CDL Manual - Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

CDL Manual - Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Welcome to driving in Virginia. This manual is your road map to obtaining a
commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Virginia.
Operating a commercial vehicle requires education, special skills and a professional
attitude. As a professional driver, you play a key role in transporting people and
goods safely. You also play a key role in protecting citizens on our highways. This
manual presents important information that you must know to operate your vehicle
in a safe and professional manner. Be sure to study all sections. The General
Knowledge Exam contains questions that have been selected from throughout the
entire manual.
Table of
Contents
Introduction
What is a commercial motor vehicle? .................................3
Who are commercial drivers ..............................................3
CDL age requirements .......................................................3
CDL instruction permit ......................................................3
CDL instruction permit endorsements and
automatic restrictions ......................................................4
CDL instruction permit restrictions .....................................4
Troops to TrucksSM ..............................................................4
CDL classifications .............................................................4
CDL endorsements ............................................................5
CDL restrictions .................................................................5
Moving violations ...............................................................5
CDL fees............................................................................5
Getting your CDL...............................................................6
Taking the CDL tests ..........................................................7
Disqualifications ................................................................7
Organ/tissue donation ........................................................9
Applying to register to vote ................................................9
Section 2 — Air Brakes
Air brake system parts ........................................................39
Dual air brake systems .......................................................41
Inspecting air brake systems ...............................................42
Using air brakes .................................................................43
Section 3 — Combination Vehicles
Combination vehicle air brakes ..........................................44
Inspecting a combination vehicle .......................................46
Coupling and uncoupling combination vehicles .................47
Driving combination vehicles .............................................50
Section 4 — Doubles and Triples
Section 1 — General Knowledge
Pre-trip inspection .............................................................9
Inspection during the trip ...................................................13
After-trip inspection and report ..........................................13
Basic control of your vehicle ..............................................23
Seeing . ..............................................................................24
Communicating................ .................................................24
Managing space ................................................................25
Controlling speed ..............................................................27
Braking ..............................................................................29
Hazardous conditions ........................................................30
Equipment failures .............................................................33
Crashes ..............................................................................34
V I R G I N I A
Fires...................................................................................35
Hazardous materials rules for all drivers .............................36
Staying alert and fit to drive ...............................................37
Inspecting doubles and triples ............................................51
Coupling and uncoupling ...................................................53
Pulling doubles/triples trailers .............................................54
Section 5 — School Buses
School bus endorsement ....................................................55
Pre-trip inspection .............................................................55
Operating the bus safely ....................................................56
Antilock braking systems (ABS) ...........................................58
Student management .........................................................58
Handling emergencies .......................................................58
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Table of Contents
Section 6 — Transporting Cargo
Inspecting cargo .................................................................60
Cargo weight and balance ..................................................60
Securing cargo ...................................................................61
Other cargo requiring special care......................................61
Section 7 — Tank Vehicles
Inspecting tank vehicles .....................................................62
Driving tank vehicles ..........................................................62
Safe driving rules................................................................63
Section 8 — Transporting Passengers
Pre-trip inspection .............................................................63
Loading the bus .................................................................64
Safe driving with buses .......................................................64
After-trip vehicle inspection ...............................................65
Prohibited practices ...........................................................65
Section 9 — Hazardous Materials
Transporting hazardous materials – the key players .............67
Communication rules.........................................................68
Loading and unloading hazardous materials .......................74
Bulk packaging – marking, loading and unloading ..............77
Hazardous materials parking and driving rules....................78
Hazardous materials emergencies ......................................80
USA Patriot Act Requirements for hazardous
materials endorsements ..................................................83
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V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
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It’s illegal for commercial drivers to have more than one
license. You must keep the license issued by the state
where you live. All other licenses must be returned to the
states that issued them. If you fail to return licenses from
other states, you could be fined up to $5,000, put in jail
for up to 90 days, or both.
Introduction
You may not hold both a Virginia-issued CDL and a
Virginia DMV-issued photo ID.
CDL Age Requirements
You must be at least 18 years of age to hold a CDL. Under
federal law, you must be a commercial driver at least 21 years
of age to drive across state lines, transport hazardous materials
or transport interstate freight (e.g., mail) within the state. If you
are under 21 years of age, you may be issued a CDL with a “L”
restriction. This restriction indicates that your driving privileges
are valid only in Virginia.
What is a Commercial Motor Vehicle?
a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating
(GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
a combination of vehicles with a gross combination
weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more if the
vehicle(s) being towed has a GVWR of more than 10,000
pounds
vehicles designed to carry 16 or more passengers,
including the driver
any size vehicle that transports hazardous materials and
that requires federal placarding
Who are Commercial Drivers?
Commercial drivers are all persons, paid or volunteer, who
operate commercial motor vehicles. Volunteer drivers of church
buses, private or public school buses and mechanics who test
drive commercial vehicles must meet commercial driver’s
license requirements.
Commercial driver’s license requirements don’t apply to:
operators of emergency vehicles, such as firefighters
active duty military personnel operating military vehicles
operators of farm vehicles when
used by farmers
used to move farm goods, supplies or machinery
to or from their farm
not used as a common or contract motor carrier,
and
used within 150 miles of the farm
vehicles operated by persons only for personal use,
such as recreational vehicles and rental moving vans.
V I R G I N I A
CDL Instruction Permit
If you want to learn to drive commercial motor vehicles, you
must get a commercial driver’s license instruction permit.
To obtain a CDL instruction permit, you must pass the CDL
general knowledge exam and the other knowledge exams
for the vehicles that you want to drive. For example, if you
want to learn to operate a tank vehicle and a passenger bus,
you must take the general knowledge exam, the tank vehicle
exam and the passenger vehicle exam. If you intend to drive a
vehicle equipped with air brakes, you must take the air brakes
exam. If you want to learn to drive a school bus, you must
take the general knowledge, school bus and passenger vehicle
exams. CDL instruction permits are generally issued for 180
days and may be renewed once without testing.
The CDL instruction permit allows you to drive a commercial
vehicle of the class and type shown on the permit only when
a person licensed to drive the same type of vehicle is with
you. Refer to the Virginia Driver’s Manual for an explanation
of all requirements including the passenger vehicle general
knowledge and road skills tests.
If you have never held a CDL, you will be required to obtain
and hold a commercial instruction permit for a minimum of
30 days before taking the skills test(s) unless you complete
an approved Virginia CDL driver education course. If you
complete the course, the minimum holding period is 14 days.
If you currently hold a CDL and wish to upgrade to a higher
class, add an endorsement that requires a skills test, or take
a skills test to remove a restriction, you will need to obtain
the appropriate commercial instruction permit and hold for a
minimum of 14 days before taking the skills test. A skills test is
required to obtain a passenger endorsement and a school bus
endorsement. A skills test is required to remove the following
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Introduction
restrictions: no air brakes, no full air brakes, no tractor trailer,
no manual transmission while operating a commercial motor
vehicle, operation of a passenger bus restricted to a Class B
passenger vehicle, and operation of a passenger bus restricted
to a Class C passenger vehicle.
CDL Instruction Permit Endorsements
and Automatic Restrictions
N Endorsement
with an
X Restriction
You may only operate an empty tank
vehicle and may not operate a tank
vehicle that previously contained
hazardous materials that has not been
purged of any residue.
P Endorsement
with a
P Restriction
You may not operate a commercial
motor vehicle carrying passengers.
Exceptions include federal or state
auditors and inspectors, test examiners,
other trainees, and the commercial
driver’s license holder accompanying
the commercial driver’s instruction
permit holder.
S Endorsement
with a
P Restriction
You may not operate a school bus
vehicle carrying passengers. Exceptions
include federal or state auditors and
inspectors, test examiners, other
trainees, and the commercial driver’s
license holder accompanying the
commercial driver’s instruction permit
holder.
Prior to July 1, 2014 – You may not operate a vehicle
with air brakes.
L
You may not operate a vehicle with air brakes.
L
Prior to July 1, 2014 – You may not operate a
commercial motor vehicle outside of Virginia.
DD-2 or DD-214
CDL Classifications
You should get your CDL for the class vehicle you plan to drive
plus you may need additional endorsements.
Class A Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination
weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more if the vehicle(s) being
towed have a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. Vehicles in
this class include:
tractor-trailer
If you hold a class A
license and you have the
correct endorsements,
you may also operate
vehicles listed in classes B and C.
This class includes:
straight trucks
N
Operation of a passenger vehicle is restricted to a
Class C passenger vehicle.
V
You may not operate a commercial motor vehicle
without your medical variance/waiver/skill performance
documentation.
X
You may not operate a tank vehicle with cargo.
C O M M E R C I A L
Virginia driver’s license or a completed Virginia
DMV DL1P form
Class B Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or
more. Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or
more towing another vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds
or less.
M Operation of a passenger vehicle is restricted to a
Class B or Class C passenger vehicle.
V I R G I N I A
a downloadable DMV waiver form (DL13) signed and
notarized by his/her commanding officer or designee
tractor-trailer
buses
You may not operate a commercial motor vehicle
outside of Virginia.
K
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Qualified military personnel applying for a Virginia
commercial driver’s license (CDL) are required to pass
only one (rather than two) DMV-issued tests – the written
knowledge exam. Those eligible for the road-test waiver must
be a Virginia resident; serving Guard or Reserve member,
active duty personnel or discharged in the last 12 months;
and have a Virginia driver’s license or be eligible for one.
Applicants’ commander officers or designees must certify the
applicants have driving experience, for the past two years,
operating the same type of vehicle they drove while in the
military that they plan to drive using their Virginia CDL.
Drivers may need additional tests to obtain endorsements on
their CDL. Applicants need:
truck and trailer
combinations
CDL Instruction Permit Restrictions
K
Troops to TrucksSM
large buses
segmented buses
trucks towing
vehicles with a
GVWR of 10,000
pounds or less
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Introduction
If you hold a class B license and you have the correct
endorsements, you may also operate vehicles listed in class C.
Class C Any vehicle that is not included in classes A or B that
carries hazardous
materials requiring
placards or is designed
to carry 16 or more
passengers, including
the driver.
Remember, the class of a vehicle is determined by its
gross vehicle weight rating and the manufacturer’s design.
The vehicle’s class determines the type of CDL and
endorsements that you need. If you drive a redesigned or
altered vehicle, the vehicle’s original class determines the
type of CDL and endorsements that you need. The type of
CDL that you need is not determined by the class that the
redesigned vehicle falls within.
CDL Endorsements
H
Permits you to drive a vehicle that transports hazardous
materials.
N
Permits you to drive a tank vehicle.
P
Permits you to drive a passenger-carrying vehicle.
S
Permits you to drive a school bus.
T
Permits you to drive a double or triple trailer.
X
Permits you to drive a tank vehicle AND a vehicle that
transports hazardous materials.
If DMV cancels any endorsement displayed on your CDL, you
will be required to return to DMV to have a new CDL issued
that does not display the cancelled endorsement. Failure to
do so will result in the cancellation of your CDL.
CDL Restrictions
B
You must wear corrective lenses when operating a
commercial motor vehicle.
E
You may not operate a commercial motor vehicle with
a manual transmission.
J
You may only operate a school/activity bus. You may not
operate any other type of commercial motor vehicle.
K
You may not operate a commercial motor vehicle outside of Virginia.
L
You may not operate a vehicle with Full Air or Air over
Hydraulic brakes. If you plan to operate a vehicle with
either of these types of air brakes, you must take the air
brakes knowledge test. You also must take the road test
in a vehicle equipped with Full Air or Air over Hydraulic
brakes.
V I R G I N I A
M Operation of a passenger bus restricted to a Class B or
Class C passenger vehicle.
N
Operation of a passenger bus restricted to a Class C
passenger vehicle.
O You may not operate a tractor-trailer.
Q You are prohibited from operating a commercial
motor vehicle to transport children to or from activities
sponsored by a school or by a child day care facility
licensed, regulated, or approved by the Virginia
Department of Social Services.
V
You may not operate a commercial motor vehicle
without your medical variance/waiver/skill performance
documentation.
Z
You may not operate a vehicle with Full Air brakes.
Moving Violations
If you receive an intrastate CDL when you are under age 20
and you renew at age 20, you must retake all exams if you
have received one or more moving violations.
CDL Fees
Commercial driver’s licenses issued by DMV are valid
for eight years. CDL holders with a hazardous materials
endorsement must continue to follow the federal guidelines
and renew their hazmat endorsement every five years. The
validity period for driver’s licenses issued to persons registered
as sex offenders will be no more than five years.
Original
Renewal
Replacement
Driver’s license
$4.00 per year
$4.00 per year
$20.00
CDL
designation
and class
$8.00 per year
$8.00 per year
$20.00
Endorsements*
$1.00 per year
$1.00 per year
N/A
CDL instruction
permit
$3.00
N/A
$2.00
The CDL fee is $8.00 per year, or a minimum or $20.00.
Since the CDL validity period is eight years, your fee will be
$64.00.
*Endorsements are $1 per year regardless of the number of
endorsements you receive.
Federal law requires applicants for hazardous materials
endorsements to be fingerprinted for a background check.
The background check fee is $83.00.
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Introduction
Getting Your CDL
Selective Service Registration
To obtain your CDL, you must meet the requirements for a
Virginia driver’s license including the following:
Proof of Identity, Legal Presence, Virginia
Residency and Social Security Number
If you do not hold a valid Virginia driver’s license, you must
present the following documents.
2 proof of identity documents, such as a driver’s
license, birth certificate, Virginia CDL instruction permit,
unexpired U.S. military identification card or U.S.
military discharge papers. You must provide original or
duplicate documents. Photocopies will not be accepted.
Refer to Acceptable Documents for Obtaining a Driver’s
License or Photo ID card (DMV 141) for a complete list
of acceptable documents.
1 proof of legal presence such as a U.S. birth certificate
or U.S. passport. Legal presence can be proved using
a variety of other documents, such as a Certificate of
Citizenship or naturalization, Resident Alien Card, or
a valid foreign passport with a visa, I-94 or an I-94W
with a participating country. Later in 2004, if you apply
for a hazardous materials endorsement, you will be
required to provide specific documents to meet federal
requirements.
1 proof of Virginia residency and the street address of
your principal Virginia residence. If you are under age
19, your parent or guardian must certify your Virginia
residency. All documents must show your name and the
address of your principal Virginia residence as it appears
on your application. A post office box or business
address is not acceptable.
However, if you do not want your residence address to
appear on your CDL, you may provide DMV with an
alternate address in addition to your residence address.
This alternate address must also be in Virginia. If you
change your residence or alternate address to a location
outside Virginia, your CDL will be cancelled. Exceptions
may be made for some individuals such as active duty
military personnel and Virginia residents employed
outside the U.S. Refer to Acceptable Documents for
Obtaining a Driver’s License or Photo ID card (DMV 141)
for more information.
1 proof of your social security number, such as your
social security card, IRS W-2 form, payroll check or
check stub, unexpired U.S. military identification card
or income tax return from a previous year. DMV will
assign you a customer number which will display on
your CDL or CDL instruction permit.
Generally, males under age 26 must register with the Selective
Service. If you are required by federal law to register with
the Selective Service, you must authorize DMV to send your
personal information to Selective Service unless you have
already registered. If you are underage 18, your parent or
guardian must sign your application authorizing the Selective
Service to register you when you turn 18. Law prohibits DMV
from issuing any type of driver’s license or photo ID card
to an applicant who is required by federal law to register
with the Selective Service but who refuses to authorize
DMV to send his information to Selective Service. If you
have questions about Selective Service registration, visit the
Selective Service web site at www.sss.gov or call
847-688-6888, TTY: 847-688-2567.
Out-of-State CDL
If you hold an expired out-of-state CDL, you must pass all
required CDL knowledge and skills tests to qualify for a
Virginia CDL. Virginia does not recognize tests or certificates
from out-of-state third party testers or driving schools.
Compliance with Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations
All CDL applicants must certify that they are in compliance
with the federal and Virginia motor carrier safety regulations.
Virginia law requires that all CDL applicants who certify that
they will operate a commercial motor vehicle in non-excepted
interstate or intrastate commerce shall provide the Department
of Motor Vehicles with an original or certified copy of a medical
examiner’s certificate prepared by a medical examiner as
defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Any commercial driver who fails to comply with these
requirements will not be eligible for a commercial driver’s
license.
Effective May 21, 2014, CDL drivers who certify to one of the
non-excepted categories of commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
operation will be required to have their physical examination
completed by a medical examiner who is listed on the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) National
Registry of Medical Examiners. The Department of Motor
Vehicles (DMV) will not accept any medical examination
certificate that is not completed by a medical examiner listed
on the National Registry and does not display the medical
examiner’s registry number. For more information on how to
locate a medical examiner who is on the Registry, go to
https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam
or visit www.dmvNOW.com.
To obtain a medical examination form, contact J. J. Keller
and Associates at 1-800-327-6868, Label Master at
1-800-621-5808, the Virginia Trucking Association or the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at
www.fmcsa.dot.gov. Vendors may charge a fee for this form.
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V I R G I N I A
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Introduction
Vision Standards
To operate commercial motor vehicles, you must have:
20/40 or better vision in each eye with or without
corrective lenses, and
140 degrees or better horizontal vision.
These visual requirements must be met without the aid of a
telescopic lens. Additionally, you must be able to recognize
traffic signs and devices showing standard red, green or amber
indicators. Some drivers may be granted waivers from these
vision requirements.
For information concerning waivers for intrastate travel,
contact DMV. For information concerning waivers for
interstate travel, contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration at Vision Program, 400 7th Street, S.W.,
Washington, DC 20590.
Motor carriers are required to comply with a variety of
federal and state laws that are not addressed in this manual.
Learn about the requirements in the Motor Carrier Programs
section of the DMV website, www.dmvNOW.com.
Taking the CDL Tests
Study this section:
Class A, B and C
Section 1: General Knowledge
Section 6: Transporting Cargo
Vehicles with air brakes
Class A combination vehicle
Section 2: Air Brakes
If you do not take the air brakes exam,
you will be restricted to driving vehicles
without air brakes (K restriction)
Section 3: Combination Vehicles
In addition to the exams listed above, you must take special
exams for each endorsement:
T – Double-triple trailer
Section 4: Doubles and Triples
H – Hazardous materials
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
The hazardous materials endorsement
test cannot be taken using a translator.
This test cannot be administered orally.
N – Tank vehicle
Section 7: Tank Vehicles
P – Passenger vehicle
Section 8: Transporting Passengers
S – School bus
Section 5: School Buses
Be Prepared
You may take the CDL knowledge exam(s) only once
per business day. If you fail any knowledge exam, you
must pay a $2 re-examination fee if you retake the
exam within 15 days.
V I R G I N I A
If you fail the commercial driver’s license behind-thewheel test three times in the same Class of commercial
motor vehicle, you will not be permitted to take the
test a fourth time in that Class of commercial motor
vehicle until you successfully complete the in-vehicle
component of driver instruction at a driver training
school approved by DMV. You must complete the driver
instruction after the third unsuccessful attempt to pass
the test. Upon completion of the in-vehicle component
and presentation of your certificate of completion,
DMV will allow you to take the behind-the-wheel test
again.
If you fail to show up for a scheduled CDL skills test
without notifying the examiner in advance, DMV will
charge you a $50 fee.
Test Tip
All commercial vehicle drivers (class A, B and C vehicles) must
take the general knowledge exam. Check the following chart
to find out which exams you need to take in addition to the
general knowledge exam.
To drive this vehicle:
If you fail the commercial driver’s license general
knowledge exam three times, you will not be permitted
to take it a fourth time until you successfully complete
the knowledge component of driver instruction
at a driver training school approved by DMV. You
must complete the driver instruction after the third
unsuccessful attempt to pass the test. Upon completion
of the knowledge component and presentation of your
certificate of completion, DMV will allow you to take
the knowledge test again.
The knowledge exam determines your familiarity with the
operation of commercial vehicles, motor vehicle laws and
safe driving techniques. Test questions are taken from the
information in this manual. You must answer at least 80
percent of the general knowledge questions correctly. To
prepare for the knowledge exam, study all information in this
manual. When taking the knowledge exam, select the one
best answer. Remember, your first answer is usually correct.
Once you pass the required knowledge exam(s), you can take
the CDL skills exams. These exams include three areas:
Pre-trip inspection
Basic vehicle control
On-road driving
You must take the skills exams in the type of vehicle for which
you want to be licensed. Translators or interpreters may not
be used during testing, including the pre-trip inspection.
Disqualifications
If you are convicted of any of the following violations when
driving a commercial or non commercial motor vehicle, you
will be disqualified or prohibited from driving commercial
vehicles.
You will receive a one-year disqualification for the
following offenses:
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of
0.04 percent
Driving while under the influence of drugs
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Introduction
Refusing a blood and/or breath test
Leaving the scene of an accident
Using a vehicle to commit a felony
Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when,
as a result of prior violations committed operating
a CMV, the driver’s CDL is revoked, suspended,
or canceled or the driver is disqualified from
operating a CMV
Causing a fatality through the negligent operation
of a CMV
Making a false statement on any application for a
commercial driver’s license
Falsifying a urine test
You will receive a two-year disqualification if you are
convicted of violating an out-of-service order while
operating a commercial motor vehicle designated to
transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
You will receive a three-year disqualification if you
were convicted of one of the offenses listed above while
transporting hazardous materials.
You will receive a life-time disqualification if you:
receive a second conviction for one of the violations
listed above; or, if you are convicted of using a
commercial motor vehicle in the manufacture or illegal
distribution of drugs.
You will receive a 60-day disqualification if you are
convicted of two serious violations within a three-year
period.
You will receive a 120-day disqualification if you are
convicted of three or more serious violations within a
three-year period.
You will receive a one-year disqualification for your first
conviction of violating of an out-of-service order.
You will receive a two-year disqualification for your
first conviction of violating an out-of-service order while
operating a vehicle carrying hazardous materials or
designed to carry 16 or more passengers.
You will receive a five-year disqualification for the
second and following convictions of violating out-ofservice orders.
You will receive a five-year disqualification if you are
convicted of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
where a death occurred as a direct result of the
operation of a commercial vehicle.
You may not operate commercial motor vehicles if you
are convicted of driving under the influence even if you
are issued a restricted license that allows you to drive
during the suspension period. This applies even if the
violation occurred in your personal car.
If the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
notifies DMV that you have been determined to be an
eminent hazard and disqualified from operating a commercial
motor vehicle, the information will be noted on your driving
record. Also, any disqualification imposed by DMV will run
concurrently with the disqualification imposed by FMCSA.
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V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Serious traffic violations are:
Driving 15 or more miles per hour in excess of the
posted speed limit
Reckless driving
A violation resulting in a fatal traffic crash
Improper or erratic traffic lane change
Following the vehicle ahead too closely
Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL
Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL
in the driver’s immediate possession
Driving a commercial motor vehicle without the proper
CDL class and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle
group being operated or for the passengers or type of
cargo being transported
Texting while operating a commercial motor vehicle
Use of a handheld mobile telephone while driving a
commercial motor vehicle
All CDL drivers are subject to Virginia’s controlled substance
and alcohol testing laws. If you operate a commercial vehicle
under the influence of alcohol or drugs, refuse to take a blood
alcohol test or are found to have a BAC of 0.04 percent or
greater, your CDL will be disqualified. The disqualification
period ranges from one year to life, but does not necessarily
affect your privilege to drive a non-commercial vehicle.
If you operate a vehicle on Virginia’s roadways, you agree
to take a chemical test upon request to determine if you are
driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is called
implied consent.
Any person who possesses or consumes an alcoholic beverage
while operating a school bus transporting children is guilty of
a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person convicted of this offence is
punishable by confinement in jail for up to 12 months and/or
a fine of up to $2,500.
If the police have probable cause to stop you and suspect that
you have been drinking or using drugs, they will ask you to
take a breath test. This test analyzes the amount of alcohol
and drugs in your body. Under implied consent laws, if you
operate a motor vehicle on Virginia’s public roads, you agree
to take a chemical test upon request.
You are required to take the test. If you refuse, your license
will be immediately suspended for seven days and it may be
suspended for one year, whether or not you are convicted of
driving under the influence. If you are convicted of DUI, the
suspension period for refusing the test will be added to the
DUI revocation period.
Railroad crossing violations will result in a
60-day disqualification for a first offense
120-day disqualification for a second offense
committed within three years
one-year disqualification for a third offense committed
within three years.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Virginia law prohibits the court from allowing drivers of
commercial motor vehicles, or persons holding a CDL and
operating a non-commercial motor vehicle, to attend a driver
improvement clinic in lieu of a conviction, or to reduce or
defer a conviction.
Section 1:
General Knowledge
If you are convicted of a felony sexual offense involving a
minor, you must register with the Virginia State Police. You
must re-register within 30 days of moving.
Organ/Tissue Donation
When you apply for your driver’s license, learner’s permit,
commercial driver’s license or photo ID card, you will be
asked if you wish to become an organ donor. If you decide
to become a donor, your choice will be noted on the front of
your driver’s license or photo ID card. If you wish to change
your decision later, you must notify DMV and pay a $10.00
fee. You may also complete this transaction on the Internet
with a DMV-issued PIN number. You may have the change
made free of charge at your next renewal. The decision to
become an organ/tissue donor will not affect your driving
privileges.
Applying to Register to Vote
You can use DMV’s driver’s license application to indicate
your wish to apply to register to vote. You may also use the
driver’s license application to change your voter registration,
name and address. You may also use the separate address
change notification form.
You are not registered to vote until your local registrar
approves your application. Once registered, you will
receive a card showing your voting location and election
district. Contact your local registrar if you do not receive this
notification.
If you have questions, contact the State Board of Elections,
1-800-552-9745 (TDD 1-800-260-3466).
Safety is
the most important reason to inspect your
vehicle. Inspecting your vehicle for defects can prevent
breakdowns and crashes.
Federal and state laws require drivers to inspect their vehicles
before every trip. Federal and state inspectors can inspect
your vehicle. If they find that it is unsafe, they can put it out of
service until you have it fixed. If you are convicted of violating
an out-of-service order, your CDL will be disqualified.
There are three kinds of inspections:
pre-trip
during the trip
after the trip
Pre-trip Inspection
A pre-trip inspection helps you find problems that could
cause a breakdown or crash.
What to Look for During the Inspection
Tires (all axles)
Check for proper tire pressure using an air pressure
gauge.
It is illegal to use regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires
on the front wheels of a bus.
Look for:
Mismatched tire sizes
Radial and bias-ply tires used together
At least 4/32” of tread depth in major grooves on
front tires
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Section 1: General Knowledge
At least 2/32” of tread depth in major grooves on
other tires
Cuts or other damage
If your vehicle has a steering axle brake, be sure that it
is never disabled.
Suspension system (all axles)
Dual tires touching
The suspension system holds up the vehicle and its load. It
keeps the axles in place. Therefore, broken suspension parts
are very dangerous. Look for front, rear and trailer suspension
defects:
Wheels and rims (all axles)
Check for:
Damaged rims or wheels
Spring hangers that allow movement of an axle from the
proper position
Rust around wheel nuts; loose lug nuts
Missing clamps, spacers, studs or lugs
Mismatched, bent or cracked lock rings
Wheels or rims that have been welded
Axle seal/hub oil seal—not leaking; proper fluid level
Brakes (all axles)
Look for brake drum and shoe problems on front, rear and
trailer brakes:
Cracked drums
Shoes or pads with oil, grease or brake fluid on them
Shoes worn thin, missing or broken
Cracked, worn or frayed air hoses
Cracks or dents in the air chamber
Broken or loose slack adjusters; should not be at more
than a 90 degree angle with brakes applied
Steering system
Look for:
Missing nuts, bolts, cotter keys or other parts on the
steering box
Cracked or broken spring hangers
Missing or broken leaves in any leaf spring. If one fourth
or more are missing, your vehicle could be put out of
service. But, any defect is dangerous.
Bent, loose or broken parts of the steering linkage
including the steering gear box, pitman arm and the
drag link.
Worn or frayed power steering hoses; pumps mounted
securely, no leaks; and fluid level full
Power steering fluid leaks
Broken leaves in the multileaf spring
Leaves that have shifted and could hit a tire or other
part
Steering wheel play of more than 10 degrees
(approximately 2 inches of movement at the rim of a
20-inch steering wheel)
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Check the engine compartment.
Engine oil level
Coolant level in radiator, condition of hoses
Power steering fluid level; hose condition
Battery fluid level, connections and tie downs
Automatic transmission fluid level (you may have to
start the engine)
Check belts for tightness and wear (alternator, water
pump, air compressor)
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 and or leaking
Any loose, cracked, broken or missing frame members
Leaks in the engine compartment—fuel, coolant, oil,
power steering fluid, hydraulic fluid, water pump
Cracked, worn electrical wiring insulation
Start the engine and inspect inside the cab.
Check the gauges to be sure they are working properly.
Exhaust system
Oil pressure should come up to normal within
seconds after the engine is started.
Check for:
Leaking parts
Leaks which could allow carbon monoxide to leak into
your cab
Parts rubbing against the fuel system, tires or other
moving parts
Loose, broken or missing parts
Ammeter and/or voltmeter
Coolant temperature
Engine oil temperature
Warning lights and buzzers should go out right
away.
Check the controls for looseness, sticking, damage or
improper setting.
Emergency equipment
Your vehicle must be equipped with the following emergency
equipment:
Properly charged and securely mounted fire
extinguisher
Steering wheel
Clutch
Accelerator
Brake controls
Spare electrical fuses
Three reflective triangles as warning devices for parked
vehicles
Cargo
Foot brake
Trailer brake
Parking brake
Retarder controls
Make sure your truck is not overloaded. Be sure that
the cargo is balanced and secured before each trip.
Transmission controls
If you are carrying hazardous materials, be sure you
have the proper papers and placarding.
Horns
Inspection Steps
Before you inspect the vehicle, make sure that the parking
brakes are on and the wheels are chocked. If you have to tilt
the cab, secure loose items so they won’t fall.
Review the last vehicle inspection report. Drivers may have
to make a vehicle inspection report each day. The motor
carrier must repair any items that affect safety. The motor
carrier must certify on the report that the repairs were made
or that they were unnecessary.
