk
packaging. Police and firefighters use this number to
quickly identify the hazardous materials.
Column 5 shows the packing group (in Roman
numerals) assigned to a material.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Column 6 shows the hazard warning labels shippers
must put on packages of hazardous materials. Some
products require use of more than one label due to a
dual hazard being present.
outside of the vehicle. In addition, a notation must be
made on the shipping papers near the description of
the material: “Marine Pollutant.”
Shipping Paper
Column 7 lists the additional (special) provisions that
apply to this material. When there is an entry in this
column, you must refer to the federal regulations for
specific information. The numbers 1-6 in this column
mean the hazardous material is a poison inhalation
hazard (PIH). PIH materials have special
requirements for shipping papers, marking and
placards.
ABC
Corporation
88 Valley
Street
Anywhere,
VA
TO:
Quantity
HM
DEF
Corporation
55
FROM:
Mountain
Street
Nowhere,
CO
Description
Page
1 of 1
Weight
Phosgene, 2.3,
UN1076
Poison, Inhalation
Hazard,
Zone A
Column 8 is a three-part column showing the section
numbers covering the packaging requirements for
each hazardous material.
RQ
Note: Columns 9 and 10 do not apply to
transportation by highway.
Appendix A to 49 CFR 172.101 - The List of
Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the
Environmental Protection Agency want to know
about spills of hazardous substances. They are
named in the List of Hazardous Substances and
Reportable Quantities. See Figure 9.5. Column 3 of
the list shows each product's reportable quantity
(RQ). When these materials are being transported in
a reportable quantity or greater in one package, the
shipper displays the letters RQ on the shipping
paper and package. The letters RQ may appear
before or after the basic description. You or your
employer must report any spill of these materials,
which occurs in a reportable quantity.
If the words “INHALATION HAZARD” appear on the
shipping paper or package, the rules require display
of the “POISON INHALATION HAZARD” or
“POISON GAS” placards as appropriate. These
placards must be used in addition to other placards,
which may be required by the product's hazard
class. Always display the hazard class placard and
the “POISON INHALATION HAZARD” placard, even
for small amounts.
Appendix B to 49 CFR 172.101 – List of Marine
Pollutants
Appendix B is a listing of chemicals that are toxic to
marine life. For highway transportation, this list is
only used for chemicals in a container with a
capacity of 119 gallons or more without a placard or
label as specified by the HMR.
Any bulk packages of a “Marine Pollutant” must
display the marine pollutant marking (white triangle
with a fish and an “X” through the fish). This marking
(it is not a placard) must also be displayed on the
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
(Phosgene is the
proper shipping
name from Column
Cylinder
2 of the Hazardous
(“RQ”
25 lbs
Materials Table.)
means that (2.3 is the Hazard
this is a
Class from Column
reportable
3 of the Hazardous
quantity.)
Materials Table.)
(Un1076 is the
Identification
Number from
Column 4 of the
Hazardous materials
Table.)
This is to certify that the above named materials are
properly classified, described, packaged marked and
labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation
according to the applicable regulations of the United
States Department of Transportation.
DEF
Carrier:
Corporation
Safety
Per:
Smith
First
Date:
October 15,
2003
Special Instructions: 24 hour Emergency Contact,
John Smith 1-800-555-5555
Shipper:
Per:
Date:
Figure 9.6
9.3.4 The shipping paper
The shipping paper shown in Figure 9.6 describes a
shipment. A shipping paper for hazardous materials
must include:
9
9
Page numbers if the shipping paper has more
than one page. The first page must tell the total
number of pages. For example, "Page 1 of 4.”
A proper shipping description for each
hazardous material.
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9
A shipper's certification, signed by the shipper,
saying they prepared the shipment according to
the regulations.
9.3.5 The item description
If a shipping paper describes both hazardous and
nonhazardous products, the hazardous materials will
be noted by one of the following:
9
Described first.
9
Highlighted in a contrasting color.
9
Identified by an "X" placed before the shipping
name in a column captioned "HM". The letters
"RQ" may be used instead of "X" if a reportable
quantity is present in one package.
The basic description of hazardous materials
includes the proper shipping name, hazard class or
division, the identification number and the packing
group, if any, in that order. The packing group is
displayed in Roman numerals and may be preceded
by "PG".
Shipping name, hazard class and identification
number must not be abbreviated unless specifically
authorized in the hazardous materials regulations.
The description must also show:
9
The total quantity and unit of measure.
9
The letters RQ if a reportable quantity.
9
9
The name of the hazardous substance if the
letters RQ appear.
For all materials with the letter “G” (Generic) in
Column 1, the technical name of the hazardous
material.
The shipper is responsible for listing an emergency
response telephone number in the shipping papers.
It can be used by emergency responders to obtain
information about any hazardous materials involved
in a spill or fire. Some hazardous materials do not
need a telephone number. You should check the
regulations to determine which do need a telephone
number.
Shippers also must provide emergency response
information to the motor carrier for each hazardous
material being shipped. The emergency response
information must be able to be used away from the
motor vehicle and must provide information on how
to safely handle incidents involving the material. It
must include information on the shipping name of
96
the hazardous materials, risks to health, fire,
explosion, and initial methods of handling spills, fires
and leaks of the materials.
Such information can be on the shipping paper or
some other document that includes the basic
description and technical name of the hazardous
material. Or, it may be in a guidance book such as
the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). Motor
carriers may assist shippers by keeping an ERG on
each vehicle carrying hazardous materials. The
driver must provide the emergency response
information to any federal, state or local authority
responding to a hazardous materials incident or
investigating one.
Total quantity must appear before or after the basic
description. The packaging type and the unit of
measurement may be abbreviated. For example:
10 ctns. Paint, 3, UN1263, PG II, 500 lbs.
The shipper of hazardous wastes must put the word
WASTE before the proper shipping name of the
material on the shipping paper (hazardous waste
manifest). For example:
Waste Acetone, 3, UN1090, PG II.
A nonhazardous material may not be described by
using a hazard class or an identification number.
9.3.6 Shipper's certification
When the shipper packages hazardous materials, he
or she certifies that the package has been prepared
according to the rules. The signed shipper's
certification appears on the original shipping paper.
The only exceptions are when a shipper is a private
carrier transporting its own product and when the
package is provided by the carrier (for example, a
cargo tank). Unless a package is clearly unsafe or
does not comply with the HMR, you may accept the
shipper's certification concerning proper packaging.
Some carriers have additional rules about
transporting hazardous materials. Follow your
employer's rules when accepting shipments.
9.3.7 Package markings and labels
Shippers print required markings directly on the
package or on an attached label or tag. An important
package marking is the name of the hazardous
materials. It is the same name as the one on the
shipping paper. The requirements for marking vary
by package size and material being transported.
When required, the shipper will put the following on
the package:
9
The name and address of shipper or consignee.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
The hazardous material's shipping name and
identification number.
The labels required.
It is a good idea to compare the shipping paper to
the markings and labels. Always make sure that the
shipper shows the correct basic description on the
shipping paper and verifies that the proper labels are
shown on the packages. If you are not familiar with
the material, ask the shipper to contact your office.
If rules require it, the shipper will put “RQ,” “MARINE
POLLUTANT,” “BIOHAZARD,” “HOT” or
“INHALATION-HAZARD” on the package. Packages
with liquid containers inside will also have package
orientation markings with the arrows pointing in the
correct upright direction. The labels used always
reflect the hazard class of the product. If a package
needs more than one label, the labels must be close
together, near the proper shipping name.
9.3.8 Recognizing hazardous materials
Learn to recognize shipments of hazardous
materials. To find out if the shipment includes
hazardous materials, look at the shipping paper.
Does it have:
9
9
An entry with a proper shipping name, hazard
class and identification number?
A highlighted entry or one with an “X” or “RQ” in
the hazardous materials column?
9.3.9 Hazardous waste manifest
When transporting hazardous wastes, you must sign
by hand and carry a Uniform Hazardous Waste
Manifest. The name and EPA registration number of
the shippers, carriers and destination must appear
on the manifest. Shippers must prepare, date and
sign the manifest by hand. Treat the manifest as a
shipping paper when transporting the waste. Only
give the waste shipment to another registered carrier
or disposal or treatment facility. Each carrier
transporting the shipment must sign by hand the
manifest. After you deliver the shipment, keep your
copy of the manifest. Each copy must have all
needed signatures and dates, including those of the
person to whom you delivered the waste.
9.3.10 Placarding
Attach the appropriate placards to the vehicle before
you drive it. You are only allowed to move an
improperly placarded vehicle during an emergency,
in order to protect life or property.
Placards must appear on both sides and both ends
of the vehicle. Each placard must be:
9
9
9
Other clues that hazardous materials may be
present:
9
9
What business is the shipper in? Paint dealer?
Chemical supply? Scientific supply house? Pest
control or agricultural supplier? Explosives,
munitions or fireworks dealer?
9
Are there tanks with diamond labels or placards
on the premises?
9
What type of package is being shipped?
Cylinders and drums are often used for
hazardous materials shipments.
9
9
9
9
9
9
Easily seen from the direction it faces.
Placed so the words or numbers are level and
read from left to right.
At least three inches away from any other
markings.
Kept clear of attachments or devices such as
ladders, doors and tarpaulins.
Kept clean and undamaged so that the color,
format and message are easily seen.
Be affixed to a background of contrasting color.
The use of “Drive Safely” and other slogans is
prohibited.
The front placard may be on the front of the
tractor or the front of the trailer.
To decide which placards to use, you need to know:
Is a hazard class label, proper shipping name or
identification number on the package?
9
The hazard class of the materials.
Are there any handling precautions?
9
The amount of hazardous materials shipped.
9
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
The total weight of all classes of hazardous
materials in your vehicle.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.3.11 Placard Tables
There are two placard tables, Table 1 and Table 2.
Table 1 materials must be placarded whenever any
amount is transported. See Figure 9.7.
Placard Table 1
Any Amount
IF YOUR VEHICLE
CONTAINS ANY
PLACARD AS…
AMOUNT OF……
1.1 Mass Explosives
1.2 Project Hazards
1.3 Mass Fire Hazards
2.3 Poisonous/Toxic
Gases
4.3 Dangerous When
Wet
Except for bulk packaging, the hazard classes in
Table 2 need placards only if the total amount
transported is 1,001 pounds or more including the
package. Add the amounts from all shipping papers
for all the Table 2 products you have on board. See
Figure 9.8.
You may use DANGEROUS placards instead of
separate placards for each Table 2 hazard class
when:
Explosives 1.1
Explosives 1.2
Explosives 1.3
9
Poison Gas
9
Dangerous When Wet
5.2 (Organic Peroxide,
Type B, liquid or solid,
Temperature controlled)
Organic Peroxide
6.1 (Inhalation hazard
zone A & B only)
Poison/toxic inhalation
7 (Radioactive Yellow III
label only)
Radioactive
9
Figure 9.7
Placard Table 2
1,001 Pounds Or More
Category of Material
(Hazard class or division
Placard Name
number and additional
description, as appropriate)
1.4 Minor Explosion
Explosives 1.4
1.5 Very Insensitive
Explosives 1.5
1.6 Extremely Insensitive
Explosives 1.6
2.1 Flammable Gases
Flammable Gas
2.2 Nonflammable Gases
Nonflammable Gas.
3 Flammable Liquids
Flammable
Combustible Liquid
Combustible*
4.1 Flammable Solids
Flammable Solid
4.2 Spontaneously
Spontaneously
Combustible
Combustible
5.1 Oxidizers
Oxidizer
5.2 (other than organic
peroxide, Type B, liquid or
Organic Peroxide
solid, Temperature
Controlled)
6.1 (other than inhalation
Poison
hazard zone A or B)
6.2 Infectious Substances
(None)
8 Corrosives
Corrosive
9 Miscellaneous Hazardous
Class 9**
Materials
ORM-D
(None)
* FLAMMABLE may be used in place of a COMBUSTIBLE on
a cargo tank or portable tank.
** Class 9 Placard is not required for domestic transportation.
You have 1,001 pounds or more of two or more
Table 2 hazard classes, requiring different
placards, and
You have not loaded 2,205 pounds or more of
any Table 2 hazard class material at any one
place. (You must use the specific placard for this
material.)
The dangerous placard is an option, not a
requirement. You can always placard for the
materials.
If the words INHALATION HAZARD are on the
shipping paper or package, you must display
POISON GAS or POISON INHALATION placards in
addition to any other placards needed by the
product's hazard class. The 1,000 pound exception
does not apply to these materials.
Materials with a secondary hazard of dangerous
when wet must display the DANGEROUS WHEN
WET placard in addition to any other placards
needed by the product’s hazard class. The 1,000pound exception to placarding does not apply to
these materials.
Placards used to identify the primary or subsidiary
hazard class of a material must have the hazard
class or division number displayed in the lower
corner of the placard. Permanently affixed subsidiary
hazard placards without the hazard class number
may be used as long as they stay within color
specifications.
Placards may be displayed for hazardous materials
even if not required so long as the placard identifies
the hazard of the material being transported.
Bulk packaging is a single container with a capacity
of 119 gallons or more. A bulk package, and a
vehicle transporting a bulk package, must be
placarded, even if it only has the residue of a
hazardous material. Certain bulk packages only
have to be placarded on the two opposite sides or
may display labels. All other bulk packages must be
placarded on all four sides.
Figure 9.8
98
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
•
•
•
•
•
Subsections 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 Test your
knowledge
1. Shippers package in order to (fill in the
blank) the material.
2. Drivers placard their vehicles to (fill in the
blank) the risk.
9
3. What three things do you need to know to
decide which placards (if any) you need?
4. A hazardous materials identification
number must appear on the (fill in the blank)
and on the (fill in the blank). The
identification number must also appear on
cargo tanks and other bulk packaging.
