MO_CDLManual
Missouri
DEPARTMENT
REVENUE
Missouri Commercial
Driver License
Manual
OF
NEW TEST STANDARDS
EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2008
CONTACT INFORMATION
Federal Regulations and DOT Medical Questions
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
www.fmcsa.dot.gov
Missouri Department of Transportation
Motor Carrier Services
Toll-free (866) 831-6277
or visit their web site: www.modot.org/mcs
Version 4.0
CDL Drivers Manual
COPYRIGHT AAMVA
All Rights Reserved
Hazardous Materials Security
Threat Assessment Program
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
(877) 429-7746
or visit their web site: www.hazprints.com
Revised August 2009
MISSOURI CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
(Note: Certain types of vehicles such as tankers, passenger, school buses, vehicles
hauling hazardous materials, and double/triple trailers, will require an endorsement.
Please consult text for particulars.)
Class
A
*Description
Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001
or more pounds provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s)
being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. (Holders of a Class A license may also, with
any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Class B and C.)
Examples include but are not limited to:
B
Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing
a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. (Holders of a Class B license may
also, with any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Class C.)
Examples include but are not limited to:
C
Any single vehicle less than 26,001 pounds GVWR or any such vehicle towing a vehicle
not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. This group applies only to vehicles which are
placarded for hazardous materials or are designed to transport 16 or more persons,
including the operator. A holder of a Class A, B or C license may drive all vehicles which
may be driven by a holder of a Class E or Class F license.
Examples include but are not limited to:
*The representative vehicle for the skills test must meet the written description for that group. The examples represent, but do not fully cover, the types of vehicles falling within each group.
Table of Contents
PART ONE
Section 1:
1.1
1.2
1.3
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Commercial Driver License Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Driver Disqualifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Other CDL Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1-1
1-2
1-3
1-4
Section 2:
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2.7
2.8
2.9
2.10
2.11
2.12
2.13
2.14
2.15
2.16
2.17
2.18
2.19
2.20
2.21
2.22
2.23
2.24
Driving Safely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1
Vehicle Inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1
Basic Control of Your Vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-8
Shifting Gears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-9
Seeing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-10
Communicating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-12
Controlling Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-14
Managing Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-16
Seeing Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-19
Distracted Driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-21
Aggressive Drivers/Road Rage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-22
Driving at Night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-23
Driving in Fog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-24
Driving in Winter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-25
Driving in Very Hot Weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-26
Railroad - Highway Crossings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-27
Mountain Driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-29
Driving Emergencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-30
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-33
Skid Control and Recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-34
Accident Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-35
Fires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-35
Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-38
Staying Alert and Fit to Drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-39
Hazardous Materials Rules for All Commercial Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-41
Section 3:
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
Transporting Cargo Safely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Inspecting Cargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Weight and Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Securing Cargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cargo Needing Special Attention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3-1
3-1
3-1
3-2
3-3
Section 4:
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
Transporting Passengers Safely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Vehicle Inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Loading and Trip Start . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
On the Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
After-trip Vehicle Inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Prohibited Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Use of Brake-door Interlocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4-1
4-1
4-1
4-2
4-3
4-3
4-4
Section 5:
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
Air Brakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Parts of an Air Brake System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dual Air Brake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Inspecting Air Brake Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Using Air Brakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5-1
5-1
5-5
5-6
5-8
PART TWO
Section 6:
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5
Combination Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-1
Driving Combination Vehicles Safely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-1
Combination Vehicle Air Brakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-4
Antilock Brake Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7
Coupling and Uncoupling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7
Inspecting a Combination Vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-10
Section 7:
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4
Doubles and Triples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Pulling Double/Triple Trailers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Coupling and Uncoupling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Inspecting Doubles and Triples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Doubles/Triples Air Brake Check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7-1
7-1
7-1
7-3
7-4
Section 8:
8.1
8.2
8.3
Tank Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Inspecting Tank Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Driving Tank Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Safe Driving Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8-1
8-1
8-1
8-2
Section 9:
9.1
9.2
9.3
9.4
9.5
9.6
9.7
9.8
Hazardous Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-1
The Intent of the Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-2
Hazardous Materials Transportation--Who Does What . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-2
Communication Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-3
Loading and Unloading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-10
Bulk Packaging Marking, Loading and Unloading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-12
Hazardous Materials--Driving and Parking Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-13
Hazardous Materials--Emergencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-15
Hazardous Materials Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-19
Table A Radioactive Separation Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-18
Table B Hazard Class Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9-18
PART THREE
Section 10:
10.1
10.2
10.3
10.4
10-5
10.6
10.7
School Buses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-1
Danger Zones and Use of Mirrors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-1
Loading and Unloading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-3
Emergency Exit and Evacuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-6
Railroad-Highway Crossings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-7
Student Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-9
Antilock Braking Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-9
Special Safety Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10-10
Section 11:
11.1
11.2
11.3
11.4
11.5
11.6
Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-1
All Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-1
External Inspection (School Bus/Truck/Tractor) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-3
School Bus Only . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-6
Trailer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-6
Coach/Transit Bus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-7
Taking the CDL Pre-Trip Inspection Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-8
Section 12:
Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-1
12.1 Scoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-1
12.2 Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-1
PART FOUR
Section 13:
On-Road Driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1
13.1 How You Will Be Tested . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1
Section 14:
Missouri Commercial Driver License Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-1
Do You Need a CDL?