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Interaxle differential lock
Windshield wiper/washer
Lights—be sure none are broken and the lenses
are clean
Headlights
Dimmer switch
Turn signals
4-way flashers
Clearance, identification, marker light
switches
Check the mirrors and windshield. Look for cracks,
dirt, illegal stickers or other obstructions.
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Header board adequate and secure
Check the emergency equipment.
Working fire extinguisher—properly charged and
mounted
Side boards and stakes strong enough, free of
damage and properly set in place.
Spare electrical fuses
Canvas or tarp (if required) properly secured to
prevent tearing, billowing or blocking of mirrors
Three reflective triangles
Turn off the engine and check the lights and 4-way flashers.
Make a walk-around inspection.
Check that all lights are working.
Check the left front side.
Driver’s door glass and side view mirrors—clean,
properly mounted and not broken
Check that all curbside cargo compartment doors
are securely closed, latched or locked and that
required security seals are in place.
Right rear
Wheels and rims
Door opens and closes properly and fits flush
against the cab
Left front wheel
Tires—rear tire tread depth at least 2/32 of an
inch; may be retreads
Left front suspension
Lug nuts
Left front brake
Axle seals
Spacers—dual wheels are evenly separated and
tires are not touching one another; spacers not
bent, damaged or rusted
Front
Front axle
Steering system
Suspension
Windshield
Brakes
Lights and reflectors—not broken, lenses clear
and clean
Lights and reflectors
Spacers (if applicable—not cracked, broken or
loose)
Right side
Right front—check same items as checked for
left front
Axle seal/hub oil seal—not leaking and at proper
level
Fuel tanks—no leaks, bands tight, secure to
vehicle, fuel cap tight
Rear
Lights and reflectors
Condition of visible parts
License plate
Rear of engine
Splash guards
Transmission
Cargo securement
Driveshaft—not loose, not bent or broken
Exhaust system—visible parts securely
mounted; no cracks, holes or severe dents;
air hoses and electrical lines clear of exhaust
system
Frame and cross members—not cracked,
broken, bent or welded, no signs of breaks
or holes in box or trailer floor
Air lines and electrical wiring—secured to
prevent snagging, rubbing, wearing
Spare tire and/or wheel securely mounted in
rack
Spare tire and wheel (proper size, properly
inflated)
Cargo securement (for trucks)
Cargo properly blocked, braced, tied, chained
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Left side—Check all items checked for the right side.
Also check:
Battery(s) if they are not mounted in the engine
compartment
Check the signal lights.
Start the engine and check the brake system.
Hydraulic brake check
Spare tire carrier or rack
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If vehicle is oversized, check that all required
signs, flags, lamps and reflectors are safely and
properly mounted and that you have all required
permits.
If the vehicle has hydraulic brakes, pump the
brake pedal 3 times.
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.
D R I V E R ’ S
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Section 1: General Knowledge
plate if the vehicle is hooked up)—loose or
missing mounting brackets, clamps, bolts or nuts;
5th wheel and slide mounting securely in place
Air brake check
If the vehicle has air brakes, build air pressure
to 100-120 psi. Turn off the engine, release all
brakes.
Press hard on the foot brake and hold down for
one minute.
trailer-front side and rear (air/electrical
connections, header board, landing gear, etc.)
safety latch—in position over locking lever
On combination vehicles, air pressure
should not drop over 4 psi.
platform—no cracks or breaks in platform
structure
On single vehicles, air pressure should not
drop over 3 psi.
release arm—in engaged position and safety
latch in place
Turn ignition on
With the foot brake, pump the air pressure
down. At about 60 psi, the low air light must
come on. A buzzer may sound as well. On older
vehicles, a wig-wam arm will fall in view of the
driver.
Keep pumping air down with foot brake. At
about 40 psi, the parking brake knob and, if
applicable, the trailer parking brake knob should
pop out.
Failure to perform the air brake check during pre-trip
inspection will result in the automatic failure of the CDL
road skills exam.
kingpin/apron—kingpin not bent; apron lays flat
on 5th wheel skid plate; visible part of apron
is not bent, cracked or broken; locking jaws
completely closed around shank or kingpin
sliding 5th wheel locking pins—in the locked
position; not broken or damaged
lights and reflectors—not broken, lenses clear
and clean
Remember, semi-trailers cannot exceed a length of 53 feet.
If you find anything unsafe during the pre-trip inspection,
get it fixed before you drive. It’s against federal and state
laws to operate an unsafe vehicle.
Parking brake check
Set the parking brake.
Put the vehicle in low gear and gently release the
clutch until you feel the vehicle pulling against
the brake.
The vehicle should not move.
If you find anything wrong with the brake system, get it
fixed before you drive.
Inspection During the Trip
Watch your gauges for signs of trouble.
Use your senses to check for problems. Look, listen,
smell, and feel.
Check critical parts when you stop:
Tires, wheels and rims
Brakes
If you are driving a bus, also check:
the passenger entry—steps and handrails
secure, no worn matting, door opens and closes
correctly
seating—secure
emergency exits—open and close correctly.
Check on both outside and inside.
baggage compartment—door opens and closes
correctly and is secure.
If you are driving a tractor trailer, also check:
air/electrical lines—no leaks, cuts, cracks or signs
of wear; no tangles or dragging against tractor
parts; glad hands secure, or objects securely
bolted to tractor frame
catwalk—clear and not loose
Lights and reflectors
Brake and electrical connections to the trailer
Trailer coupling devices
Cargo covers and tiedowns
It’s a good idea to inspect your vehicle within the first 50
miles of the trip and also every 150 miles or every 3 hours
(whichever comes first).
After-trip Inspection and Report
Inspect your vehicle at the end of the trip, day, or tour of
duty. If you find any problems, report them to your employer.
Additionally, whether or not you find problems, you must
complete a written report and sign it.
all parts of the coupling system (5th wheel lower
plate, etc. you will not be able to see the lower
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Buckle up on every trip. It’s the law.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Test Tips
As part of the CDL road test, you must make a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle.
During your pre-trip inspection, you must:
Point to or touch each essential part of your vehicle.
Name the part.
Explain what damage or problems you might find with the part.
Your inspection must include the engine compartment, inside cab, front, side, under and rear of the vehicle.
When you inspect the cab, you must also perform engine start-up and air brake checks. Failure to perform
the air brake check will result in an automatic test failure.
An examiner will grade your inspection. You must receive a passing grade before you continue with the basic
vehicle control and on-road exams.
Two backing maneuvers are required as part of the CDL road test. You will be graded on:
Using your horns and flashers
Checking your mirrors
Staying within the path
Number of times you attempt the maneuver
Cones
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Inspection Study Guide
TRUCK/TRAILER (PINTLE HOOK)
Inside the Vehicle
(start engine)
Clutch/Gearshift
During the actual tests, you will be expected to point to or touch each
of the parts of your vehicle listed below. Name the part and explain
what damage or problems you might find. The types of damages or
problems are listed below and in the vehicle inspection section in the
CDL Manual.
If standard, check for excessive play in
clutch—no more than two inches. Check the
gear ranges to ensure they engage. Check
the boot for holes and dry rot. If automatic,
check gearshift for ranges.
Air Pressure Gauge
Note: All axles touching the ground on one side of the vehicle must
be inspected.
Check for cracks and cleanliness. Air pressure
should build to a minimum of 100 PSI in
both the primary and secondary system.
Oil Pressure Gauge
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Oil pressure should come up to normal
within seconds after the engine is started. If
no gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Amps/Volts should come up to normal within
seconds after the engine is started. If no
gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Air Brake
Build air pressure up to 100-120 PSI, cut
engine off and release all brakes, press hard
on the foot brake and hold down for one
minute, air pressure should not drop over
four PSI. Turn ignition key on and continue
with foot brake pumping air pressure down.
At around 60 PSI the “Low Air” buzzer
should sound and/or a warning light should
appear. Keep pumping air down with foot
brake, and at about 40 PSI, the release valves
should pop out for the trailer and the truck.
This study guide cannot be used during the actual pre-trip
inspection portion of the skills test.
Front of Vehicle
Lights
Check for proper color/clean lenses,
cracks, missing screws and condensation.
Also check for function, left/right turn
signals, headlights, high/low beam and
four-way flashers.
Steering Box
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks and
nonfactory welds. Check for steering fluid
leaks and torn or frayed hoses.
Steering Linkage
Check the steering column, pitman arm
and drag link for cracks, bends,
non-factory welds, missing castle
nuts/cotter pins and proper lubrication.
Engine Compartment
Oil Level
Check by pulling out the dipstick, wiping
it and reinserting it, then pull out to look
at the low and full marks to determine the
level.
Hydraulic Brake
(if equipped)
Pump the brake pedal three times, apply
firm pressure to the pedal and hold for five
seconds. The pedal should not move. If it
does, there may be a leak.
Coolant Level
Observe the site glass or line markings
for proper level. If not equipped, explain
removing radiator cap for level. (Do not
remove cap.)
Steering Play
Check steering wheel play of no more than
ten degrees (approximately two inches of
movement at the rim of a 20-inch steering
wheel).
Power Steering Fluid
Observe the sight glass or line markings for
proper level. If not equipped, open the
cap and check for proper level.
Parking Brake
Water Pump
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed belts
and coolant leaks.
Set the parking brake, put the vehicle in low
gear and gently release your foot from the
brake pedal (and clutch if equipped), until
you feel the vehicle pulling against the brake.
The vehicle should not move.
Mirrors/Windshield
Alternator
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed
belts, and cracked, burnt or loose wires.
Check mirrors for proper adjustment. Check
the windshield for cracks, cleanliness and
illegal stickers.
Wipers
Check the wipers for looseness, dry rot and
function.
Lighting Indicators
Check the following for function: panel
light, high/low beam indicator, left and right
turn signal indicators and four-way flasher
indicator.
Air Compressor
Check for missing/loose bolts. Check belts
for tension, cracked or frayed lines and
leaks.
Leaks
Look under the engine compartment for
coolant, power steering, transmission and
oil leaks.
Horns
Wiring insulation
Check for cracked, worn electrical wiring
insulation
Check both the highway and city horns for
proper function.
Heater/Defroster
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped)
Check the site glass or line on container
for proper brake fluid. Check the master
cylinder for cracks, leaks, check the brake
lines for cracks, frays and brake fluid leaks.
Check both the defroster and heater fans for
proper function.
This page is designed to be removed from the manual for reference while studying for the vehicle inspection
portion of the CDL road test.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Safety/Emergency
Equipment
Ensure working fire extinguisher properly
charged and mounted, spare electrical
fuses (unless equipped with circuit
breakers), three reflective triangles.
Under the Vehicle
Drive shaft
Check the drive shaft for cracks, non-factory
welds, missing/loose bolts or nuts and proper
lubrication.
Springs
Check for missing, cracked, shifted or bent
springs. If 1/4 or more are missing, your
vehicle could be put out of service.
Exhaust System
Check the exhaust system for cracks, holes,
missing/loose bolts and nuts. Check for signs
of soot, which can indicate an exhaust leak.
Spring Mount(s)
Check both mounts and the U bolts for
cracks, non-factory welds, missing or loose
bolts and nuts.
Frame
Check the vehicle frame for cracks, bends,
nonfactory welds and rust.
Rear Suspension
Shock Absorber
Check for cracks, leaks and missing bolts.
Inspect this area the same as the front.
Suspensions vary and all items should be
checked for cracks, bent, non-factory welds,
missing/loose bolts or nuts. Inspect walker
beams, torsion bars and air bellows, if
equipped.
Rear Wheels
Check the rear wheels the same as the front
with the exception of the tire depth, it should
be 2/32” in the major grooves. Check the
space between the dual tires. Tires should
not be touching and no sign of debris. If
equipped with spacers, they should not be
bent, cracked or nonfactory welds.
Rear Brakes
Inspect this area the same as the front of the
vehicle.
Truck Only
Check air and electrical lines for leaks,
cracks, signs of wear and proper connection.
Check catwalk (if equipped) to make sure it
is clear and not loose. Check all mounting
bolts to make sure none are missing and
are tight. Check safety latch to make sure it
is locked in place. Check the platform that
holds the pentle hook for cracks. Check that
the release latch is engaged and in place.
Check the pentle hook and ring to make sure
of no cracks, bends and closed completely
around ring. Check the chains to make sure
they are attached and locked. Check the
lights on the rear of truck for proper color,
clean lenses/reflectors and cracks, missing
screws and condensation. Also check for the
function of left/right turn signals, brake lights
and four-way flashers.
Front of Trailer
Check air and electrical lines for leaks,
cracks, signs of wear and proper connection.
Check headerboard for cracks and bends.
Check lights and reflectors same as others.
Side of Trailer
Check landing gear for cracks, bends, fully
raised and handle secure. Check lights/
reflectors same as others. Check doors
(if equipped) are secure and not missing
hardware. Check tie downs (if equipped)
for cracks, bends, secure and no missing
hardware. Check the frame for cracks, bends,
non-factory welds and rust.
Wheels, Suspension,
and Brakes
Inspect area same as rear of truck.
Rear of Trailer
Check lights/reflectors same as others. Check
doors/ties same as others. Check splash
guards are secure, no missing hardware.
Front Suspension
Front Wheel
Rims
Check the rims for bends, cracks and
nonfactory welds.
Hub Seal
Check the hub oil seal for missing bolts,
cracks, leaks and proper level (if equipped
with site glass).
Tire
Check the tire for at least 4/32” tread
depth in the major grooves. Check for
cuts, bulges and proper air pressure using
an air gauge.
Lug Nuts
Check the lug nuts for missing, loose nuts
and rust around them.
Front Brakes
Slack Adjuster
Check the slack adjuster for missing cotter
pins. If the slack adjuster moves more than
one inch where the push rod attaches to
it, it probably needs to be adjusted. Slack
adjusters should not be at more than a
90-degree angle with the brakes applied.
Chambers
Check the chambers for cracks, dents and
air leaks.
Air Hose
Check the hoses for loose connections, dry
rot, holes and air leaks.
Brake Drum
Check the drum for cracks, non-factory
welds and signs of grease or oil.
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped)
Check the rotor for cracks, non-factory
welds and signs of fluid leaks. Check the
lines for cuts, holes, loose connections and
fluid leaks. Check the calipers for cracks,
missing/loose bolts and fluid leaks.
Driver/Fuel Area
Door
Check the door for cracked or bent hinges
and that it functions properly.
Mirrors
Check the mirrors for cracks, cleanliness
and missing/loose bolts/nuts.
Fuel Tank
Check the fuel tank for cracks, holes and
that the straps are not loose or cracked.
Shiny metal by straps could indicate a
loose strap. Check under fuel tank for
leaks.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Inspection Study Guide
STRAIGHT TRUCK/SCHOOL BUS
During the actual tests, you will be expected to point to or touch each
of the parts of your vehicle listed below. Name the part and explain
what damage or problems you might find. The types of damages or
problems are listed below and in the vehicle inspection section in the
CDL Manual.
Note: All axles touching the ground on one side of the vehicle must
be inspected.
Inside the Vehicle
(start engine)
Clutch/Gearshift
If standard, check for excessive play in
clutch – no more than two inches. Check the
gear ranges to ensure they engage. Check
the boot for holes and dry rot. If automatic,
check gearshift for ranges.
Air Pressure Gauge
Check for cracks and cleanliness. Air pressure
should build to a minimum of 100 PSI in
both the primary and secondary system.
Oil Pressure Gauge
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Oil pressure should come up to normal
within seconds after the engine is started. If
no gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Amps/Volts should come up to normal within
seconds after the engine is started. If no
gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Air Brake
Build air pressure up to 100-120 PSI, cut
engine off and release all brakes, press hard
on the foot brake and hold down for one
minute. Air pressure should not drop over
three PSI. Turn ignition key on and continue
with foot brake pumping air pressure down.
At around 60 PSI, the “Low Air” buzzer
should sound and/or a warning light should
appear. Keep pumping air down with foot
brake and at about 40 PSI, the parking brake
knob should pop out.
Hydraulic Brake
(if equipped)
Pump the brake pedal three times, apply
firm pressure to the pedal and hold for five
seconds. The pedal should not move. If it
does, there may be a leak.
Steering Play
Check steering wheel play of no more than
ten degrees (approximately two inches of
movement at the rim of a 20-inch steering
wheel).
Parking Brake
Set the parking brake, put the vehicle in low
gear and gently release your foot from the
brake pedal (and clutch if equipped), until
you feel the vehicle pulling against the brake.
The vehicle should not move.
Mirrors/Windshield
Check mirrors for proper adjustment. Check
the windshield for cracks, cleanliness and
illegal stickers.
Wipers
Check the wipers for looseness, dry rot and
function.
Lighting Indicators
Check the following for function: panel
light, high/low beam indicator, left and right
turn signal indicators and four-way flasher
indicator.
This study guide cannot be used during the actual pre-trip
inspection portion of the skills test.
Front of Vehicle
Lights
Check for proper color/clean lenses,
cracks, missing screws and condensation.
Also check for function, left/right turn
signals, headlights, high/low beam and
four-way flashers.
Steering Box
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks and
nonfactory welds. Check for steering fluid
leaks and torn or frayed hoses.
Steering Linkage
Check the steering column, pitman arm
and drag link for cracks, bends,
non-factory welds, missing castle
nuts/cotter pins and proper lubrication.
Engine Compartment
Oil Level
Check by pulling out the dipstick, wiping
it and reinserting it, then pull out to look
at the low and full marks to determine the
level.
Coolant Level
Observe the site glass or line markings
for proper level. If not equipped, explain
removing radiator cap for level. (Do not
remove cap.)
Power Steering Fluid
Observe the sight glass or line markings for
proper level. If not equipped, open the
cap and check for proper level.
Water Pump
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed belts
and coolant leaks.
Alternator
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed
belts, and cracked, burnt or loose wires.
Air Compressor
Check for missing/loose bolts. Check belts
for tension, cracked or frayed lines and
leaks.
Leaks
Look under the engine compartment for
coolant, power steering, transmission and
oil leaks.
Horns
Wiring insulation
Check for cracked, worn electrical wiring
insulation.
Check both the highway and city horns for
proper function.
Heater/Defroster
Check both the defroster and heater fans for
proper function.
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped)
Check the site glass or line on container
for proper brake fluid. Check the master
cylinder for cracks, leaks, check the brake
lines for cracks, frays and brake fluid leaks.
This page is designed to be removed from the manual for reference while studying for the vehicle inspection
portion of the CDL road test.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
| 17
Section 1: General Knowledge
Safety/Emergency
Equipment
Ensure working fire extinguisher properly
charged and mounted, spare electrical
fuses (unless equipped with circuit
breakers), three reflective triangles.
Under the Vehicle
Drive shaft
Check the drive shaft for cracks, non-factory
welds, missing/loose bolts or nuts and proper
lubrication.
Springs
Check for missing, cracked, shifted or bent
springs. If 1/4 or more are missing, your
vehicle could be put out of service.
Exhaust System
Check the exhaust system for cracks, holes,
missing/loose bolts and nuts. Check for signs
of soot, which can indicate an exhaust leak.
Spring Mount(s)
Check both mounts and the U bolts for
cracks, non-factory welds, missing or loose
bolts and nuts.
Frame
Check the vehicle frame for cracks, bends,
nonfactory welds and rust.
Shock Absorber
Check for cracks, leaks and missing bolts.
Front Suspension
Front Wheel
Rims
Check the rims for bends, cracks and
nonfactory welds.
Hub Seal
Check the hub oil seal for missing bolts,
cracks, leaks and proper level (if equipped
with site glass).
Tire
Check the tire for at least 4/32” tread
depth in the major grooves. Check for
cuts, bulges and proper air pressure using
an air gauge.
Lug Nuts
Check the lug nuts for missing, loose nuts
and rust around them.
Front Brakes
Rear of Vehicle
Rear Wheels
Check the rear wheels the same as the front
with the exception of the tire depth, it should
be 2/32” in the major grooves. Check the
space between the dual tires. Tires should
not be touching and no sign of debris. If
equipped with spacers, they should not be
bent, cracked or nonfactory welds.
Rear Suspension
Inspect this area the same as the front.
Suspensions vary and all items should
be checked for cracks, bent, non-factory
welds, missing/loose bolts or nuts. Inspect
walker beams, torsion bars and air bellows,
if equipped.
Rear Brakes
Inspect this area the same as the front of the
vehicle.
Rear Lights
Check for proper color and clean
lenses/reflectors, cracks, missing screws and
condensation. Also check for function of
left/right turn signals, brake lights, reverse
lights and four way flashers.
Slack Adjuster
Check the slack adjuster for missing cotter
pins. If the slack adjuster moves more than
one inch where the push rod attaches to
it, it probably needs to be adjusted. Slack
adjusters should not be at more than a
90-degree angle with the brakes applied.
Chambers
Check the chambers for cracks, dents and
air leaks.
If Passenger Vehicle
Also Inspect:
Air Hose
Check the hoses for loose connections, dry
rot, holes and air leaks.
Passenger Entry
Brake Drum
Check the drum for cracks, non-factory
welds and signs of grease or oil.
Check that steps and handrails secure, no
missing hardware, no worn matting, door
opens and closes correctly.
Seating
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped)
Check the rotor for cracks, non-factory
welds and signs of fluid leaks. Check the
lines for cuts, holes, loose connections and
fluid leaks. Check the calipers for cracks,
missing/loose bolts and fluid leaks.
Check that all seats are secure with no
missing hardware.
Emergency Exits
Check the function of all exits both inside
and out, including all warning devices.
Baggage Compartment
(if equipped)
Check that doors open and close correctly
and are secure with no missing hardware.
Driver/Fuel Area
Door
Check the door for cracked or bent hinges
and that it functions properly.
Mirrors
Check the mirrors for cracks, cleanliness
and missing/loose bolts/nuts.
Fuel Tank
Check the fuel tank for cracks, holes and
that the straps are not loose or cracked.
Shiny metal by straps could indicate a
loose strap. Check under fuel tank for
leaks.
18 |
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Inspection Study Guide
COACH/TRANSIT BUS
Inside the Vehicle
(start engine)
Clutch/Gearshift
During the actual tests, you will be expected to point to or touch each
of the parts of your vehicle listed below. Name the part and explain
what damage or problems you might find. The types of damages or
problems are listed below and in the vehicle inspection section in the
CDL Manual.
If standard, check for excessive play in
clutch – no more than two inches. Check the
gear ranges to ensure they engage. Check
the boot for holes and dry rot. If automatic,
check gearshift for ranges.
Air Pressure Gauge
Note: All axles touching the ground on one side of the vehicle must
be inspected.
Check for cracks and cleanliness. Air pressure
should build to a minimum of 100 PSI in
both the primary and secondary system.
Oil Pressure Gauge
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Oil pressure should come up to normal
within seconds after the engine is started. If
no gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Amps/Volts should come up to normal within
seconds after the engine is started. If no
gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Air Brake
Build air pressure up to 100-120 PSI, cut
engine off and release all brakes, press hard
on the foot brake and hold down for one
minute, air pressure should not drop over
three PSI. Turn ignition key on and continue
with foot brake pumping air pressure down.
At around 60 PSI the “Low Air” buzzer
should sound and/or a warning light should
appear. Keep pumping air down with foot
brake, and at about 40 PSI, the parking brake
knob should pop out.
Steering Play
Check steering wheel play of no more than
ten degrees (approximately two inches of
movement at the rim of a 20-inch steering
wheel).
Parking Brake
Set the parking brake, put the vehicle in low
gear and gently release your foot from the
brake pedal (and clutch if equipped), until
you feel the vehicle pulling against the brake.
The vehicle should not move.
This study guide cannot be used during the actual pre-trip
inspection portion of the skills test.
Front of Vehicle
Lights
Check for proper color/clean lenses,
cracks, missing screws and condensation.
Also check for function, left/right turn
signals, headlights, high/low beam and
four-way flashers.
Engine Compartment
Oil Level
Check by pulling out the dipstick, wiping
it and reinserting it, then pull out to look
at the low and full marks to determine the
level.
Coolant Level
Observe the site glass or line markings
for proper level. If not equipped, explain
removing radiator cap for level. (Do not
remove cap.)
Power Steering Fluid
Observe the sight glass or line markings for
proper level. If not equipped, open the
cap and check for proper level.
Water Pump
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed belts
and coolant leaks.
Alternator
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed
belts, and cracked, burnt or loose wires.
Mirrors/Windshield
Check for missing/loose bolts. Check belts
for tension, cracked or frayed lines and
leaks.
Check mirrors for proper adjustment. Check
the windshield for cracks, cleanliness and
illegal stickers.
Wipers
Check the wipers for looseness, dry rot and
function.
Lighting Indicators
Check the following for function: panel
light, high/low beam indicator, left and right
turn signal indicators and four-way flasher
indicator.
Horns
Check both the highway and city horns for
proper function.
Heater/Defroster
Check both the defroster and heater fans for
proper function.
Safety/Emergency
Equipment
Ensure working fire extinguisher properly
charged and mounted, spare electrical fuses
(unless equipped with circuit breakers), three
reflective triangles.
Front Suspension/
Air Brakes
Listen for air leaks in the brakes and in the
suspension.
Air Compressor
Leaks
Look under the engine compartment for
coolant, power steering, transmission and
oil leaks.
Wiring insulation
Check for cracked, worn electrical wiring
insulation
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped)
Check the site glass or line on container
for proper brake fluid. Check the master
cylinder for cracks, leaks, check the brake
lines for cracks, frays and brake fluid leaks.
This page is designed to be removed from the manual for reference while studying for the vehicle inspection
portion of the CDL road test.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
| 19
Section 1: General Knowledge
Front Wheels
Rims
Check the rims for bends, cracks and
nonfactory welds.
Hub Seal
Check the hub oil seal for missing bolts,
cracks, leaks and proper level (if equipped
with site glass).
Tire
Check the tire for at least 4/32” tread
depth in the major grooves. Check for cuts,
bulges and proper air pressure using an air
gauge. Cannot have recaps or retreads.
Lug Nuts
Check the lug nuts for missing, loose nuts
and rust around them.
Driver/Fuel Area
Door/Window
Check the door for cracked or bent hinges
and that it functions properly.
Mirrors
Check the mirrors for cracks, cleanliness
and missing/loose bolts/nuts.
Fuel Area
Check cap is tight and no fuel leaks.
Rear of Vehicle
Rear Wheels
Check the rear wheels the same as the
front with the exception of the tire depth,
it should be 2/32” in the major grooves.
Check the space between the dual tires.
Tires should not be touching and no sign
of debris. If equipped with spacers, they
should not be bent, cracked or nonfactory
welds.
Rear Suspension/
Air Brakes
Inspect the same as the front.
Lights
Check for proper color and clean
lenses/reflectors, cracks, missing screws
and condensation. Also check for function
of left/right turn signals, brake lights,
reverse lights and four-way flashers.
Passenger Entry
Steps and handrails secure, no missing
hardware, no worn matting, door opens
and closes correctly.
Seating
Check that all seats are secure with no
missing hardware.
Emergency Exits
Check the function of all exits both inside
and out, including all warning devices.
Baggage Compartments
(if equipped)
Check that doors open and close correctly
and are secure with no missing hardware.
20 |
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Inspection Study Guide
COMBINATION VEHICLES
During the actual tests, you will be expected to point to or touch each
of the parts of your vehicle listed below. Name the part and explain
what damage or problems you might find. The types of damages or
problems are listed below and in the vehicle inspection section in the
CDL Manual.
Note: All axles touching the ground on one side of the vehicle must
be inspected.
Inside the Vehicle
(start engine)
Clutch/Gearshift
If standard, check for excessive play in
clutch—no more than two inches. Check the
gear ranges to ensure they engage. Check
the boot for holes and dry rot. If automatic,
check gearshift for ranges.
Air Pressure Gauge
Check for cracks and cleanliness. Air pressure
should build to a minimum of 100 PSI in
both the primary and secondary system.
Oil Pressure Gauge
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Oil pressure should come up to normal
within seconds after the engine is started. If
no gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
Check the gauge for cracks and cleanliness.
Amps/Volts should come up to normal within
seconds after the engine is started. If no
gauge, identify the location of the warning
light that indicates a system failure.
Air Brake
Build air pressure up to 100-120 PSI, cut
engine off and release all brakes, press hard
on the foot brake and hold down for one
minute, air pressure should not drop over
four PSI. Turn ignition key on and continue
with foot brake pumping air pressure down.
At around 60 PSI the “Low Air” buzzer
should sound and/or a warning light should
appear. Keep pumping air down with foot
brake, and at about 40 PSI, the release valves
should pop out for the trailer and the tractor.
Hydraulic Brake
(if equipped)
Pump the brake pedal three times, apply
firm pressure to the pedal and hold for five
seconds. The pedal should not move. If it
does, there may be a leak.
This study guide cannot be used during the actual pre-trip
inspection portion of the skills test.
Front of Vehicle
Lights
Check for proper color/clean lenses,
cracks, missing screws and condensation.
Also check for function, left/right turn
signals, headlights, high/low beam and
four-way flashers.
Steering Box
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks and
nonfactory welds. Check for steering fluid
leaks and torn or frayed hoses.
Steering Linkage
Check the steering column, pitman arm
and drag link for cracks, bends,
non-factory welds, missing castle
nuts/cotter pins and proper lubrication.
Engine Compartment
Oil Level
Check by pulling out the dipstick, wiping
it and reinserting it, then pull out to look
at the low and full marks to determine the
level.
Coolant Level
Observe the site glass or line markings
for proper level. If not equipped, explain
removing radiator cap for level. (Do not
remove cap.)
Steering Play
Check steering wheel play of no more than
ten degrees (approximately two inches of
movement at the rim of a 20-inch steering
wheel).
Power Steering Fluid
Observe the sight glass or line markings for
proper level. If not equipped, open the
cap and check for proper level.
Parking Brake
Water Pump
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed belts
and coolant leaks.
Set the parking brake, put the vehicle in low
gear and gently release your foot from the
brake pedal (and clutch if equipped), until
you feel the vehicle pulling against the brake.
The vehicle should not move.