9
5. Where must you keep shipping papers
Class 1 (Explosives)
Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
Class 5 (Oxidizers)
Secure cargo against movement. Brace
containers so they will not fall, slide or bounce
around during transportation. Be very careful
when loading containers that have valves or
other fittings. All hazardous materials packages
must be secured during transportation.
After loading, do not open any package during
your trip. Never transfer hazardous materials
from one package to another while in transit.
You may empty a cargo tank, but do not empty
any other package while it is on the vehicle.
describing hazardous materials?
Cargo heater rules
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 9.1, 9.2 and
9.3.
9.4 Loading and unloading
Do all you can to protect containers of hazardous
materials. Don't use any tools that might damage
containers or other packaging during loading. Don't
use hooks.
9.4.1 General loading requirements
9
9
9
9
9
9
Before loading or unloading, set the parking
brake.
Make sure the vehicle will not move.
Load hazardous materials away from heat
sources. Many products become more
hazardous when exposed to heat.
Watch for signs of leaking or damaged
containers. Leaks are an immediate hazard.
Do not transport leaking packages. Depending
on the material, you, your truck and others could
be in danger. It is illegal to move a vehicle with
leaking hazardous materials.
There are special cargo heater rules for loading:
9
9
9
Class 1 (Explosives)
Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
The rules usually forbid use of cargo heaters,
including automatic cargo heater and air conditioner
units. Unless you have read all the related rules,
don't load the above products in a cargo space that
has a heater.
Use closed cargo space
You cannot have overhang or tailgate loads of:
9
9
9
Class 1 (Explosives)
Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
Class 5 (Oxidizers)
You must load these hazardous materials into a
closed cargo space unless all packages are:
9
9
Fire and water resistant.
Covered with a fire and water resistant tarp.
Precautions for specific hazards
Containers of hazardous materials must be
braced to prevent movement of the packages
during transportation.
No smoking when loading or unloading
hazardous materials. Keep any source of fire
away from the cargo. Don't let people smoke
nearby. Never smoke around:
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
Class 1 (explosives) materials
Turn your engine off before loading or unloading any
explosives. Then check the cargo space. You must:
9
Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect heater power
sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
9
9
9
9
Make sure there are no sharp points that might
damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails,
broken side panels and broken floorboards.
Use a floor lining with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3.
The floors must be tight and the liner must be
either nonmetallic material or nonferrous metal.
Use extra care to protect explosives. Never use
hooks or other metal tools. Never drop, throw or
roll packages. Protect explosive packages from
other cargo that might cause damage.
Do not transfer a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3
material from one vehicle to another on a public
roadway except in an emergency. If safety
requires an emergency transfer, set out red
warning reflectors, flags or electric lanterns. You
must warn others on the road.
Never transport damaged packages of
explosives. Do not take a package that shows
any dampness or oily stain.
Do not transport Class 1.1 or 1.2 in vehicle
combinations if:
heating must be in vehicles with sufficient
ventilation.
Class 8 (corrosive) materials
If loading by hand, load breakable containers of
corrosive liquid one by one. Keep them right side up.
Do not drop or roll the containers. Load them onto
an even floor surface. Stack carboys only if the
lower tiers can bear the weight of the upper tiers
safely.
Do not load nitric acid above any other product.
Load charged storage batteries so their liquid won't
spill. Keep them right side up. Make sure other
cargo won't fall against them or short circuit them.
Never load corrosive liquids next to or above:
9
9
9
9
9
Never load corrosive liquids with:
•
There is a marked or placarded cargo tank in
the combination.
9
Division 1.1 or 1.2 (explosives A).
•
The other vehicle in the combination contains:
9
Division 1.2 or 1.3 (explosives B).
9
Division 1.5 (blasting agents).
9
Division 2.3, Zone A (poisonous gases).
1. Division 1.1 A (initiating explosives).
2. Packages of Class 7 (radioactive)
materials labeled "Yellow III."
9
3. Division 2.3 (poisonous gas) or Division
6.1 (poisonous) materials.
4. Hazardous materials in a portable tank, on
a DOT Spec 106A or 110A tank.
Class 4 (flammable solids) and Class 5
(oxidizers) materials
Class 4 materials are solids that react (including fire
and explosion) to water, heat and air or even react
spontaneously.
Class 4 and 5 materials must be completely
enclosed in a vehicle or covered securely. Class 4
and 5 materials, which become unstable and
dangerous when wet, must be kept dry while in
transit and during loading and unloading. Materials
that are subject to spontaneous combustion or
100
Division 1.4 (explosives C).
Division 4.1 (flammable solids).
Division 4.3 (dangerous when wet).
Class 5 (oxidizers).
Division 2.3, Zone B (poisonous gases).
9
Division 4.2 (spontaneously combustible
materials).
Division 6.1, PGI, Zone A (poison liquids).
Class 2 (compressed gases) including cryogenic
liquids
If your vehicle doesn't have racks to hold cylinders,
the cargo space floor must be flat. The cylinders
must be:
9
9
Held upright.
In racks attached to the vehicle or in boxes that
will keep them from turning over.
Cylinders may be loaded in a horizontal position
(lying down) if it is designed so the relief valve is in
the vapor space.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Division 2.3 (poisonous gas) or Division 6.1
(poisonous materials)
Never transport these materials in containers with
interconnections. Never load a package labeled
“POISON” or “POISON INHALATION HAZARD” in
the driver's cab or sleeper or with food material for
human or animal consumption. There are special
rules for loading and unloading Class 2 materials in
cargo tanks. You must have special training to do
this.
Class 7 (radioactive) materials
Some packages of Class 7 (radioactive) materials
bear a number called the "transport index." The
shipper labels these packages Radioactive II or
Radioactive III, and prints the package's transport
index on the label. Radiation surrounds each
package, passing through all nearby packages. To
deal with this problem, the number of packages you
can load together is controlled. Their closeness to
people, animals and unexposed film is also
controlled. The transport index tells the degree of
control needed during transportation. The total
transport index of all packages in a single vehicle
must not exceed 50. Table A to this section shows
rules for each transport index. It shows how close
you can load Class 7 (radioactive) materials to
people, animals or film. For example, you can't leave
a package with a transport index of 1.1 within two
feet of people or cargo space walls.
Mixed loads
The rules require some products to be loaded
separately. You cannot load them together in the
same cargo space. Figure 9.9 lists some examples.
The regulations (the Segregation Table for
Hazardous Materials) name other materials you
must keep apart.
Do Not Load Table
In The Same Vehicle With
Animal or human food unless
the poison package is overDivision 6.1 or 2.3
packed in an approved way.
(POISON or poison
Foodstuffs are anything you
inhalation hazard
swallow. However, mouthwash,
labeled material).
toothpaste and skin creams are
not foodstuff.
Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives,
Division 5.1 (Oxidizers), Class 3
Division 2.3
(Flammable Liquids), Class 8
(Poisonous) gas
(Corrosive Liquids), Division 5.2
Zone A or Division
(Organic Peroxides),
6.1 (Poison) liquids,
Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives,
PGI, Zone A.
Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents),
Division 2.1 (Flammable Gases),
Class 4 (Flammable Solids).
Charged storage
Division 1.1.
batteries.
Any other explosives unless in
Class 1 (Detonating
authorized containers or
primers).
packages.
Acids, corrosive materials, or
other acidic materials which
Division 6.1
could release hydrocyanic acid .
(Cyanides or
For Example:
Cyanides, Inorganic, n.o.s.
cyanide mixtures).
Silver Cyanide
Sodium Cyanide.
Other materials unless the nitric
Nitric acid (Class 8).
acid is not loaded above any
other material.
Do Not Load
Figure 9.9
Subsection 9.4 Test your knowledge
1. Around which hazard classes must you
never smoke?
2. Which three hazard classes should not be
loaded into a trailer that has a heater or air
conditioner unit?
3. Should the floor liner required for Division
1.1 or 1.2 materials be stainless steel?
4. At the shipper’s dock you’re given a paper
for 100 cartons of battery acid. You
already have 100 pounds of dry Silver
Cyanide on board. What precautions do
you have to take?
5. Name a hazard class that uses transport
indexes to determine the amount that can
be loaded in a single vehicle.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 9.4.
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
101
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.5 Bulk packaging marking, loading
and unloading
The glossary at the end of this section gives the
meaning of the word bulk. Cargo tanks are bulk
packaging permanently attached to a vehicle. Cargo
tanks remain on the vehicle when you load and
unload them. Portable tanks are bulk packaging,
which are not permanently attached to a vehicle.
The product is loaded or unloaded while the portable
tanks are off the vehicle. Portable tanks are then put
on a vehicle for transportation. There are many
types of cargo tanks in use. The most common
cargo tanks are MC306 for liquids and MC331 for
gases.
9.5.1 Markings
You must display the identification number of the
hazardous materials in portable tanks and cargo
tanks and other bulk packaging (such as dump
trucks). Identification numbers are in column 4 of the
Hazardous Materials Table. The rules require black
100 mm (3.9 inch) numbers on orange panels,
placards, or a white diamond-shaped background if
no placards are required. Specification cargo tanks
must show retest date markings.
Portable tanks must also show the lessee or owner's
name. They must also display the shipping name of
the contents on two opposing sides. The letters of
the shipping name must be at least two inches tall
on portable tanks with capacities of more than 1,000
gallons and one-inch tall on portable tanks with
capacities of less than 1,000 gallons. The
identification number must appear on each side and
each end of a portable tank or other bulk packaging
that hold 1,000 gallons or more and on two opposing
sides if the portable tank holds less than 1,000
gallons. The identification numbers must still be
visible when the portable tank is on the motor
vehicle. If they are not visible, you must display the
identification number on both sides and ends of the
motor vehicle.
9
Be within 25 feet of the tank.
9
Know of the hazards of the materials involved.
9
Know the procedures to follow in an emergency.
9
Be authorized to move the cargo tank and able
to do so.
There are special attendance rules for cargo tanks
transporting propane and anhydrous ammonia.
Close all manholes and valves before moving a tank
of hazardous materials, no matter how small the
amount in the tank or how short the distance.
Manholes and valves must be closed to prevent
leaks. It is illegal to move a cargo tank with open
valves or covers unless it is empty according to 49
CFR 173.29.
9.5.3 Flammable liquids
Turn off your engine before loading or unloading any
flammable liquids. Only run the engine if needed to
operate a pump. Ground a cargo tank correctly
before filling it, fill it through an open filling hole and
maintain the ground until after closing the filling hole.
9.5.4 Compressed gas
Keep liquid discharge valves on a compressed gas
tank closed except when loading and unloading.
Unless your engine runs a pump for product
transfer, turn it off when loading or unloading. If you
use the engine, turn it off after product transfer,
before you unhook the hose. Unhook all loading and
unloading connections before coupling, uncoupling
or moving a cargo tank. Always chock trailers and
semi-trailers to prevent motion when uncoupled from
the power unit.
Subsection 9.5 Test your knowledge
1. What are cargo tanks?
Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are bulk
packages, but are not required to have the owner’s
name or shipping name.
2. How is a portable tank different from a
9.5.2 Tank loading
3. Your engine runs a pump used during
The person in charge of loading and unloading a
cargo tank must be sure a qualified person is always
watching. This person watching the loading or
unloading must:
9
Be alert.
9
Have a clear view of the cargo tank.
102
cargo tank?
delivery of compressed gas. Should you
turn off the engine before or after
unhooking hoses after delivery?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 9.5.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.6 Hazardous materials: Driving and
parking rules
9.6.1 Parking with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3
explosives
Never park with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives
within five feet of the traveled part of the road.
Except for short periods of time needed for vehicle
operation necessities (e.g., fueling), do not park
within 300 feet of:
9
9
9
A bridge, tunnel or building.
A place where people gather.
An open fire.
9
Be able to move the vehicle if needed.
9.6.4 No flares!
You might break down and have to use stopped
vehicle signals. Use reflective triangles or red
electric lights. Never use burning signals, such as
flares or fusees, around a:
9
9
Tank used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or
Division 2.1 (flammable gas) whether loaded or
empty.
Vehicle loaded with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3
explosives.
If you must park to do your job, do so only briefly.
9.6.5 Route restrictions
Don't park on private property unless the owner is
aware of the danger. Someone must always watch
the parked vehicle. You may let someone else watch
it for you only if your vehicle is:
Some states and counties require permits to
transport hazardous materials or wastes. They may
limit the routes you can use. Local rules about
routes and permits change often. It is your job as
driver to find out if you need permits or must use
special routes. Make sure you have all needed
papers before starting.
9
9
9
On the shipper's property.
On the carrier's property.
On the consignee's property.
You are allowed to leave your vehicle unattended in
a safe haven. A safe haven is an approved place for
parking unattended vehicles loaded with explosives.
Designation of authorized safe havens is usually
made by local authorities.
9.6.2 Parking a placarded vehicle not
transporting Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives
You may park a placarded vehicle (not laden with
explosives) within five feet of the traveled part of the
road only if your work requires it. Do so only briefly.
Someone must always watch the vehicle when
parked on a public roadway or shoulder. Do not
uncouple a trailer and leave it with hazardous
materials on a public street. Do not park within 300
feet of an open fire.
9.6.3 Attending parked vehicles
The person attending a placarded vehicle must:
9
9
9
Be in the vehicle, awake and not in the sleeper
berth, or within 100 feet of the vehicle and have
it in clear view.
Be aware of the hazards of the materials being
transported.
If you work for a carrier, ask your dispatcher about
route restrictions or permits. If you are an
independent trucker and are planning a new route,
check with state agencies where you plan to travel.
Some localities prohibit transportation of hazardous
materials through tunnels, over bridges or other
roadways. Always check before you start.
Whenever placarded, avoid heavily populated areas,
crowds, tunnels, narrow streets and alleys. Take
other routes, even if inconvenient, unless there is no
other way. Never drive a placarded vehicle near
open fires unless you can safely pass without
stopping.
If transporting Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives,
you must have a written route plan and follow that
plan. Carriers prepare the route plan in advance and
give the driver a copy. You may plan the route
yourself if you pick up the explosives at a location
other than your employer's terminal. Write out the
plan in advance. Keep a copy of it with you while
transporting the explosives. Deliver shipments of
explosives only to authorized persons or leave them
in locked rooms designed for explosives storage.
A carrier must choose the safest route to transport
placarded radioactive materials. After choosing the
route, the carrier must tell the driver about the
radioactive materials and show the route plan.
Know what to do in emergencies.
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
103
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.6.6 No smoking
9
Do not smoke within 25 feet of a placarded cargo
tank used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division
2.1 (gases). Also, do not smoke or carry a lighted
cigarette, cigar or pipe within 25 feet of any vehicle,
which contains:
9
9
9
9
9
When not behind the wheel, leave shipping
papers in the driver's door pouch or on the
driver's seat.
Emergency response information must be kept
in the same location as the shipping paper.
Papers for Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives
Class 1 (explosives)
Class 3 (flammable liquids)
Class 4 (flammable solids)
Division 4.2 (spontaneously combustible)
9.6.7 Refuel with engine off
A carrier must give each driver transporting Division
1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives a copy of Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), Part 397. The
carrier must also give written instructions on what to
do if delayed or in an accident. The written
instructions must include:
Turn off your engine before fueling a motor vehicle
containing hazardous materials. Someone must
always be at the nozzle, controlling fuel flow.
9
9.6.8 10 B:C fire extinguisher
9
The power unit of placarded vehicles must have a
fire extinguisher with a UL rating of 10 B:C or more.
9
9.6.9 Check tires
Drivers must sign a receipt for these documents.
You must be familiar with, and have in your
possession while driving, the:
Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check
placarded vehicles with dual tires at the start of each
trip and when you park. You must check the tires
each time you stop. The only acceptable way to
check tire pressure is to use a tire pressure gauge.
Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat except
to the nearest safe place to fix it. Remove any
overheated tire. Place it a safe distance from your
vehicle. Don't drive until you correct the cause of the
overheating. Remember to follow the rules about
parking and attending placarded vehicles. These
rules apply even when checking, repairing or
replacing tires.
9.6.10 Where to keep shipping papers and
emergency response information
Do not accept a hazardous materials shipment
without a properly prepared shipping paper. A
shipping paper for hazardous materials must always
be easily recognized. Other people must be able to
find it quickly after a crash.
9
9
104
Clearly distinguish hazardous materials shipping
papers from others by tabbing them or keeping
them on top of the stack of papers.
When you are behind the wheel, keep shipping
papers within your reach (with your seat belt on),
or in a pouch on the driver's door. They must be
easily seen by someone entering the cab.
9
9
9
9
The names and telephone numbers of people to
contact (including carrier agents or shippers).
The nature of the explosives transported.
The precautions to take in emergencies such as
fires, accidents or leaks.
Shipping papers.
Written emergency instructions.
Written route plan.
A copy of FMCSR, Part 397.
9.6.11 Equipment for chlorine
A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must
have an approved gas mask in the vehicle. The
driver must also have an emergency kit for
controlling leaks in the dome cover plate fittings on
the cargo tank.
9.6.12 Stop before railroad crossings
Stop before a railroad crossing if your vehicle:
9
Is placarded.
9
Carries any amount of chlorine.
9
Has cargo tanks, whether loaded or empty used
for hazardous materials.
You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail.
Proceed only when you are sure no train is coming.
Don't shift gears while crossing the tracks.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9.7 Hazardous materials and
emergencies
9.7.1 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a
guidebook for firefighters, police and industry
workers on how to protect themselves and the public
from hazardous materials. The guide is indexed by
proper shipping name and each hazardous
material’s identification number. Emergency
personnel look for these things on the shipping
paper. That is why it is vital that the proper shipping
name, identification number, label and placards are
correct.
9.7.2 Crashes and other incidents
As a professional driver, your job at the scene of a
crash or an incident is to:
9
9
9
9
Keep people away from the scene.
Limit the spread of material if you can safely do
so.
Communicate the danger of the hazardous
materials to emergency response personnel.
Provide emergency responders with the
shipping papers and emergency response
information.
Follow this checklist:
9
9
9
9
9
9
Check to see that your driving partner is okay.
Keep shipping papers with you.
Keep people far away and upwind.
Warn others of the danger.
Call for help.
Follow your employer's instructions.
9.7.3 Fires
You might have to control minor truck fires on the
road. However, unless you have the training and
equipment to do so safely, don't fight hazardous
materials fires. Dealing with hazardous materials
fires requires special training and protective gear.
When you discover a fire, call for help. You may use
the fire extinguisher to keep minor truck fires from
spreading to cargo before firefighters arrive. Feel
trailer doors to see if they are hot before opening
them. If the doors are hot, you may have a cargo
fire. Do not open the doors. Opening doors lets air in
and may make the fire flare up. Without air, many
fires only smolder until firemen arrive, doing less
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
damage. If your cargo is already on fire, it is not safe
to fight the fire. Keep the shipping papers with you to
give to emergency personnel as soon as they arrive.
Warn other people of the danger and keep them
away.
If you discover a cargo leak, identify the hazardous
materials leaking by using shipping papers, labels or
package location. Do not touch any leaking material;
many people injure themselves by touching
hazardous materials. Do not try to identify the
material or find the source of a leak by smell. Some
toxic gases are odorless and can’t be identified by
smell. All toxic gases present a serious threat and
can injure or kill you. Never eat, drink or smoke
around a leak or spill.
If hazardous materials are spilling from your vehicle,
do not move it any more than safety requires. You
may move off the road and away from places where
people gather, if doing so serves safety. Only move
your vehicle if you can do so without danger to
yourself or others.
Never continue driving with hazardous materials
leaking from your vehicle in order to find a phone
booth, truck stop or in an attempt to summon help.
Remember, the carrier pays for the cleanup of
contaminated parking lots, roadways and drainage
ditches. The costs are enormous, so don't leave a
lengthy trail of contamination. If hazardous materials
are spilling from your vehicle:
9
9
9
9
Park it.
Secure the area.
Stay there.
Send someone else for help.
When sending someone for help, give that person:
9
A description of the emergency.
9
Your exact location and direction of travel.
9
9
Your name, the carrier's name, and the name of
the community or city where your terminal is
located.
The proper shipping name, hazard class and
identification number of the hazardous materials
if you know them.
This is a lot of important information to remember.
Write it all down and give it to the person you send
to find help. The emergency response team must
know these things to find you and to correctly
prepare to handle the emergency. They may have to
travel miles to get to you. Knowing what hazardous
105
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
materials are involved and what to bring can save
time, property and lives.
Class 6 (poisonous materials and infectious
substances)
Never move your vehicle, if doing so will cause
contamination or damage the vehicle. Keep upwind
and away from roadside rest stops, truck stops,
cafes and businesses. Never try to repack leaking
containers. Unless you have the training and
equipment to repair leaks safely, don't try it. Call
your dispatcher or supervisor for instructions and, if
needed, emergency personnel.
It is your job to protect yourself, other people and
property from harm. Remember that many products
classed as poison are also flammable. If you think a
Division 2.3 (poison gases) or Division 6.1 (poison
materials) might be flammable, take the added
precautions needed for flammable liquids or gases.
Do not allow smoking, open flame or welding
anywhere near these materials. Warn others of the
hazards of fire, of inhaling vapors or coming in
contact with the poison.
9.7.4 Responses to specific hazards
Class 1 (explosives)
If your vehicle has a breakdown or accident while
carrying explosives, warn others of the danger. Keep
bystanders away. Do not allow smoking or open fire
near the vehicle. If there is a fire, warn everyone of
the danger of explosion.
Remove all explosives before separating vehicles
involved in a collision. Place the explosives at least
200 feet from the vehicles and occupied buildings.
Stay a safe distance away.
Class 2 (compressed gases)
If compressed gas is leaking from your vehicle, warn
others of the danger. Only permit those involved in
removing the hazard or wreckage to get close. You
must notify the shipper if compressed gas is involved
in any accident.
Unless you are fueling machinery used in road
construction or maintenance, do not transfer a
flammable compressed gas from one tank to
another on any public roadway.
Class 3 (flammable liquids)
If you are transporting a flammable liquid and have
an accident or your vehicle breaks down, prevent
bystanders from gathering. Warn people of the
danger. Keep them from smoking. Never transport a
leaking cargo tank farther than needed to reach a
safe place. Get off the roadway if you can do so
safely. Don't transfer a flammable liquid from one
vehicle to another on a public roadway except in an
emergency.
Class 4 (flammable solids) and Class 5 (oxidizing
materials)
If a flammable solid or oxidizing material spills, warn
others of the fire hazard. Do not open smoldering
packages of flammable solids. Remove them from
the vehicle if you can safely do so. Also, remove
unbroken packages if it will decrease the fire hazard.
106
A vehicle involved in a leak of Division 2.3 (poison
gases) or Division 6.1 (poisons) must be checked for
stray poison before being used again.
If a Division 6.2 (infectious substances) package is
damaged in handling or transportation, you should
immediately contact your supervisor. Packages that
appear to be damaged or show signs of leakage
should not be accepted.
Class 7 (radioactive materials)
If radioactive material is involved in a leak or broken
package, tell your dispatcher or supervisor as soon
as possible. If there is a spill, or if an internal
container might be damaged, do not touch or inhale
the material. Do not use the vehicle until it is cleaned
and checked with a survey meter.
Class 8 (corrosive materials)
If corrosives spill or leak during transportation, be
careful to avoid further damage or injury when
handling the containers. Parts of the vehicle
exposed to a corrosive liquid must be thoroughly
washed with water. After unloading, wash out the
interior as soon as possible before reloading.
If continuing to transport a leaking tank would be
unsafe, get off the road. If safe to do so, contain any
liquid leaking from the vehicle. Keep bystanders
away from the liquid and its fumes. Do everything
possible to prevent injury to you and to others.
9.7.5 Required Notification
The National Response Center helps coordinate
emergency response to chemical hazards. It is a
resource to the police and firefighters. It maintains a
24-hour toll-free line listed below. You or your
employer must phone when any of the following
occur as a direct result of a hazardous materials
incident listed below:
9
A person is killed.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Estimated property damage exceeds $50,000.
9
9
9
9
9
The general public is evacuated for more than
one hour.
One or more major transportation arteries or
facilities are closed for one hour or more.
Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected radioactive
contamination occurs.
Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected
contamination occur involving shipment of
etiologic agents (bacteria or toxins).
A situation exists of such a nature (e.g.,
continuing danger to life exists at the scene of
an incident) that, in the judgment of the carrier,
should be reported.
National Response Center
800-424-8802
When calling the National Response Center, be
ready to give the following information:
9
Your name.
9
Name and address of your carrier.
9
Phone number where you can be reached.
9
Date, time and location of incident.
9
The extent of injuries if any.
9
9
Classification, name and quantity of hazardous
materials involved, if such information is
available.
Type of incident and nature of hazardous
materials involvement and whether a continuing
danger to life exists at the scene.
If a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance
was involved, give the name of the shipper and the
quantity of the hazardous substance discharged. Be
prepared to give your employer the required
information as well. Carriers must make detailed
written reports within 30 days of an incident.
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
CHEMTREC
800-424-9300
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center
(CHEMTREC) in Washington also has a 24-hour tollfree line. CHEMTREC was created to provide
emergency personnel with technical information
about the physical properties of hazardous
materials. The National Response Center and
CHEMTREC are in close communication. If you call
either one, they will tell the other about the problem
when appropriate.
Radioactive Separation
Table A
None
0.1 to
1.0
1.1 to
5.0
5.1 to
10.0
10.1 to
20.0
20.1 to
30.0
30.1 to
40.0
40.1 to
50.0
MINIMUM DISTANCE IN FEET TO
NEAREST UNDEVELOPED FILM
TO PEOPLE OR CARGO
COMPARTMENT
PARTITIONS
An injured person requires hospitalization.
TOTAL TRANSPORT
INDEX
9
0-2
Hrs.
2-4
Hrs.
4-8
Hrs.
8-12
Hrs.
Over
12 Hrs.
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
3
4
5
1
3
4
6
8
11
2
4
6
9
11
15
3
5
8
12
16
22
4
7
10
15
20
29
5
8
11
17
22
33
6
9
12
19
24
36
Figure 9.10
Do not leave radioactive yellow - II or yellow - III
labeled packages near people, animals or film
longer than shown in Figure 9.10.
Classes of hazardous materials
Hazardous materials are categorized into nine major
hazard classes and additional categories for
consumer commodities and combustible liquids. The
classes of hazardous materials are listed in Figure
9.11.
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Class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
None
None
Hazard Class Definitions
Table B
Class Name
Example
Ammunition,
Explosives
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Gases
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Flammable
Acetone
Flammable
Matches, Fuses
Solids
Ammonium
Oxidizers
Nitrate, Hydrogen
Peroxide
Pesticides,
Poisons
Arsenic
Uranium,
Radioactive
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Corrosives
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous
Asbestos
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Hair Spray or
Regulated
Charcoal
MaterialDomestic)
Combustible
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Liquids
Fluid
Figure 9.11
Subsections 9.6 and 9.7 Test your knowledge
8. What is the Emergency Response Guide
(ERG)?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 9.6 and 9.7.