Mirrors/Windshield
Check for missing/loose bolts, cracks,
proper belt tension, cracked or frayed
belts, and cracked, burnt or loose wires.
Check mirrors for proper adjustment. Check
the windshield for cracks, cleanliness and
illegal stickers.
Wipers
Check the wipers for looseness, dry rot and
function.
Lighting Indicators
Check the following for function: panel
light, high/low beam indicator, left and right
turn signal indicators and four-way flasher
indicator.
Alternator
Air Compressor
Check for missing/loose bolts. Check belts
for tension, cracked or frayed lines and
leaks.
Leaks
Look under the engine compartment for
coolant, power steering, transmission and
oil leaks.
Horns
Wiring insulation
Check for cracked, worn electrical wiring
insulation
Check both the highway and city horns for
proper function.
Heater/Defroster
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped
Check the site glass or line on container
for proper brake fluid. Check the master
cylinder for cracks, leaks, check the brake
lines for cracks, frays and brake fluid leaks.
Check both the defroster and heater fans for
proper function.
This page is designed to be removed from the manual for reference while studying for the vehicle inspection
portion of the CDL road test.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
| 21
Section 1: General Knowledge
Safety/Emergency
Equipment
Ensure working fire extinguisher properly
charged and mounted, spare electrical fuses
(unless equipped with circuit breakers),
three reflective triangles.
Coupling System
Check for loose or missing bolts, clamps,
brackets or nuts.
Mounting Bolts
Check for loose or missing nuts or bolts.
Front Suspension
Check for missing, cracked, shifted or bent
springs. If 1/4 or more are missing, your
vehicle could be put out of service.
Safety Latch
Ensure it is in position over locking lever and
engaged.
Platform
Check for cracks or breaks.
Spring Mount(s)
Check both mounts and the U bolts for
cracks, non-factory welds, missing or loose
bolts and nuts.
Release Arm
Ensure it is locked in place.
Kingpin/Apron
Ensure the kingpin is not bent, apron is not
bent, cracked or broken. Locking jaws are
closed around kingpin.
Sliding Fifth Wheel
Ensure it is in locked position, not cracked or
broken.
Locking Pins
Check for loose or missing pins. None broken/
damaged.
Lights/Reflector
Ensure it is not cracked, lenses clear, clean,
proper color, no condensation. Check for
function, left/right turn signal, four-way
flashers and brake.
Shock Absorber
Check for cracks, leaks and missing bolts.
Front Wheels
Rims
Check the rims for bends, cracks and
nonfactory welds.
Hub Seal
Check the hub oil seal for missing bolts,
cracks, leaks and proper level (if equipped
with site glass).
Tire
Check the tire for at least 4/32” tread depth
in the major grooves. Check for cuts, bulges
and proper air pressure using an air gauge.
Lug Nuts
Check the lug nuts for missing, loose nuts
and rust around them.
Rear of Vehicle
Rear Wheels
Check the rear wheels the same as the front
with the exception of the tire depth, it should
be 2/32” in the major grooves. Check the
space between the dual tires. Tires should not
be touching and no sign of debris. If equipped
with spacers, they should not be bent, cracked
or non-factory welds.
Rear Suspension
Inspect this area the same as the front.
Suspensions vary and all items should be
checked for cracks, bent, non-factory welds,
missing/loose bolts or nuts. Inspect walker
beams, torsion bars and air bellows, if
equipped.
Rear Brakes
Inspect this area the same as the front of the
vehicle.
Front Brakes
Slack Adjuster
Check the slack adjuster for missing cotter
pins. If the slack adjuster moves more than
one inch where the push rod attaches to
it, it probably needs to be adjusted. Slack
adjusters should not be at more than a
90-degree angle with the brakes applied.
Chambers
Check the chambers for cracks, dents and
air leaks.
Air Hose
Check the hoses for loose connections, dry
rot, holes and air leaks.
Brake Drum
Check the drum for cracks, non-factory
welds and signs of grease or oil.
Hydraulic Brakes
(if equipped)
Check the rotor for cracks, non-factory
welds and signs of fluid leaks. Check the
lines for cuts, holes, loose connections and
fluid leaks. Check the calipers for cracks,
missing/loose bolts and fluid leaks.
Driver/Fuel Area
Front of Trailer
Air/Electric Lines
Ensure glad hands are secure and rubber
seals not split, cracked or missing, electrical
connection locked into place.
Header Board
Ensure it is not cracked or bulged.
Lights/Reflectors
Ensure it is not cracked, clear, clean, proper
color, no condensation. Check for function.
Door
Check the door for cracked or bent hinges
and that it functions properly.
Mirrors
Check the mirrors for cracks, cleanliness
and missing/loose bolts/nuts.
Landing Gear
Check for missing, bent or cracked frames.
Handle secured.
Fuel Tank
Check the fuel tank for cracks, holes and
that the straps are not loose or cracked.
Shiny metal by straps could indicate a loose
strap. Check under fuel tank for leaks.
Lights/Reflectors
Ensure it is not cracked, clear, clean, proper
color, no condensation. Check for function.
Doors, Ties
Ensure it opens and closes properly, hinges not
cracked, ties not broken or missing.
Frame
Ensure it is not bent or cracked, non-factory
welds.
Wheels
Check same as rear wheels.
Under the Vehicle
Drive shaft
Exhaust System
Frame
Check the drive shaft for cracks, non-factory
welds, missing/loose bolts or nuts and
proper lubrication.
Check the exhaust system for cracks, holes,
missing/loose bolts and nuts. Check for signs
of soot, which can indicate an exhaust leak.
Check the vehicle frame for cracks, bends,
nonfactory welds and rust.
Side of Trailer
Suspension
Check the same as front suspension.
Brakes
Check same as front brakes.
Rear of Trailer
Lights/Reflectors
Ensure it is not cracked, lenses clear, clean,
proper color, no condensation. Check for
function same as rear of tractor.
Door/Ties
Ensure it opens and closes properly, hinges not
cracked, ties not broken or missing.
Splash Guards
Ensure it is secured, no nuts or bolts missing.
Tractor Only
Air/Electrical Lines
Check for leaks, cuts, cracks or sign of wear.
Catwalk
Check to make sure it is clear and not loose.
22 |
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Basic Control of Your Vehicle
He may be in a place of danger. Before you begin
backing, agree on hand signals that you both understand.
To drive a vehicle safely, you must be able to control its
speed and direction. Safe operation of a commercial vehicle
requires skills in:
Accelerating
Steering
Shifting gears
Be sure to apply the parking brake when you leave your
vehicle.
Backing with a Trailer
When backing a car, straight truck or bus, you turn the
top of the steering wheel in the direction that you want
to go. When backing a trailer, 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.
When you back 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 so you can see.
Back slowly.
Accelerating
Partly engage the clutch before taking your foot off the
brake.
Use the parking brake to keep from rolling back.
Release it only when you have enough power to keep
from rolling back.
Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle does
not jerk. Sudden acceleration can cause mechanical
damage. If you are pulling a trailer, sudden acceleration
can damage the coupling.
Speed up slowly when traction is poor, such as in rain
or snow. If you use too much power, the drive wheels
spin. If the drive wheels spin, let up on the accelerator.
Use both mirrors. The mirrors help you see if the trailer
is staying on the proper path. Correct the trailer’s path
by turning the top of the steering wheel in the direction
of the drift.
Pull forward. Make pull-ups to reposition your vehicle
as needed.
Shifting Gears—Manual Transmissions
Basic method for shifting up: Most heavy vehicles with
manual transmissions require double clutching to change
gears. This is the basic method:
Release the accelerator. Push in the clutch and shift to
neutral.
Release the clutch
Steering
Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands.
Your hands should be at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock
positions, opposite sides on the steering wheel.
Backing Safely
Because you cannot see everything behind your vehicle,
backing is always dangerous. Avoid backing whenever you
can. When you must back, follow these safety rules:
Look at your path before you begin backing. Get out
of the vehicle and check your clearance to the sides
and overhead.
Turn on four-way flashers and blow the horn before
backing.
Back slowly. Use the lowest reverse gear.
Back and turn toward the driver’s side. This allows
you to see better. 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 extra safety is worth it.
Use a helper. A helper can check your blind spots for
you. The helper should stand where he or she has a
view of the rear of the truck and where the driver can
see the helper. If you lose sight of the helper, stop.
V I R G I N I A
Let the engine and gears slow to the RPM required for
the next gear. (This takes practice.)
Push in the clutch and shift to the higher gear.
Release the 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 trouble putting
the vehicle into the next gear. Don’t try to force it. Return to
neutral, release the clutch, increase engine speed to match
road speed and try again.
There are two ways to know when to shift up:
Engine speed (RPM). Study the 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.
Road speed (MPH). Learn the speeds that each gear is
good for. Then you can use the speedometer to know
when to shift up.
Basic method for shifting down:
Downshifting requires knowing when to shift. Use
either the tachometer or the speedometer to decide
when to downshift.
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
| 23
Section 1: General Knowledge
Looking ahead doesn’t mean that you aren’t paying attention
to other things going on around you. Good drivers shift their
attention back and forth, near and far.
Take your foot off the accelerator. Push in the clutch
and shift to neutral.
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.
You should downshift:
Before starting down a hill: Slow down and shift down
to a speed that you can control without using the brakes
hard. Make sure your gear is low enough. Usually you
will use a lower gear than you would use to climb the
same hill.
Before entering a curve: Slow down to a safe speed.
Downshift before you enter the curve. This helps you
control your vehicle while turning. You can begin to
accelerate as you leave the curve
Retarders (Jake brake)—Electric or Hydraulic
Retarders help slow a vehicle so that you don’t need to use
your brakes as much. This reduces brake wear and gives you
another way to slow your vehicle. All retarders can be turned
on or off by the driver. When turned on, retarders apply their
braking power whenever you take your foot completely off
the accelerator. They apply braking power only to the drive
wheels.
If your drive wheels have poor traction, the retarder may
cause them to skid. Always turn off the retarder when the
road is wet, icy or covered with snow, especially if the unit is
empty or lightly loaded.
Seeing
To be a safe driver, you need to know what’s going on all
around your vehicle.
Look in your mirrors to check the traffic around you and to
check your vehicle. Check your mirrors when you change
lanes or merge. Check your mirrors to see where the rear
of the vehicle is while you make turns. Check your mirrors
quickly and return your attention to the road ahead.
Use your mirrors to check your tires. If you are carrying open
cargo, use the mirrors to check it. Look for loose straps, ropes
or chains. Watch for a flapping or ballooning tarp.
Blind spots are danger areas, which cannot be seen in your
mirrors. Therefore, many vehicles have convex or “spot”
mirrors that show a wider area than flat mirrors. Remember,
everything in a convex or “spot” mirror appears smaller than it
really is. Objects also seem farther away than they really are.
Always make mirror adjustments before you start your trip.
Mirrors can only be checked accurately when the trailer(s) is
straight.
Communicating
It is important to know what is going on around your vehicle.
But, it is also important to let others know what you are
doing. Use your vehicle to communicate with other drivers.
You can communicate with your headlights, brake lights,
signal lights and horn.
Signal early before you turn, merge or change lanes.
Because stopping or changing lanes may take a lot of distance,
you must know what the traffic is doing on all sides of you.
Expert drivers look far ahead so they will know how much
room they have to move. They try to focus their eyes 12 to
15 seconds ahead. At low speeds this equals approximately
one block. On the highway, this equals approximately ¼
of a mile. When you scan ahead, check for traffic, road
conditions, sharp pavement drop-offs and signs. Also look for
slow-moving vehicles. These vehicles may be marked with a
red triangle with an orange center. Be especially careful when
driving through work zones.
V I R G I N I A
Use Your Mirrors
Signal Ahead
Look Ahead
24 |
Remember you’re the expert. Anticipate trouble and
leave yourself a place to go if a hazard appears suddenly.
A hazard is anyone or anything that can cause an unsafe
condition. The best drivers are defensive and prepared
for hazards.
C O M M E R C I A L
Brake early and slow gradually for turns.
Flash your brake lights to warn other drivers that you
need to slow down or stop. Don’t stop suddenly.
Turn off your signal after you make the turn, merge or
lane change.
Use your 4-way emergency flashers when moving
slowly or when you are parked.
Don’t signal other drivers to pass you. This could cause
a crash.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Pass with Caution
Check your side mirrors for traffic approaching you
from behind.
Check ahead. Do you have sufficient room to pass?
Use your turn signal.
Place a warning device before any hill, curve or anything else
that prevents other drivers from seeing your vehicle with 500
feet.
When you place the triangles, hold them between yourself
and the oncoming traffic. This helps ensure your safety.
Just before you begin passing, check your mirrors and
blind spots once more for approaching traffic.
Communicate Your Presence to Others
Don’t assume that other drivers, bicyclists, or
pedestrians can see or hear your vehicle.
Use your low beam headlights at dawn and dusk. Use
your low beam headlights in fog, rain or snow so other
drivers will see you.
When you pass, tap your horn lightly.
Use your horn only when needed. Otherwise, your
horn may scare others.
When you stop on the side of the road:
Turn on your 4-way emergency flashers.
Place reflective triangles or flares within 10
minutes of stopping. Place them as shown in the
following diagrams.
If you stop on a road or the shoulder of any road, you must
put out emergency warning devices (reflective triangles or
flares) within 10 minutes. Place the warning devices in the
following locations.
Managing Space
To be a safe driver, you need space all around your vehicle.
When something goes wrong, space gives you time to think
and to take action. While this is true for all vehicles, it is very
important for large vehicles. Large vehicles require more
space for stopping and turning.
Space Ahead
On two-lane roads carrying traffic in both directions or on
an undivided highway, place warning devices within ten feet
of the front or rear corners of your vehicle. Place a warning
device 100 feet behind or ahead of your vehicle. Place it on
the shoulder or in the lane where you stopped.
You need space in front of you in case you must stop
suddenly. In crashes, trucks and buses most often hit the
vehicle in front of them. This is because they were following
too closely. If the vehicle ahead of you is smaller than your
vehicle, it can probably stop faster than you can. If you follow
too closely, you could hit it if the driver stops suddenly.
The rule of seconds
If you are driving below 40 mph, maintain at least one
second for each 10 feet of vehicle length.
At speeds over 40 mph, add an extra second for safety.
Here’s how it works.
Watch the vehicle ahead pass a fixed point, such as an
overpass, sign, fence, corner or other marker.
Begin counting off the seconds it takes you to reach the
same place in the road.
On a one-way or divided highway, place warning devices
10 feet, 100 feet and 200 feet behind your vehicle.
V I R G I N I A
If you reach the mark before you have counted off
the correct number of seconds, you’re following
too closely. Slow down and increase your following
distance.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Avoid traveling beside other vehicles. In heavy traffic,
keep as much space as possible between your vehicle
and other vehicles. If you must travel alongside another
vehicle, drop back or pull forward so that you are sure
the other driver can see you.
Examples:
If you are driving a 40-foot vehicle at speeds under
40 mph, leave 4 seconds between you and the
vehicle ahead. One second for each 10 feet of
vehicle length = 1X4 or 4 seconds.
High winds may cause your vehicle to sway. This
problem is worse for lighter vehicles, such as empty
trucks. High winds may be especially bad coming out of
tunnels.
If you are driving a 40-foot vehicle at speeds over
40 mph, leave 5 seconds between you and the
vehicle ahead. One second for each 10 feet of
vehicle length plus an additional second for safety:
1X4 = 4 plus an extra second for safety = 5
seconds.
Space Overhead
If you are driving a 60-foot vehicle at speeds under
40 mph, leave 6 seconds between you and the
vehicle ahead. One second for each 10 feet of
vehicle length = 1X6 or 6 seconds.
Because commercial vehicles are larger than most vehicles,
watch out for overhead objects. Make sure you always have
overhead clearance.
If you are driving a 60-foot vehicle at speeds over
40 mph, leave 7 seconds between you and the
vehicle ahead. One second for each 10 feet of
vehicle length plus an additional second for safety:
1X6 = 6 plus an extra second for safety = 7
seconds.
Before backing, get out of the vehicle and check for
overhanging objects such as trees, branches or electric
wires. It’s easy to miss these things when backing.
The weight of a loaded vehicle changes its height. An
empty vehicle is taller than a loaded one.
Don’t assume that the heights posted at bridges and
overpasses are correct. Repaving or packed snow may
have reduced the clearance since the signs were posted.
Remember, the rule of seconds applies only in good
weather and depends on the condition of your vehicle
and the road. In bad weather, heavy traffic, poor
pavement or if your vehicle is in poor condition, add
extra seconds to your following distance.
If you are not sure that you have space to pass under
an object, take another route.
Space for Turns
Because of wide turning and offtracking, large vehicles can hit
other vehicles or objects during turns.
Space Behind
You can’t keep other drivers from following you too closely.
But you can take action to increase your safety.
Definition: Trailer wheels follow a different path than the
tractor wheels. This is called offtracking.
Stay to the right. Drivers often tailgate when heavy vehicles
can’t keep up with traffic. If a heavy load slows you down,
stay in the right lane. If you are going uphill, do not pass other
slow vehicles unless you can pass quickly and safely.
Deal with tailgaters safely.
Avoid quick changes. Before you slow down or turn,
signal early and reduce your speed gradually.
Increase your following distance. Extra space in front of
your vehicle can help you avoid sudden stops. It also
makes it easier for the tailgater to pass you.
When turning right:
Turn slowly to give yourself and others time to avoid
problems.
If you cannot make the right turn without swinging into
another lane, turn wide as you complete the turn. Refer
to the diagram. Keep the rear of your vehicle close to
the curb. This will stop other drivers from passing you
on the right.
Don’t speed up. It’s safer to be tailgated at a low speed
than at a high speed.
Avoid tricks. Don’t turn on your tail lights or flash your
brake lights.
Space to the Sides
Keep your vehicle centered in the lane and maintain
safe clearance on either side.
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V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Don’t turn to the left as you start the turn. The driver
behind you may think you are turning left and try to
pass you on the right.
If you must cross into an oncoming lane to make a turn,
watch out for vehicles coming toward you. Give them
room to pass or stop. However, don’t back up for them.
You could hit the vehicle behind you.
Speed and Stopping
Three things add up to total stopping distance.
Perception distance
Reaction distance
Braking distance
= Total stopping distance.
When turning left:
Reach the center of the intersection before you begin
your turn. If you turn too soon, your vehicle could hit
another vehicle because of offtracking.
If there are two
lanes, always
use the right
turn lane. Don’t
begin a left turn
in the left lane
because you
may have to
swing right to
complete the
turn. You can
see drivers on
your left easier
than those on
your right.
Perception distance is the distance your vehicle
travels from the time your eyes see a hazard until your
brain recognizes it. Perception time for an alert driver
is about ¾ second. At 55 mph, you travel 60 feet in ¾
second.
Reaction distance is the distance traveled from the
time your brain tells your foot to move from the
accelerator until the time your foot pushes the brake
pedal. An average driver reacts within ¾ second. This
adds an additional 60 feet to the distance traveled.
Braking distance is the distance it takes the vehicle
to stop once you hit the brakes. At 55 mph on dry
pavement, it takes a vehicle with good brakes about
2.5 seconds to stop. Within that time, the vehicle will
travel another 192 feet.
Total stopping distance; traveling at 55 mph, it will
take about 4 seconds to stop your vehicle. The vehicle
will travel approximately 312 feet before coming to a
stop. That’s longer than the length of a football field.
Space to Cross or Enter Traffic
Keep these points in mind when crossing or entering traffic:
Because commercial vehicles are larger and accelerate
more slowly than passenger cars, you may need a much
larger gap to enter traffic.
Acceleration varies with your load. Allow more room if
your vehicle is fully loaded.
Before you begin across a road, make sure you can get
all the way across before traffic reaches you.
Controlling Speed
Driving too fast is a major cause of crashes and fatalities. You
must adjust your speed to suit weather conditions, the road
(such as hills and curves), visibility and traffic.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Rules of Thumb
Speed and Curves
When you double your speed, it takes four times as
much distance to stop your vehicle; your vehicle will
have four times the destructive power in a crash.
You can’t steer or brake a vehicle unless you have
traction. Traction is the friction between the tires and
the road. Reduce your speed on wet and slippery roads.
Wet roads can double stopping distance. Reduce your
speed by about 1/3 on a wet road. For example slow
down from 55 mph to 35 mph.
On packed snow, reduce your speed by ½ or more.
If the road is icy, reduce your speed to a crawl. Stop
driving as soon as you can.
Empty trucks require greater stopping distance. An
empty vehicle has less traction. The brakes are designed
to control the maximum weight of the unit; therefore,
the brakes lock up more readily when the trailer is
empty or lightly loaded. This can cause skidding and
loss of control.
If you take a curve too fast, your tires can lose traction with
the road. This could cause your vehicle to skid off the road or
roll over. Tests show 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 you can lock
the wheels and cause a skid.
Never exceed the posted speed limit for a curve.
Downshift to a gear that will let you accelerate slightly
in the curve. This will help you keep control.
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 you to slow
down.
At night, you can’t see as far with low beams as you
can with high beams. When you use low beams, slow
down.
Maximum Speed Limits for Commercial Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Type
Interstate Highways
Limited
Access
Highways
Trucks
Up to 70 mph, as posted
Passenger
Buses
School Buses
(1)
Non-limited Access Highways
School,
Business or
Residential
Zones
Highways
Designated as
a Rural Rustic
Road
Four or More
Lanes
Less Than
Four Lanes
55 mph
55 mph
45 mph (2)
25 mph (3)
(4)
35 mph (5)
Up to 70 mph, as posted
55 mph
55 mph
55 mph
25 mph (3)
(4)
35 mph (5)
Maximum 60 mph where
the posted speed limit is
more than 55 mph
45 mph (1)
45 mph (1)
45 mph (1)
25 mph (3)
(4)
35 mph (5)
A school bus may travel 45 mph or the minimum speed allowable, if the posted speed limit is 55 mph or less. A school bus
may travel up to 60 mph on an interstate or any other highway where the posted speed limit is more than 55 mph.
(2) Unless otherwise posted and driving conditions permit, the maximum speed limit is 45 mph on all public roads except
primary highways (Routes 1-599) and the Interstate.
(3) Localities may increase or decrease the 25 mph speed limit in school zones. You may travel up to the posted speed limit.
(4) You may travel 25 mph or up to the posted speed limit on highways in business or residential districts.
(5) Some highways designated as rural rustic roads may have posted speed limits other than 35 mph. You may drive up to the
speed limit on those roads.
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V I R G I N I A
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M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Braking
Slippery when wet
Shady parts of a road will remain icy and slippery
long after open areas have melted.
Bridges freeze before the road freezes. Be careful
when the temperature is around 32 degrees °F.
Slight melting makes ice wet. Wet ice is more
slippery than ice that is not wet.
Black ice is a thin layer that is clear enough that
you can see the road underneath. It makes the road
look wet. When the temperature is below freezing
and the road looks wet, watch for black ice.
If ice is on the front of your mirror, mirror support
or antenna, the road surface is probably starting to
ice up.
Roads are very slippery when rain first begins. Just
after rain begins, water mixes with oil on the road
making it unusually slippery.
Hydroplaning – In some weather, water or slush collects
on the road. When this happens, your vehicle can
hydroplane. The tires lose contact with the road and
have little or no traction. You may not be able to steer
or brake. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 30
mph. Hydroplaning is more likely if tire pressure is low or
the tread is worn.
Take your foot off the accelerator and push in the
clutch.
This will slow your vehicle and let the wheels turn
freely.
Do not use the brakes to slow down.
If the drive wheels begin to skid, push the clutch to
let them turn freely.
Speed on Downgrades
Emergency braking does not mean pushing down on the
brake pedal as hard as you can. That will lock the wheels and
cause a skid. Instead, brake so that you keep your vehicle in
a straight line. You can use the controlled braking method or
the stab braking method.
Controlled Braking
Apply the brakes as hard as you can without locking the
wheels.
Steer as little as possible.
If you need to steer harder or if the wheels lock, release
the brakes.
Reapply the brakes as soon as possible.
Stab Braking
Use stab braking only on vehicles that do not have
anti-lock brake systems.
Apply your brakes fully.
Release the brakes when the wheels lock up.
As soon as the wheels start rolling, apply the brakes fully
again. It can take up to one second for the wheels to
start rolling after you release the brakes. If you reapply
the brakes before the wheels start rolling, the vehicle
will not straighten out.
Steering to Avoid a Crash
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do in an emergency.
If you don’t have enough room to stop, you may have to steer
away from what’s ahead. Many times you can turn to miss
an obstacle more quickly than you can stop. Often, steering
to avoid an obstacle is the best answer in an emergency
situation. However, top-heavy vehicles and tractors with
multiple trailers may roll over. When steering to avoid a crash,
take the following steps.
As you go downhill, your vehicle’s speed increases.
Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
Never exceed the maximum safe speed on a
downgrade.
Do not apply the brakes while you are turning.
Applying the brakes could lock your wheels and cause
you to skid out of control.
Downshift to a low gear before starting down a grade.
You must use the braking effect of the engine to control
your speed on downgrades. The engine’s braking effect
is greatest when it is near the governed RPMs and the
transmission is in a low gear.
Save your brakes so that you can slow or stop as
required by road and traffic conditions.
V I R G I N I A
Do not turn more than you need. The more sharply you
turn, the greater the risk of turning over or skidding.
Be ready to countersteer as soon as you have passed
whatever was in your path.
Definition: Countersteering is turning the wheel back
in the other direction after steering to avoid a traffic
emergency.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
In some emergencies, you may have to drive off the road.
Most shoulders are strong enough to support the weight of a
large vehicle and offer an escape route. Follow these steps if
you must drive off the road.
Avoid braking until your speed has dropped to about
20 mph. Then brake gently to avoid skidding.
Keep one set of wheels on the pavement if possible.
This helps you to maintain control.
Stay on the shoulder until your vehicle comes to a stop.
Signal and check your mirrors before returning to the
road.
Stop turning and hard braking.
Slow down as quickly as possible without skidding.
Hazardous Conditions
Skid Control and Recovery
A skid happens when the tires lose their grip on the road. The
best way to stop any skid is to restore traction to the tires. The
four main causes of skids are:
Overbraking. Braking too hard can lock the wheels
causing a skid. Skids may also happen if you use the
speed retarder when the road is slippery.
Three factors affect safe driving at night: the driver, the
roadway and the vehicle.
Overacceleration or supplying too much power to the
drive wheels can cause them to spin.
Driving too fast. Most serious skids result from
driving too fast for road conditions. Drivers who
adjust their driving to fit the conditions don’t have
to overaccelerate, brake hard or oversteer to avoid
hazards.
Rear-wheel (drive-wheel) skids are the most common types
of skid. They are caused by overacceleration or overbraking.
Overaccleration skids usually happen on ice or snow.
Stop the skid by taking your foot off the accelerator. If
the road is slippery, push in the clutch. This allows the
wheels to roll freely and regain traction.
Overbraking skids happen when the rear drive wheels
lock. Locked wheels have less traction than rolling
wheels and usually slide sideways. A bus or straight
truck will slide sideways. A vehicle towing a trailer will
jackknife. Take the following actions to stop a rearwheel braking skid:
Stop braking. This will let the rear wheels roll
and keep them from sliding further. If you are on
a slippery surface, push in the clutch to let the
wheels turn freely.
Turn quickly. If your vehicle begins to slide
sideways, quickly steer in the direction you want
the vehicle to go.
C O M M E R C I A L
Driving becomes hazardous when visibility is reduced or
when the road surface is covered with rain, snow or ice.
Reduce your speed and increase your following distance.
Night Driving
Oversteering or turning the wheels too sharply may
cause a skid.
V I R G I N I A
Front wheel skids are often caused by driving too fast for
the conditions. In a front wheel skid, the front of the vehicle
continues in a straight line no matter how much you turn the
steering wheel. You may not be able to steer around a curve
or turn. Lack of tread on the front tires and cargo loaded
incorrectly may also cause front-wheel skids.
The only way to stop a front-wheel skid is to let your
vehicle slow down.
If you must return to the road before you stop, hold
the wheel tightly and turn sharply enough to get
back on the road safely. Don’t try to edge on to the
road gradually. This could cause you to lose control.
As soon as both front tires are on the paved surface,
countersteer immediately.
30 |
Countersteer. As soon as your vehicle begins to
move in the correct direction, turn the steering
wheel quickly in the opposite direction. This
will prevent a skid in the opposite direction. Be
careful not to over-correct.
The driver: Your vision and the vision of other drivers is not
as sharp in low light conditions. Drivers can also be blinded
for a short time by the lights of oncoming vehicles. Older
drivers are especially bothered by glare from the lights of
other vehicles.
Use your high beams when it is safe and legal. High
beams increase your ability to see. However, glare from
your headlights can blind other drivers. Dim your lights
within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle. Dim your light
when following within 200 feet of another vehicle. If a
driver coming toward you doesn’t dim his lights, don’t
get back by turning on your high beams. This increases
the chance of a crash.
Don’t look directly at bright lights when driving. Look
to the right of the road. Watch the side of the road
when another car or truck comes toward you. It can
take several seconds to recover from blindness caused
by 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.
Get enough sleep before you drive. Being tired and
lack of alertness are problems for drivers at night. Most
people are less alert at night, especially after midnight.
This is even more true if you have been driving for a
long time.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
If you are sleepy, pull off the road and get some
sleep. You cannot control your need for sleep. Drivers
who are tired may not see hazards as soon or react as
quickly. This increases the chance of a crash.
The roadway: During the day, there is usually enough light
to see well. At night, some streets may have bright lights,
but others will have poor lighting. On most roads, you will
probably have to depend on your headlights.
Make sure that your headlights are clean and
adjusted properly. Dirty headlights give only half
the light they should. This makes it harder for you to
see and harder for other drivers to see you. If your
headlights are out of adjustment, they won’t give you a
good view and they can blind other drivers.
Be sure that all lights and reflectors are clean and
working so that other drivers can see you. These lights
include:
Markers lights
Less light means you will not be able to see hazards as quickly.
Pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, animals and other objects may
be difficult to see. Even when there are street lights; the scene
may be confusing. Traffic signals and hazards can be hard to
see against a background of signs, store windows and other
lights.