9.8 Hazardous Materials Glossary
This glossary presents definitions of certain terms
used in this section. A complete glossary of terms
can be found in the federal Hazardous Materials
Rules (49 CFR 171.8). You should have an up-todate copy of these rules for your reference.
Note: You will not be tested on this glossary.
Sec. 171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
Bulk packaging – Packaging, other than a vessel,
or a barge, including a transport vehicle or freight
container, in which hazardous materials are loaded
with no intermediate form of containment and which
has:
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9
9
1. If your placarded trailer has dual tires, how
often should you check the tires?
2. What is a safe haven?
9
roadway can you park with Division 1.2 or
1.3 materials?
or building with the same load?
9
5. What type of fire extinguisher must
placarded vehicles carry?
6. You’re hauling 100 pounds of Division 4.3
(dangerous when wet) materials. Do you
need to stop before a railroad-highway
crossing?
A maximum net mass greater than 400 kg (882
pounds) or a maximum capacity greater than
450 L (119 gallons) as a receptacle for a solid;
or
A water capacity greater than 454 kg (1000
pounds) as a receptacle for a gas as defined in
Sec. 173.115.
Cargo tank A bulk packaging which:
3. How close to the traveled part of the
4. How close can you park to a bridge, tunnel
A maximum capacity greater than 450 L (119
gallons) as a receptacle for a liquid;
9
Is a tank intended primarily for the carriage of
liquids or gases and includes appurtenances,
reinforcements, fittings, and closures (for "tank",
see 49 CFR 178.345 1(c), 178.337 1, or 178.338
1, as applicable);
Is permanently attached to or forms a part of a
motor vehicle, or is not permanently attached to
a motor vehicle but which, by reason of its size,
construction or attachment to a motor vehicle is
loaded or unloaded without being removed from
the motor vehicle; and
Is not fabricated under a specification for
cylinders, portable tanks, tank cars or multi-unit
tank car tanks.
7. At a rest area you discover your hazardous
materials shipments slowly leaking from
the vehicle. There is no phone around.
What should you do?
108
Carrier – A person engaged in the transportation of
passengers or property by:
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
Land or water as a common, contract or private
carrier, or
9
Division – A subdivision of a hazard class.
EPA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
FMCSR – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations.
Freight container – A reusable container having a
volume of 64 cubic feet or more, designed and
constructed to permit being lifted with its contents
intact and intended primarily for containment of
packages (in unit form) during transportation.
Fuel tank – A tank, other than a cargo tank, used to
transport flammable or combustible liquid or
compressed gas for the purpose of supplying fuel for
propulsion of the transport vehicle to which it is
attached, or for the operation of other equipment on
the transport vehicle.
Gross weight or gross mass – The weight of a
packaging plus the weight of its contents.
Hazard class – The category of hazard assigned to
a hazardous material under the definitional criteria of
Part 173 and the provisions of the Sec. 172.101
Table. A material may meet the defining criteria for
more than one hazard class but is assigned to only
one hazard class.
Hazardous materials – A substance or material
which has been determined by the U.S. Secretary of
Transportation to be capable of posing an
unreasonable risk to health, safety and property
when transported in commerce, and which has been
so designated. The term includes hazardous
substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants,
elevated temperature materials and materials
designated as hazardous in the hazardous materials
table of §172.101, and materials that meet the
defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in
§173, subchapter c of this chapter.
Hazardous substance A material, including its
mixtures and solutions, that:
9
•
For radionuclides, conforms to paragraph 7 of
Appendix A to Sec. 172.101.
•
For other than radionuclides, is in a
concentration by weight which equals or
exceeds the concentration corresponding to
the RQ of the material, as shown in Figure
9.12.
Civil aircraft.
Consignee – The business or person to whom a
shipment is delivered.
9
When in a mixture or solution:
Hazardous Substance Concentrations
RQ
Pounds
(Kilograms)
RQ Pounds (Kilograms)
5,000 (2,270)
1,000 (454)
100 (45.4)
10 (4.54)
1 (0.454)
10
2
.2
.02
.002
100,000
20,000
2,000
200
20
Figure 9.12
This definition does not apply to petroleum products
that are lubricants or fuels (see 40 CFR 300.6).
Hazardous waste – For the purposes of this
chapter, means any material that is subject to the
Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specified in
40 CFR Part 262.
Intermediate bulk container (IBC) – A rigid or
flexible portable packaging, other than a cylinder or
portable tank, which is designed for mechanical
handling. Standards for IBCs manufactured in the
United States are set forth in subparts N and O
§178.
Limited quantity – The maximum amount of a
hazardous material for which there may be specific
labeling or packaging exception.
Marking – The descriptive name, identification
number, instructions, cautions, weight, specification
or UN marks or combinations thereof, required by
this subchapter on outer packaging of hazardous
materials.
Mixture – A material composed of more than one
chemical compound or element.
Name of contents – The proper shipping name as
specified in Sec. 172.101.
Is listed in Appendix A to Sec. 172.101;
Nonbulk packaging A packaging, which has:
Is in a quantity, in one package, which equals or
exceeds the reportable quantity (RQ) listed in
Appendix A to Sec. 172.101; and
9
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
A maximum capacity of 450 L (119 gallons) as a
receptacle for a liquid,
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9
9
A maximum net mass less than 400 kg (882
pounds) and a maximum capacity of 450 L (119
gallons) or less as a receptacle for a solid, or
A water capacity greater than 454 kg (1,000
pounds) or less as a receptacle for a gas as
defined in Sec. 173.115.
N.O.S. Not otherwise specified.
Outage or ullage – The amount by which a
packaging falls short of being liquid full, usually
expressed in percent by volume.
Portable tank – Bulk packaging (except a cylinder
having a water capacity of 1,000 pounds or less)
designed primarily to be loaded onto, is on or
temporarily attached to a transport vehicle or ship
and equipped with skids, mountings or accessories
to facilitate handling of the tank by mechanical
means. It does not include a cargo tank, tank car,
multi-unit tank car tank or trailer carrying 3AX, 3AAX,
or 3T cylinders.
Proper shipping name – The name of the
hazardous materials shown in Roman print (not
italics) in Sec. 172.101.
P.s.i. or psi – Pounds per square inch.
P.s.i.a. or psia – Pounds per square inch absolute.
Reportable quantity (RQ) The quantity specified
in Column 2 of the Appendix to Sec. 172.101 for any
material identified in Column 1 of the Appendix.
RSPA (now PHMSA) – The Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, DC 20590.
110
Shipper's certification – A statement on a shipping
paper, signed by the shipper, stating that he or she
prepared the shipment properly according to law.
For example:
"This is to certify that the above named materials are
properly classified, described, packaged, marked and
labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation
according to the applicable regulations or the Department
of Transportation." Or
"I hereby declare that the contents of this
consignment are fully and accurately described above by
the proper shipping name and are classified, packaged,
marked and labeled/placarded, and are in all respects in
proper condition for transport by * according to applicable
international and national government regulations."
* Words may be inserted here to indicate mode of
transportation (rail, aircraft, motor vehicle or vessel).
Shipping paper A shipping order, bill of lading,
manifest or other shipping document serving a
similar purpose and containing the information
required by Sec. 172.202, 172.203 and 172.204.
Technical name A recognized chemical name or
microbiological name currently used in scientific and
technical handbooks, journals and texts.
Transport vehicle A cargo-carrying vehicle such
as an automobile, van, tractor, truck, semi-trailer,
tank car or rail car used for the transportation of
cargo by any mode. Each cargo-carrying body
(trailer, rail car, etc.) is a separate transport vehicle.
UN standard packaging A specification
packaging conforming to the standards in the UN
recommendations.
UN United Nations.
Section 9 – Hazardous Materials
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 10
SCHOOL BUSES
This section covers:
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9
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9
9
9
9
Danger zones and use of mirrors
Loading and unloading
Emergency exit and evacuation
Railroad-highway grade crossings
Student management
Antilock braking systems
Special safety considerations
Because state and local laws and regulations
regulate so much of school transportation and
school bus operations, many of the procedures in
this section may differ from state to state. You
should be thoroughly familiar with the laws and
regulations in your state and local school district.
10.1 Danger zones and use of mirrors
10.1.1 Danger zones
The danger zone is the area on all sides of the bus
where children are in the most danger of being hit,
either by another vehicle or the school bus itself.
The danger zones may extend as much as 30 feet
from the front bumper, 10 feet from the left and right
sides of the bus and 10 feet behind the rear bumper
of the school bus. In addition, the area to the left of
the bus is always considered dangerous because of
passing cars. Figure 10.1 illustrates these danger
zones.
10.1.2 Correct mirror adjustment
Figure 10.1
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you
can see:
9
9
9
200 feet or 4 bus lengths behind the bus.
Along the sides of the bus.
The rear tires touching the ground.
Figure 10.2 shows how both the outside left and
right side flat mirrors should be adjusted.
Proper adjustment and use of all mirrors is vital to
the safe operation of the school bus in order to
observe the danger zone around the bus and look
for students, traffic and other objects in this area.
You should always check each mirror before
operating the school bus to obtain maximum viewing
area. If necessary, have the mirrors adjusted.
10.1.3 Outside left and right side flat mirrors
These mirrors are mounted at the left and right front
corners of the bus at the side or front of the
windshield. They are used to monitor traffic, check
for clearances and students on the sides and to the
rear of the bus. There is a blind spot immediately
below and in front of each mirror and directly in back
of the rear bumper. The blind spot behind the bus
could extend up to 400 feet depending on the width
of the bus.
Section 10 – School Buses
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
objects that does not accurately reflect their size and
distance from the bus.
You should position these mirrors to see:
9
The entire side of the bus up to the mirror
mounts.
9
Front of the rear tires touching the ground.
9
At least one traffic lane on either side of the bus.
Figure 10.3 shows how both the outside left and
right side convex mirrors should be adjusted.
10.1.5 – Outside left and right side crossover
mirrors
Figure 10.2
These mirrors are mounted on both left and right
front corners of the bus. They are used to see the
front bumper “danger zone” area directly in front of
the bus that is not visible by direct vision, and to
view the “danger zone” area to the left side and right
side of the bus, including the service door and front
wheel area. The mirror presents a view of people
and objects that does not accurately reflect their size
and distance from the bus. The driver must ensure
that these mirrors are properly adjusted.
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you
can see:
9
9
9
9
Figure 10.3
The entire area in front of the bus from the front
bumper at ground level to a point where direct
vision is possible. Direct vision and mirror view
vision should overlap.
The right and left front tires touching the ground.
The area from the front of the bus to the service
door.
These mirrors, along with the convex and flat
mirrors, should be viewed in a logical sequence
to ensure that a child or object is not in any of
the danger zones.
Figure 10.4 illustrates how the left and right side
crossover mirrors should be adjusted.
10.1.4 Outside left and right side convex
mirrors
The convex mirrors are located below the outside
flat mirrors. They are used to monitor the left and
right sides at a wide angle. They provide a view of
traffic, clearances and students at the side of the
bus. These mirrors present a view of people and
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Section 10 – School Buses
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
10.2.1 Approaching the stop
Each school district establishes official routes and
official school bus stops. All stops should be
approved by the school district prior to making the
stop. You should never change the location of a bus
stop without written approval from the appropriate
school district official.
You must use extreme caution when approaching a
school bus stop. You are in a very demanding
situation when entering these areas. It is critical that
you understand and follow all state and local laws
and regulations regarding approaching a school bus
stop. This would involve the proper use of mirrors,
alternating flashing lights, and when equipped, the
moveable stop signal arm and crossing control arm.
When approaching the stop, you should:
Figure 10.4
10.1.6 Overhead inside rearview mirror
This mirror is mounted directly above the windshield
on the driver’s side of the bus. It is used to monitor
passenger activity inside the bus. It may provide
limited visibility directly in back of the bus if the bus
is equipped with a glass-bottomed rear emergency
door. There is a blind spot directly behind the
driver’s seat as well as a large blind spot that begins
at the rear bumper and could extend up to 400 feet
or more behind the bus. You must use the exterior
side mirrors to monitor traffic that approaches and
enters this area.
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9
9
9
You should position the mirror to see:
9
9
The top of the rear window in the top of the
mirror.
All of the students, including the heads of the
students right behind you.
9
9
Approach cautiously at a slow rate of speed.
Look for pedestrians, traffic or other objects
before, during and after coming to a stop.
Continuously check all mirrors.
If the school bus is so equipped, activate
alternating flashing amber warning lights at least
200 feet or approximately 5-10 seconds before
the school bus stop or in accordance with state
law.
Turn on right-turn signal indicator about 100-300
feet or approximately 3-5 seconds before pulling
over.
Continuously check mirrors to monitor the
danger zones for students, traffic and other
objects.
Move as far as possible to the right on the
traveled portion of the roadway.
10.2 Loading and unloading
When stopping you should:
More students are killed while getting on or off a
school bus each year than are killed as passengers
inside of a school bus. As a result, knowing what to
do before, during and after loading or unloading
students is critical. This section will give you specific
procedures to help you avoid unsafe conditions
which could result in injuries and fatalities during and
after loading and unloading students.
9
The information in this section is intended to provide
a broad overview, but is not a definitive set of
actions. It is imperative that you learn and obey the
state laws and regulations governing the loading and
unloading operations in your state.
Section 10 – School Buses
9
9
Bring school bus to a full stop with the front
bumper at least 10 feet away from students at
the designated stop. This forces the students to
walk to the bus so you have a better view of
their movements.
Place transmission in “park,” or if there is no
park shift point, in “neutral,” and set the parking
brake at each stop.
Activate alternating red lights when traffic is a
safe distance from the school bus and ensure
stop arm is extended.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Make a final check to see that all traffic has
stopped before completely opening the door and
signaling students to approach.
10.2.2 Loading procedures
9
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9
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
Remove key if leaving driver’s compartment.