Drive slower when lighting is poor or confusing.
Drive slowly enough so that you can stop within the
distance that you can see ahead.
Watch for drunk drivers. Be extra careful when bars
and restaurants are closing. Watch drivers who weave,
drive too slow or too fast, or stop for no reason.
The vehicle: At night, you must depend on your headlights to
see and be seen. However, you can’t see as much with your
headlights at night as you can see during the day.
Adjust your speed so that you can stop within the
distance that you can see ahead. With your low
beams, you can see ahead about 250 feet. With your
high beam, you can see ahead between 300 and 500
feet. If you are driving with your low beams on, you
should be able to stop within 250 feet. If you are driving
with your high beams on, you should be able to stop
within 300 to 500 feet.
Clearance lights
Tail lights
Identification lights
Turn signals
Brake lights
Be sure that your windshield and mirrors are clean.
Dirt on your windshield and mirrors can increase the
glare from other vehicles’ lights. This will make it hard
for you to see other vehicles and hazards.
Fog
Fog reflects light and can reflect your own headlights back
into your eyes. Use only your low beams. Look for road edge
markings to guide you. Even light fog reduces your ability to
see and judge distances. If possible, pull off the road and wait
until the fog has lifted. If you must drive, be sure to:
Obey all fog-related warning signs
Reduce your speed
Turn on all your lights
Use only your low beams
Be prepared for sudden stops
Cold Weather Driving
Vehicle Checks
During your pre-trip inspection, pay extra attention to the
following items. Be sure that these systems are working
correctly and that you know how to use them before you
begin driving.
Coolant and antifreeze
Defrosting and heating equipment
Wipers and washers
Tires (Be sure your tires have enough tread to provide
sufficient traction to steer and push the vehicle through
snow).
In addition:
Clear your vehicle of all snow and ice. Be sure your
lights, reflectors, windows and mirrors, handholds, steps
and deck plates are free of snow and ice.
As a precaution, carry the right number of chains and
extra cross links. Make sure they fit your drive tires.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Check the chains for broken hooks, worn or broken cross
links and bent or broken side chains. Learn how to put
the chains on before you need to use them.
Remove ice from the radiator shutters. Make sure the
winterfront is not closed too tightly. If the shutters freeze
or the winterfront is closed too much, the engine may
overheat.
Check the exhaust system for loose parts and for signs
of leaks. Loose connections can let carbon monoxide
leak into the vehicle. This can cause sleepiness. In large
amounts it can kill you.
Driving Tips
Drive smoothly and slowly on slippery roads. Don’t
hurry. If the roads are very slippery, don’t drive at all. Stop
at the first safe place.
Adjust turning and braking to road conditions. Make
turns as gently as possible. Don’t brake any harder than
necessary. Don’t use the engine brake or speed retarder
on slippery or wet roads. They can cause the driving
wheels to skid.
Adjust speed to conditions. Don’t pass slower vehicles
unless necessary. Go slow and watch far enough ahead to
keep a steady speed. Avoid slowing down and speeding
up. Take curves at slower speeds and don’t brake while
you’re in the curve.
Remember, as the temperature rises and the ice begins to
melt, the road becomes even more slippery.
Slow down.
Put your transmission in low gear. Engage the
clutch smoothly.
Put on the brakes gently. This presses the linings
against the brake drums or discs and keeps mud,
silt, sand and water out of your brakes.
Increase the engine RPM and cross the water
while keeping light pressure on your brakes.
Check engine belts and hoses. Check the belts for
tightness by pressing on the belts. Be sure coolant hoses
are in good condition. Loose belts or broken hoses can
lead to engine failure and fire.
While you’re driving, inspect the tires every two
hours or every 100 miles. Air pressure increases with
temperature. Do not let air out. If you let air out, the
pressure will be too low when the tires cool. If a tire is
too hot to touch, remain stopped until the tire cools.
Otherwise, the tire may blow out or catch on fire.
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. You can
also check the coolant level of a hot engine if a coolant
container is part of a pressurized system.
Drive slow enough to prevent overheating. High
speeds create more heat for tires and the engine. In
desert conditions, the heat may rise to a dangerous level.
The heat will increase the chance of tire failure, engine
failure and fire.
Mountain Driving
Gravity plays a major role in mountain driving. On upgrades,
gravity slows you down. The steeper and longer the grade, and
the heavier your load, the slower you will drive. When coming
down a downgrade, gravity increases the speed of your vehicle.
Try to plan ahead and get information about any steep grades
along your planned route.
Select a safe speed. Base your speed on the following:
As soon as you are out of the water, maintain light
pressure on the brakes for a short distance. This
will heat them and dry them out.
Make a test stop as soon as it is safe. If, the brakes
do not work well, drive for another short distance
with light pressure on the brakes. Don’t apply
too much pressure on the brakes or you may
overheat the brake drums and linings.
C O M M E R C I A L
Make sure you have plenty of engine oil and engine
coolant. Engine oil lubricates the engine and helps keep
it cool. Antifreeze helps the engine under hot conditions
and in cold conditions. While you are driving, check
the oil temperature gauge and the engine temperature
gauge. If these gauges show a temperature higher than
normal, stop driving as soon as safely possible. There
could be something wrong that could lead to engine
failure or fire.
Watch for bleeding tar. In hot weather, spots where tar
bleeds to the road surface are very slippery.
Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing water.
Water in your brakes can cause the brakes to be weak,
apply unevenly or to grab. This reduces braking power
and causes wheel lockups and pulling to one side. It
could cause a jackknife if you are pulling a trailer. If you
must drive through water, following these steps:
V I R G I N I A
Vehicle Checks
Driving Tips
Adjust space to road conditions. Don’t drive beside
other vehicles. Keep extra following distance. Watch
ahead for slowing or stopped traffic. Slow down
gradually.
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Hot Weather Driving
The weight of your vehicle and cargo
Length of the grade
Steepness of the grade
Road conditions
Weather conditions
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 1: General Knowledge
Never drive faster than the speed posted on
“Maximum Safe Speed” signs. Remember that the
speed posted on these signs could be too fast for a large
vehicle or for the weather conditions.
Pay attention to warning signs that tell the length and
steepness of the grade.
Use the braking effect of your engine to maintain
a safe speed. The braking effect of the engine is best
when the transmission is in a low gear. Save your brakes
so you can slow down or stop for traffic and road
conditions.
Shift the transmission to a lower gear before you
start down the grade. Don’t downshift after you’ve
gained speed. You won’t be able to shift into a lower
gear. You may not be able to get back into any gear. For
older trucks, use the same gear for going down a hill
that you would use to climb the hill. New trucks have
more powerful engines and can climb hills in higher
gears than older trucks. Therefore in newer trucks, use a
lower gear for going down a hill than you would use for
climbing the hill.
Be sure your brakes are adjusted before you begin
a trip through the mountains. If you use your brakes
too much, they will fade. Excessive heat causes the
brake drums to expand. As a result, the brake shoes
have to travel further and exert less stopping force. This
situation is made even worse if the brakes were not
properly adjusted to begin with. Remember, the more
you use your brakes, the more quickly they will get out
of adjustment.
Use the proper braking technique. Use your brakes on
a long, steep downgrade plus the braking power of your
engine. When your vehicle is in the proper low gear,
use this braking technique:
Apply the brakes just enough to feel a definite
slowdown.
Reduce your speed to 5 mph below your safe
speed. This should take about 3 seconds. Then,
release the brakes.
When your speed has increased to your safe
speed, repeat the first steps.
Know where the escape ramps are located on your
route. Escape ramps have been built on many steep
downgrades. They are made to stop runaway vehicles
without injuring drivers and passengers, and to avoid
damaging vehicles. Escape ramps use a long bed of
loose soft material to slow runaway vehicles. Use them
if you lost your brakes.
If your safe speed on a steep grade is 40 mph, don’t apply
your brakes until your speed reaches 40 mph. Apply your
brakes enough to reduce your speed to 35 mph. This
should take about 3 seconds. Release the brakes. Repeat
these steps until you reach the end of the downgrade.
V I R G I N I A
Railroad Crossing
Railroad crossings are always dangerous. Always look
both ways. Trains may come at any
time from either direction. Follow
these rules when crossing railroad
tracks.
Don’t try to race a train to the
crossing. It is very difficult to
judge the speed of a train.
Reduce your speed. Be sure
you can stop before you reach
the tracks if necessary.
Because of the noise in your cab, you won’t hear
the train horn until the train is very close.
Don’t rely on train warning signals or flagmen to let
you know of an approaching train.
Double tracks require more caution. A train on one
track may hide a train on the other track.
After one train has cleared the crossing, check
again. Be sure that no other train is coming before
you cross the tracks.
A railroad crossing with steep approaches can
cause your vehicle to hang up on the tracks. This
is most likely to happen to vehicles that have low
ground clearance, such as drop frame trailers
and car carriers. If you get hung up on a railroad
crossing, notify the police immediately so that
nearby trains can be stopped.
Be sure you can get all the way across the tracks
before you begin to cross.
Do not shift gears when crossing railroad tracks.
Vehicles equipped to carry passengers or hazardous
cargo must come to a complete stop at railroad
crossings. You must also stop if the lights are
flashing, the arms are down or you are directed to
stop by signs or the police.
Equipment Failures
Brake Failures
Brakes kept in good condition seldom fail. Most hydraulic
brake failures occur for two reasons: 1) loss of hydraulic
pressure or 2) 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.
Take the following steps:
Downshift. Putting your vehicle in a lower gear will help
slow the vehicle.
Pump the brakes. This will sometimes generate enough
hydraulic pressure to stop the vehicle.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Find an escape route. While slowing your vehicle, look
for an escape route—an open field, side street or escape
ramp.
Air Brake Fading or Failure
Excessive use of the service brakes causes overheating and
leads to brake fade. Excessive heat in the brakes causes
chemical changes in the 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. The force of contact between the shoes and drums
is also reduced. Overuse may increase brake fade until the
vehicle cannot be slowed or stopped at all.
Brakes that are out of adjustment may also cause brake fade.
To safely control the vehicle, every brake must do its share
of the work. Brakes out of adjustment stop doing their share
before brakes that are in adjustment. This causes the other
brakes to overheat and fade. Brakes can get out of adjustment
quickly, especially when they are hot. Therefore, brake
adjustment must be checked frequently.
Brake failure on downgrades. Driving slowly and braking
properly will almost always prevent brake fade on long
downgrades. Once the brakes fail, however, you must look
outside your vehicle for something to stop it.
Look for an escape route as soon as you know that your brakes
don’t work. The longer you wait, the more speed your vehicle
will gain and it will be harder to stop.
Tire Failure
The sooner that you know a tire has failed the more time you
will have to react. The major signs of a tire failure are:
Sound. A loud bang often indicates a blowout.
However, it may take several seconds for your vehicle
to react and you might think that the sound came from
another vehicle. Any time you hear a tire blow, assume
that it was one of your tires.
Vibration. If your vehicle thumps or vibrates, a tire may
have gone flat. With a rear tire, this may be the only sign
you get.
Feel. If the steering feels heavy, one of the front tires has
probably failed. Sometimes, failure of a rear tire causes
the vehicle to slide back and forth or fishtail. However,
dual rear tires usually prevent this.
C O M M E R C I A L
Stay off the brakes. Braking when a tire has failed could
cause you to lose control. Unless you are about to run
into something, stay off the brake until the vehicle has
slowed down. Then, brake gently and pull off the road.
Check the tires. Even if the vehicle seems to be handling
normally. Many times you won’t know that a dual tire is
flat unless you look at it.
Crashes
If you are in a crash and not seriously hurt, you need to take
three steps to prevent further damage or injury:
Protect the area.
Notify the authorities.
Care for the injured.
To prevent another crash this is the first thing you should do.
If you don’t see an escape ramp, take the least hazardous
escape route—an open field or a side road that flattens out or
turns up hill.
V I R G I N I A
Hold the steering wheel firmly. If a front tire fails, it can
twist the steering wheel out of your hand. Keep a firm
grip on the steering wheel with both hands at all times.
Protect the Area
Your best hope is an escape ramp. Ramps are usually located
a few miles from the top of a downgrade. Signs will be posted
telling you about it. Use the escape ramp if it is available.
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If a tire fails, take the following steps:
If your vehicle is involved in the crash, try to move it to
the side of the road. This will help prevent another crash.
If you are stopping to help at the scene of a crash, park
away from the crash. The area around the crash will be
needed by emergency vehicles.
Put on your flashers.
Set out reflective triangles to warn other traffic. Make
sure that other drivers will see them in time to avoid
another crash
Notify the Authorities
If you have a CB or cellular telephone, put out a call over the
emergency channel or dial 911 before you get out of your
vehicle. If not, wait until the crash scene has been protected,
then phone or send someone to phone the police. Remember
to determine where you are so you can give an accurate
location.
Care for the Injured
If a qualified person is helping the injured, stay out of the way
unless asked to assist. Otherwise, do the best you can to help
anyone who is injured.
Don’t move a severely injured person unless there is a
danger of fire or passing traffic makes it necessary.
Stop heavy bleeding by applying direct pressure to the
wound.
Keep the injured person warm.
D R I V E R ’ S
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Fires
Keep the fire from spreading before you try to put it
out.
Truck fires can cause damage and injury. Learn the causes of
fires and how to prevent them. Know what to do to extinguish
fires.
Causes of Fire
After accidents: spilled fuel, improper use of flares
Tire: under-inflated tires and dual tires that touch
Electrical system: short circuits due to damaged
insulation, loose connections
Fuel: driver smoking, improper fueling, loose fuel
connections
Cargo: flammable cargo, improperly sealed or loaded
cargo, poor ventilation
Fire Prevention
Pre-trip inspection: Make a complete inspection of the
electrical, fuel and exhaust systems, tires and cargo. Be
sure that your fire extinguisher is charged. Be sure that
you know how to use it.
Inspections while traveling: Check the tires and hubs
for signs of excessive heat whenever you stop during a
trip. Frequently check the instruments and gauges for
signs of overheating. Use your mirrors to look for signs of
smoke from the tires or other areas of the vehicle.
Safe procedures: Don’t get careless. Always follow
correct safety procedures for fueling the vehicle, using
brakes, handling flares and other activities that can cause
a fire.
Fire Fighting
Your life and the lives of others may depend on your ability to
fight a fire. Study the instructions printed on the extinguisher.
Know how your fire extinguisher works before you drive the
vehicle. If a fire occurs:
Pull off the road.
Park in an open area away from buildings, trees,
brush, other vehicles or anything that might catch
fire.
Don’t pull into a service station.
If your engine is on fire, turn off the engine
as soon as you can. Open the hood as little as
possible. Shoot the fire extinguisher through
louvers, the radiator grille or from the underside
of the vehicle.
If you have a cargo fire in a van or box trailer,
keep the doors shut, especially if your cargo
contains hazardous materials. Opening the doors
will supply the fire with oxygen and will cause it to
burn very fast.
Use the right fire extinguisher: By regulation, B:C
extinguishers are required on commercial vehicles, A:B:C
are an acceptable alternate.
B:C type extinguishers work on electrical fires
and burning liquids. Don’t use water on electrical
or gasoline fires.
A:B:C type extinguishers work on burning wood,
paper and cloth as well as burning liquid and
electrical fires.
Water can be used on wood, paper, cloth and
burning tires. Don’t use water on an electrical
fire (you could get shocked) or on a fire involving
petroleum products.
If you’re not sure what to use, especially if you
have a hazardous material fire, wait for qualified
fire fighters.
Extinguish the fire only if you know what you are doing
and it is safe to do so.
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.
Position yourself upwind. Let the wind carry the
extinguisher to the fire instead of carrying the
flames to you.
Be sure you have a path of retreat if you are
unable to control the fire.
Continue until whatever was burning has cooled.
If you don’t see any smoke or flames, don’t
assume that the fire is out. It could be smoldering
and it could restart.
Notify the police of your problem and location.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Hazardous Materials Rules for All Commercial Drivers
All drivers should know something about hazardous materials. You must be able to recognize hazardous materials and you
must know if you can haul it without having a hazardous materials endorsement on your commercial driver’s license.
Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to health, safety and property during transportation. The table below lists 9
hazard classes.
Class
Division
Name of Class or Division
Example
1.1
Explosives (Mass Detonation)
Dinitrophenol
1.2
Projections Hazards
Ammunition Smoke, White Phosphorus
1.3
Mass Fire Hazards
Article, Explosive No. 5
1.4
Minor Hazards
Fireworks
1.5
Very Insensitive
Blasting Agents Explosive, Blasting, Type E
1.6
Extremely Insensitive
Article, Explosive Extremely Insensitive
2.1
Flammable Gases
Propane
2.2
Non Flammable Gases
Helium, Compressed
2.3
Poisonous/Toxic Gases
Fluorine, Compressed
Flammable Liquids
Gasoline, Alcohol, Diesel Fuel, Fuel Oils
4.1
Flammable Solids
Ammonium Picrate, Wetted
4.2
Spontaneously Combustible
Phosphorus, White Dry
4.3
Dangerous When Wet
Sodium
5.1
Oxidizers
Ammonium Nitrate, Liquid
5.2
Organic Peroxides
Organic Peroxide Type, B Liquid
6.1
Poison (Toxic Material)
Potassium Cyanide
6.2
Infectious Substances
Diagnostic Specimen
7
Radioactive
Radioactive Material, Uranium Hexafloride
8
Corrosives
Sulfuric Acid
9
Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials
Airbag Inflaters, Asbestos
ORM-D (Other Regulated Material-Domestic)
Consumer Commodity
Combustible Liquid
Diesel Fuel, Fuel Oil
1
2
3
4
5
6
None
Combustible Liquid
You must follow the rules for transporting hazardous materials. These rules ensure safe drivers and equipment. They also tell
you how to contain a harardous material and how to communicate its risk.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
To Ensure Safe Drivers and Equipment
Definition: Placards are diamond-shaped signs put on
the outside of a vehicle to warn others. They identify the
hazard class of the cargo.
Drivers of placarded vehicles must have a commercial driver’s
license with the hazardous materials endorsement. Drivers
must learn how to safely load and transport hazardous
materials.
To get the endorsement, you must pass a written test
on Section 9 of this manual. If you transport hazardous
materials in a cargo tank with a gross vehicle weight rating
of 26,000 pounds or more, you will also need a tank vehicle
endorsement, Section 7.
Never drive a vehicle that needs placards unless you have
a hazardous materials endorsement. Transporting hazardous
materials without the proper placards is a crime. You will be
stopped, cited and you will not be allowed to drive your truck
further. It will cost you time and money.
Driving without the proper placards could also risk your
life and the lives of others. If you have a crash, emergency
workers will not know about your hazardous cargo.
Hazardous materials drivers must also know which products
they can load together. Section 9 of this manual covers these
regulations. Before loading a truck with more than one type
of product, you must know if it is safe. If you do not know, ask
your employer.
To Contain a Hazardous Material
Many hazardous materials can injure or kill on contact.
Federal regulations tell shippers how to package these
materials safely. This protects drivers and others from contact
with the hazardous materials. Other regulations tell drivers
how to load, transport and unload bulk tanks. These are
called containment rules.
To Communicate the Risk
The shipper uses a shipping paper, package labels and
placards to warn dock workers and drivers of the presence
of hazardous materials, the hazard class and the specific
hazardous material.
The shipping paper describes the hazardous material being
transported. Shipping orders, bills of lading and manifests are
examples of shipping papers.
After an accident or hazardous material spill or leak, you may
be injured and unable to tell others about your hazardous
cargo. Fire fighters and police can prevent or reduce the
V I R G I N I A
amount of damage and injury if they know what hazardous
materials you are carrying. Your life and the lives of others
could depend on quickly locating hazardous materials
shipping papers. For this reason, you must tab shipping papers
related to hazardous materials or keep them on top of other
shipping papers.
You must keep shipping papers:
In a pouch on the driver’s door, or
In clear view and within reach while driving, or
On the driver’s seat when you are out of the vehicle.
Shipping labels are four-inch, diamond-shaped warning
labels and are placed on hazardous materials packages.
These labels inform others of the hazard. If the diamond label
won’t fit on the container, shippers put the label on a tag. For
example, compressed gas cylinders that will not hold a label
will have tags or decals.
Placards are 10 ¾ inches on each side and are diamondshaped. Cargo tanks and other bulk packaging display the
I.D. number of their contents on placards or orange panels.
A placarded vehicle must have at least 4 identical placards.
They are placed on the front, rear and both sides of the
vehicle.
Not all vehicles that carry hazardous materials need placards.
The regulations about placards are given in Section 9 of
this manual. You can drive a vehicle carrying hazardous
materials if it does not require placards. If it requires placards,
you may not drive it unless you have a hazardous material
endorsement on your commercial driver’s license.
Staying Alert and Fit to Drive
Driving a commercial vehicle requires skill, education and
physical fitness. Driving for long hours is tiring and even
the best drivers will become less alert. You can cope with
fatigue and maximize your alertness by following the federal
regulations on hours of service and off duty time. You can also
combat fatigue and maximize your alertness by maintaining a
healthy lifestyle.
Federal Regulations on Hours of Service and
Off-Duty Time
In an effort to control driver fatigue, the federal government
established regulations governing hours of service and
required off-duty time. These regulations specify driving
time, off-duty time and prohibit driving after you have been
on-duty in excess of specified amounts of time. Refer to
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for specific
requirements.
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Staying Alert
Drinking and Driving
Get enough rest. When you go off duty, your first
concern should be to get enough rest so that you will
have the 7 to 8 hours sleep that every person needs.
After you have gotten your sleep and you have been
awake and alert for more than 8 hours without being
notified of your next assignment, take a short nap so
you will be alert when you return to work. Remember,
sleep is the only way to overcome fatigue.
Schedule your trips safely. Ideally, you should try to
schedule trips for the hours when you are normally
awake. However, many motor carriers operate around
the clock. Therefore, you must be prepared to drive
safely during irregular work times.
Rest during your off-duty times. Everyone is affected
by the circadian rhythm. This is the name of the 24hour cycle of alertness and sleep that affects everyone.
Normally, most people have low points of alertness
from 2 to 6 a.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. If you are already
tired, your risk of falling asleep during these periods
is greatly increased. That’s why it’s important to get
as much rest as possible during your off-duty hours.
Remember, many heavy vehicle crashes occur between
midnight and 6 a.m.
Every year, roughly 19,000 people are killed because of
drivers who have been drinking. About one-half of all fatal
crashes involve drinking drivers. Be sure that you know
the facts.
False
True
A few drinks will improve your
driving.
Alcohol is a drug that will make
you less alert and reduce your
ability to drive safely.
Some people can drink a lot
and not feel the effects.
Everyone who drinks alcohol is
affected. Just one drink affects
your ability to drive safely.
If you eat a lot, you won’t get as
drunk.
Food will not keep you from
getting drunk.
Coffee and fresh air will help
you get sober.
Only time will help you get
sober. Other methods don’t
work.
Stick with beer. It’s not as strong A 12-ounce glass of beer, a fiveas wine or whiskey.
ounce glass of wine and a shot
of liquor have the same amount
of alcohol.
Take a nap. If you get sleepy, a short nap will do more
for you than a cup of coffee. Find a safe place to pull
over and stop. Remember, parking on the shoulder of
an interstate or other main highway is dangerous and is
not permitted except in an emergency. Napping is not
considered an emergency. Find a rest area, truck stop or
a safe place along a nearby road.
Just one alcoholic drink can affect your driving ability.
Even a small amount of alcohol affects the brain. Alcohol
first affects the part of the brain that controls judgment and
self-control. This can keep you from knowing when you are
getting drunk. Alcohol affects your judgment and driving
ability. Your chances of being in a crash are seven times
greater if you drive after drinking than if you drive sober.
Avoid drugs. No drugs can help you overcome being
tired. Stimulants may keep you awake for a while; but,
they won’t make you alert. When they wear off, you’ll
be even more tired than if you had never taken them.
Sleep is the only way to overcome fatigue.
Alcohol also affects coordination, reaction time and vision.
Ninety percent of the information used in driving comes
from seeing. Alcohol relaxes the eye muscles. As a result, you
cannot focus properly. Any restriction in vision could cause
you to crash.
Avoid medication. Many medications can make you
sleepy. These medications usually have a label or folder
that warns against operating vehicles or machinery
while taking them. Cold pills are one of the most
common medicines that will make you sleepy. If you
must drive with a cold, you are better off suffering from
the cold than from the effects of the medicine.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in your
body. BAC depends on the amount of alcohol consumed,
the time spent drinking and your body weight. The more you
drink, the higher your BAC will be and the more affected your
driving will become.
Keep cool. A hot, poorly ventilated cab can make you
sleepy. Keep the window or vent cracked, or use the air
conditioner.
Take a break. Stay alert by stopping for a short break
every 2 to 3 hours. Walk around and give your vehicle a
safety check.
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C O M M E R C I A L
It takes at least an hour for the blood stream to rid itself of
one ounce of alcohol. Only time can get rid of the effects of
alcohol. Coffee, cold showers or exercise will not make you
sober.
Mixing alcohol with other drugs usually multiplies the
effects of both. Having one drink and taking an aspirin or
simple cold pill could have the same effect as several drinks.
D R I V E R ’ S
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Section 1: General Knowledge
Almost any drug can reduce your ability to drive safely.
It’s not just illegal drugs that cause problems. Many over-thecounter drugs and prescription drugs can cause sleepiness and
dizziness. These drugs often affect your alertness and reaction
time.
Read the label before taking any drug or medicine. Look for
warnings about the side effects. If you are uncertain about the
effects of a drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Section 2:
Air Brakes
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Laws prohibit possession and use of many drugs while
you are on duty. It’s illegal to be under the influence of any
controlled substance, narcotic or other substance that can
make a driver unsafe. This includes prescription and over-thecounter drugs that may make you sleepy or affect your driving
ability. Possession and use of a drug is legal if your doctor tells
you that the drug will not affect your driving ability.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
Federal regulations require that drivers who operate a
commercial motor vehicle and hold a CDL, be tested for
misuse of alcohol and the use of controlled substances
such as amphetamines, marijuana, opiates, PCP and
cocaine.
Testing for misuse of alcohol:
on a random basis;
for a reasonable suspicion of misuse;
If you plan
to drive a truck or bus with air brakes,
you need to study this section. If you plan to pull a trailer
with air brakes, you must study this section and Section 3:
Combination Vehicles.
Air brakes use compressed air to make the brakes work. Air
brakes stop large and heavy vehicles safely; but the brakes
must be maintained and used correctly.
following a crash, and
when returning to duty.
You may be tested for controlled substances:
prior to employment;
Air brakes are three different braking systems: service brake,
parking brake and emergency brake systems.
The service brake system applies and releases the
brakes when you use the brake pedal during normal
driving.
on a random basis;
for reasonable suspicion of use;
following a crash, and
The parking brake system applies and releases the
parking brakes when you use the parking brake control.
when returning to duty.
Promptly follow your employer’s instructions for alcohol
and drug testing.
Violation of the regulations for alcohol and drug use and
testing can jeopardize your career as a commercial driver.
The emergency brake system uses parts of the service
and parking brake systems to stop the vehicle if the
service brake system fails.
Air Brake System Parts
Air compressor pumps air into the air storage tanks
(reservoirs). It is connected to the engine through
gears or a v-belt. The compressor may be air cooled or
cooled by the engine cooling system. It may have its
own oil supply or it may be lubricated by engine oil.
If the compressor has its own oil supply, check the oil
level during the pre-trip inspection.
Air compressor governor controls when the air
compressor pumps air into the air storage tanks. When
air tank pressure rises to the cut-out level (around 125
pounds per square inch—psi), the governor stops the
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Section 2: Air Brakes
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.
Air storage tanks hold compressed air. The number
and size of the 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.
Air tank drains allow you to drain water and
compressor oil that may accumulate in the tanks. Water
and oil tend to collect in the bottom of the air tank
and are bad for the air brake system. The tank must be
drained completely to remove all moisture. Otherwise,
water can freeze in cold weather and cause brake
failure. Each air tank is equipped with a drain valve
in the bottom. Be sure to drain the tanks completely.
There are two types of drain valves:
Releasing the brakes lets compressed air out of the
system and reduces air pressure in the tanks. The air
pressure must be made up by the air compressor.
Pressing and releasing the pedal unnecessarily can let
out air faster than the compressor can replace it. If the
pressure gets too low, the brakes may lock up.
Foundation brakes are used at each wheel. The most
common type is the S-cam drum brake. Refer to the
diagram.
Manual valves which are operated by turning a
quarter turn or by pulling a cable. Refer to the
diagram below. You must drain the tank yourself
at the end of each day of driving.
Automatic valves automatically drain water and
oil. They may also be drained manually.
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 amount of heat that 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.
Alcohol evaporator puts alcohol into the air system.
This helps reduce the risk of ice in air brake valves and
other parts during cold weather. Ice inside the system
can cause brake failure.
Check the alcohol container every day in cold weather and fill
it as necessary. You must also drain the air tank every day to
get rid of water and oil unless the system has automatic drain
valves.
Safety valve is installed in the first tank that 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 system
fixed by a mechanic.
Brake pedal applies air pressure and puts on the
brakes. Pushing the pedal down harder applies more
pressure. Letting it up reduces the air pressure and
releases the brakes.
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Supply pressure gauges tell you how much pressure
is in the air tanks. These gauges are on all air-braked
vehicles.
Application pressure gauge shows how much air
pressure you are applying to the brakes. This gauge is
not on all vehicles. If the application pressure decreases
when you are holding the same speed, it means that
the brakes are fading. Slow down and use a lower gear.
The need for increased pressure can also be caused
by brakes that are out of adjustment, air leaks or
mechanical problems.
Low air pressure warning comes on before the air
pressure in the tanks falls below 60 psi. This warning
signal is required on all vehicles with air brakes. The
warning is usually a red light. In some vehicles, a buzzer
may also come on.
Another type of warning is the wig-wag. This device
drops a mechanical arm into your view when the
pressure in the system drops below 60 psi. An
automatic wig-wag will rise out of your view when the
pressure goes above 60 psi.
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Section 2: Air Brakes
On large buses, the low pressure warning signal often
comes on at 80-85 psi.