9
Position yourself to supervise loading as
required or recommended by your state or local
regulations.
10.2.3 Unloading procedures on the route
Students should wait in a designated location for
the school bus, facing the bus as it approaches.
9
Students should board the bus only when
signaled by the driver.
9
Perform a safe stop at designated unloading
areas as described in subsection 10.2.1.
Have the students remain seated until told to
exit.
Monitor all mirrors continuously.
9
Count the number of students at the bus stop
and be sure all board the bus. If possible, know
the names of students at each stop. If there is a
student missing, ask the other students about
the absence.
Have the students board the school bus slowly,
in single file and use the handrail. The dome
light should be on while loading in the dark.
Wait until students are seated and facing
forward before moving the bus.
Check all mirrors. Make certain no one is
running to catch the bus.
If you cannot account for a student outside,
secure the bus, take the key and check around
and underneath the bus.
9
9
9
9
9
Closing the door.
Engaging the transmission.
Releasing the parking brake.
Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
Turning on left-turn signal.
Checking all mirrors again.
Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
When it is safe, move the bus to enter traffic flow
and continue the route.
Check all mirrors.
Count the number of students while unloading to
confirm the location of all students before pulling
away from the stop.
Tell students to exit the bus and walk at least 10
feet away from the side of the bus to a position
where the driver can plainly see all students.
Check all mirrors again. Make sure no students
are around or returning to the bus.
If you cannot account for a student outside the
bus, secure the bus and check around and
underneath the bus.
When all students are accounted for, prepare to
leave by:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
When all students are accounted for, prepare to
leave by:
The loading procedure is essentially the same
wherever you load students, but there are slight
differences. When students are loading at the school
campus, you should:
114
Turn off the ignition switch.
Perform a safe stop as described in subsection
10.2.1.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
9
9
9
Closing the door.
Engaging the transmission.
Releasing the parking brake.
Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
Turning on left-turn signal.
Checking all mirrors again.
Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
When it is safe, move the bus to enter traffic flow
and continue the route.
Note: If you have missed a student’s unloading stop,
do not back up. Be sure to follow local procedures.
Additional procedures for students that must
cross the roadway
You should understand what students should do
when exiting a school bus and crossing the street in
front of the bus. In addition, the school bus driver
Section 10 – School Buses
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
should understand that students might not always do
what they are supposed to do. Students crossing the
roadway should follow these procedures:
9
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9
Walk approximately 10 feet away from the side
of the school bus to a position where you can
see them.
9
9
Stop at the right edge of the roadway. You
should be able to see the student’s feet.
Stop and look in all directions, making sure the
roadway is clear and is safe.
Check to see if the red flashing lights on the bus
are still flashing.
Wait for your signal before crossing the
roadway.
Upon your signal, the students should:
9
9
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9
Walk to a location at least 10 feet in front of the
right corner of the bumper, but still remaining
away from the front of the school bus.
When students reach the edge of the roadway, they
should:
9
When unloading at the school, you should follow
these procedures:
Cross far enough in front of the school bus to be
in your view.
Stop at the left edge of the school bus, stop, and
look again for your signal to continue to cross
the roadway.
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9
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9
Note: You should enforce any state or local
regulations or recommendations concerning student
actions outside the school bus.
10.2.4 Unloading Procedures at School
9
Turning off the ignition switch.
Removing key if leaving driver’s compartment.
Have the students remain seated until told to
exit.
Position yourself to supervise unloading as
required or recommended by your state or local
regulations.
Have students exit in orderly fashion.
Observe students as they step from bus to see
that all move promptly away from the unloading
area.
Walk through the bus and check for hiding or
sleeping students and items left by students.
Check all mirrors. Make certain no students are
returning to the bus.
If you cannot account for a student outside the
bus and the bus is secure, check around and
underneath the bus.
When all students are accounted for, prepare to
leave by:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Proceed across the roadway, continuing to look
in all directions.
Section 10 – School Buses
Secure the bus by:
•
•
Look for traffic in both directions, making sure
roadway is clear.
State and local laws and regulations regarding
unloading students at schools, particularly in
situations where such activities take place in the
school parking lot or other location that is off the
traveled roadway, are often different than unloading
along the school bus route. It is important that you
understand and obey state and local laws and
regulations. The following procedures are meant to
be general guidelines.
Perform a safe stop at designated unloading
areas as described in subsection 10.2.1.
Closing the door.
Fastening safety belt.
Starting engine.
Engaging the transmission.
Releasing the parking brake.
Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
Turning on left-turn signal.
Checking all mirrors again.
Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
When it is safe, pull away from the unloading
area.
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10.2.5 Special dangers of loading and
unloading
Dropped or forgotten objects
Always focus on students as they approach the bus
and watch for any who disappear from sight.
Students may drop an object near the bus during
loading and unloading. Stopping to pick up the
object or returning to pick up the object may cause
the student to disappear from the driver’s sight at a
very dangerous moment.
Students should be told to leave any dropped object
and move to a point of safety out of the danger
zones and attempt to get the driver’s attention to
retrieve the object.
Handrail hang-ups
Students have been injured or killed when clothing,
accessories, or even parts of their body get caught
in the handrail or door as they exited the bus. You
should closely observe all students exiting the bus to
confirm that they are in a safe location prior to
moving the bus.
engine compartment, a medical emergency to a
student on the school bus, etc. Knowing what to do
in an emergency – before, during and after an
evacuation – can mean the difference between life
and death.
10.3.1 Planning for emergencies
Determine need to evacuate bus
The first and most important consideration is for you
to recognize the hazard. If time permits, you should
contact your dispatcher to explain the situation
before making a decision to evacuate the school
bus.
As a general rule, student safety and control is best
maintained by keeping students on the bus during
an emergency or impending crisis situation if so
doing does not expose them to unnecessary risk or
injury. Remember, the decision to evacuate the bus
must be a timely one.
A decision to evacuate should include consideration
of the following conditions:
9
Is there a fire or danger of fire?
10.2.6 Post-trip Inspection
9
Is there a smell of raw or leaking fuel?
When your route or school activity trip is finished,
you should conduct a post-trip inspection of the bus.
9
You should walk through the bus and around the
bus looking for the following:
9
•
•
Articles left on the bus.
Sleeping students.
•
Open windows and doors.
•
Mechanical or operational problems with the
bus, with special attention to items that are
unique to school buses – mirror systems,
flashing warning lamps and stop signal arms.
•
9
9
9
Damage or vandalism.
Any problems or special situations should be
reported immediately to your supervisor or school
authorities.
10.3 Emergency exit and evacuation
An emergency situation can happen to anyone,
anytime, anywhere. It could be a crash, a stalled
school bus on a railroad-highway crossing or in a
high-speed intersection, an electrical fire in the
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9
Is there a chance the bus could be hit by other
vehicles?
Is the bus in the path of a sighted tornado or
rising waters?
Are there downed power lines?
Would removing students expose them to
speeding traffic, severe weather or a dangerous
environment such as downed power lines?
Would moving students complicate injuries such
as neck and back injuries and fractures?
Is there a hazardous spill involved? Sometimes,
it may be safer to remain on the bus and not
come in contact with the material.
Mandatory evacuations
You must evacuate the bus when:
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9
The bus is on fire or there is a threat of a fire.
The bus is stalled on or adjacent to a railroadhighway crossing.
Section 10 – School Buses
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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The position of the bus may change and
increase the danger.
9
There is a need to quickly evacuate because of
a hazardous materials spill.
9
Be prepared and plan ahead
When possible, assign two responsible, older
student assistants to each emergency exit. Teach
them how to assist the other students off the bus.
Assign another student assistant to lead the
students to a “safe place” after evacuation.
However, you must recognize that there may not be
older, responsible students on the bus at the time of
the emergency. Therefore, emergency evacuation
procedures must be explained to all students. This
includes knowing how to operate the various
emergency exits and the importance of listening to
and following all instructions given by you.
9
Some tips to determine a safe place:
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A safe place will be at least 100 feet off the
roadway on the side of the road opposite the
bus. This will keep the students away from the
crash scene if another vehicle collides with the
bus. Care should be taken to ensure all students
cross the roadway safely.
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9
Lead students upwind of the bus if fire is
present.
Lead students as far away from railroad tracks
as possible and in the direction of any oncoming
train.
Lead students upwind of the bus at least 300
feet if there is a risk from spilled hazardous
materials.
If the bus is in the direct path of a sighted
tornado and evacuation is ordered, escort
students to a nearby ditch or culvert if shelter in
a building is not readily available, and direct
them to lie face down, hands covering their
head. They should be far enough away so the
bus cannot topple on them. Avoid areas that are
subject to flash floods.
General procedures
9
•
Front, rear or side door evacuation, or some
combination of doors.
•
Roof or window evacuation.
There is an imminent danger of collision.
10.3.2 Evacuation procedures
9
Determine the best type of evacuation:
Determine if evacuation is in the best interest of
safety.
Section 10 – School Buses
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Secure the bus by:
•
Placing transmission in “park”, or if there is no
shift point, in “neutral.”
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Setting parking brakes.
•
Shutting off the engine.
•
Removing ignition key.
•
Activating hazard-warning lights.
If time allows, notify dispatch office of
evacuation location, conditions and type of
assistance needed.
Dangle radio microphone or telephone out of
driver’s window for later use if operable.
If the vehicle has no radio or radio is inoperable,
dispatch a passing motorist or area resident to
call for help. As a last resort, dispatch two older,
responsible students to go for help.
•
Order the evacuation.
•
Evacuate students from the bus.
•
Do not move a student you believe may have
suffered a neck or spinal injury unless his or
her life is in immediate danger.
•
Special procedures must be used to move
neck spinal injury victims to prevent further
injury.
Direct a student assistant to lead students to the
nearest safe place.
Walk through the bus to ensure no students
remain on the bus. Retrieve emergency
equipment.
Join waiting students. Account for all students
and check for their safety.
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Protect the scene. Set out emergency warning
devices as necessary and appropriate.
Prepare information for emergency responders.
10.4 Railroad-highway crossings
10.4.1 Types of crossings
Passive crossings
Pavement markings
Pavement markings mean the same as the advance
warning sign. They consist of an “X” with the letters
“”RR” and a no-passing marking on two-lane roads.
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. See Figure 10.6
This type of crossing does not have any type of
traffic control device. You must stop at these
crossings and follow proper procedures. However,
the decision to proceed rests entirely in your hands.
Passive crossings require you to recognize the
crossing, search for any train using the tracks 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.
10.4.2 Warning signs and devices
Advance warning signs
The round, black-on-yellow 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. See Figure 10.5.
Figure 10.6
Crossbuck signs
This sign marks the crossing. It requires you to yield
the right-of-way to the train. If there is no white line
painted on the pavement, you must stop the bus
before the crossbuck sign. When the road crosses
over more than one set of tracks, a sign below the
crossbuck indicates the number of tracks. See
Figure 10.7.
Flashing red light signals
At many highway-rail 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 10.8.
Gates
Figure 10.5
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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. If the gate stays down after the train passes,
do not drive around the gate. Call your dispatcher.
See Figure 10.8.
Section 10 – School Buses
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
10.4.3 Recommended procedures
Each state has laws and regulations governing how
school buses must operate at railroad-highway
crossings. It is important for you to understand and
obey these state laws and regulations. In general,
school buses must stop at all crossings and ensure
it is safe before proceeding across the tracks. The
specific procedures required in each state vary.
for a train. You can prevent school bus-train crashes
by following these recommended procedures.
Approaching the crossing
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Slow down, including shifting to a lower gear in a
manual transmission bus, and test your brakes.
Activate hazard lights approximately 200 feet
before the crossing. Make sure your intentions
are known.
Scan your surroundings and check for traffic
behind you.
Stay to the right of the roadway if possible.
Choose an escape route in the event of a brake
failure or problems behind you.
At the crossing
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Figure 10.7
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Stop no closer than 15 feet and no farther than
50 feet from the nearest rail at a point in which
you have the best view of the tracks.
Place the transmission in “park,” or if there is no
park shift point, in “neutral” and press down on
the service brake or set the parking brakes.
Turn off all radios and noisy equipment, and
silence the passengers.
Open the service door and driver’s window.
Look and listen for an approaching train.
Crossing the track
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Check the crossing signals again before
proceeding.
At a multiple-track crossing, stop before the first
set of tracks and go no further. When you are
sure no train is approaching on any track,
proceed across all of the tracks until you have
completely cleared them.
Cross the tracks in a low gear. Do not change
gears while crossing.
Figure 10.8
A school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the
highway. However, a school bus does not have the
slightest edge when involved in a crash with a train.
Because of a train’s size and weight it cannot stop
quickly. An emergency escape route does not exist
Section 10 – School Buses
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If you have started to cross the tracks and the
crossing gate activates, continue driving forward
even if it means you will break the gate. Do not
attempt to turn around or back up on the tracks.
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10.4.4 Special situations
Bus stalls or is trapped on tracks
Loading and unloading requires all your
concentration. Don’t take your eyes off what is
happening outside the bus.
If your bus stalls or is trapped on the tracks, get
everyone out and off the tracks immediately. Have
your students move toward the approaching train
while keeping as far away from the tracks as
possible. This will position them away from the
immediate crash area and reduce the chances they
will be injured by any debris that will be pushed to
the sides and farther down the tracks by force of the
collision.
If there is a behavior problem on the bus, wait until
the students unloading are safely off the bus and
have moved away before addressing the situation. If
you are driving and the problem requires your
immediate attention, pull the bus over to the
roadside or other safe place before addressing the
situation.
Police officer at the crossing
Tips on handling serious problems:
If a police officer is at the crossing, obey the officer’s
directions. If there is no police officer, and you
believe the signal is malfunctioning, call your
dispatcher to report the situation and ask for
instructions on how to proceed.