Stop light switch turns on the brake lights when you
put on the air brakes.
Front brake limiting valves were used in vehicles made
before 1975 to reduce the chance of the front wheels
skidding on slippery surfaces. Actually, the limiting
valves reduce the stopping power of the vehicle. The
control is usually marked “normal” and “slippery.”
When you put the control in the slippery position, the
limiting valve cuts the air pressure to the front brakes by
half.
Front wheel braking is good under all conditions. Tests
have shown that front wheel skids from braking are
not likely even on ice. Make sure the control is in the
normal position so that you will have normal stopping
power.
Many vehicles have automatic front wheel limiting
valves. These valves reduce air to the front brakes
except when the brakes are put on very hard (60 psi
or more application pressure). These valves cannot be
controlled by the driver.
Spring brakes are used for emergency and parking
brakes. Emergency and parking brakes must be held by
a mechanical force because air pressure can leak away.
When driving, powerful springs are held back by air
pressure. If the air pressure is removed, the springs put
on the brakes. A parking brake control in the cab allows
the driver to let the air out of the spring brakes. This lets
the springs put on the brakes. A leak in the air brake
system which causes all air to be lost will also cause the
springs to put on the brakes.
Tractor and straight truck spring brakes will come on
fully when air pressure drops to a range of 20 to 40 psi.
Do not wait for the brakes to come on automatically.
When the low air pressure warning light and buzzer
first come on, bring the vehicle to a safe stop 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 right, the regular brakes and
the emergency/parking brakes will not work correctly.
Parking brake controls. In newer vehicles with air
brakes, you put on the parking brakes with a diamond
shaped, yellow, push-pull control knob. You pull the
knob out to put on the parking brakes (spring brakes)
and you push the knob in to release them. On older
vehicles, parking brakes may be controlled by a lever.
Never push down the brake pedal when the spring
brakes are on. The brakes could be damaged by the
combined force of the springs and air pressure.
Modulating control valves may be used to apply
the spring brakes gradually. A control handle on the
dashboard is spring loaded so you have a feel for the
braking action. The more you move the control lever,
V I R G I N I A
the harder the brakes come on. This allows you to
control the spring brakes if the service brakes fail. When
parking a vehicle with a modulating control valve, move
the lever as far as it will go and hold it in place with the
locking device.
Dual parking control valves. If the main air pressure is
lost, the springs brakes come on. Some vehicles, such
as buses, have a separate air tank which can be used to
release the spring brakes. This allows you to move the
vehicle in an emergency.
One of the valves is a push-pull type and puts 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. So, plan carefully when moving.
Use the parking brakes whenever you park.
Dual Air Brake Systems
Most newer 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 controls. Each system has
its own air tank, hoses, lines, etc. One system operates the
regular brakes on the rear axle or axles. The other system
operates the regular brakes on the front axle and possibly
one rear axle. Both systems supply air to the trailer if there is
one. The first system is called the primary system. The other is
called the secondary system.
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 warning light and buzzer.
The warning light and buzzer should shut off when
air pressure in both systems rises to a value set by the
manufacturer. This value must be greater than 60 psi.
The warning light and buzzer should come on before
the air pressure drops below 60 psi in either system.
If this happens, stop driving right away and park the
vehicle.
If one air system is low on pressure, either the front or
rear brakes will not operate fully. This means it will take
you longer to stop. Bring the vehicle to a safe stop and
have the air brake system fixed.
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Section 2: Air Brakes
Inspecting Air Brake Systems
If the warning signal doesn’t work, you could
lose air pressure without knowing it. This
could cause sudden emergency braking.
In dual systems, the stopping distance will
be increased. Only limited breaking can be
done before the spring brakes come on.
Use inspection method described in Section 1 to inspect
your vehicle. However, remember that there are more things
to inspect on a vehicle with air brakes than on one without
them.
Be sure that spring brakes come on automatically.
Engine Compartment Check
Chock the wheels, release the parking brakes
when you have enough air pressure and shut
off the engine.
Check the air compressor drive belt if the
compressor is belt driven. Check the condition
and tightness of the belt.
Step on and off the brake pedal to reduce
the air tank pressure.
Walk-Around Inspection
Check the manual slack adjusters on the S-Cam
brakes.
The parking brake knob should pop
out when the air pressure falls to the
manufacturer’s specification (usually
between 20 and 40 psi). This causes the
spring brakes to come on.
Park on level ground and chock the wheels.
Turn off the parking brakes so you can move the
slack adjusters.
Use gloves and pull hard on each slack adjuster
that you can reach.
Check the rate of air pressure build-up.
When the engine is at operating RPM
(check the manufacturer’s specifications to
determine the correct operating RPM), the
pressure should build from 85 to 100 psi
within 45 seconds in dual air systems.
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 hard to stop. Outof-adjustment brakes are the most common
problem found in roadside inspections.
If the vehicle has larger than minimum air
tanks, the buildup time can be longer. Check
the manufacturer’s specifications.
Check the brake drums (or discs), linings and
hoses.
In single air systems (built before 1975),
pressure typically builds from 50 to 90 psi
within 3 minutes with the engine at an idle
speed of 600-900 RPM.
Brake drums or discs cannot have cracks longer
than half the width of the friction area.
If air pressure does not build fast enough,
your pressure may drop too low during
driving. This will require an emergency stop.
Don’t drive until you get the problem fixed.
Linings (friction material) cannot be loose,
soaked with oil or grease. They cannot be
dangerously thin.
Mechanical parts must be in place and should
not be broken or missing.
Test the air leakage rate.
When the air system is fully charged
(between 120 and 125 psi), turn off the
engine, release the service brake and time
the air pressure drop. The loss rate should
be less than 2 psi in one minute for single
vehicles. It should be less than 3 psi in one
minute for combination vehicles.
Check the air hoses connected to the brake
chambers to make sure they are not cut or worn
due to rubbing.
Check the Air Brake System.
Checking the air brake system is different from the
hydraulic brake check shown in Section 1: General
Knowledge.
Shut off the engine when you have enough
air pressure so that the low pressure warning
signal is off.
Apply 90 psi or more with the brake pedal.
After the initial pressure drop, if air pressure
falls more than 3 psi in one minute for single
vehicles (4 psi for combination vehicles), the
air loss rate is too high.
Turn on the electrical power and step on
and off the brake pedal to reduce air tank
pressure.
Check for air leaks and fix them before
driving or you could lose your brakes while
driving.
Test the low pressure warning signal.
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).
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V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Check the air compressor governor cut-in and
cut-out pressures.
D R I V E R ’ S
Air compressor pumping should start at
about 100 psi and stop at about 125 psi.
Check the manufacturer’s specifications.
M A N U A L
Section 2: Air Brakes
Run the engine at a fast idle. The air
governor should cut out the air compressor
at the manufacturer’s specified pressure. The
air pressure shown by your gauge(s) will stop
rising.
With the engine idling, step on and off
the brake to reduce the air tank pressure.
The compressor should cut in at 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 repaired.
A governor that does not work correctly
may not keep enough air pressure for safe
driving.
Test the parking brake.
Stop the vehicle, put on the parking brake.
Put the vehicle in low gear and gently
release the clutch until you feel the vehicle
pulling against the brake. The vehicle should
not move.
Test the service brakes.
Wait for normal air pressure to build, release
the parking brake, move the vehicle forward
slowly (about 5 mph) and apply the brakes
firmly using the brake pedal.
Watch to see if the vehicle pulls to one side,
feels unusual or stops slowly.
This test can show you problems which you
would not know about until you used the
brakes on the road.
Using Air Brakes
Braking On Downgrades
On a long and steep downgrade, use your brakes only as a
supplement to the braking effect of the engine.
Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a slowdown.
When your speed is approximately 5 mph below your
safe speed, release the brakes.
When your speed has increased to your safe speed,
repeat steps 1 and 2.
Repeat these steps until you reach the end of the
downgrade.
Stopping Distance
Air brakes increase your stopping distance. Hydraulic brakes
(used on cars and light/medium trucks) work instantly. Air
brakes take half second or more for the air to flow through
the lines to the brakes. Thus vehicles with air brakes require
more stopping distance than vehicles with hydraulic brakes.
Stopping distance for vehicles with air brakes is made up of
four different factors:
Perception distance – the distance your vehicle travels
from the time your eyes see a hazard until your brain
recognizes it.
Reaction distance – the distance your vehicle travels
from the time your brain tells your foot to move from
the accelerator until the time your foot pushes the
brake.
Brake lag distance – the distance your vehicle travels
from the time your foot pushes the air brake until the
brake takes hold.
Braking distance – the distance your vehicle travels
between the time the brakes take hold and the vehicle
stops.
Control the pressure so that the vehicle comes to a
smooth, safe stop;
The air brake lag distance at 55 mph on dry pavement adds
about 32 feet. At 55 mph with good traction and braking
conditions, the total stopping distance for a vehicle with air
brakes is more than 313 feet. That’s longer than a football
field.
If you have a manual transmission, don’t push in the
clutch until the engine RPM is down close to idle;
Brake Fading or Failure
To Brake Normally
Push down the brake pedal;
When stopped, select a starting gear.
To Brake in an Emergency
Brake so that you keep your vehicle in a straight line.
This will allow you to turn if it becomes necessary. Use
the controlled braking or stab braking method described
in Section 1: General Knowledge.
V I R G I N I A
Excessive use of the service brakes causes overheating and
leads to brake fade. Excessive heat in the brakes causes
chemical changes in the lining which reduces friction and
causes the brake drums to expand. As the overheated drums
expand, the brake shoes and linings have to move farther to
contact the drums. The force of contact between the shoes
and drums is also reduced. Overuse may increase brake fade
until the vehicle cannot be slowed or stopped at all.
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Section 2: Air Brakes
Brakes that are out of adjustment may also cause brake fade.
To safely control the vehicle, every brake must do its share
of the work. Brakes out of adjustment stop doing their share
before brakes that are in adjustment. This causes the other
brakes to overheat and fade. Brakes can get out of adjustment
quickly especially when they are hot. Therefore, brake
adjustment must be checked frequently.
Section 3:
Combination Vehicles
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Low Air Pressure
If the low pressure warning comes on, stop and safely park
your vehicle as soon as possible. You could have an air
leak in the system. Controlled braking is possible only while
enough air remains in the air tanks. Once air pressure drops
between 20 and 40 psi, the spring brakes will come on.
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. Therefore, it is
much safer to stop while there is enough air in the tanks to
use the foot brakes.
Parking Brakes
Study this section if you plan to drive combination
Use the parking brakes any time that you park except:
if the brakes are very hot (from having just come down
a steep grade); or
if the brakes are very wet in freezing temperatures.
vehicles (tractor-trailers, doubles, triples or a straight truck
with a trailer). The information in this section gives you the
minimum knowledge that you need to drive combination
vehicles. Study Section 4: Doubles and Triples if you plan to
drive these vehicles.
If the brakes are hot, they could be damaged by the heat. Let
the brakes cool before using the parking brakes. Use wheel
chocks to hold the vehicle.
Combination Vehicle Air Brakes
If the brakes are wet and the temperatures are freezing, they
can freeze so that the vehicle cannot move. Use the brakes
lightly while driving in a low gear to heat and dry them. Or,
use wheel chocks to hold the vehicle.
Study Section 2: Air Brakes before you read this section. In
combination vehicles, the braking system has parts to control
the trailer brakes. This section describes the parts that control
the trailer brakes.
Never leave your vehicle unattended without applying
the parking brakes or chocking the wheels. The vehicle
could roll, causing injury and damage.
Trailer Hand Valve
The trailer hand valve is also called the trolley valve or
Johnson bar. It only operates the trailer brakes. Not all
towing vehicles (trucks or tractors) have trailer hand
valves.
Use the hand valve to test the brakes. Do not use it
when driving because it could make the trailer skid.
When you are driving, use the foot brake. The foot
brake sends air to all brakes on the vehicle, including
the trailer(s).
Never use the hand valve for parking. All the air might
leak out and unlock the brakes in trailers that don’t have
spring brakes. This would allow the vehicle to roll away.
Always use the parking brakes when parking. If the
trailer does not have spring brakes, use wheel chocks to
keep the trailer from moving.
Turn off the tractor engine and put the transmission in
the lowest forward gear or reverse for parking.
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Section 3: Combination Vehicles
Tractor Protection Valve
If the trailer breaks away or develops a bad leak, the
tractor protection valve closes and keeps air in the
tractor or truck.
The tractor protection valve is controlled by the trailer
air supply control in the cab.
The trailer air supply 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 40 psi)
When the tractor protection valve closes, it stops air
from going out of the tractor. It also lets air out of the
trailer emergency line. This causes the trailer emergency
brakes to come on.
Trailer Air Supply Control
On newer vehicles, the trailer air supply control is a red
8-sided knob. You use this knob to control the tractor
protection valve.
Push it in to supply air to the trailer. Pull it out to shut
off the air and put on the trailer emergency brakes.
If air pressure drops into the range of 20 to 40 psi, the
valve will pop out and close the tractor protection valve.
On older vehicles, tractor protection valve controls or
emergency valves may not operate automatically.
You may have a lever rather than a knob.
Use the normal position for pulling the trailer.
Use the emergency position to shut off air and put on
the trailer emergency brakes.
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.
The service line is also called the control line or signal
line. It carries air which is controlled by the foot brake
or the trailer hand brake.
Pressure in the service line changes depending on how
hard you press the foot brake or hand valve.
The service line is connected to relay valves. These
valves allow the trailer brakes to be applied more
quickly.
The emergency line is also called the supply line. It has
two purposes;
First, it supplies air to the trailer air tanks;
Second, it controls the emergency brakes on
combination vehicles.
Loss of air pressure in the emergency line causes
the trailer brakes to come on. Loss of pressure
V I R G I N I A
could be caused by the trailer braking loose and
tearing apart the emergency air hose. It could
also be caused by a hose, metal tubing or other
part which breaks and lets out the air.
When the emergency line loses pressure, it also
causes the tractor protection valve to close.
When this happens, the air supply knob will pop
out.
Emergency lines are often coded with the color
red—red hose, red couplers. This keeps them
from getting mixed up with the blue service line.
Hose Couplers or Glad Hands
Glad hands are coupling devices. They connect the
service and emergency air lines from the truck or tractor
to the trailer.
Couplers have a rubber seal which prevents air from
escaping.
Clean the couplers and rubber seals before connecting
the lines.
When you connect 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.
Some vehicles have dead end or dummy couplers.
Attach hoses to these when they are not in use. This
prevents water and dirt from getting into the coupler
and the air lines. If the vehicle does not have dummy
couplers, the glad hands can sometimes be locked
together.
When coupling, make sure that you couple the right
glad hands together. To help avoid mistakes, some
vehicles have color-coded hoses and couplers. Blue
is used for the service lines and red is used for the
emergency (supply) lines. Sometimes metal tags with
the words “service” and “emergency” are attached to
the lines.
If you cross the air lines, supply air will be sent to the
service line and will not 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 would not have trailer brakes. This is very
dangerous.
Always test the trailer brakes before driving. Use
the hand valve or pull the air supply control (tractor
protection valve control). Pull gently against the trailer
in a low gear to make sure the brakes work.
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Section 3: Combination Vehicles
Trailer Air Tanks
A major leak in the emergency line will cause
the tractor protection valve to close and the trailer
emergency brakes to come on.
Each trailer and converter dolly has one or more air
tanks.
These air tanks are filled by the emergency (supply)
line from the tractor.
The tanks provide the air pressure used to operate the
trailer brakes.
Air pressure is sent from the air tanks to the brakes by
the relay valves.
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.
Don’t let water and oil build up in the air tanks. If you
do, the brakes may not work.
Each tank has a drain valve on it. Drain each tank every
day.
If your tanks have automatic drains, they will keep the
moisture out. But open the drains to make sure.
Shut-off Valves
Shut-off valves are also called cut-out cocks. They are
used in the service and emergency air lines at the back
of trailers that tow other trailers.
You may not notice a leak in the service line until
you 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.
Inspecting a Combination Vehicle
Use the inspection procedure described in Section 1: General
Knowledge to inspect your combination vehicle. You will also
have some new things to check. Make the following checks in
addition to the ones already listed in Section 1.
Coupling System and Landing Gear
Check the lower fifth wheel.
Mounting to the frame should be secure.
Check to be sure there are no missing or
damaged parts.
Be sure there is enough grease (if the trailer is not
hooked up).
You should not see space between the upper and
lower fifth wheel.
These valves let you close the air lines when another
trailer is not being towed.
Locking jaws should be around the shank, not
the head of the kingpin.
Check that all shut-off valves are in the open position
except the ones at the back of the last trailer. The valves
at the back of the last trailer must be closed.
The release arm should be properly seated and
the safety latch/lock engaged.
Trailer Service, Parking and Emergency Brakes
New trailers have spring brakes just like trucks and
truck tractors.
Be sure the glide plate is securely mounted to
the trailer frame.
Be sure that the kingpin is not damaged.
Check the sliding fifth wheel.
Converter dollies and trailers built before 1975 are
not required to have spring brakes.
There should not be any damaged or missing
parts.
Trailers that do not have spring brakes have
emergency brakes which work from the air
stored in the trailer air tank.
It should be properly greased.
The emergency brakes come on whenever air
pressure in the emergency line is lost.
If air powered, there should be no air leaks.
All locking pins should be present and locked in
place.
These trailers do not have a parking brake.
The emergency brakes come on whenever the
air supply knob is pulled out or the trailer is
disconnected. But, the brakes will not hold if
there is not sufficient air pressure in the trailer air
tank.
Eventually, the air will leak away and there will
be no brake.
Therefore, always use wheel chocks when you
park trailers without spring brakes.
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Check the upper fifth wheel.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Check that the fifth wheel is not so far forward
that the tractor frame will hit the landing gear or
that the cab will hit the trailer during turns.
Check the air and electric lines to the trailer.
Be sure that the electrical cord is plugged in and
secured.
Air lines should be properly connected to the
gland hands. You should not have air leaks. Air
lines should be secured with enough slack for
turns.
All lines should be free from damage.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 3: Combination Vehicles
Test the trailer emergency brakes.
Check the landing gear.
Be sure that the landing gear is fully raised. Check
for missing, bent or damaged parts.
Charge the trailer air brake system and check that
the trailer rolls freely.
Make sure the crank handle is in place and
secured.
Stop and pull out the trailer air supply control
(tractor protection valve control or trailer
emergency valve) or place it in the emergency
position.
If the landing gear is power operated, make sure
that there are no air or hydraulic leaks.
Air Brakes
Make these checks in addition to the pre-trip checks that
you make for your air brakes. Check the airbrakes on a
double or triple trailer the same way you check them for any
combination vehicle.
Be sure air flows to all trailers.
Use the tractor parking brake or chock the wheels
to hold the vehicle.
Wait for the air pressure to reach normal, then
push the red trailer air supply knob. This will send
air to the emergency (supply) lines.
Use the trailer handbrake to send air to the
service line.
Go to the back of the last trailer. You should hear
air escaping. This shows that the entire system is
charged.
Close the emergency line valve.
Be sure that either the trailer handbrake or the
service brake pedal is on. Open the service line
valve to check that service pressure goes through
all trailers. Then, close the valve. If you do not
hear air escaping from both lines, be sure that
the shut-off valves on the trailer(s) and dolly(s) are
open. You must have air all the way to the back
for all the brakes to work.
Test the trailer service brakes.
Check for normal air pressure.
Release the parking brakes and move the vehicle
forward slowly.
Apply trailer brakes with the hand control (trolley
valve).
You should feel the brakes come on. This tells
you that the trailer brakes are connected and
working.
Note: The trailer brakes should be tested with the hand valve.
In normal operation, however, control the trailer brakes with
the foot pedal. The foot pedal applies air to the service brakes
at all wheels.
Coupling and Uncoupling
Combination Vehicles
Coupling and uncoupling is basic to the safe operation of
combination vehicles. Wrong coupling and uncoupling can
be dangerous. The makes and models of rigs are different. So,
learn the details of coupling and uncoupling for the trucks that
you will operate.
Coupling Tractor-Semitrailers
Test the tractor protection valve.
Charge the trailer air brake system. Build up
normal air pressure and push in the air supply
knob.
Turn off the engine.
Step on the brake pedal several times to reduce
air pressure in the tanks.
When the air pressure falls into the pressure
range specified by the manufacturer (usually
within the range of 20 to 40 psi), the trailer air
supply control should pop out or go from the
normal position to the emergency position. The
trailer air supply control may also be called the
tractor protection valve control.
If the tractor protection valve doesn’t work
correctly, an air hose or trailer brake leak could
drain all the air from the tractor. This would cause
the emergency brakes to come on and you could
lose control.
V I R G I N I A
Pull the trailer gently with the tractor to be sure
that the trailer emergency brakes are on.
Inspect the fifth wheel.
Check for damaged or missing parts.
Check to see that the mounting to the tractor
is secure. Make sure there are no cracks in the
frame.
Be sure that the fifth wheel plate is greased.
Failure to keep the fifth wheel plate greased
could cause steering problems because of friction
between the tractor and trailer.
Make sure the fifth wheel is in the proper position
for coupling:
The wheel should be tilted down toward the
rear of the tractor.
The jaws should be open.
The safety unlocking handle should be in the
automatic lock position.
If you have a sliding fifth wheel, make sure it is
locked.
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Section 3: Combination Vehicles
applied and released. You should hear the
brakes move when applied and air escape
when the brakes are released.
Make sure that the trailer kingpin is not bent or
broken.
Inspect the area and chock the wheels.
Check the air brake system pressure gauge for
signs of major air loss.
Make sure the area around the vehicle is clear.
Be sure the trailer wheels are chocked or the
spring brakes are on.
When you are sure the trailer brakes are working,
start the engine.
Be sure that cargo is secured so that it will not
move while the tractor is being coupled to the
trailer.
Make sure the air pressure is up to normal.
Lock the trailer brakes.
Position the tractor.
Put the tractor directly in front of the trailer. Never
back under the trailer at an angle. You might push
the trailer sideways and break the landing gear.
Use your mirrors to check your position by
looking down both sides of the trailer.
Back the tractor slowly under the trailer to avoid
hitting the kingpin too hard.
Back until the fifth wheel touches the trailer.
Stop when the kingpin locks into the fifth wheel.
Don’t hit the trailer.
Check the connection for security.
Raise the trailer landing gear slightly off the
ground.
Secure the tractor.
Put on the parking brake.
Put the transmission in neutral.
Check the trailer height.
The trailer should be low enough that it is raised
slightly by the tractor when you back the tractor
under it.
Raise or lower the trailer as needed. If the trailer
is too low, the tractor may strike and damage the
nose of the trailer. If the trailer is too high, it may
not couple correctly. This can result in damage
to the back of the cab and could require heavy
equipment to move the tractor from the trailer.
Connect the air lines to the trailer.
Check the glad hand seals and connect the tractor
emergency air line to the trailer emergency glad
hand.
Check the glad hand seals and connect the tractor
service air line to the trailer service glad hand.
Make sure the air lines are safely supported so
that they won’t be crushed or caught while you
back the tractor under the trailer.
Supply air to the trailer.
From the cab, push in the trailer air supply knob
or move the tractor protection valve control from
the emergency to the normal position. This will
supply air to the trailer brake system.
Wait until the air pressure is normal.
Check the brake system for crossed air lines.
Shut off the engine so you can hear the
brakes.
Apply and release the trailer brakes and
listen for the sound of the trailer brakes being
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Back under the trailer.
Use the lowest reverse gear.
Back slowly.
48 |
Pull out the trailer air supply knob or move
the tractor protection valve from normal to
emergency.
Pull the tractor gently forward while the trailer
brakes are locked to be sure that the trailer is
locked onto the tractor.
Secure the vehicle.
Put the transmission in neutral.
Put on the parking brakes.
Shut off the engine. Take the key with you so
someone else won’t move the truck while you are
under it.
Inspect the coupling.
Use a flashlight if necessary.
Make sure that there is no space between the
upper and lower fifth wheel. If there is space,
something is wrong. The kingpin may be on top
of closed fifth wheel jaws and the trailer would
come loose very easily.
Go under
the trailer
and look
into the
back of the
fifth wheel.
Make sure
the fifth
wheel jaws
have closed
around the
shank of
the kingpin.
Refer to the
diagram.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 3: Combination Vehicles
Check that the locking lever is in the lock
position.
Check that the safety latch is in the position over
the locking lever. On some fifth wheels the catch
must be put in place by hand.
If the coupling isn’t right, don’t drive the coupled unit.
Get it fixed.
Put the parking brakes on while the tractor is
pushing against the kingpin. This will hold the rig
with pressure off the locking jaws.
Chock the trailer wheels.
Chock the trailer wheels if the trailer doesn’t
have spring brakes or if you aren’t sure. The air
could leak out of the trailer air tank and release
the emergency brakes. Without chocks, the
trailer could move.
Lower the landing gear.
Connect the electrical cord and check the air lines.
Plug the electrical cord into the trailer and fasten
the safety catch.
Check the air lines and electrical lines for signs of
damage.
Make sure the air and electrical lines will not hit
any moving parts of the vehicle.
Raise the front trailer supports (landing gear).
If the trailer is empty, lower the landing gear
until it makes firm contact with the ground.
If the trailer is loaded, turn the crank in low
gear a few extra turns after the landing gear
makes firm contact with the ground. This will lift
some weight off the tractor. This makes it easier
to unlatch the fifth wheel. It also makes it easier
to couple next time.
Disconnect the air lines and electrical cable.
Use low gear range to begin raising the landing
gear. Once free of weight, switch to the high gear
range.
Disconnect the air lines from the trailer. Connect
the glad hands to the dummy couplers at the
back of the cab or couple them together.
Raise the landing gear all the way up. Never
drive with the landing gear part of the way up. It
could catch on railroad tracks or other things.
Hang the electrical cable with the plug down to
prevent moisture from entering it.
After raising the landing gear, secure the crank
handle.
When the full weight of the trailer is resting on
the tractor:
Check for enough clearance between the
rear of the tractor frame and the landing
gear. When the tractor turns sharply, it must
not hit the landing gear.
Check for enough clearance between the
top of the tractor tires and the nose of the
trailer.
Unlock the fifth wheel.
Raise the release handle lock.
Pull the release handle to the open position.
Keep your feet and legs clear of the rear tractor
wheels to avoid serious injury in case the vehicle
moves.
Pull the tractor partly clear of the trailer.
Pull the tractor forward until the fifth wheel
comes out from under the trailer.
Stop with the tractor frame under the trailer. This
prevents the trailer from falling to the ground if
the landing gear collapses or sinks.
Remove the trailer wheel chocks.
Uncoupling Tractor-Semitrailers
Secure the tractor.
Position the rig.
Make sure the surface of the parking area can
support the weight of the trailer.
Line up the tractor with the trailer. Pulling out at
an angle can damage the landing gear.
Apply the parking brake.
Place the transmission in neutral.
Inspect the trailer supports.
Make sure the ground is supporting the trailer.
Make sure the landing gear is not damaged.
Ease the pressure on the locking jaws.
Shut off the trailer air supply to lock the trailer
brakes.
Ease pressure on the fifth wheel locking jaws by
backing up gently. This will help you release the
fifth wheel locking lever.
V I R G I N I A
Make sure the lines are supported so they won’t
be damaged while driving the tractor.
Pull the tractor clear of the trailer.
Release the parking brakes.
Check the area and drive the tractor forward
until it clears the trailer.
C O M M E R C I A L
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Section 3: Combination Vehicles
Driving Combination Vehicles
Steering
To avoid the crack-the-whip effect, steer gently and smoothly
when you pull a trailer or trailers.
Rollovers
More than half of truck driver deaths in crashes result from
truck rollovers. Piling up cargo in the truck moves the center
of gravity higher from the road. A higher center of gravity
makes it easier for the truck to turn over. A fully loaded rig is
10 times more likely to roll over in a crash than an empty rig.
Keep the cargo as close to the ground as possible. Also,
load the cargo so that it is centered on your rig. Cargo
that is loaded to one side can make the trailer lean and
could cause the vehicle to roll over.
Drive slowly around turns. Reduce your speed on onand off-ramps. Avoid quick lane changes, especially
when fully loaded.
Braking
Control your speed to avoid having to make sudden
stops.
When lightly loaded, the stiff suspension springs and
strong brakes make it easy to lock the wheels. Your
trailer can swing out and strike other vehicles. Your
tractor can jackknife very quickly.
Rearward Amplification and the
Crack-the-Whip Effect
The effects of motion increase as the motion travels from
the front of the truck to the rear. This is called rearward
amplification and causes the crack-the-whip effect or fishtailing. When you make a quick lane change, the crack-thewhip effect can turn over the trailer.
The chart shows eight types of combination vehicles and the
rearward amplification of each when it makes a quick lane
change. Rigs with the greatest rearward amplification are
shown at the bottom of the chart.
Rearward amplification of 2.0 in the chart means that the rear
trailer is twice as likely to turn over as the tractor. Triples have
a rearward amplification of 3.5 and are 3 and one-half times
as likely to turn over as a five-axle tractor and trailer.
C O M M E R C I A L
Always slow down to a safe speed before going into a
turn.
Large combination vehicles take longer to stop when
they are empty than when they are fully loaded
Read Section 6: Transporting Cargo for important
information about loading your rig.
V I R G I N I A
Look far enough down the road to avoid having to
make a sudden lane change.
At night, drive slowly enough to see obstacles soon
enough that you can change lanes or stop gently.
Two things can help keep you from rolling your vehicle:
50 |
Follow far enough behind other vehicles—at least one
second for each 10 feet of your vehicle length plus
another second if you are going over 40 mph.
Bobtail tractors (tractors without semitrailers) can be
hard to stop smoothly. It takes longer to stop a bobtail
than it takes to stop a tractor-semitrailer loaded to the
maximum gross weight.
In any combination rig, allow plenty of following
distance. Look far enough ahead so that you can brake
early.