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Obstructed view of the tracks
9
Plan your route so it provides maximum sight
distance at highway-rail grade crossings. Do not
attempt to cross the tracks unless you can see far
enough down the track to know for certain that no
trains are approaching. Passive crossings are those
that do not have any type of traffic control device. Be
especially careful at passive crossings. Even if there
are active railroad signals that indicate the tracks are
clear, you must look and listen to be sure it is safe to
proceed.
Containment or storage areas
If it won’t fit, don’t commit! Know the length of your
bus and the size of the containment area at
highway-rail crossings on the school bus route, as
well as any crossing you encounter in the course of
a school activity trip. When approaching a crossing
with a signal or stop sign on the opposite side, pay
attention to the amount of room there. Be certain the
bus has enough containment or storage area to
completely clear the railroad tracks on the other side
if there is a need to stop. As a general rule, add 15
feet to the length of the school bus to determine an
acceptable amount of containment or storage area.
10.5 Student management
10.5.1 – Don’t deal with on-bus problems when
loading and unloading
In order to get students to and from school safely
and on time, you need to be able to concentrate on
the driving task.
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10.5.2 Handling serious problems
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Follow your school’s procedures for discipline or
refusal of rights to ride the bus.
Stop the bus. Park in a safe location off the
road, perhaps a parking lot or a driveway.
Secure the bus. Take the ignition key with you if
you leave your seat.
Stand up and speak respectfully to the offender
or offenders. Speak in a courteous manner with
a firm voice. Remind the offender of the
expected behavior. Do not show anger, but do
show that you mean business.
If a change of seating is needed, request that
the student move to a seat near you.
Never put a student off the bus except at school
or at his or her designated school bus stop. If
you feel that the offense is serious enough that
you cannot safely drive the bus, call for a school
administrator or the police to come and remove
the student. Always follow you state or local
procedures for requesting assistance.
10.6 Antilock Braking Systems
10.6.1 Vehicles required to have antilock
braking systems
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that
antilock braking systems be on:
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Vehicles with air brakes, (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.
Section 10 – School Buses
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Many buses built before these dates have been
voluntarily equipped with ABS.
Your school bus will have a yellow ABS malfunction
lamp on the instrument panel if it is equipped with
ABS.
10.6.5 Safety reminders
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10.6.2 How ABS helps you
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 or even spin the vehicle.
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.
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10.6.3 Braking with ABS
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should
brake as you always have. In other words:
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Use only the braking force necessary to stop
safely and stay in control.
9
ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow more
closely or drive less carefully.
ABS won’t prevent power or turning skids, but it
should prevent brake-induced skids. ABS won’t
prevent skids caused by spinning drive wheels
or taking a turn too fast.
ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping
distances but will help you maintain control of
the vehicle.
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
Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the bus. However, in emergency
braking, do not pump the brakes on a bus with
ABS.
As you slow down, monitor your bus and back
off the brakes (if it is safe to do so) to stay in
control.
10.6.4 Braking if ABS is not working
Without ABS, you still have normal brake functions.
Drive and brake as you always have.
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps to
tell you if something is not working. The yellow ABS
malfunction lamp is on the bus’s instrument panel.
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 5
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.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have
regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the system
serviced soon.
Section 10 – School Buses
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The best vehicle safety feature is still a safe
driver.
Drive so you never need to use your ABS.
If you need it, ABS could help to prevent a
serious crash.
10.7 Special safety considerations
10.7.1 Strobe lights
Some school buses are equipped with roofmounted, white strobe lights. If your bus is so
equipped, the overhead strobe light should be used
when you have limited visibility. This means that you
cannot easily see around you – in front, behind or
beside the school bus. Your visibility could be only
slightly limited or it could be so bad that you can see
nothing at all. In all instances, understand and obey
your state or local regulations concerning the use of
these lights.
10.7.2 Driving in high winds
Strong winds affect the handling of a school bus.
Because of the size and length of a school bus, it
presents a lot of large, flat surfaces that the wind
can push against. Strong winds can cause a school
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bus to sway, push it from lane to lane and even
force it off the road. In extreme weather conditions,
wind can even tip over a school bus.
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Keep a strong grip on the steering wheel. Try to
anticipate gusts.
9
Be sure that all students are in the bus before
backing.
If you must back up at a student drop-off point,
be sure to unload students after backing.
10.7.4 Tail Swing
You should slow down to lessen the effect of the
wind or pull off the roadway and wait.
Contact your dispatcher to get more information
on how to proceed.
10.7.3 Backing
Backing a school bus is strongly discouraged. You
should back your bus only when you have no other
way to safely move the vehicle. You should never
back a school bus when students are outside of the
bus. Backing is dangerous and increases your risk
of a collision. If you have no choice and you must
back your bus, follow these procedures:
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Post a lookout. The purpose of the lookout is to
warn you about obstacles, approaching persons
and other vehicles. The lookout should not give
directions on how to back the bus.
9
Signal for quiet on the bus.
9
Constantly check all mirrors and rear windows.
9
Back slowly and smoothly.
9
If no lookout is available:
A school bus can have up to a three-foot tail swing.
You need to check your mirrors before and during
any turning movements to monitor the tail swing.
Section 10 Test your knowledge
1. Define the danger zone. How far does the
danger zone extend around the bus?
2. What should you be able to see if the
outside flat mirrors are adjusted properly?
The outside convex mirrors? The
crossover mirrors?
3. You are loading students along the route.
When should you activate your alternating
flashing amber warning lights?
4. You are unloading students along your
route. Where should students walk after
exiting the bus?
5. After unloading at school, why should you
walk through the bus?
6. Where should students stand before
crossing the roadway in front of the bus?
7. Under what conditions must you evacuate
the bus?
•
Set the parking brake.
•
Turn off the motor and take the keys with you.
•
Walk to the rear of the bus to determine
whether the way is clear.
8. How far from the nearest rail should you
9
If you must back up at a student pick-up point,
be sure to pick up students before backing and
watch for late comers at all times.
stop at a highway-rail crossing?
9. What is a passive highway-rail crossing?
Why should you be extra cautious at this
type of crossing?
10. How should you use your brakes if your
vehicle is equipped with ABS?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 10.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Michigan CDL Skills Test
CDL Skills Test Requirements and Overview
Before taking the CDL skills test, you must:
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Meet the driving record eligibility requirements, pass all required vision and CDL written tests and obtain a
CDL Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP).
Contact an approved third-party skills testing organization to schedule your CDL skills test. Ask about the
test fee policy when you schedule your test. Information about test site locations in your area can be
obtained at a Secretary of State office or on the website at www.ExpressSOS.com.
9
Show the examiner your valid Michigan photo driver’s license.
9
Provide a test vehicle representative of the type you plan to drive.
9
•
Vehicles and trailers used for CDL skills tests must be empty and meet the equipment and safety
inspection requirements of Michigan law and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
•
Vehicles must include seat equipped with safety belts for both the driver and examiner. Buses are not
required to have safety belts for the examiner.
•
Vehicles and trailers used for CDL skills tests must be registered and insured. You must show the
examiner the registration for the vehicle and trailer; you must show the examiner an insurance certificate
for the vehicle.
•
Vehicles used for testing must be able to travel at safe and legal highway speeds.
Pay the testing fee to the third-party testing organization.
The CDL skills test consists of three test segments. They are administered in the
following order:
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Vehicle inspection test.
Off-road basic control skills test.
On-road driving test.
Each test segment must be passed before continuing on to the next test segment. A failure of any one of the CDL
skills test segments terminates the test. On subsequent attempts, you must start the testing sequence over again,
beginning with the vehicle inspection test, regardless of which test segment you failed. You are allowed one
attempt per day.
Sections 11 to 13 outline the criteria that will be used to evaluate your skills.
After passing the CDL skills test:
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The examiner will issue you a Driver Skills Test Certificate (TPT-010).
Take the skills test certificate directly to any Secretary of State office. You must redeem your certificate within
one year from date of issuance. After one year, you must take all CDL tests again.
CDL Skills Test Requirements and Overview
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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You will be issued a temporary CDL at the Secretary of State office when you pay a fee to add the CDL
privileges to your license.
You will receive your photo CDL in the mail within about 10 business days.
Third-party skills testing
In Michigan, state and federal laws regulate driver testing. The Department of State has approved a statewide
network of public and private organizations to conduct driver skills tests. The department is committed to assuring
that these tests are given by qualified persons trained to administer them in a fair, honest and reliable manner.
Applicants should be familiar with the test procedures and the time involved for their skills test. Any skills test that
does not include all the test segments should be questioned by the applicant. Following is a table that shows the
approximate times needed for each test segment. The times are based on an average driving route, good
weather conditions, light traffic and a well-prepared driver. Skills tests must have all of the test segments listed
below and may take longer, but should not take less time to complete.
TEST TYPE
VEHICLE
INSPECTION
BASIC CONTROL
SKILLS
ON-STREET
DRIVING
TOTAL TIME
CDL Group A 30 minutes - 1 hour
15 - 30 minutes
30 minutes - 1 hour
1 hour, 15 minutes - 2 hours, 30 minutes
CDL Group B 30 minutes - 1 hour
15 - 30 minutes
30 minutes - 1 hour
1 hour, 15 minutes - 2 hours, 30 minutes
CDL Group C 20 - 30 minutes
15 - 30 minutes
30 minutes - 1 hour
1 hour, 5 minutes - 2 hours
During the test, examiners must always:
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Read standard instructions from a script for each part of the test.
Use only Department of State approved forms and procedures.
Use only Department of State approved off-street exercises and on-street driving test routes.
Any third-party organization or examiner who intentionally misrepresents a driver skills test by omitting any driver
testing requirement or procedure, or who participates in any illegal activity related to driver licensing, is subject to
severe penalties including loss of approval to conduct testing, criminal prosecution and restitution for monetary
damages to the test applicant and the department.
Any person (not limited to the driver applicant) who knowingly encourages, facilitates or participates in improper,
illegal or fraudulent driver testing is also subject to criminal prosecution.
Any person found to have been improperly, illegally or fraudulently tested must take the test again. The applicant
or testing organization will be liable for the costs associated with retesting. The Secretary of State may randomly
retest anyone tested by a third-party tester.
Improper, fraudulent or unlawful driver license tests result in illegal license applications. The Michigan Vehicle
Code (P.A. 300 of 1949) contains the following language concerning illegal driver testing:
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A person who makes a false certification regarding any driver license application is guilty of a felony.
A person who bribes or attempts to corrupt a person or agency that conducts a driving test with the intent to
influence the opinion or decision of the person or agency conducting the driving test is guilty of a felony.
A designated examining officer appointed or designated by the Secretary of State who conducts a driving test
under an agreement entered into with the Secretary of State and who varies from, shortens, or in any other
way changes the method or examination criteria prescribed under that agreement is guilty of a felony.
A person who forges, counterfeits or alters a driving test certificate is guilty of a felony.
Section 11 Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
A felony committed under these laws shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more
than five years and fines up to $5,000 for the first offense. Subsequent convictions result in additional
penalties.
Third-party testing organization business requirements
Third-party testing organizations must adhere to certain business practices and administer skills tests according
to established standards and procedures contained in a formal agreement with the Department of State. Thirdparty testing organizations must:
9
Be approved by the Department before testing services are offered.
9
Maintain an established place of business and obtain written permission to use all approved test sites.
9
Respond to all driver testing service inquiries within one business day.
9
Provide a printed fee policy upon request and issue a receipt for each test (testing fees are not regulated by
law).
9
Maintain a surety bond.
9
Ensure examiners pass all required training and obtain Department approval before giving tests.
Reporting improper, illegal or fraudulent test activities
Improper, illegal or fraudulent driver testing activity should be reported immediately to the Michigan Department of
State. All legitimate reports will be reviewed. The information should be submitted to by mail, fax, or email to:
Michigan Department of State
Bureau of Driver and Vehicle Programs
Driver Programs Division
Lansing, MI 48918
Phone: 517-241-6850
Fax: 517-373-0964
Email: [email protected]
CDL Skills Test Requirements and Overview
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 11
PRE-TRIP VEHICLE
INSPECTION TEST
This section covers:
9 Internal inspection
9 External inspection
During the pre-trip inspection, you must show that
the vehicle is safe to drive. You may 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.
Engine compartment belts
Check the following belts for snugness (up to ¾ inch
play at center of belt), cracks or frays:
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Note: If any of the components listed above are not
belt driven, you must:
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11.1 All vehicles
Study the following vehicle parts for the type of
vehicle you will be using during the CDL skills test.
You should be able to identify each part and tell the
examiner what you are looking for or inspecting.
11.1.1 Engine compartment (engine off)
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Look for puddles on the ground.
Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine
and transmission.
Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.
Oil level
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Coolant level
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(If engine is not hot), remove radiator cap and
check for visible coolant level.
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Check for adequate power steering fluid level.
Level must be above refill mark.
Place gearshift lever in neutral (or park for
automatic transmissions).
Start engine, then release clutch slowly.
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
Inspect reservoir sight glass, or
Indicate where power steering fluid dipstick is
located.
Depress clutch.
Oil pressure gauge
Power steering fluid
9
Make sure components are operating properly,
are not damaged or leaking and are mounted
securely.
11.1.2 Cab check and engine start
Indicate where dipstick is located.
See that oil level is within safe operating range.
Level must be above refill mark.
Tell the examiner which components are not belt
driven.
Safe Start
Leaks and hoses
9
Power steering belt.
Water pump belt.
Alternator belt.
Air compressor belt.
Make sure the temperature gauge is working.
Temperature should begin to climb to the normal
operating range or temperature light should be
off.
Air gauge
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Make sure the air gauge is working properly.