Preventing Skids
When the wheels of a trailer lock up, the trailer tends to swing
around. This is called a trailer jackknife. This is more likely to
happen when the trailer is empty or loaded lightly. To stop a
skid, follow these steps:
Recognize the
skid. You can
check for a skid
by looking in
your mirrors. Any
time that you
apply the brakes
hard, check the
mirrors to make
sure the trailer is
staying straight
behind your
vehicle. Once
the trailer swings
out of your lane,
it’s very difficult
to prevent a
jackknife.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 4: Doubles and Triples
Stop using the brake. Release the brakes to get
traction. Do not use the trailer hand brake to straighten
the trailer. This is the wrong thing to do since brakes
on the trailer wheels caused the skid in the first place.
Once the trailer wheels grip the road again, the trailer
will start to follow the tractor and straighten out.
Section 4:
Doubles and Triples
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Offtracking
When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear wheels
follow a different path than the front wheels. This is called
“offtracking” or “cheating.”
Because of offtracking, the path followed by a tractor-semi is
wider than the rig itself. See the figure below. The rear wheels
of the powered unit will offtrack some. The rear wheels of
the trailer will offtrack even more. If there is more than one
trailer, the rear wheels of the last trailer will offtrack the most.
The longer the vehicle, the greater the amount of offtracking.
Use the inspection
procedure described
in Section 1: General Knowledge to inspect your combination
vehicle. Remember, that there is a lot more to inspect on a
combination vehicle than on a single vehicle—more wheels,
tires, lights, reflectors, etc. There are also some new things to
check.
Inspecting Doubles and Triples
Coupling System, Landing Gear and
Double/Triple Trailers
Steering
Steer the front end of your vehicle wide enough around
a corner so that the rear end does not run over the
curb, pedestrians and other vehicles.
At the same time, keep the rear end of your vehicle
close to the curb. This will stop other drivers from
passing you on the right.
If you cannot complete the turn without entering
another traffic lane, turn wide as you complete the turn.
Refer to the diagram below.
Check the lower fifth wheel.
Mounting to the frame should be secure.
Check to be sure there are no missing or damaged
parts.
Be sure there is enough grease.
You should not see space between the upper and
lower fifth wheel.
Locking jaws should be around the shank, not the
head of the kingpin.
The release arm should be properly seated and
the safety latch/lock engaged.
Check the upper fifth wheel.
Be sure the glide plate is securely mounted to the
trailer frame.
Be sure that the kingpin is not damaged.
Check the sliding fifth wheel.
There should not be any damaged or missing parts.
It should be properly greased.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
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| 51
Section 4: Doubles and Triples
All locking pins should be present and locked in
place.
If air powered, there should be no air leaks.
Check that the fifth wheel is not so far forward
that the tractor frame will hit the landing gear or
that the cab will hit the trailer during turns.
Check the air and electric lines to the trailer.
Be sure that the electrical cord is plugged in and
secured.
Air lines should be properly connected to the glad
hands. You should not have air leaks. Air lines
should be secured with enough slack for turns.
All lines should be free from damage.
Check the landing gear.
Be sure that the landing gear is fully raised. Check
for missing, bent or damaged parts.
Use the trailer handbrake to send air to the service
line.
Go to the back of the last trailer. You should hear
air escaping. This shows that the entire system is
charged.
Close the emergency line valve.
Be sure that either the trailer handbrake or the
service brake pedal is on. Open the service line
valve to check that service pressure goes through
all trailers. Then, close the valve. If you do not
hear air escaping from both lines, be sure that
the shut-off valves on the trailer(s) and dolly(s) are
open. You must have air all the way to the back
for all the brakes to work.
Test the tractor protection valve.
Make sure the crank handle is in place and
secured.
If the landing gear is power operated, make sure
that there are no air or hydraulic leaks.
Charge the trailer air brake system. Build up
normal air pressure and push in the trailer air
supply knob.
Turn off the engine.
Inspect the double and triple trailers.
Make sure that all shut-off valves are in the correct
position. Shut-off valves are located at the rear of
the trailer and in the service and emergency lines.
Shut-off valves should be open/closed as follows:
Shut-off valves at the rear of the front trailers
should be open.
Shut-off valves at the rear of the last trailer
should be closed.
Converter dolly air tank drain valve should be
closed.
Be sure the air lines are supported and glad hands
are properly connected.
If the spare tire is carried on the converter dolly,
make sure it’s secured.
Step on the brake pedal several times to reduce
air pressure in the tanks.
When the air pressure falls into the pressure range
specified by the manufacturer (usually within the
range of 20 to 40 psi), the trailer air supply control
should pop out or go from the normal position
to the emergency position. The trailer air supply
control may also be called the tractor protection
valve control.
If the tractor protection valve doesn’t work
correctly, an air hose or trailer brake leak could
drain all the air from the tractor. This would cause
the emergency brakes to come on and you could
lose control.
Test the trailer emergency brakes.
Make sure the pintle hook is latched. The pintle
hook locks one trailer to another.
Charge the trailer air brake system and check that
the trailer rolls freely.
Make sure that the safety chains are secured to
the trailers.
Stop and pull out the trailer air supply control
(tractor protection valve control or trailer
emergency valve) or place it in the emergency
position.
Be sure light cords are firmly in the sockets on the
trailers. The light cords run from the battery and
operate the lights.
Make these checks in addition to the pre-trip checks that you
make for your air brakes. Check the air brakes on a double or
triple trailer the same way you check them for any combination
vehicle.
Be sure air flows to all trailers.
Use the tractor parking brake or chock the wheels
to hold the vehicle.
V I R G I N I A
Pull the trailer gently with the tractor to be sure
that the trailer emergency brakes are on.
Test the trailer service brakes.
Air Brakes
52 |
Wait for the air pressure to reach normal, then
push the red trailer air supply knob. This will send
air to the emergency (supply) lines.
C O M M E R C I A L
Check for normal air pressure.
Release the parking brakes and move the vehicle
forward slowly.
Apply trailer brakes with the hand control (trolley
valve).
You should feel the brakes come on. This tells you
that the trailer brakes are connected and working.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 4: Doubles and Triples
Note: The trailer brakes should be tested with the hand valve.
In normal operation, however, control the trailer brakes with
the foot pedal. The foot pedal applies air to the service brakes
at all wheels.
Move the dolly to the rear of the first semitrailer and couple it to the trailer.
Coupling and Uncoupling
Doubles and Triples
Pull the dolly into position as close as possible
to the nose of the second semi-trailer.
Coupling (connecting) and uncoupling is basic to the safe
operation of combination vehicles. Wrong coupling and
uncoupling can be dangerous. The makes and models of rigs
are different. So, learn the details of coupling and uncoupling
the trucks that you will operate.
Lock the pintle hook.
Secure the dolly support in the raised
position.
Lower the dolly support.
Unhook the dolly from the first trailer.
Wheel the dolly into position in front of the
second trailer in line with the kingpin.
Connect the converter dolly to the front trailer.
Back the first semi-trailer into position in front of
the dolly tongue.
Coupling Twin Trailers
Hook the dolly to the front trailer.
Secure the second (rear) trailer.
Lock the pintle hook.
If the second trailer doesn’t have spring brakes,
drive the tractor close to the trailer.
Connect the emergency line and charge the trailer
air tank.
Disconnect the emergency line.
If the slack adjusters are set correctly, this will set
the trailer emergency brakes.
If you aren’t sure about the trailer brakes, chock
the wheels.
Couple the tractor and first semi-trailer.
To couple the tractor and first semi-trailer, follow
the steps in Section 3: Combination Vehicles.
Caution: The semi-trailer with the heaviest load should be
behind the tractor. The lighter trailer should be in the rear.
Definition: A converter gear or dolly is a coupling device
with one or two axles and a fifth wheel. It is used to couple
a semi-trailer to the rear of a tractor trailer combination,
forming twin trailers.
Position the converter dolly in front of the second
(rear) trailer.
Release the dolly brakes by opening the dolly air
tank petcock. If the dolly has spring brakes, use
the dolly parking brake control.
If it isn’t too far, wheel the dolly into position by
hand. Line it up with the kingpin.
Secure the converter gear support in the
raised position.
Be sure that the trailer brakes are locked or that
the wheels are chocked.
Make sure the trailer height is correct. It must be
slightly lower than the center of the fifth wheel so
that the trailer is raised slightly when the dolly is
pushed under it.
Back the converter dolly under the rear trailer.
Raise the landing gear slightly off the ground to
prevent damage if the trailer moves.
Test the coupling by pulling against the pin of the
rear semi-trailer.
Make a visual check of the coupling.
Make sure that there is no space between
the upper and lower fifth wheel. If there is,
something is wrong.
Make sure the fifth wheel jaws have closed
around the shank of the kingpin.
Connect the safety chains, air hoses and light cords.
Close the converter dolly air tank petcock and
shut-off valves at the rear of the second trailer.
The service and emergency line shut-off valve at
the rear of the second trailer should be closed.
Open the shut-off valves at the rear of the first
trailer and on the dolly.
Raise the landing gear.
Charge the trailers’ air supply.
Or, use the tractor and first semi-trailer to pick up
the converter dolly.
Position the combination (tractor and first
semi-trailer) as close as possible to the
converter dolly.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Push in the trailer air supply knob.
Check for air at the rear of the second trailer
by opening the emergency line shut-off valve.
If there is no air pressure there, something is
wrong and the brakes won’t work.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
| 53
Section 4: Doubles and Triples
Uncoupling Twin Trailers
Uncouple the triple rig.
Uncoupling the rear trailer
Park the rig in a straight line on firm level ground.
Apply the parking brakes so that the rig won’t
move.
Uncouple the third trailer by pulling out the dolly.
Then unhitch the dolly using the steps outlined for
uncoupling doubles.
Uncouple the rest of the rig the same way you
would uncouple a double-bottom rig. Follow the
steps already outlined.
Chock the wheels on the second trailer if it
doesn’t have spring brakes.
Lower the landing gear of the second trailer
enough to remove some weight from the dolly.
Pulling Doubles/Triples Trailers
Close the air shut-off valve at the rear of the first
trailer and on the dolly.
Disconnect all dolly air and electric lines and
secure them.
Release the dolly brakes.
Release the converter dolly fifth wheel latch.
Slowly pull the tractor, first trailer and dolly
forward to pull the dolly from under the second
trailer.
Uncouple the converter dolly.
Lower the dolly landing gear.
Disconnect the safety chains.
Apply the converter gear spring brakes or chock
the wheels.
Release the pintle hook on the first trailer.
Slowly pull clear of the dolly.
Prevent roll-overs.
Double and triple tractor-trailer combinations
are less stable than other commercial vehicles.
Therefore, steer gently and go slowly around
curves, corners and on-and off ramps.
Remember, a safe speed on a curve for a straight
truck or a single trailer combination vehicle may
be too fast for a set of double or triple trailers.
Beware of the crack-the-whip effect.
Doubles and triples are more likely to turn over
than other combination vehicles because of the
crack the whip effect. You must steer gently when
pulling trailers. The last trailer in a combination is
the most likely one to turn over.
Study Section 3: Combination Vehicles to make
sure you fully understand the crack-the-whip
effect.
Look ahead.
Caution: Never unlock the pintle hook with the dolly still
under the rear trailer. The dolly tow bar could fly up. This
could cause injury and would make it very difficult to
re-couple.
You must drive doubles and triples very smoothly
to prevent a rollover or jackknife. Therefore, look
far ahead so you can slow down or change lanes
gradually if necessary.
Manage your space.
Coupling and Uncoupling Triple Trailers
Couple the second and third trailers.
Couple second and third trailers using the method
of coupling doubles.
Uncouple the tractor and pull away from the
second and third trailers.
Couple the tractor to the first trailer. Use the steps
outlined in Section 3: Combination Vehicles.
Move the converter dolly into position and couple
the first trailer to the second trailer using the steps
outlined for coupling doubles. The triple rig is now
complete.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Allow more following distance.
Make sure you have large enough gaps before
entering or crossing traffic.
Couple the tractor and first trailer to the second and
third trailers.
54 |
Doubles and triples take up more space than
other commercial vehicles. They are longer and
also need more space because you cannot turn or
stop them suddenly.
Be sure you are clear on the side before you
change lanes.
Be even more careful in adverse conditions.
In bad weather, slippery conditions or when
driving in the mountains, you must be very careful
when driving doubles and triples.
You have greater length and more dead axles to
pull with your drive axles than with other vehicles.
There is more chance for skids and loss of traction.
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 5: School Buses
If you plan to drive a school bus designed to carry fewer
than 16 passengers, including the driver, you do not need to
obtain a CDL, or the passenger bus endorsement. However,
you must have the school bus endorsement on your driver’s
license. Therefore, you will need to pass the school bus
knowledge and skills tests. You will be restricted to driving
buses designed to carry fewer than 16 passengers including
the driver and this restriction will be printed on your license.
Section 5:
School Buses
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Fees are not charged for a school bus endorsement on the
driver’s license or the commercial driver’s license. The fee for
a driver’s license with a school bus endorsement is $4.00 per
year.
If you wish to operate a school bus that is designed to carry
16 or more passengers, you must obtain a commercial driver’s
license. You will need to pass the CDL general knowledge
test, the passenger knowledge test, school bus knowledge test,
and the air brake knowledge test if the vehicle is equipped
with air brakes. In addition to the written tests, you must pass
the road skills test in a commercial vehicle representative of
the type you propose to operate.
To drive a school bus, you must be at
least 18 years of age. You must also hold a valid commercial
driver’s license. Depending on the weight and size of the
bus that you will drive, you will be issued a Class B or Class
C license. Additionally you must have a passenger bus
endorsement and a school bus endorsement on your CDL.
Individuals required to register with the Virginia State Police Sex
Offender and Crimes Against Children registry are prohibited
from obtaining a school bus endorsement during any period in
which registration is required.
If you operate only a school and/or activity bus, you may
have commercial license privileges restricted for this purpose
and pay only the driver’s license fee of $4.00 per year or
$20.00 for a 5-year license. However, if you intend to operate
commercial vehicles other than the school or school activity
bus, or if you have a class A CDL or add other endorsement,
you will have to pay the fees for the CDL and the additional
endorsements.
Pre-Trip Inspection
Before driving, make sure your bus is safe.
School Bus Endorsement
To get your CDL and the endorsement to drive a school bus,
you must pass:
the written general knowledge test
Conduct a pre-trip inspection.
Follow the inspection method outlined in Section 1:
General Knowledge.
Also:
the written passenger bus test
Make sure all lettering is clean and easy to read.
the written school bus test
the written air brakes test if your vehicle is equipped
with air brakes.
the skills test required for the class of vehicle that you
plan to drive. If you plan to drive a bus equipped
with air brakes, you must take the skills test in a bus
equipped with air brakes.
Check the school bus traffic warning lights to make sure
they are working.
Check the operation of the traffic warning sign (stop
arm) and crossing control arm if your bus is equipped
with these features.
Clean and adjust the mirrors.
Check emergency equipment such as flag, flares or
reflectors, first aid kit, fire extinguishers.
To prepare for these tests, study:
Section 1: General Knowledge
Check all gauges on the instrument panel.
Section 2: Air Brakes (if your vehicle will be equipped
with air brakes)
Check for exhaust leaks.
Do not drive the bus if:
Section 5: School Buses
Section 8: Transporting Passengers
V I R G I N I A
the oil or water level is LOW or ADD;
C O M M E R C I A L
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Section 5: School Buses
the turn signals, flashing traffic warning lights or brake
lights do not operate;
there are problems with the brakes or steering; or, there
are noticeable exhaust leaks.
Operating the Bus Safely
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 objects that does not accurately reflect their size and
distance from the bus.
You should position these mirrors to see:
Virginia law requires all school bus drivers to wear safety
belts.
The entire side of the bus up to the mirror mounts.
Virginia law prohibits the use of hand-held or hands-free cell
phones or other wireless devices while operating a school
bus. The only exceptions are in an emergency situation or
when the vehicle is lawfully parked and for the purposes of
dispatching.
School bus drivers may use two-way radio devices authorized
by the owner of the school bus.
Danger Zones and Use of Mirrors
The danger zone is the area on all sides of the bus where
children are in the most danger. The danger zones may
extend as much as 30 feet from the front bumper with the
first 10 feet being the most dangerous, 10 feet from the left
and right sides of the bus and 10 feet behind the rear bumper
of the bus. In addition, the area to the left of the bus is always
considered dangerous because of passing cars.
Correct Mirror Adjustment
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.
Front of the rear tires touching the ground.
At least one traffic lane on either side of the bus.
Outside Left and Right Side Crossover Mirrors
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:
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.
Overhead Inside Rearview Mirror
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 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 extends 5o to
150 feet and could extend up to 400 feet depending on the
length and width of the bus.
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you can see:
200 feet or 4 bus lengths behind the bus.
Outside Left and Right Side Convex Mirrors
This mirror is mounted directly above the windshield on the
driver’s side area of the bus. This mirror 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
area directly behind the driver’s seat as well as a large blind
spot area 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.
You should position the mirror to see:
Along the sides of the bus.
The top of the rear window in the top of the mirror.
The rear tires touching the ground.
All of the students, including the heads of the students
right behind you.
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Section 5: School Buses
Loading and Unloading Passengers
Turn on your school bus traffic warning lights.
You must turn on the warning lights in accordance
with state law before you stop to load or unload
students.
If the posted speed limit is less than 35 mph, turn
on the warning lights at least 100 feet before the
stop.
If the posted speed is 35 mph or more, turn on
the warning lights at least 200 feet before the stop.
Do not use the warning lights except when
loading and unloading passengers.
Extend the warning sign (stop arm) and crossing
control arm.
Extend the warning sign and crossing control arm
only when the bus is stopped to load and unload
passengers.
Check your mirrors continuously.
Do not use the emergency four-way hazard flashers.
Stop in the right lane of the road.
On divided highways, five lane roads where the middle
lane is used for turning, or heavily traveled roads, unload
the students on the side of the road where they live.
Stop only when the bus can be seen clearly at a safe
distance.
Make sure all students are on the bus and seated before
moving.
Before backing the bus, make sure all students are on the
bus and seated.
When unloading, make sure all students are clear of the
bus before moving. Most injuries occur when the bus is
stopped to load or unload students.
Never park the bus so that the emergency exit will be
blocked while students are on board.
Report drivers who illegally pass a bus stopped to load or
unload passengers. Make a note of:
the license plate number and state;
the make, type and color of the vehicle; and,
date, time and location of the incident.
Backing the Bus
Do not back the bus unless there is no other safe way
to move the vehicle. Drive around the block or make a
detour rather than backing the bus.
Pick up passengers before backing or turning.
Post a lookout on the inside, back of the bus to warn of
obstacles, approaching persons or other vehicles.
V I R G I N I A
Passing and Turning
Avoid passing or driving side-by-side with another bus on
the highway.
Keep a safe distance between vehicles if you must pass.
When turning left, get into the left lane (if there is one) in
plenty of time to make the turn safely.
Following Other Vehicles
Always leave at least a bus length between you and the
vehicle in front of you.
Outside of cities and towns, keep at least 200 feet
between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Railroad Crossings
When loading or unloading students:
Check your mirrors constantly while backing.
Only unload passengers after you have completed the
backing maneuver.
As you approach a railroad crossing, tap your brakes
lightly to warn other drivers that the bus is about to stop.
Turn on your four-way hazard lights at least 200 feet
before a railroad crossing.
Come to a full stop at least 15 feet from the nearest rail.
Open the entrance door and driver’s window.
Turn off the warning lights unless you are loading and
unloading passengers.
Listen and look carefully in both directions.
When it is safe to cross, close the entrance door and turn
off the four-way hazard lights.
Cross the railroad tracks in a gear which allows you to
cross the rails completely without changing gears.
If the gate comes down as you are starting across the
railroad highway crossing, drive through the gate.
Speed Limits for Buses
When traveling on highways where the maximum speed
limit is 55 mph or less, you must not exceed 45 mph or
the minimum speed limit, if one is posted, whichever is
greater.
When traveling on interstate or other highways where the
maximum speed limit is more than 55 mph, you must
not exceed 60 mph.
In school, business, and residential areas, you must not
exceed the posted speed limit. If no speed limit is posted,
drive 25 mph.
When traveling on a highway designated as a rural rustic
road, you must not exceed the posted speed limit. If no
speed limit is posted, you must not exceed 35 mph.
Remember, weather, road and traffic conditions may require
you to travel slower than these speed limits. When in doubt,
slow down.
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Section 5: School Buses
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
Student Management
Your school bus will have a yellow ABS malfunction lamp on
the instrument panel if it is equipped with ABS.
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.
Braking with ABS
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should brake as you
always have. In other words:
Use only the braking force necessary to stop safely and
stay in control.
Brake the same way, regardless of whether you have
ABS on the bus. 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.
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 five mph. If the lamp
stays on after the bulb check, or goes on once you are under
way, you may have lost ABS control at one or more wheels.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have regular
brakes. Drive normally, but get the system serviced soon.
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.
Loading and unloading requires all your concentration. Don’t
take your eyes off what is happening outside the bus. If there
is a behavior problem on the bus, wait until the students
unloading are safely off the bus and have moved away. If
necessary, pull the bus over to handle the problem.
Handling Serious Problems
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
your state or local procedures for requesting assistance.
Handling Emergencies
Emergency Drills
Virginia law requires that you hold an emergency exit drill at
least once during the first 90 calendar days of the school year
or more often if needed. Your local school board or board of
education may require more frequent drills.
Emergency Situations
Bus crashes
Do not move the bus until police or school
officials arrive.
Check the bus for injured students.
Protect the crash scene by setting out flares or
reflectors.
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Section 5: School Buses
Do not leave students unattended. Have a
responsible student or passing motorist notify the
authorities.
The position of the bus may change and increase the
danger.
Keep students on the bus unless there is extensive
damage or danger of further injury or fire.
There is a need to quickly evacuate because of a
hazardous materials spill.
If another vehicle is involved, get the
driver’s name, address, phone number,
driver’s license number, insurance company
name and policy number;
There is imminent danger of collision.
General Procedures. Determine if evacuation is in the best
interest of safety.
Determine the best type of evacuation:
vehicle’s license plate number and the state
and the type of vehicle;
Front, rear or side door evacuation, or some
combination of doors.
name, address and phone number of witnesses or other drivers involved in the crash.
Roof or window evacuation.
Secure the bus by:
Placing the transmission in park, or if there is no
shift point, in neutral.
Break Downs
Set out flares or reflectors.
Setting parking brakes.
Turn on the emergency four-way hazard lights.
Shutting off the engine.
Keep the students on the bus until other transportation
arrives unless there is danger of injury.
Removing the ignition key.
Activating hazard warning lights.
If time allows, notify dispatch office of evacuation
location, conditions, and type of assistance needed.
Evacuations
An evacuation situation can happen to anyone, anytime,
anywhere. Knowing what to do before, during and after an
evacuation can mean the difference between life and death.
Determine Need to Evacuate the Bus. The first and most
important consideration is for you to recognize the hazard. If
time permits, contact your dispatcher to explain the situation
before making a decision to evacuate the school bus. The
decision to evacuate the bus must be timely. A decision
should include consideration of the following conditions:
Is there a fire or danger of fire?
Is there a smell of raw or leaking fuel?
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?
Would moving students complicate injuries?
Is there a hazardous materials spill involved?
Sometimes, it may be safer to remain on the bus and
not come in contact with the material.
Dangle radio microphone or telephone out of driver’s
window for later use, if operable.
If no radio, or radio is inoperable, dispatch a passing
motorist or are 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 next 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.
Protect the scene. Set out emergency warning devices
as necessary and appropriate.
Prepare information for emergency responders.
Mandatory Evacuations. You must evacuate the bus when:
The bus is on fire or there is a threat of fire.
The bus is stalled on or adjacent to a railroad highway
crossing. Steer students away from the track on an angle
toward the oncoming train.
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Section 6: Transporting Cargo
Federal, state and local regulations cover commercial vehicle
weight, where you can drive large vehicles and requirements
for securing and covering cargo. These regulations vary from
place to place. Know the regulations for the areas where you
plan to drive.
Section 6:
Transporting Cargo
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Cargo Weight and Balance
Definitions of Weight
Gross vehicle weight (GVW) The total weight of a single
vehicle plus the cargo.
Gross combination weight (GCW) The total weight of a
powered unit (tractor) plus the trailer or trailers plus the
cargo.
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) The maximum
GVW specified by the manufacturer for a single vehicle
plus the cargo (maximum scale weight).
This section tells you about hauling cargo
safely. You must understand basic cargo safety rules to get
a CDL.
Cargo that is loaded wrong or that is not secured is a danger
to others and you. Loose cargo can:
fall from the vehicle and cause a crash
hurt or kill you if you stop quickly or crash
make it difficult for you to steer the vehicle
Additionally, loose cargo can be damaged by sliding back and
forth and can damage the vehicle. You may load and secure
the cargo yourself or someone else may load and secure it. In
either case, you must:
recognize overloads and poorly balanced weight.
ensure that the cargo is properly secured.
If you plan to carry hazardous materials that require placards
on your vehicle, you must have a hazardous materials
endorsement. You must be at least 21 years of age. Section 9
of this manual gives you the information that you need to pass
the hazardous materials test.
Inspecting Cargo
As part of the pre-trip inspection, make sure that the truck
is not overloaded. Be sure that the cargo is balanced and
secured properly. Inspect the cargo before you begin your
trip. Make any adjustments needed. Check the cargo and
securing devices as often as necessary during the trip to keep
the load secure.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Legal Weight Limits
You must keep weights within the legal limits. States have
maximum GVWs, GCWs and axle weights. Often, maximum
axle weights are set by a formula. This bridge formula governs
gross weight independently of axle weight. This helps prevent
overloading bridges and roadways. You’ll find the maximum
weights on the shipping bill.
Overloading Affects Safety
Overloading a vehicle can affect steering, braking and speed
control. Overloaded trucks may gain too much speed on
downgrades and the stopping distance increases.
inspect the cargo, unless it is a sealed load or the
manner of handling makes inspection impractical.
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Axle weight The weight transferred to the ground by one
axle or one set of axles.
If you are driving in bad weather or in the mountains, it may
not be safe to drive at the legal maximum weights. Consider
this before you drive.
Don’t Be Top Heavy
Your vehicle’s center of gravity affects safe handling. If cargo
is piled high or if heavy cargo is loaded on top, the center
of gravity will be high. Your vehicle will be more likely to tip
over. A high center of gravity is most dangerous on curves or if
you swerve to miss a hazard.
Cargo that is piled high can also shift to the side or fall off.
Distribute your cargo so that it is as low as possible. Load the
heaviest parts of the cargo on the bottom.
D R I V E R ’ S
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Section 6: Transporting Cargo
Balance the Weight
Weight that is poorly balanced will make vehicle handling
unsafe. Too much weight on the steering axle will make it
difficult to steer. It can also damage the steering axle and tires.
Shifting the weight to the back of the vehicle can make the
steering axle weight too light. This makes steering unsafe.
Too little weight on the driving axles can cause poor traction.
Drive wheels may spin. During bad weather the truck may
not be able to keep going.
Cargo should have at least one tiedown for each
10 linear feet of cargo. No matter how small the
cargo, you should use at least two tiedowns to
hold it.
There are special requirements for securing
heavy pieces of metal. Find out what they are if
you plan to carry these materials. You find this
information in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Refer to the Code of Federal Regulations, 49
CFR Part 393.100 for additional load securing
requirements.
Header boards or headache racks protect you from
your cargo if you crash or make an emergency stop.
Make sure that the header board structure is in good
condition. The structure should block the forward
movement of any cargo that you are carrying.
Cargo covers protect other people from spilled cargo
and protect the cargo from the weather. Many states
require cargo covers for spill protection. Be familiar with
the cargo cover laws in the states where you drive.
Use your mirrors to check the cargo covers while
you are driving. A flapping cover can tear loose,
uncovering the cargo and blocking your view or
someone else’s view.
Sealed and containerized loads are generally used
for freight that is carried part way by rail or ship. Some
containers have their own tiedown devices or locks
that attach directly to a special frame. Others must be
loaded onto flat bed trailers. These containers must be
properly secured just like any other cargo.
Other Cargo Requiring Special Care
Securing Cargo
Blocking is used in the front, back and on the sides
of a piece of cargo to keep it from sliding. Blocking is
shaped to fit snugly against the cargo. It is secured to
the cargo deck to keep the cargo from moving.
Bracing also prevents cargo movement. Bracing goes
from the floor to the upper part of the cargo. It can also
go to the walls of the cargo compartment.
Cargo tiedowns are used on flatbed trailers without
sides. The tiedowns keep the cargo from shifting or
falling off the vehicle. In closed vans, tiedowns keep the
cargo from shifting.
You must use the correct type of tiedowns
and correct strength tiedowns. The combined
strength of all cargo tiedowns must be strong
enough to lift 1 ½ times the weight of the cargo
that is tied down. Use chains and tensioning
devices (winches, ratchets and clinching
components). You must attach the tiedowns to
the vehicle correctly using hooks, bolts, rails
and rings.
V I R G I N I A
Dry bulk tanks require special care because they often
have a high center of gravity which can cause the load
to shift or the trailer to flip over. Be careful when driving
around curves and making sharp turns.
Hanging meat in a refrigerated truck is a very unstable
load with a high center of gravity. Be very careful when
driving on sharp curves, such as ramps and exit ramps.
Drive slowly.
Livestock can move around in a trailer causing a shift in
weight and balance. If you are carrying less than a full
load, use false bulkheads to keep the livestock bunched
together. Even when bunched together, live stock may
lean on curves. This shifts the center of gravity and
makes rollover more likely.
Over-length, over-width and/or over-weight loads
require special transit permits. These permits are issued
by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Driving is
usually limited to certain times. Special equipment may
be necessary, such as signs, flashing lights, flags, etc.
Over-sized loads may require a police escort or pilot
vehicles with warning signs and flashing lights.
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Section 7: Tank Vehicles
Check the emergency equipment required for your
vehicle. Find out what equipment you are required
to carry and make sure you have it and know how it
works.
Section 7:
Tank Vehicles
Driving Tank Vehicles
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Hauling liquids in tanks requires special skills because of the
vehicle’s high center of gravity and the movement of the
liquid.