Build air pressure to governor cut-out, roughly
120-140 psi.
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Ammeter or voltmeter
9
Check that gauges show alternator, generator or
both are charging or that warning light is off.
•
•
9
Mirrors and windshield
9
High-beam headlight.
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) indicator.
Check that all external lights and reflective
equipment are clean and functional. Light and
reflector checks include:
Mirrors should be clean and adjusted properly
from the inside.
•
Clearance lights (red on rear, amber
elsewhere).
Windshield should be clean with no illegal
stickers, no obstructions or damage to the glass.
•
Headlights (high and low beams).
Emergency equipment
•
Taillights.
9
Check for spare electrical fuses.
•
Turn signals.
Check for three red reflective triangles, six
fusees or three liquid flares.
•
Four-way flashers.
•
Brake lights.
•
Red reflectors (on rear) and amber reflectors
(elsewhere).
•
Reflector tape condition.
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Check for properly charged and rated fire
extinguisher.
Note: If the vehicle is not equipped with electrical
fuses, you must mention this to the examiner.
Steering play
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Nonpower 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.
Note: Checks of brake, turn signal and four-way
flasher functions must be done separately.
Horn
9
Check that air horn and electric horn work.
Heater and defroster
9
Test that the heater and defroster work.
Parking brake check
Wipers and washers
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Check that wiper arms and blades are secure,
not damaged and operate smoothly.
If equipped, windshield washers must operate
correctly.
9
Lights/Reflectors/Reflector Tape Condition
(Sides & Rear)
9
Test that dash indicators work when
corresponding lights are turned on:
•
•
•
Left-turn signal.
Right-turn signal.
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
9
Pump the brake pedal three times and then hold
it down for five seconds. The brake pedal should
not move (depress) during the five seconds.
Four-way emergency flashers.
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
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If equipped with a hydraulic brake reserve (backup) system, with the key off, depress the brake
pedal and listen for the sound of the reserve
system electric motor.
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.
Check that the warning buzzer or light is off.
9
Air brake check (Air-brake equipped vehicles
only)
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Failure to perform all three components of the
air brake check correctly will result in an
automatic failure of the vehicle inspection test.
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 condition. 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:
Turn the electrical power on and with the engine
running, build the air pressure to governed cutout (120-140 psi).
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).
Safety belt
11.2 External inspection (School
buses, trucks and tractors)
11.2.1 Steering
Steering box and hoses
9
9
Check that the steering box is securely mounted
and not leaking. Look for any missing nuts, bolts
and cotter keys.
Check for power steering fluid leaks or damage
to power steering hoses.
Steering linkage
9
9
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.
11.2.2 Suspension
Turn the key to the “on” position without starting
the engine and begin fanning off the air pressure
by rapidly applying and releasing the foot brake.
Low air warning devices (buzzer, light or flag)
should activate before air pressure drops below
60 psi.
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).
Springs, air and torque
9
9
9
9
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.
128
Check that the safety belt is securely mounted,
adjusts and latches properly.
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.
Mounts
9
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).
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Shock absorbers
11.2.4 Wheels
9
Rims
See that shock absorbers are secure and that
there are no leaks.
9
Check for damaged or bent rims. Rims cannot
have welding repairs.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same suspension
components inspection on every axle (power unit
and trailer if equipped).
Tires
11.2.3 Brakes
The following items must be inspected on every tire:
Slack adjustors
9
9
9
9
Look for broken, loose or missing parts.
The angle between the push rod and the
adjustor arm should be a little over 90 degrees
when the brakes are released and are not less
than 90 degrees when the brakes are applied.
For manual slack adjustors, the brake rod
should not move more than one inch (with the
brakes released) when pulled by hand.
9
9
Tread depth: Check for minimum tread depth
(4/32 on steering axle tires and 2/32 on all other
tires).
Tire condition: Check that the 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.
Tire inflation: Check for proper inflation by
using a tire gauge.
Brake chambers
Note: You will not get credit if you simply kick the
tires to check for proper inflation.
9
Hub oil seals and axle seals
See that brake chambers are not leaking,
cracked or dented and are mounted securely.
9
Brake hoses and lines
9
Look for cracked, worn or leaking hoses, lines
and couplings.
Drum brakes
9
9
Check for cracks, dents or holes. Also check for
loose or missing bolts.
Brake linings (where visible) should not be worn
dangerously thin.
Brake linings
9
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).
See that hub oil, grease seals and axle seals are
not leaking and, if the wheel has a sight glass,
that the oil level is adequate.
Lug nuts
9
9
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.
Spacers
9
9
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).
11.2.5 – Side of vehicle: Doors and mirrors
9
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
Check that doors are not damaged and that they
open and close properly from the outside.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
Hinges should be secure with seals intact.
9
Check that mirrors and mirror brackets are not
damaged and are mounted securely with no
loose fittings.
9
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.
Fuel tank
9
9
Check that tanks are secure, caps are tight and
that there are no leaks from tanks or lines.
Lift must be fully retracted and latched securely.
11.2.7 Tractor-coupling
Battery and box
Air and electric lines
9
9
9
9
All batteries should be secure, the connections
tight and cell caps are present (maintenancefree batteries are sealed and cannot be
checked).
9
Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
Battery box and cover or door must be secure.
Drive shaft
9
9
See that drive shaft is not bent or cracked.
Couplings should be secure and free of foreign
objects.
9
Check system for damage and signs of leaks
such as rust or carbon soot.
System should be connected tightly and
mounted securely.
Frame
9
Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the longitudinal frame members,
cross members, box and floor.
9
9
9
Doors, ties and lifts
9
130
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.
Locking jaws
9
9
Splash guards
If equipped, check that splash guards or mud
flaps are not damaged and are mounted
securely.
Check that the catwalk is solid, clear of objects
and securely bolted to tractor frame.
Mounting bolts
11.2.6 Rear of vehicle
9
Make sure air and electrical lines are not
tangled, pinched or dragging against tractor
parts.
Catwalk
Exhaust system
9
Listen for air leaks. Check that air hoses and
electrical lines are not cut, chafed, spliced or
worn (steel braid should not show through).
Look into fifth wheel gap and check that locking
jaws are fully closed around the kingpin.
On other types of coupling systems (i.e., ball
hitch, pintle hook, etc.), inspect the locking
mechanism for missing or broken parts and
make sure it is locked securely. If present, safety
cables or chains must be secure and free of
kinks and excessive slack.
Platform (fifth wheel)
9
Check for cracks or breaks in the platform
structure which supports the fifth wheel skid
plate.
Check that doors and hinges are not damaged
and that they open, close and latch properly
from the outside, if equipped.
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Release arm (fifth wheel)
Lights and reflectors
9
9
If equipped, make sure the release arm is in the
engaged position and the safety latch is in place.
Kingpin, apron and gap
9
9
9
Make sure the visible part of the apron is not
bent, cracked or broken.
Locking pins (fifth wheel)
9
9
9
•
•
•
•
Check that the kingpin is not bent.
Check that the trailer is laying flat on the fifth
wheel skid plate (no gap).
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.
11.3 – School buses
In addition to checking for spare electrical fuses
(if equipped), three red reflective triangles and a
properly charged and rated fire extinguisher,
school bus drivers must also inspect the
following emergency equipment:
•
•
•
Three red-burning flares (fusees).
9
9
9
9
9
•
9
Alternately flashing amber lights indicator if
equipped.
•
Alternately flashing red lights indicator.
•
Strobe light indicator if equipped.
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
Alternately flashing amber lights if equipped.
Alternately flashing red lights.
If equipped, check the stop arm to see that it is
mounted securely to the frame of the vehicle.
Also, check for loose fittings and damage.
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 handicap 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.
Emergency exit
9
Body fluid clean-up kit
In addition to checking the lighting indicators
listed in Section 10.2 of this manual, school bus
drivers must also check the following lighting
indicators (internal panel lights):
Stop arm light if equipped.
Passenger entry and lift
Nine-item first-aid kit
Lighting Indicators
Strobe light if equipped.
Stop arm
Emergency equipment
9
In addition to checking the lights and reflective
devices listed in Section 10.2 of this manual,
school bus drivers must also check the following
(external) lights and reflectors:
9
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.
Seating
9
9
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.
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11.4 Trailers
Frame
11.4.1 Trailer front
9
Air and electrical connections
9
9
9
Check that trailer air connectors are sealed and
in good condition.
9
9
9
If equipped, check the header board to see that
it is secure, free of damage and strong enough
to contain cargo.
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.
Landing gear
9
Check that the landing gear is fully raised, has
no missing parts, the crank handle is secure and
the support frame is not damaged.
If power operated, check for air or hydraulic
leaks.
Doors, ties and lifts
9
9
9
9
132
If equipped, make sure the locking pins are
locked in place and release arm is secured.
11.4.3 Remainder of trailer
Make sure the trailer electrical plug is firmly
seated and locked in place.
11.4.2 Side of trailer
9
Tandem release arm and locking pins
Make sure glad hands are locked in place, free
of damage or air leaks.
Header Board or Bulkhead
9
Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the frame, cross members, box and
floor.
If equipped, check that doors are not damaged.
Check that doors open, close and latch properly
from the outside.
Check that ties, straps and binders are secure.
Please refer to Section 11.2 of this manual for
detailed inspection procedures regarding the
following components:
9
9
9
9
9
Wheels.
Suspension system.
Brakes.
Doors, ties and lift.
Splash guards.
11.5 Coach and transit bus
11.5.1 Passenger items
Passenger entry and lift
9
9
9
9
9
Check that entry doors operate smoothly and
close securely from the inside.
Check that hand rails are secure and, if
equipped, that the step lights are working.
Check that the entry steps are clear, with the
treads not loose or worn excessively.
If equipped with a handicap 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
If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
9
Lift should be fully retracted and latched
securely.
9
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.
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Passenger seating
Fuel tanks
9
9
9
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.
See that all fuel tanks are secure with no leaks
from the tank or lines.
Compartments
9
11.5.2 – Entry and exit
Check that baggage and all other exterior
compartment doors are not damaged, operate
properly and latch securely.
Doors and mirrors
Battery and box
9
9
Check that entry and exit doors are not
damaged and operate smoothly from the
outside. Hinges should be secure with seals
intact.
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.
11.5.3 External inspection of coach and transit
buses
Level and air leaks
9
See that the vehicle is sitting level, both at the
front and rear, and, if air-equipped, check for
audible air leaks from the suspension system.
9
9
9
All batteries should be secure, the connections
tight and cell caps are present (maintenancefree batteries are sealed and do not have
removable cell caps).
Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
Battery box and cover or door must be secure.
11.5.4 Remainder of the coach and transit bus
inspection
Please refer to Section 11.2 of this manual for
detailed inspection procedures regarding the
wheels.
Note: The pre-trip vehicle inspection must be
passed before you can proceed to the basic vehicle
control skills test.
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
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Section 12
BASIC VEHICLE CONTROL
SKILLS TEST
This section covers:
9 Basic vehicle control skills test
exercises
9 Scoring for the basic vehicle control
skills test
Your basic control skills will be tested using one or
more of the following exercises off-road:
9
9
9
9
Straight line backing.
Offset backing/right.
Offset backing/left
Alley dock.
These exercises are shown in Figures 12-1 through
12-4.
Remember: you must pass the pre-trip vehicle
inspection test before the basic vehicle control
skills test; you must pass the basic vehicle
control skills test before proceeding to the onroad driving test.
12.1 Scoring
9
9
9
9
Crossing boundaries (encroachments).
Pull-ups.
Vehicle exits
Final position
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 or brakes. 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.
The maximum number of times that you may look to
check the position of you vehicle is two (2) except
for the Straight Line Backing exercise, which allows
one look. 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 penalized
and could fail the basic skills test.
12.2 Exercises
Straight line backing
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. See Figure
12.1.
Offset back/right
The examiner will score the number of times you
touch or cross over an exercise boundary line or any
part of a cone with any portion of your vehicle. Each
encroachment will count as an error.
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 12.2.
Pull-ups
Offset back/left
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 pullup. You will not be penalized for initial pull-ups.
However, an excessive number of pull-ups will count
as errors.
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 12.3.
Crossing boundaries (encroachments)
134
Section 12 – Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test
2012 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Alley dock
You will be asked to sight-side back your vehicle
(from a 90-degree angle) into an alley, bringing the
rear of your vehicle as close as possible to the rear
of the alley without crossing side or rear boundaries
marked by cones. You are required to get your
vehicle completely into the space with your entire
vehicle straight with the alley. See Figure 12-4.
Figure 12.1 Straight line backing
Figure 12.2 Offset back/right
Section 12 – Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Figure 12.3 Offset back/left
Figure 12.4 Alley docking
136
Section 12 – Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Section 13
ON-ROAD DRIVING
9
9
This section covers:
9 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.
9
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. 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.
13.1 How you will be tested
9
Do not let your vehicle roll.
9
Keep the front wheels aimed straight ahead.
9
9
9
9
You have been asked to make a turn:
9
Check traffic in all directions.
Use turn signals and safely get into the lane
needed for the turn.
Check traffic in all directions.
Keep both hands on the steering wheel during
the turn.
Do not change gears during the turn.
Keep checking your mirror to make sure the
vehicle does not hit anything on the inside of the
turn.
9
Vehicle should not move into oncoming traffic.
9
Vehicle should finish turn in correct lane.
After turn:
9
9
13.1.1 Turns
9
If stopping behind another vehicle, stop where
you can see the rear tires on the vehicle ahead
of you (safe gap).
When ready to turn:
9
9
Come to a complete stop behind the stop line,
crosswalk or stop sign.
9
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.
13.1.2 Intersections
As you approach an intersection:
As you approach the turn:
9
Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
9
9
Decelerate gently.
9
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.
9
9
If you must stop before making the turn:
9
Come to a smooth stop without skidding.