Tank vehicles have a high center of gravity. Because
much of the vehicle’s weight is carried high off the
road, this makes the vehicle top-heavy and easy to roll
over. Tankers carrying liquids are particularly easy to roll
over. Tests have shown that tankers can turn over at the
speed limits posted for curves. Take curves and onramp/off-ramp curves well below the posted speeds.
Watch out for liquid surge. Liquid surge results from
the movement of liquid in partially filled tanks. For
example, when you 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 that the wave
is moving. If the truck is on a slippery surface such as
ice, the wave can shove the stopped truck out into the
intersection. When driving a tanker carrying liquid, you
must be familiar with the vehicle’s handling.
A tank vehicle
is a vehicle used to carry any
liquid or liquid gas in a tank of 1,000 gallons or more. A
portable tank is a bulk container that is not permanently
attached to the vehicle.
Inspecting Tank Vehicles
In addition to the pre-trip inspection outlined in Section 1:
General Knowledge, you must inspect additional special items
found on a tank vehicle. Since tank vehicles come in many
types and sizes, check the vehicle’s operator’s manual to
make sure you know how to inspect your tank vehicle. On all
tank vehicles, however, leaks are the most important thing to
check for. Don’t carry liquids or gases in a leaking tank.
When checking your vehicle, be sure to check the following:
Check the tank’s body or shell for dents and 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.
Check the pipes, connections and hoses for leaks,
especially around joints.
Check manhole covers and vents. Make sure the covers
have gaskets and that they close correctly. Keep the
vents clear so that they work correctly.
Check special purpose equipment. If your vehicle has
the following equipment, be sure it works:
vapor recovery kits
grounding and bonding cables
emergency shut-off systems
Some tankers may have bulkheads or baffles to help
control the liquid surge. However, unbaffled tanks,
also known as smooth bore tanks, have nothing inside
to slow down the flow of the liquid. Therefore, the
forward and back surge can be very strong. Unbaffled
tanks are usually those used to carry food products,
such as milk. Sanitation regulations forbid the use of
baffles because it is difficult to clean the inside of the
tank. Therefore, be very cautious when driving smooth
bore tanks. Start and stop slowly and smoothly.
Watch out for side-to-side surge. Baffled liquid tanks
have bulkheads with holes that let the liquid flow
between the smaller tanks. The baffles help control the
forward/backward liquid surge; however, the liquid can
still surge side-to-side. This can cause the vehicle to roll
over.
Distribute the weight evenly when loading your
vehicle. Some liquid tanks are divided into several
smaller tanks by bulkheads. When loading and
unloading the smaller tanks, pay attention to the weight
distribution. Don’t put too much weight on the front or
rear of the vehicle.
Never load a cargo tank totally full. Liquids expand
as they warm. This is called outage. You must leave
room for the liquid to expand. Different liquids expand
by different amounts and require different amounts of
outage. You must know the outage requirement for the
liquids that you haul.
built-in fire extinguisher
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Section 8: Transporting Passengers
Know how full to load your vehicle. A full tank of
dense liquid, such as some acids, may exceed legal
weight limits. Therefore, you may only partially fill tanks
with heavy liquids. The amount of liquid that you can
load into a tank depends on:
the amount that the liquid will expand during
transit;
the weight of the liquid; and,
Section 8:
Transporting Passengers
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
the legal weight limits.
Drive smoothly. Because your tank vehicle has a high
center of gravity and because of liquid surge, you must
start, slow down and stop smoothly. You must also make
smooth turns. Otherwise, your vehicle could roll over.
Use controlled or stab braking. If you must stop
quickly to avoid a crash, use controlled or stab braking.
Remember, if you steer quickly while braking, your
vehicle could roll over.
Safe Driving Rules
Slow down before curves. Then, accelerate slightly
through the curve. The posted speed for a curve may be
too fast for a tank vehicle. Stay below the posted speed.
Maintain a safe stopping distance between you and
the vehicle ahead. Remember, wet roads double the
normal stopping distance. Empty tank vehicles may take
longer to stop than loaded ones.
Don’t over-steer, over-accelerate or over-brake.
This could cause your vehicle to skid or roll over. If
your drive wheels or trailer wheels begin to skid, your
vehicle may jackknife. If your vehicle starts to skid, take
immediate action to restore traction to the wheels.
You must have
a commercial driver’s
license if you plan to drive a vehicle designed to carry 16
or more passengers including the driver. You must also
have a passenger endorsement on your CDL. To get the
endorsement, you must pass:
the written general knowledge exam;
the written passenger bus exam;
the written air brakes exam if your vehicle is equipped
with air brakes;
the skills test required for the class of vehicle that you
plan to drive.
Note: If you hold a CDL with a Passenger endorsement and
are required to be registered with the Virginia State Police
Sex Offenders and Crimes Against Children registry, you are
prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle to
transport children to or from activities sponsored by a school
or by a child day care facility licensed, regulated, or approved
by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Your CDL will
display a Q restriction.
Pre-trip Inspection
Before driving your bus, make sure it is safe.
Review the inspection report made by the previous
driver. Sign the previous driver’s report only if the
defects reported earlier have been certified as repaired
or certified as not needing repair. By signing this report,
you certify that the defects reported earlier have been
fixed.
Conduct a pre-trip inspection. Follow the inspection
method outlined in Section 1: General Knowledge.
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Section 8: Transporting Passengers
Buses may carry:
Also check:
Access doors and panels: Close any emergency
exits that are open as well as access panels (for
baggage, restroom service, engine, etc.) before
driving.
Bus Interior:
Aisles and stairwells should always be clear.
Be sure that handholds and railings, floor
covering, signaling devices (including the
restroom emergency buzzer) and emergency
exit handles are in good working order.
Be sure that all seats are securely fastened to
the bus.
Never drive with an open emergency exit
door or window.
The emergency exit sign on an emergency
door must work. If the door has a red
emergency light, the light must work. Turn
it on at night and whenever you use your
outside lights.
Roof hatches: You may lock some emergency
roof hatches in a partly open position for fresh
air. However, do not leave them open all the
time. Remember that the bus will have a higher
clearance when the hatches are open.
Safety equipment: Be sure your bus has a
fire extinguisher and emergency reflectors as
required by law. The bus must also have spare
electrical fuses unless equipped with circuit
breakers.
Class 2 poison, liquid Class 6 poison, tear gas or
irritating material
More than 100 pounds of solid Class 6 poisons
Explosives in the space occupied by passengers,
except small arms ammunition
Labeled radioactive materials in the space
occupied by passengers
More than 500 pounds total of allowed
hazardous materials and no more than 100
pounds of any one class
Riders may sometimes board a bus carrying an unlabeled
hazardous material. Do not allow riders to carry on common
hazards such as car batteries or gasoline.
Do not allow riders to stand forward of the back of
the driver’s seat. Buses designed to allow standing
must have a 2 inch line on the floor or some other
marking that shows riders where they cannot stand. This
is called the standee line. All standing riders must stay
behind it.
Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger comfort
and safety rules. Mention rules about smoking, drinking and
use of radio and tape players at the start of the trip. Explaining
the rules at the beginning could help avoid trouble later on.
Charter bus drivers should not allow passengers on the bus
until departure time.
Secure all baggage and freight so that:
You can move freely and easily;
Riders sitting by any window or door can exit in
an emergency;
Riders will not be injured if carry-ons fall or shift;
All aisles and doorways are clear. Folding aisle
seats are not allowed.
Watch for cargo or baggage containing hazardous
materials. Hazardous materials pose a risk to health,
safety and property. Most hazardous materials cannot
be carried on a bus. Federal regulations require
shippers to mark containers of hazardous materials
with the material’s name, ID number and hazard label.
There are nine different hazard labels. The labels are
four-inches and diamond shaped. Do not transport
hazardous materials unless you are sure federal
regulations allow it.
C O M M E R C I A L
Buses may never carry:
Passenger Supervision
Loading the Bus
V I R G I N I A
Emergency hospital supplies and drugs
Safe Driving with Buses
Always fasten your safety belt when you drive.
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Small-arms ammunition labeled ORM-D
While driving, scan the interior of your bus, as well as the
road ahead. You may need to remind riders to keep their
arms and heads inside the bus.
Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive rider. You
must ensure this rider’s safety as well as the safety of others.
Don’t discharge disruptive riders where it would be unsafe
for them. It may be safer to wait until you reach the next
scheduled stop or well-lighted area where there are other
people. Many carriers have guidelines for handling disruptive
riders.
When you stop the bus, announce the location, reason for
stopping, departure time and bus number. Caution riders to
watch their step when leaving the bus. Wait for riders to sit
down or brace themselves before starting the bus. Starting
and stopping should be as smooth as possible to avoid rider
injury.
D R I V E R ’ S
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Section 8: Transporting Passengers
After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Avoiding Crashes
Use caution at all intersections, even if a signal or stop
sign controls the intersection. Bus crashes often happen
at intersections.
Remember the clearance your bus needs. Watch for
poles and tree limbs when you stop. Know how much
space your bus needs to accelerate and merge with
traffic. Never assume other drivers will brake to give you
room when you signal or begin to pull out.
Reduce speed on curves. Crashes on curves result from
excessive speed. In good weather, the posted speed on
a curve is safe for cars, but may be too fast for buses. If
your bus leans toward the outside on an banked curve,
you are driving too fast.
Stop at railroad crossings.
Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before
railroad crossings.
Inspect your bus at the end of each shift. If you work for an
interstate carrier, you must complete a written inspection
report for each bus driven. The report must specify each
bus and list any defect that would affect safety or result in a
breakdown. The report must also state if there are no defects.
Report damage to hand-holds, seats, emergency exits and
windows at the end of your shift. Mechanics can make repairs
before the bus goes out again. Mass transit drivers should
also make sure passenger signaling devices and brake-door
interlocks work properly.
Prohibited Practices
Listen and look in both directions for trains.
Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless absolute necessary. Never refuel the bus in a closed building
with riders on board.
Improve your ability to see or hear an
approaching train by opening your forward door.
Don’t talk with riders or engage in distracting activity
while driving.
If a train has just passed, make sure that another
train isn’t coming from the opposite direction.
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders on board
unless getting off would be unsafe. Tow or push the
bus to the nearest safe spot to discharge passengers.
Follow your employer’s guidelines on towing or pushing
disabled buses.
If your bus has a manual transmission, never
change gears while crossing the tracks.
Slow down and check for other vehicles:
At street car crossings.
At railroad tracks used only for industrial
switching within a business district.
Where a policeman or flagman is directing
traffic.
Urban transit coaches may have a brake and accelerator
interlock system. The interlock applies the brakes and
holds the throttle in idle position when the rear door
is open. The interlock releases when you close the
rear door. Do not use this safety feature in place of the
parking brake.
If a traffic signal shows green.
At crossings marked exempt or abandoned.
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.
Make sure the draw is completely closed before
crossing.
Slow down at drawbridges that show a green traffic light
or that have an attendant that controls traffic when the
bridge opens.
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials are categorized into nine major hazard
classes. The following chart shows the classes and categories
and gives examples of materials in each one.
Section 9:
Hazardous Materials
Every Virginia CDL test includes information from
Section 1: General Knowledge.
Hazardous materials (HAZMAT)
endorsements are not transferable from other states. All
tests must be taken. HAZMAT tests cannot be given orally
or in a language other than English. The federal USA Patriot
Act requires all applicants for HAZMAT endorsements to
be fingerprinted for a background check. The HAZMAT
background check may be transferred from another state.
The background check fee is $83.00. See page 83 of this
manual for more information about background checks and
fingerprinting locations.
Class
Name
Example
1
Explosives
Ammunition, Dynamite,
Fireworks
2
Gases
Propane, Oxygen, Helium
3
Flammable
Gasoline, Alcohol, Diesel
Fuel, Fuel Oils
4
Flammable Solids
Matches, Magnesium
5
Oxidizers
Ammonium Nitrate,
Hydrogen Peroxide
6
Poisons
Pesticides, Arsenic
7
Radioactive
Uranium, Plutonium
8
Corrosives
Hydrochloric
Acid, Battery Acid,
Formaldehyde
9
Miscellaneous
Hazardous Materials
Asbestos, Airbag Inflaters
& Modules
None
ORM-D (Other
Regulated Material—
Domestic)
Hair Spray or Charcoal
Combustible
Liquid
Combustible Liquid
Heating Oil
Hazardous Materials Regulations
Applicants for hazardous materials endorsements must comply
with Transportation Security Administration requirements in 49
C.F.R. Part 1572. A lawful permanent resident of the United
States requesting a hazardous materials endorsement must also
provide his U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
alien registration number.
Compliance with Federal motor carrier safety regulations.
“…a motor carrier or other person to whom this part is
applicable must comply with the rules in parts 390 through
397, inclusive, of this subchapter when he/she is transporting
hazardous materials by a motor vehicle which must be marked
or placarded in accordance with §177.823 of this title.” —The
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations gives regulations for
hazardous materials. These regulations are located in title 49,
parts 171-180. You will hear these regulations referred to as
49 CFR 171-180.
The Hazardous Materials Table in the regulations includes
a list of hazardous materials. However, this table does not
show all hazardous materials. A material is considered
hazardous based on its characteristics. A shipper decides if a
product meets the definition of a hazardous material in the
regulations.
Because the federal regulations change often, be sure that
your copy is up to date. You may get a copy from your
local Government Printing Office bookstore and various
publishers. Union or company offices often have copies for
drivers to use.
Hazardous Materials Definition
Intent of the Federal Regulations
Hazardous materials (HAZMAT OR HM) pose a risk to
health, safety and property during transportation. Hazardous
materials include explosives, various types of gas, solids,
flammable and combustible liquids and other materials.
Because of the risks involved, government at all levels
regulates the transportation of hazardous materials and
requires CDL drivers to be at least 21 years of age. HAZMAT
endorsements are not transferable from state to state.
Transporting hazardous materials can be risky. Federal
regulations tell you how to contain the material and
communicate the risk. They also assure safe drivers and
equipment.
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Packaging rules tell shippers how to package the
materials safely. They also tell drivers how to load,
transport and unload the material.
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
To communicate the risk, shippers use hazard warning
labels and markings on packages. They also provide
shipping papers, emergency response information and
placards. These labels and papers communicate the
hazard to the shipper, carrier and the driver.
To assure safe drivers, anyone who transports hazardous
materials must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
and a hazardous materials endorsement. To pass the
test for the hazardous materials endorsement, a driver
must know how to:
Identify hazardous materials;
Safely load shipments;
Placard a vehicle in accordance with federal
regulations;
radioactive materials. Drivers transporting cargo tanks and
portable tanks must also receive specialized training. Your
employer must provide this training.
Permits
The majority of states and some localities require registrations
or permits to transport hazardous material or subsets of such
materials. In Virginia, a permit is required for transporting
hazardous waste. States and counties may also 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 that you
drive.
Safely transport shipments.
Transporting Hazardous Materials —
The Key Players
Follow the Regulations
Learn the regulations and follow them. For example, you
must have a current medical card in your possession to haul
hazardous materials. Following the regulations reduces the
risk of injury from hazardous materials. Taking shortcuts and
breaking the rules is unsafe and could be deadly. Additionally,
drivers who violate the regulations can be fined and put in jail.
Inspect your vehicle before and during each trip. Police may
stop and inspect your vehicle. When stopped, they may
check your shipping papers, vehicle placards, the hazardous
materials endorsement on your driver’s license and your
knowledge of hazardous materials.
Uses hazardous materials regulations to determine the
product’s:
proper shipping name;
hazard class;
identification number;
correct packaging;
correct label and markings;
correct placards.
Prepares products for shipping. The shipper:
Licensing and Endorsements
You must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a
hazardous materials endorsement to drive a vehicle carrying
hazardous materials that requires placards. You must pass a
written test to get this endorsement.
Everything you need to know to pass the written test is in
this section. However, this is just the beginning. You can
learn more by reading the federal and state regulations for
hazardous materials and by attending training courses.
Training Requirements
Hazardous materials courses are usually offered by your
employer, colleges, universities and associations. In fact, the
federal regulations require training and testing for all drivers
who transport hazardous materials. You must be trained
and tested at least once every 3 years. Your employer must
provide this training and testing. Your employer must also
keep a record of the training completed by each employee
who works with hazardous materials.
Federal regulations also require that drivers receive special
training before driving a vehicle transporting certain
flammable gas materials or highway/route-controlled
V I R G I N I A
The shipper sends hazardous products from one place to
another by truck, rail, ship or airplane. The shipper:
packages, marks and labels all materials;
prepares shipping papers;
provides emergency response information;
supplies placards.
Certifies on the shipping paper that the shipment has
been prepared according to federal regulations. If
you are pulling cargo tanks supplied by you or your
employer, the certification statement is not required.
The carrier is a person or company engaged in the
transportation of passengers or property as a for-hire or
private carrier. The carrier:
Takes the shipment from the shipper to its destination.
Refuses improper shipments.
Reports accidents and incidents involving hazardous
materials to the proper government agency.
The driver safely transports the shipment without delay.
The driver:
Makes sure the shipper has identified, marked and
labeled the hazardous materials.
Refuses leaking packages and shipments.
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Placards his vehicle when loading, if required.
Keeps hazardous materials shipping papers and
emergency response information in the proper place.
Follows all regulations about transporting hazardous
materials.
Communication Rules
A material’s hazard class shows the risks associated with it. There are 9 different hazard classes. The chart below gives the
meaning of each hazard class and lists the types of materials included in each class.
Class
1
2
Division
Class
Dinitrophenol
1.2
Projections Hazards
Ammunition Smoke, White Phosphorus
1.3
Mass Fire Hazards
Article, Explosive No. 5
1.4
Minor Hazards
Fireworks
1.5
Very Insensitive
Blasting Agents Explosive, Blasting, Type E
1.6
Extremely Insensitive
Article, Explosive Extremely Insensitive
2.1
Flammable Gases
Propane
2.2
Non Flammable Gases
Helium, Compressed
2.3
Poisonous/Toxic Gases
Fluorine, Compressed
Flammable Liquids
Gasoline, Alcohol, Diesel Fuel, Fuel Oils
4.1
Flammable Solids
Ammonium Picrate, Wetted
4.2
Spontaneously Combustible
Phosphorus, White Dry
4.3
Dangerous When Wet
Sodium
Division
Name of Class or Division
Example
5.1
Oxidizers
Ammonium Nitrate, Liquid
5.2
Organic Peroxides
Organic Peroxide Type B, Liquid
6.1
Poison (Toxic Material)
Potassium Cyanide
6.2
Infectious Substances
Diagnostic Specimen
7
Radioactive
Radioactive Material, Uranium Hexafloride
8
Corrosives
Sulfuric Acid
9
Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials
Airbag Inflaters, Asbestos
ORM-D (Other Regulated Material-Domestic)
Consumer Commodity
Combustible Liquid
Diesel Fuel, Fuel Oil
5
6
None
Combustible
Liquid
Definitions
A shipping paper describes the hazardous materials being
transported. Shipping papers include shipping orders, bills of lading
and manifests.
After an accident or hazardous materials accident or spill, you may
be injured and unable to tell others about your hazardous cargo.
Firefighters and police can prevent or reduce the amount of damage
and injury if they know about the hazardous materials you are
carrying. Your life and the lives of others could depend on quickly
locating hazardous materials shipping papers.
Shippers must describe hazardous materials correctly and
include an emergency response telephone number on the
shipping papers.
Carriers and drivers must tab hazardous materials shipping
papers or keep them on top of other shipping papers. They
must also keep the emergency response information with the
shipping papers.
Example
Explosives (Mass Detonation)
3
4
Name of Class or Division
1.1
Drivers must keep hazardous materials shipping papers:
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In a pouch on the driver’s door, or
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
In clear view within immediate reach while the
driver’s safety belt is fastened, or
On the driver’s seat when the driver is out of the
vehicle or in a pouch on the driver’s door.
Package labels are diamond-shaped hazard warning labels found on
most hazardous materials packages. These labels inform others of the
hazard. If the diamond label does not fit on the package, shippers
may put the label on a tag attached to the package. For example,
compressed gas cylinders often have tags or decals.
Placards warn others of hazardous materials. They are placed on the
outside of the vehicle and identify the hazard class of the cargo. A
placarded vehicle must have at least four identical placards. Placards
must be readable from all four directions. Therefore, they are put on
the front, rear and both sides of the vehicle.
Placards measure 10 ¾ inches square and are turned in a
diamond shape. Cargo tanks and other bulk packaging display the
identification number of their contents on placards. Or they may
use orange panels or white diamond-shape displays the same size as
placards.
D R I V E R ’ S
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Lists of Regulated Products
Shippers, carriers and drivers use three lists to identify hazardous materials.
The Hazardous Materials Table in the federal regulations;
Appendix A to the Hazardous Materials Table–the List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities, and
Appendix B to the Hazardous Materials Table–the List of Marine Pollutants.
Before transporting a material, look for its name on these three lists. Some materials may be on all lists. Others may be
on only one.
The Hazardous Materials Table shows each material’s shipping name, hazard class, ID number, packaging group and required
labels. The illustration below shows part of the table.
§172.101 Hazardous Materials Table
Symbols
Hazardous
materials
descriptions
and proper
shipping
names.
Hazard class
or Division
Identification
Numbers
Packing
Group
Label(s) required
(if not excepted)
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
--------
Poisonous,
solids,self
heating,
n.o.s.
…
6.1
UN3124
1
Poision,
Spontaneously
combustible
Column 1 tells which shipping mode(s)—such as air or
water—the entry affects. Five different symbols may appear in
Column 1. This column also provides information about the
material’s proper shipping name.
+ shows the proper shipping name, hazard class and
packing group to use, even if the material doesn’t
match the hazard class definition.
Special
provisions
(7)
A5______
8) Packaging
authorizations
(§ 173.***)
Exceptions
Non-bulk
packaging
Bulk
packaging
(8A)
(8B)
(8C)
None
211
241
G identifies proper shipping name for which one or
more technical names of the hazardous material
must be entered in parenthesis in association with
the basic description.
Definition: Domestic transportation refers to movement of
materials within the U.S. International transportation refers to
movement of materials through a foreign country.
A means the hazardous material described in Column
2 is subject to the Hazardous Materials Regulations
(HMR) only when offered or intended for transport
by air, unless it is a hazardous substance or
hazardous waste.
Column 2 lists the proper shipping names and descriptions
of regulated materials. (Regulated materials are materials that
meet the definition of a hazardous material.) Entries are in
alphabetical order. 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.
W means the hazardous material described in Column
2 is subject to HMR only when offered or intended
for transportation by water unless it is a hazardous
substance, hazardous waste or marine pollutant.
Column 3 shows a material’s hazard class or division. Or,
it may show the entry FORBIDDEN. Never transport a
FORBIDDEN material. You placard shipments based on the
hazard class and quantity of materials being carried.
D means the proper shipping name is appropriate for
describing materials for domestic transportation, but
may not be proper for international transportation.
Column 4 lists the identification number for each proper
shipping name. Identification numbers are preceded by the
letters UN or NA. The letters NA indicate North American.
They are associated with proper shipping names that are used
only within the United States and Canada.
I
identifies a proper shipping name that is used to
describe materials for international transportation.
A different shipping name may be used when only
domestic transportation is involved.
V I R G I N I A
The identification number must appear on the shipping paper
as part of the shipping description. The number must also
appear on the package. The number must appear on cargo
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
tanks and other bulk packaging. Police and firefighters use this
number to quickly identify hazardous materials.
products require more than one label. If the column shows
the word NONE, no label is needed.
Column 5 shows the packing group assigned to a material. A
packing group categorizes material according to the degrees
of danger presented by the material. Packing group I is
prescribed for the most dangerous. A Roman numeral must
be used.
Column 7 lists additional provisions that apply to the material.
If there is an entry in this column, you must refer to Code of
Federal Regulations (49CFR172.102) for specific information.
Column 6 shows the hazard warning label(s) that shippers
must place on packages of hazardous materials. Some
Column 8 is divided into three parts. It shows the section
numbers of the federal regulations that cover the packaging
requirements for each hazardous material.
Appendix A—List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) want to know about spills of hazardous substances. These substances are named in
Appendix A of the federal regulations. Part of this list is shown below.
The name Phosgene is starred (*)
because the name also appears in
the hazardous materials table.
Spills of 10 pounds or more must
be reported.
List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities – continued
Hazardous Substance
Phenyl mercaptan @
Reportable Quantity (RQ)
Pounds (Kilograms)
Other Names That the Product May Be Called
Benzinethiol
100 (45.4)
Thiophenol*
Phenylmercuric acetate
Mercury, (acetato-0) phenyl
100 (45.4)
N-Phenylthiourea
Phorate
Thiourea, phenyl
100 (45.4)
Phosgene*
Phosphorodithioic acid,
0,0-diethyl S-(ethylthio), methylester
10 (4.54)
Phosphine*
Carbonyl chloride
10 (4.54)
Phosphoric acid*
Hydrogen Phosphide
100 (45.4)
Phosphroic acid, diethyl
5000 (2270)
4-nitrophenyl ester
Diethyl-p nitrophenyl phosphate
100 (45.4)
Phosphoric acid, lead salt
Lead phosphate
1 (0.454)
Column 1 shows names of elements and compounds that are hazardous substances.
Column 2 shows other names that these substances may be called.
Column 3 shows the reportable quantity for each product. If you spill this amount of the material or more, you or your employer
must report the spill. Packages that contain a reportable quantity of the material will show the letters RQ. The letters RQ will also
show on the shipping paper.
If the words INHALATION HAZARD appear on the shipping paper or package, you must use the POISON INHALATION
HAZARD, or POISON GAS placards. These placards must be used in addition to other placards required by the product’s hazard
class. Always display the hazard class and the POISON placards even for small amounts.
Appendix B shows the lists of marine pollutants.
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Shipping Paper
The shipping paper shown below describes a shipment.
Hazard Class from Column 3
X means that a hazardous material
is being transported RQ means
that this is a reportable quantity
Proper shipping name from
Column 2 of the Hazardous
Materials Table
ID number and packaging group
from the Hazardous Materials Table
Page 1 of 1
Shipping Paper
TO: Wafers R US
FROM: Essex Corporation
88 Valley Street
5775 Dawson Avenue
Silicon Junction, CA
Coleta, CA 93117
QTY
HM
Description
10 ctns
X
Paint, 3, UN1263, PG II
WEIGHT
500 lbs.
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 to the Department of Transportation.
Shipper:
Essex Corp.
Carrier: Knuckle Bros.
Per:
Shultz
Per:
Date: 6/27/88
Date:
A shipping paper for hazardous materials must include:
page numbers if the shipping paper has more
than one page. The first page must show the total
number of pages. For example, “page 1 of 4.”
a proper shipping description for each
hazardous material. Refer to the following
section Shipping Description for a list of items
in the shipping description.
a shipper’s certification signed by the shipper.
This certification states that the shipper prepared
the shipment according to federal regulations.
If the shipping paper describes hazardous and nonhazardous products, the hazardous materials will be:
described first, or
highlighted in a contrasting color, or
identified by an X placed before the shipping
name in a column labeled HM. If a reportable
quantity is present in one package, the letters RQ
may be used instead of X.
Definition: A hazard class indicates the general nature of
the hazard. Within some classes, divisions exist to indicate additional hazards.
For example, Class 2 covers all compressed gases. Within
Class 2:
Division 2.1 = Flammable Gas
Division 2.2 = Nonflammable Gas
Division 2.3 = Poison Gas
Shipping name, hazard class and ID number must not be
abbreviated unless authorized in the federal regulations. The
description must also show:
The total quantity of each hazardous product and the
unit of measure (for example, pounds). Total quantity
must appear before or after the basic description.
The packaging type and unit of measure may be
abbreviated. For example:
10 ctns. Paint, 3, UN1263, PG II, 500 lbs.
The letters RQ if a reportable quantity is present,
Shipping description
The shipping description for a hazardous material
includes (in this order):
the proper shipping name;
hazard class or division;
the identification number and;
the packing group—the group is displayed in
Roman numerals (for example, I, II, III). The
numerals may be preceded by the letters PG.
V I R G I N I A
The name of the hazardous substance if the letters RQ
appear,
For n.o.s. (not otherwise specified) and generic
descriptions, the technical name of the hazardous
material must be shown. For example, weed killer is a
generic name. The technical name is paraquat.
The shipper of hazardous wastes must put the word
WASTE before the name of the material on the shipping
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
paper (hazardous waste manifest). For example:
Waste Acetone, 3, PGII, UN1090, PG II
The hazardous material’s shipping name and
identification number;
You may not use a hazard class or ID number to
describe a non-hazardous material.
The labels required.
Shippers must list an emergency response telephone
number on the shipping paper. The number can be
used by emergency workers to get information about
any hazardous materials involved in a spill or fire.
Shippers must also provide emergency response
information to the motor carrier for each hazardous
material being shipped. The driver must carry this
information. You must be able to use this information
away from the motor vehicle and it must provide
information on how to safely handle incidents involving
the materials shipped. It must include the shipping
name of the hazardous material and information about
the risks of fire and explosion and risks to health. It
must also include information about initial methods for
handling fires, spills and leaks of materials.
The emergency information may be included on the
shipping paper or another 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
Guide (ERG). The driver must provide the emergency
response information to any federal, state or local authority
responding to or investigating a hazardous materials incident.
Certification statement
When the shipper packages hazardous materials, he certifies
that the package has been prepared according to federal
regulations. The signed shipper’s certification appears on the
original shipping paper.
Exceptions: A shipper does not have to sign a certification
statement if the shipper is a private carrier transporting
its own product and the product will not be transported
by another carrier. The shipper does not have to sign a
certification statement if the material is transported in a cargo
tank supplied by the carrier.
Unless a package is clearly unsafe, 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.
Package Markings and Labels
Shippers print required markings directly on the package, an
attached label or tag. The most important package marking
is the name of the hazardous material. It is the same name as
the one used on the shipping paper. The shipper will put the
following information on the package:
The name and address of the shipper or consignee (the
business or person to whom the shipment is being sent);
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If a reportable quantity or inhalation hazardous is being
shipped, the shipper will also put RQ or INHALATION
HAZARD on the package. Packages with liquid containers
inside will have arrows pointing in the correct upright
direction. The labels used always reflect the hazard class
of the product. Labels should appear near the proper
shipping name.
Recognizing Hazardous Materials
Learn to recognize shipments of hazardous materials. To find
out if the shipment includes hazardous materials, look for
these clues:
An entry with a proper shipping name, hazard class and
ID number.
A highlighted entry or one with an X or RQ in the
hazardous materials column.
Look for other clues and ask:
What business is the shipper in? Paint dealers, chemical
suppliers, scientific supply houses, pest control or
agricultural suppliers, explosives, munitions or fireworks
dealers are all likely sources for hazardous materials.
Do you see tanks with diamond labels or placards
around the business?
What type of package is being shipped? Cylinders
and drums are often used for hazardous materials
shipments.
Is a hazard class label, proper shipping name and ID
number on the package?
Does the package have handling precautions?
Hazardous Waste Manifest
When transporting hazardous wastes, you must sign and carry
a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. The name and EPA
identification number of the shippers, carriers and destination
must appear on the manifest.
Shippers must prepare, date and sign the manifest. Treat
the manifest as a shipping paper when transporting the
waste. Only give the waste shipment to a carrier with an EPA
identification number or an EPA permitted treatment, storage
or disposal facility.
Each carrier/driver transporting the shipment must sign the
manifest. After you deliver the shipment, keep your copy of
the manifest. Each copy must have all needed signatures and
dates. It must include the signature of the person to whom
you delivered the waste.
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Placarding
Placard Table 2—1,001 lbs or more
Attach the appropriate placards to the vehicle before you
drive it. If you find that your vehicle is not placarded or
placarded improperly, you may move it only during an
emergency to protect life or property.
To decide which placards to use, you must know:
The hazard class of the materials.
The amount of hazardous materials shipped.
The total weight of all hazardous materials in
your vehicle.
Except for bulk packaging, the hazard classes in Table 2 need
placards only if the total amount transported weighs 1,001
lbs or more including the package. To find out if you need a
placard, add the amounts from all shipping papers for all the
Table 2 products that you have on board.
Category of Material
(Hazard class or division
number and description
as appropriate)
Placard as
Reference
1.4
EXPLOSIVES 1.4
172.523
1.5
EXPLOSIVES 1.5
172.524
1.6
EXPLOSIVES 1.6
172.525
2.1
FLAMMABLE GAS
172.532
2.2
NON-FLAMMABLE
GAS
172.528
3
FLAMMABLE
172.542
Combustible liquid
COMBUSTIBLE
172.544
4.1
FLAMMABLE SOLID
172.546
4.2
SPONTANEOUSLY
COMBUSTIBLE
172.547
Placard Tables
There are two placard tables that tell you how to placard
your vehicle.
Placard Table 1—Any Amount
Table 1 materials must be placarded whenever any amount
is transported.
If your vehicle contains
any amount of:
Placard as:
Reference
1.1
EXPLOSIVE 1.1
172.522
1.2
EXPLOSIVE 1.2
172.522
1.3
EXPLOSIVE 1.3
172.522
2.3
POISON GAS
172.540
5.1
OXIDIZER
172.550
4.3
DANGEROUS WHEN
WET
172.548
ORGANIC PEROXIDE
172.552
5.2 (Organic Peroxide,
Type B, liquid or solid,
temperature controlled)
ORGANIC PEROXIDE
172.552
5.2 Other than Organic
Peroxide, Type B, liquid
or solid, temperature
controlled
6.1 Other than inhalation
hazard, zone A or B
POISON or POISON
INHALATION
172.555
6.1 (Inhalation hazard,
zone A or B)
POISON, INHALATION
HAZARD
6.2
(no placard required)
8
CORROSIVE
172.558
9
CLASS 9 (See
172.504(f) (9)
172.560
ORM-D
(no placard required)
7 (Radioactive Yellow III
label only)
RADIOACTIVE
V I R G I N I A
172.555
172.556
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
You may use DANGEROUS placards instead of separate
placards for each Table 2 hazard class if:
you have loaded two or more Table 2 hazard
classes that weigh 1,001 lbs. or more and which
require different placards, and,
you have not loaded 2205 lbs. or more of any
Table 2 hazard class material from any one
shipper. If you have loaded 2205 lbs. or more of
a hazardous material from any one shipper, you
must use the specific placard for this material
If the words INHALATION HAZARD are on the
shipping paper or package, you must display POISON
or POISON GAS placards, as appropriate, in addition to
other placards required by the product’s hazard class.
If the vehicle contains division 1.1 or 1.2 explosives and
is placarded with EXPLOSIVES 1.1 or EXPLOSIVES 1.2
and you are also carrying EXPLOSIVES 1.5, OXIDIZER
or DANGEROUS placard materials – you may use
DANGEROUS placards instead of separate placards for
each Table 2 hazard you have loaded.
If the vehicle displays a Division 2.1 FLAMMABLE GAS
or a Division 2.2 OXYGEN placard, you do not need to
use a Division 2.2 NON-FLAMMABLE GAS placard.
Placards that identify the primary hazard class of a
material must show the hazard class or division number
in the lower corner of the placard. Placards that identify
a secondary hazard class of a material must show the
hazard class or division number.
You may display a placard for a hazardous material,
even if it is not required, as long as the placard identifies
the hazard of the material being transported.
Division 2.1 (flammable gas)
Class 4 (flammable solids)
Class 5 (oxidizers)
Class 3 (flammables)
Brace containers so they will not fall, slide or bounce
during transit. Be careful when loading containers with
valves or other fittings.
After loading, do not open any package during your
trip. Never transfer hazardous materials from one
package to another during the trip. You may empty a
cargo tank, but do not empty any other package while
it is on the vehicle.
Cargo heater rules: There are special cargo heater
regulations for loading:
Class 1 (explosives)
Class 3 (flammable liquids)
Division 2.1 (flammable gas)
These rules are found in the Code of Federal Regulations.
The regulations generally forbid use of cargo heaters,
including automatic cargo heating/refrigeration units. Unless
you have read all the related regulations, do not load these
products in a cargo space that has a heater.
Use closed cargo space: You cannot have overhang or
tailgate loads of these materials:
Class 5 (oxidizers)
Do everything you can to protect containers of
hazardous materials. Don’t use tools which might
damage containers or packaging during loading. Don’t
use hooks.
Before loading or unloading, set the parking brake.
Make sure the vehicle will not move.
You must load these hazardous materials in a closed cargo
space unless all packages are:
fire and water resistant, or
covered with a fire and water-resistant tarp.
Precautions for Specific Hazards
Many products become more hazardous when exposed
to heat. Load hazardous materials away from heat
sources.
Watch for signs of leaking or damaged containers. Leaks
spell trouble! Do not transport leaking packages. You,
your truck and others could be in danger.
Brace packages containing Class 1 (explosives), Class
3 (flammable liquids), Class 4 (flammable solids), Class
5 (oxidizers), Class 8 (corrosives), Class 2 (gases) and
Division 6.1 (poisons) to prevent movement during
transit.
C O M M E R C I A L
Class 1 (explosives)
Class 4 (flammable solids)
General Loading Requirements
V I R G I N I A
Never smoke around:
Class 1 (explosives)
Loading and Unloading
Hazardous Materials
74 |
No smoking! When loading or unloading hazardous
materials, keep fire away. Don’t let people smoke
nearby.
Class 1 (explosive) materials
Turn off your engine before loading or unloading
explosives. Then check the cargo space. You must:
Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect heater power
sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
Make sure there are no sharp points that might
damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails,
broken side panels and broken floor boards.
Use a floor lining with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3
explosives. The floors must be tight and the liner
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
must be either non-metallic material or nonferrous metal (metal that does not contain iron).
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 explosive from
one vehicle to another on a public roadway except in
an emergency. If you must make 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 dampness or an oily
stain.
Do not transport Division 1.1 or 1.2 explosives in
vehicle combinations or triples if:
A marked or placarded cargo tank is in the
combination, or
The other vehicle in the combination contains:
Division 1.1 A (initiating) explosives;
Packages of Class 7 (radioactive) materials
labeled “Yellow III”
Division 2.3 (poisonous gas) or Division 6.1
(poisonous) materials;
Hazardous materials in a portable tank, a
DOT Spec 106A or 110A tank.
Never load corrosive liquids with:
Division 1.1 or 1.2
Division 1.3
Division 1.5 (blasting agents)
Division 2.3, Zone A, gases
Division 4.2 (spontaneously combustible
materials)
Division 6.1, PGI, Zone A (poison liquids)
Class 2 (compressed gasses) including cryogenic
liquids. Cryogenic liquids are liquids carried at very cold
temperatures. See 49CFR177 for additional details.
If your vehicle doesn’t have racks to hold cylinders, the
cargo space floor must be flat. The cylinders must be:
Held upright or braced laying down flat, or
In racks attached to the vehicle, or
In boxes that will keep them from turning over.
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, sleeper or
with food material for human or animal consumption.
Class 7 (radioactive) materials
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 on an
even floor surface. Stack carboys only if the lower tiers
can bear the weight of the upper tiers safely. (Carboys
are portable tanks that may be metal or plastic and are
placed in a special cage.)
Do not load nitric acid above any other product or
stack more than 2 tiers high.
Some packages of Class 7 (radioactive) materials show 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 and passes through all
nearby packages. As a result, the number of packages you can
load together is controlled. Their closeness to people, animals
and exposed film is also controlled.
Load charged storage batteries so their liquid won’t spill.
Keep them right side up. Make sure other cargo won’t
fall against or short circuit them.
Never load corrosive liquids next to or above:
Division 1.4
Class 4 (flammable solids)
Class 5 (oxidizers)
Division 2.3, Zone B gases
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
The transport index (shown below) 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 2 feet of people or cargo space walls
during transit. The total transport index of all packages in
a single vehicle cannot exceed 50. Single vehicles include
automobiles, vans, trucks, tractors and semi-trailers.
Do Not Load
Radioactive Transport Index
(You will not be tested on the numbers in this table.)
Minimum Distance in Feet to Nearest
Undeveloped Film
0-2
2-4
4-8
8-12
Hours Hours Hours Hours
To People
or Cargo
Compartment
Partitions
Over
12
Hours
None
0
0
0
0
0
0
0.1 to
1.0
1
2
3
4
5
1
1.1 to
5.0
3
4
6
8
11
2
5.1 to
10.0
4
6
9
11
15
3
10.1 to
20.0
5
8
12
16
22
4
20.1 to
30.0
7
10
15
20
29
5
30.1 to
40.0
8
11
17
22
33
6
40.1 to
50.0
9
12
19
24
36
7
76 |
In the Same Vehicle with ...
Division 6.1 or 2.3
Do not leave radioactive yellow-II or yellow-III labeled
packages near people, animals or film longer than shown in
this table.
Total
Transport
Index
Federal regulations require that some products be loaded
separately. You cannot load them together in the same cargo
space. The table below lists some examples. The Segregation
and Separation chart in the federal regulations names other
materials that you must keep apart.
POISON or POISON
INHALATION HAZARD
labeled material
Division 2.3 (poisonous)
gas Zone A or Division
6.1 (poison) liquids,
PG I Zone A
Animal or human food unless the
poison package is overpacked in an
approved way. Foodstuffs are anything
you swallow. However, mouthwash,
toothpaste, and skin creams are not
foodstuff.
Division 5.1 (oxidizers), Class 3
(flammable liquids), Class 8 (corrosive
liquids), Division 5.2 (organic
peroxides), Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.2
(Class A or B explosives), Division
1.5 (blasting agents), Division 2.1
(flammable gasses), Division 4.1
(flammable solids), Division 4.2
(spontaneously combustible), Division
4.3 (dangerous when wet). See
499CRF177 for additional details.
Charged storage batteries Division 1.1 Class A (explosives)
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
Class 1 (detonating
primers)
Division 6.1 (cyanides or
cyanide mixtures)
Nitric acid (Class 8)
D R I V E R ’ S
Any other explosives unless in
authorized containers or packaging
Acids, corrosive materials, or other
acidic materials which could release
hydrocyanic acid from cyanides.
For example:
Cyanides, Inorganic, n.o.s.
Silver Cyanide
Sodium Cyanide
Other materials unless the nitric acid
is not loaded above any other material
and not more than two tiers high.
M A N U A L
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Bulk Packaging — Marking, Loading
and Unloading
Bulk Packaging
Bulk packaging is any packaging in which hazardous
materials are loaded with no intermediate form of
containment and which:
As a receptacle for liquid holds 450 liters or 119 gallons
or more; or
In addition, portable tanks:
Must show the lessee or owner’s name.
Must display the shipping name of the contents
on two opposite sides.
The letters of the shipping name must be at least
2 inches tall on portable tanks with capacities
of more than 1,000 gallons and 1 inch tall on
portable tanks with capacities of less than 1,000
gallons.
As a receptacle for solids holds 400 kilograms/882
pounds or 450 liters/119 gallons or more; or
The ID number must appear on each side
and each end of a portable tank or other bulk
packaging that holds 1,000 gallons or more.
As a receptacle for gas has a water capacity greater than
454 kilograms/1000 pounds (refer to the definition in
49 CFR 173, 115).
The ID number must appear on two opposite
sides if the portable tank holds less than 1,000
gallons.
Bulk packaging includes transport vehicles and freight
containers.
A cargo tank is a bulk packaging which is:
a tank intended primarily for carrying liquids or gases
and includes appurtenances, reinforcements, fittings
and closures. For “tank” see 49 CFR 178.337-1 or
178-345-1 (c);
permanently attached to or forms a part of a motor
vehicle. If it is not permanently attached to a motor
vehicle, it is loaded or unloaded without being removed
from the motor vehicle; and
not made according to specifications for cylinders,
portable tanks, tank cars, or multi-unit tank car tanks, or
intermediate bulk containers.
The ID numbers must be visible when the
portable tank is on the motor vehicle. If they
are not visible, you must display the ID number
on both sides and on both ends of the motor
vehicle.
If the identification numbers cannot be seen
from outside the vehicle, additional numbers
must be affixed to the exterior-front, rear and
both sides.
Tank Loading and Unloading
The person in charge of loading and unloading a cargo tank
must make sure a qualified person is always watching. The
person watching must:
Be alert;
Portable tanks are bulk containers which are not permanently
attached to a vehicle. The product is loaded or unloaded while
the portable tanks are off the vehicle.
Have a clear view of the cargo tank;
Many types of cargo tanks are in use. The most common
cargo tanks are MC306/406 for flammable liquids and
MC331 for gases. Other liquid hazardous materials must
be transported in other types of specification tanks such as
MC307/407 or MC312/412.
Know procedures to follow in an emergency; and,
Markings
You must display the ID number of the hazardous
materials in portable tanks, cargo tanks and
intermediate bulk packaging containers. ID numbers
are shown in column 4 of the Hazardous Materials
Table. Federal regulations require black 100 mm (3.9
inch) numbers on orange panels, placards or a white
diamond shaped background if placards are not
required.
Specification cargo tanks must show retest date
markings.
V I R G I N I A
Be within 25 feet of the tank (177.834)(i)(3));
Know the hazards of the materials involved;
Be authorized and able to move the cargo tank.
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.
Flammable Liquids
Turn off your engine before loading or unloading any
flammable liquids.
Run the engine only if you need it to operate a pump.
Ground a cargo tank correctly before filling through an
open filling hole.
Ground the tank before opening the filling hole and
maintain the ground until after you close the filling hole.
C O M M E R C I A L
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M A N U A L
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Compressed Gas
Attending Parked Vehicles
Keep liquid discharge valves on a compressed gas tank
closed except when loading and unloading.
The person watching a placarded vehicle must:
Run the engine only if you need it to operate a pump.
Be in the vehicle and awake. He cannot be in
the sleeper berth.
If you run your engine, turn it off after transferring the
product and before you unhook the hose.
Or, the person must be within 100 feet of the
vehicle and have it within clear view.
Unhook all loading/unloading connections before
coupling, uncoupling or moving a chlorine tank.
Be aware of the hazards of the materials being
transported.
Always chock trailers and semi-trailers to prevent
motion when uncoupled from the tractor or power unit.
Know what to do in an emergency, and
Hazardous Materials Parking and
Driving Rules
Be able to move the vehicle if needed.
No Flares!
If you need to use warning devices, use reflective
triangles or red electric lights.
Parking with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 Explosives
Never park with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives
within 5 feet of the traveled part of the road.
NEVER use burning signals, such as flares or fuses,
around a:
Tank used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or
Division 2.1 (flammable gas) whether loaded or
empty.
Do not park within 300 feet of:
a bridge, tunnel or building
Vehicle loaded with Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3
explosives.
a place where people gather, or
an open fire.
No Smoking!
If you must park, for example to refuel, be as quick as
possible.
Do not 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 the
vehicle only if it is:
on the shipper’s property, or
Class 2.1 Flammable Materials
on the consignee’s property.
Class 3 Flammable Liquids
Class 4.1 and 4.2 Flammable Materials
Safe Havens
You may leave your vehicle unattended in a safe haven. A safe
haven is an approved place for parking unattended vehicles
loaded with explosives. Local or state and federal authorities
identify areas for safe havens.
Parking a Placarded Vehicle Not Carrying
Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 Explosives
Do not uncouple a trailer with hazardous materials and
leave it on a public street.
Do not park within 300 feet of an open fire.
C O M M E R C I A L
Class 5 Oxidizers
Refuel with the Engine Off
Turn off your engine before fueling a motor vehicle
carrying hazardous materials.
Someone must always be at the nozzle controlling the
fuel flow.
You may park a placarded vehicle (not carrying
explosives) within 5 feet of the traveled part of the road
only if your work requires it. Move the vehicle as soon
as possible. Someone must always watch the vehicle
when parked on a public road or shoulder.
V I R G I N I A
Do not smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe
while driving or within 25 feet of any vehicle which
contains:
Class 1 Explosives
on the carrier’s property, or
78 |
Do not smoke while driving or within 25 feet of a
placarded cargo tank used for Class 3 (flammable
liquids) or Division 2.1 (gases).
Carry a 10 B:C Fire Extinguisher
The tractor or power unit on placarded vehicles must
have a fire extinguisher with a UL rating of 10 B:C or
more.
Make sure the extinguisher is fully charged.
Know how to operate it before you need it!
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Equipment for Chlorine
A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must have
an approved gas mask in the vehicle.
The driver must also carry an emergency kit for
controlling leaks in the dome cover plate fittings on the
cargo tank.
Permit and Route Restrictions
Most states and some localities require permits to
transport hazardous materials and wastes. Rules about
permits can change. Make sure you have all the needed
permits before you start.
Many states and localities have either route restrictions
or designated routes for the transportation of hazardous
materials. These restrictions and designations can
change often.
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 agencies where you plan
to travel. Some localities prohibit transportation of
hazardous materials through tunnels, over bridges or
other roadways. Check before you start.
Whenever you drive a placarded vehicle, avoid heavily
populated areas, crowds, tunnels, narrow streets
and alleys. Take other routes, even if they are more
inconvenient.
Never drive a placarded vehicle near open fires unless
you can safely pass without stopping.
If you are carrying Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives:
You must have a written route plan and follow
that plan.
Keep a copy of the plan with you while
transporting the explosives.
Carriers prepare the route plan ahead of time
and give the driver a copy.
You may plan the route yourself if you pick up
the explosives somewhere other than at your
employer’s terminal. If you plan the route, write
it out in advance and keep 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.
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 an accident.
Put hazardous materials shipping papers on top
of your stack of shipping papers or tab them so
that they stand out from other papers.
When you are driving, keep shipping papers
within your reach (with your seat belt on) or in a
pouch on the driver’s door. They must be seen
easily by someone entering the cab.
When you are not behind the wheel, leave the
shipping papers in the driver’s pouch or on the
driver’s seat.
Emergency response information must be kept
with the shipping paper.
Papers for Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 Explosives
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 the driver written instructions
about what to do if the driver is delayed or in an crash.
These instructions must include:
Names and telephone numbers of people to
contact (including carrier agents or shippers).
Information about the explosives being
transported.
Information about what to do in emergencies
such as fires, crashes or leaks.
The driver must sign a receipt for these documents.
When you are driving, you must have and be familiar
with the:
shipping papers
written emergency instructions
written route plan
a copy of FMCSR, part 397
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 tell him the route plan.
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
| 79
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Check Your Tires at the Beginning of Each Trip
and Each Time the Vehicle is Parked.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated before you
begin your trip.
Check placarded vehicles with dual tires at the start of
each trip and when you park.
Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure. This is
the only acceptable way to check pressure.
The proper shipping name, ID number, label and
placards MUST be correct on your hazardous materials
shipment. Your life and the lives of others depend on it.
Crashes/Incidents
As a professional driver, your job at the scene of crash
is to:
Keep people away from the scene.
Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat except to
the nearest safe place to fix it.
Limit the spread of material, only if you can do
so safely.
Remove any overheated tire. Place it a safe distance
from your vehicle. Don’t drive until you correct the
cause of overheating.
Tell emergency workers about the danger of the
hazardous materials.
Provide emergency workers with shipping papers
and emergency response information.
Follow the rules about parking and attending placarded
vehicles. They apply even when you are checking,
repairing or replacing tires.
Stop Before Railroad Crossings (392.10)
Flammable liquids may be transferred from one
tanker to another on a public highway in an
emergency situation.
Follow this checklist:
Keep people far away and upwind. When facing
the vehicle, the wind should be blowing on your
back, not in your face.
Stop before a railroad crossing if your vehicle:
is placarded, or
carries any amount of chlorine, or
Warn others of the danger.
is a cargo tank—empty or loaded—used for
hazardous materials.
Send for help.
Follow your employer’s instructions.
You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail.
Proceed only when you are sure that no train is coming.
Don’t shift gears while crossing the tracks.
Fires
You might have to control minor truck fires on the road.
However, unless you have the training and equipment,
don’t fight hazardous materials fires. Hazardous
materials fires require special training and protective
gear.
Hazardous Materials Emergencies
In a hazardous materials emergency, always remember:
When you discover a fire, send for help.
No smoking.
You may use the fire extinguisher to keep minor truck
fires from spreading to the cargo area before firefighters
arrive.
Warn others.
Keep people away.
Avoid contact or inhaling.
Feel trailer doors to see if they are hot. If they feel hot,
or if smoke is seeping out around the doors, you may
have a cargo fire. DO NOT open the doors. Opening
the doors lets in air and makes the fire flare up. Without
air, many fires smolder and cause less damage.
Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)
The Department of Transportation produces a
guidebook for firefighters, police, drivers and others
about how to protect themselves and the public from
hazardous materials.
This book is indexed by proper shipping names and
hazardous materials identification numbers.
If your cargo is already on fire, do not try to fight the
fire. It isn’t safe.
Keep the shipping papers with you and give them to
emergency workers when they arrive.
Warn other people of the danger. Keep them away.
Emergency workers look for this information on the
shipping paper.
80 |
V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Leaks/Spills
Responses to Specific Hazards
If you discover a cargo leak, identify the hazardous
materials that are leaking. Use the shipping papers,
labels or package location to identify the materials.
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. Toxic gases can destroy your sense of
smell. Even if they don’t smell, they 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 except for safety reasons. You may move it
off the road and away from places where people gather.
In response to a specific hazard, refer to:
the hazardous materials data sheet that accompanies
the shipping paper or
the emergency response action as given by the shipper
or
the Emergency Response Guide.
Definition: The National Response Center helps
coordinate emergency reponses to chemical hazards.
It is a resource for police and firefighters. It maintains
a 24-hour toll-free line.
National Response Center
Move your vehicle only if you can move it without
danger to yourself or others.
Never continue driving with hazardous materials leaking
from your vehicle. Remember, the carrier pays for the
cleanup of contaminated parking lots, roadways and
drainage ditches. The costs are enormous. Don’t leave a
trail of contamination.
If hazardous materials are spilling from your vehicle:
Park it.
800-424-8802 or 202-267-2675
Required Notification
You or your employer must phone the National Response
Center when any of the following occur as a direct result of a
hazardous materials incident:
A person is killed.
Secure the area.
An injured person requires hospitalization.
Stay there.
Estimated property damage exceeds $50,000.
Send someone else for help.
When sending another person for help, give that
person:
A description of the emergency.
Your exact location and direction of travel.
Your name, the carrier’s name and the name of
the community or city where your terminal is
located. Terminal refers to where you picked up
the load.
The proper shipping name, hazard class and ID
number of the hazardous materials, if you know
them. Remember, this is required information
and will be found on the shipping paper.
This is a lot for someone to remember. Write it down
for the person that you send for help. The emergency
response team must know this information to handle
the emergency.
Never try to repack leaking containers.
Don’t try to repair leaks unless you have the training
and equipment.
V I R G I N I A
The general public is evacuated for one hour or more.
One or more major transportation arteries (including
highway, airways, railways or waterways) or facilities are
closed for one hour or more.
Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected radioactive
contamination occurs.
Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected contamination
occurs and involves a shipment of infectious substance
other than a diagnostic specimen or regulated medical
waste.
Release of a marine pollutant in a quantity exceeding
450L (119 gallons) for a liquid and 400kg (882 pounds)
for a solid.
Unintentional release of a hazardous material or the
discharge of any quantity of hazardous waste.
Specification cargo tank with capacity of 1000 gallons
or greater which suffers structural damage to the lading
retention system or damage that requires repair to the
lading retention system.
An undeclared hazardous material is discovered.
C O M M E R C I A L
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
When you call the National Response Center, be ready
to give:
Your name.
The name and address of the carrier for whom you
work.
The carrier’s phone number.
Date, time and location of the incident.
A description of injuries.
Classification, name and quantity of hazardous materials
involved, if available. Remember, this is required
information and you will find it on the shipping paper.
Type of incident, such as leak, spill or fire. Description
of how hazardous materials are involved.
Whether a continuing danger to life exists at the scene.
If a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance was
involved, you should be able to 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 also make a detailed written report to the
National Response Center within 30 days of an incident.
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC)
also has a 24-hour toll-free line. CHEMTREC provides
emergency personnel with technical information about the
properties of hazardous materials. CHEMTREC offers the
service for a fee, not a free service.
CHEMTREC
800-424-9300
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V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Section 9: Hazardous Materials
USA Patriot Act Requirements for
Hazardous Materials Endorsements
Federal law requires individuals applying for or renewing
a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a hazardous
materials endorsement to be fingerprinted for a background
check. A holder of a valid Transportation Workers
Identification Credential (TWIC) card, who has already
undergone a Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
security threat assessment, may be exempt from an additional
background check if the TWIC is submitted with the
hazardous material endorsement application.
You will not receive your new or renewed license at the time
of application. Allow at least 45 days for the application to be
processed. DMV will notify you when your application has
been approved or denied by the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration (TSA). When approved, you may return to
DMV to be photographed and pick up your CDL, provided
you have successfully completed the HAZMAT test.
Harrisonburg
3281 Peoples Drive
Manassas
9800 Godwin Drive
Martinsville
310 Starling Avenue
Norton
1729 Park Avenue S.W.
Onancock
20 North Street
Portsmouth
6400 Bickford Parkway
Richmond
2300 West Broad Street
Roanoke
5220 Valleypark Drive
South Boston
2039 Hamilton Boulevard
The background check is valid for up to five years.
Staunton
17 First Street
Hazardous materials endorsement applicants must visit one of
the following DMV locations to be fingerprinted:
Tyson’s Corner
1968 Gallows Road
Abingdon
25552 Lee Highway
Virginia Beach/Hilltop
1712 Donna Drive
Charlottesville
2055 Abbey Road
Winchester
4050 Valley Pike
Emporia
103 Commonwealth Boulevard
Wytheville
800 East Main Street
Suite 100
Farmville
300 North Virginia Street
Fredericksburg
5700 Southpoint Boulevard
Fingerprinting is also available at DMV 2 Go mobile offices.
For dates and locations, view the DMV 2 Go calendar at
www.dmvNOW.com/DMV2Go.
Hampton
8109 Roanoke Avenue
V I R G I N I A
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials
Acceptable Documents for Proof of U.S.
Citizenship/Immigration Status for Hazardous
Materials Endorsement
To be eligible for a hazardous materials endorsement, applicants are required to provide documents to show proof
of U.S. citizenship or immigration status, as specified in the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Code of Federal
Regulations, 49 CFR 383.71. Applicants must present either:
one document from list A, or
one document from list B and one document from list C
One document needed
Two documents needed – one from list B and one from list C:
List B
U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or 561)
U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or 570)
U. S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
Expired U.S. passport (within 12 months of expiration)
Unexpired driver’s license issued by a State or outlying
possession of the United States
Unexpired ID card issued by a State or outlying possession of the United States. Must include a State or State
agency seal or logo (such as a State University ID)
U.S. military ID card or U.S. retired military ID
List A
U.S. military dependent’s card
Unexpired U.S. Passport (book or card)
Unexpired Free and Secure Trade Card
Unexpired Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration Transportation Worker
Identification Credential
Unexpired NEXUS Card
Unexpired Merchant Mariner Credential
Unexpired Merchant Mariner Document
Unexpired Secure Electronic Network for Travelers
Rapid Inspection Card
List C
Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
Unexpired United States Enhanced Driver’s License
Certification of Report of Birth Abroad (DS-1350 or
FS-545)
Unexpired Enhanced Tribal Card
Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
Unexpired Foreign Passport AND immigrant visa with
I-551 annotation of “Upon Endorsement Serves as
Temporary I-551 Evidencing Permanent Residence of 1
Year”
Unexpired Re-entry Permit (I-327)
Unexpired Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration Transportation Worker
Identification Credential with an Expiration date For
Comparability Only
Original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by
a State, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal
Voter’s registration card
Native American tribal document (with photo)
U.S. social security card
U.S. military discharge papers (DD-214)
Department of Transportation medical card
U.S. civil marriage certificate
Unexpired Merchant Mariner License bearing an official
raised seal, or a certified copy
OR
For more information visit www.dmvNOW.com or
call (804) 497-7100.
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V I R G I N I A
C O M M E R C I A L
D R I V E R ’ S
M A N U A L
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, Virginia 23269-0001
DMV 60 (July 7, 2014)
© Commonwealth of Virginia
Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV) 2014. All rights reserved.
Made with recycled material.
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