Section 13 On-Road Driving
9
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.
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
When driving through an intersection:
When exiting the expressway:
9
9
Make necessary traffic checks.
9
Use proper signals.
9
Decelerate smoothly in the exit lane.
9
9
9
Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and
traffic in the intersection.
Do not change lanes or shift gears while
proceeding through the intersection.
9
Keep your hands on the wheel.
Once on the exit ramp, you must continue to
decelerate within the lane markings and
maintain adequate spacing between your
vehicle and other vehicles.
Once through the intersection:
9
9
13.1.6 Stop and start
Continue checking mirrors and traffic.
Accelerate smoothly and change gears as
necessary.
13.1.3 – Urban and 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.
13.1.4 – Urban and rural 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, use proper signals and smoothly
change lanes when it is safe to do so.
13.1.5 Expressway
Before entering the expressway:
9
9
9
Check traffic.
Use proper signals.
Merge smoothly into the proper lane of traffic.
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.
As you prepare for the stop:
9
Check traffic.
9
Activate your right-turn signal.
9
9
Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly and change
gears as necessary.
Bring your vehicle to a full stop without coasting.
Once stopped:
9
9
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.
9
Cancel your turn signal.
Once on the expressway:
9
Activate your four-way emergency flashers.
9
9
Apply the parking brake.
9
Move the gear shift to neutral or park.
9
Maintain proper lane positioning, vehicle spacing
and vehicle speed.
Continue to check traffic thoroughly in all
directions.
9
Remove your feet from the brake and clutch
pedals.
You will be instructed to change lanes:
9
9
9
138
When instructed to resume:
You must make necessary traffic checks.
Use proper signals.
Change lanes smoothly when it is safe to do so.
9
Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in all
directions.
Section 13 – On-Road Driving
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Turn off your four-way flashers.
9
Activate the left-turn signal.
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
When traffic permits, you should release the
parking brake and pull straight ahead.
Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle
moves.
Check traffic from all directions, especially to the
left.
9
9
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.
9
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. If operating a
bus, you may also be required to open the
window and door prior to crossing tracks.
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.
When approaching a curve:
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.
9
Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
13.1.9 Bridge, overpass and sign
Before entering the curve, reduce speed so
further braking or shifting is not required in the
curve.
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.
13.1.7 Curve
9
9
Keep vehicle in the lane.
9
Continue checking traffic in all directions.
13.1.8 Railroad crossing
Before reaching the crossing, you should:
9
Decelerate, brake smoothly and shift gears as
necessary.
9
Look and listen for the presence of trains.
9
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.
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 (except those crossings that are exempt):
9
During the driving test you must:
9
Wear your safety belt.
9
Obey all traffic signs, signals and laws.
9
Complete the test without an accident or moving
violation.
13.1.10 Student discharge (school bus)
If you are applying for the S-endorsement (school
bus), you will be required to demonstrate loading
and unloading students. Please refer to Section 10
of this manual for procedures on loading and
unloading school students.
As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing,
activate the four-way flashers.
Section 13 On-Road Driving
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2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
You will be scored on your overall performance
in the following general driving behavior
categories:
13.1.16 Regular traffic checks
9
Check traffic regularly.
13.1.11 Clutch usage (manual transmissions)
9
Check mirrors regularly.
9
9
9
9
Always use clutch to shift.
Double-clutch when shifting if vehicle is
equipped with non-synchronized transmission.
Do not ride clutch to control speed, coast with
the clutch depressed or “pop” the clutch.
Do not grind or clash gears.
Select gear that does not rev or lug engine.
Do not shift in turns and intersections.
13.1.13 Brake usage
9
9
9
9
9
9
9
13.1.17 Use of turn signals
9
Use turn signals properly.
9
Activate turn signals when required.
9
Activate turn signals at appropriate times.
9
Cancel turn signals upon completion of a turn or
lane change.
Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using
steady pressure.
13.2.1 Off-road simulated student stop
Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks or lane
markings.
According to Michigan law (Public Act 187 of 1990),
school bus drivers are not allowed to activate the
alternately flashing lights when operating a school
bus on a public highway or private road while
transporting passengers primarily other than school
pupils. Therefore school bus drivers will be asked to
simulate a student pick-up at an off-road location.
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.
As you approach the designated student pick-up
location:
9
9
Move to or remain in right-most lane unless lane
is blocked.
9
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.
9
140
Scan and check traffic in high volume areas and
areas where pedestrians are expected to be
present.
13.2 On-road driving: School bus
13.1.15 Steering
9
Check mirrors and traffic before, while in and
after an intersection.
Do not ride or pump brake.
13.1.14 Lane usage
9
9
Do not rev or lug the engine.
13.1.12 Gear usage (manual transmissions)
9
9
9
9
Check traffic in all directions by looking in your
mirrors and moving your head.
Decelerate smoothly and gently apply the
service brake to warn motorists of your
impending stop.
You must activate the appropriate signals as
required not less than 200 feet from the
designated stop (with the four-light system,
activate the alternately flashing red lights; with
the eight-light system activate the alternately
flashing amber lights). Note: Failure to perform
this portion of the Student Stop exercise will
result in an automatic failure of the driving test.
Activate your right-turn signal after the
alternately flashing lights (red or amber) are on.
Section 13 – On-Road Driving
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
Stop your vehicle as far to the right as possible
(without obstructing the normal flow of traffic)
and bring your vehicle to full stop.
Once stopped:
9
9
9
9
9
You must apply the parking brake and shift to
“neutral” or “park.” Note: Failure to perform this
portion of the Student Stop exercise will result in
an automatic failure of the driving test.
Cancel your right-turn signal and open the
passenger door when it is safe to do so.
9
9
9
9
9
9
Once you have accounted for all of the entering
and exiting pupils, cancel all of your signals and
wait for traffic to clear (traffic dispersal).
9
Before you resume:
9
9
Check traffic in all directions by looking in your
mirrors and moving your head.
9
Activate your left-turn signal. When it is safe to
do so, merge smoothly into traffic and cancel
your turn signal.
9
13.2.2 Steering technique
9
9
9
9
Always check traffic before using turn signals,
changing lanes or performing any maneuver.
Be able to identify any traffic sign, bridge weight
or overpass clearance when asked by the
examiner.
13.2.4 Vehicle spacing
With the eight-light system, the alternately
flashing red lights activate, and if equipped, the
stop arm fully extends when the passenger door
is opened.
Check traffic in all directions and make sure that
all entering pupils are safely seated and that all
exiting pupils are safely clear of the vehicle by
looking in your mirrors and moving your head.
Regularly check surrounding traffic conditions
with head and body movements to the left and
right.
When following another vehicle, try to maintain a
safe and legal following distance. You must
allow, at a minimum, one second per 10 feet of
vehicle length when traveling under 40 mph.
(Add one second for speeds over 40 mph.)
When stopping behind another vehicle, you
must be able to see, at a minimum, the rear
wheels of the vehicle in front of you (safe gap).
Be prepared to yield to pedestrians and traffic
already at or in the intersection.
You must maintain proper spacing when
changing lanes or during the expressway
merge/exit.
When parked during the stop-and-start exercise,
do not position the vehicle in an area with limited
sight distance (curves, hills, etc.)
When parked during the stop-and-start exercise,
do not block road signs, driveways, fire hydrants
and other vehicles.
13.2.5 Speed and throttle control
While driving, keep both hands on the steering
wheel.
9
Do not palm the steering wheel, or over- or
under-steer the vehicle.
Do not let the steering wheel slide freely through
hands upon completing a turn.
9
Keep the wheel straight while stopped prior to
turning.
9
Always maintain steady and even speed control
when accelerating and decelerating. Minimize
disrupting traffic by keeping up with traffic flow,
but never exceed the regulatory speed limit.
Do not drive too fast in or near intersections or
during turns and curves.
Adjust your speed according to the traffic and
weather conditions on your route.
13.2.3 Traffic checks and searches
13.2.6 Signal usage
9
9
Use all available mirrors and maintain
awareness of the entire traffic environment.
Section 13 On-Road Driving
Always use turn signals properly and at the
correct times when turning and changing lanes.
141
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
9
9
9
142
Use four-way flashers during the stop-and-start,
upgrade-and-downgrade and railroad crossing
maneuvers as required.
Use alternately flashing lights on school bus
during the student stop exercise as required.
Do not forget to cancel the signal.
Section 13 – On-Road Driving
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
APPENDIX A – CDL CERTIFICATION FORM
Appendix A
143
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
144
Appendix A
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Appendix A
145
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
APPENDIX B: SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONS
1. Which of these is a good thing to remember about using mirrors?
A.
B.
C.
D.
You should check your mirrors twice for a lane change.
There are “blind spots” that your mirror cannot show you.
Convex mirrors make things look larger and closer than they really are.
You should look at a mirror for several seconds at a time.
2. You are coupling a tractor and semi-trailer and have connected the air lines. Before backing under the
trailer you should:
A.
B.
C.
D.
Pull ahead to test the glad hand connections.
Apply the brakes twice to alert others.
Supply air to the trailer system and then pull out the air supply knob to lock the trailer brakes.
Make sure that the trailer brakes are off.
3. Which part of the kingpin should the locking jaws close around?
A.
B.
C.
D.
It does not matter.
The base.
The head.
The shank.
4. You must be able to see a warning before air pressure in the service air tanks falls below psi.
A.
B.
C.
D.
50.
40.
80.
60.
5. Which of these is not a good thing to do when driving on slippery roads?
A.
B.
C.
D.
Make turns as gently as possible.
Keep other traffic out of your side space.
Use a light touch on the accelerator and brake pedals.
Use the engine brake or speed retarder.
6. When there is a hazardous materials emergency, you should:
A.
B.
C.
D.
Prevent smoking and keep open flame away.
Keep people away.
Warn others of the danger.
Do all of the above.
7. When you unload the smaller tanks of a tank with bulkheads, be careful to check your:
A.
B.
C.
D.
146
Power usage.
Water content.
Air to fuel ratio.
Weight distribution.
Appendix B
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
APPENDIX C: VEHICLE INSPECTION MEMORY AID
ALL VEHICLES
Engine Compartment
• Leaks/Hoses/All Belts
• Oil Level
• Coolant Level
• Power Steering Fluid
• Water Pump/Fan
• Alternator
• Air Compressor
Cab Check/Engine Start
• Clutch/Gearshift
• Oil Pressure Gauge
• Temperature Gauge
• Ammeter/Voltmeter
• Mirrors, Windshield
• Emer. Equip. (f-e-t) (fa-fl)
• Steering Play
•
•
•
•
•
•
Wipers/Washers
•
Safety Belt
Lighting Indicators
Horn
Heater/Defroster
Park/Hydraulic Brake Check
Air Brake Check
(Loss/Warn/TPV-PV)
SCHOOL BUS/TRUCK/TRACTOR
TRAILER
Lights/Reflectors
•
•
•
•
•
Clearance/Strobe
•
•
Brakes
Head
Tail
Turns
4-Ways
(Amb-Red-Arm)
Reflectors
COACH/TRANSIT BUS
Steering Suspension
*Rear Suspension
Trailer Front
Passenger Items
• Steering Box/Hoses
• Steering Linkage
•
•
•
• Air/Electric Connections
• Header Board
• Passenger Entry/Lifts
• Emergency Exits
• Seating
Front Suspension
• Springs/Air
• Mounts
• Shocks
Front Brake
• Slack Adjustor
• Chamber
• Hose/Line
• Disc/Drum/Linings
Front Wheel
• Rim
• Tires
• Hub Oil Seal
• Lug Nuts
Side of Vehicle
• Door, Mirror, Stop Arm
• Fuel Tank
• Battery/Box
• Drive Shaft
• Exhaust System
• Frame
School/Other Bus
• Passenger Entry/Lifts
• Emergency Exits
• Seating
Spring/Air/Torque
Shocks
Mounts
Rear Brakes
• Slack Adjustors
• Chambers
• Hoses/Lines
• Discs/Drums/Linings
*Rear Wheels
• Rims
• Tires
• Axle Seals
• Lug Nuts
• Spacers
Rear of Vehicle
• Splash Guards
• Doors, Ties, Lift
Side of Trailer
• Landing Gear
• Doors, Ties, Lift
• Frame
• Tandem Release Arm
(Locking Pins)
*Wheels
• Rims
• Tires
• Axle Seals
• Lug Nuts
• Spacers
Coupling
• Mounting Bolts
• Locking Jaws
• Kingpin/Apron/Gap
• Platform
• Release Arm
• Sliding Fifth Wheel
Front Suspension
• Level/Air Leaks
Front Wheel
• Rim
• Tires
• Hub Oil Seal
• Lug Nuts
Side of Vehicle
Shocks
Mounts
*Rear Wheels
Spring/Air/Torque
Tractor/Coupling Area
• Air/Electric Lines
• Catwalk
• Doors/mirrors
• Fuel Tank
• Compartments
• Battery/Box
*Suspension
•
•
•
Entry/Exit
*Brakes
• Slack Adjustors
• Chambers
• Hoses/Lines
• Discs/Drums/Linings
Rear of Trailer
• Doors, Ties, Lift
• Splash Guards
• Rims
• Tires
• Axle Seals
• Lug Nuts
• Spacers
*Rear Suspension
• Level/Air Leaks
(Locking Pins)
*If there is more than one axle, you must inspect each one unless otherwise instructed by the examiner.
Appendix C
147
2013 Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
NOTES
148
The Department of State is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. If you need an
accommodation or have been denied service, please call 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424). Hearing
impared customers may access the department’s telephone number by calling the Michigan
Relay Center at 800-649-3777.
TS-004 (Rev. 6/13)
50,000; PA 300, 1949 as amended; $23,467.00/$0.47
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