Section 1
INTRODUCTION
No
This Section Covers



Does the vehicle or
combination of vehicles
have a manufacturer’s
weight rating (GVWR)
over 26,000 pounds?
Yes
Commercial Driver License Tests
Driver Disqualifications
Other Safety Rules
Is the vehicle
a
combination
vehicle
towing a unit
over 10,000
pounds
GVWR?
There is a federal requirement that each state have
minimum standards for the licensing of commercial
drivers.
This manual provides driver license testing
information for drivers who wish to have a
commercial driver license (CDL). This manual does
NOT provide information on all the federal and
state requirements needed before you can drive a
commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You may have to
contact your state driver licensing authority for
additional information.
Yes
You
need a
Class A
CDL.
No
Does the
single Yes
vehicle have
a GVWR
over 26,000
pounds?
You must have a CDL to operate:
Yes
You
need a
Class B
CDL.
No
 Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating
(GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
 A trailer with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds
if the gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is
26,001 pounds or more.
 A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more
passengers (including the driver).
 Any size vehicle that is used to transport
hazardous materials as defined in 42 CFR 383.5.
Federal regulations through the Department of
Homeland Security require a background check
and fingerprinting for the Hazardous Materials
endorsement. Contact your local department of
driver licensing for more information.
Is the vehicle
designed to
carry 16 or
more people
(including
the driver)?
No
Yes
You
need a
Class C
CDL.
No
Does the
vehicle
require
hazardous
material
placards or
transport a
select agent
or toxin?
(Your state may have additional definitions of
CMVs.)
To get a CDL, you must pass knowledge and skills
tests. This manual will help you pass the tests.
This manual is not a substitute for a truck driver
training class or program. Formal training is the
most reliable way to learn the many special skills
required for safely driving a large commercial
vehicle and becoming a professional driver in the
trucking industry.
Yes
You
need a
Class C
CDL.
No
You DO NOT
need a CDL.
NOTE: A bus may be Class A, B, or C depending on whether
the GVWR is over 26,001 pounds or is a combination vehicle.
Figure 1.1 helps you determine if you need a CDL.
Figure 1.1
1-1
turns, intersections, railroad crossings, curves, up
and down grades, single or multi-lane roads,
streets, or highways. The examiner will tell you
where to drive.
1.1 – Commercial Driver License Tests
1.1.1 – Knowledge Tests
You will have to take one or more knowledge tests,
depending on what class of license and what
endorsements you need. The CDL knowledge
tests include:
Figure 1.2 details which sections of this manual
you should study for each particular class of
license and for each endorsement.
 The general knowledge test, taken by all applicants.
 The passenger transport test, taken by all bus
driver applicants.
 The air brakes test, which you must take if your
vehicle has air brakes, including air over hydraulic
brakes.
 The combination vehicles test, which is required if
you want to drive combination vehicles.
 The hazardous materials test, required if you want
to haul hazardous materials as defined in 49 CFR
383.5. In order to obtain this endorsement you are
also required to pass a Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) background check.
 The tanker test, required if you want to haul a liquid
or liquid gas in a permanently mounted cargo tank
rated at 119 gallons or more or a portable tank
rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
 The doubles/triples test, required if you want to pull
double or triple trailers.
 The School Bust test, required if you want to drive a
school bus.
What Sections Should You Study?
LICENSE
TYPE
X
X
X
3
X
X
X
4
5*
X
1.1.2 – Skills Tests
6
X
If you pass the required knowledge test(s), you can
take the CDL skills tests. There are three types of
general skills that will be tested: pre-trip inspection,
basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. You
must take these tests in the type of vehicle for
which you wish to be licensed.
7
X
X
School Bus
2
Passenger
X
Tank Vehicles
Class C
X
Double / Triple
Class B
X
Hazardous
Materials
Class A
Sections to Study
1
ENDORSEMENT
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
8
X
9
X
10
Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection. You will be tested to
see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to
drive. You will be asked to do a pre-trip inspection
of your vehicle and explain to the examiner what
you would inspect and why.
Basic Vehicle Control. You will be tested on your
skill to control the vehicle. You will be asked to
move your vehicle forward, backward, and turn it
within a defined area. These areas may be marked
with traffic lanes, cones, barriers, or something
similar. The examiner will tell you how each control
test is to be done.
X
11
X
X
X
X
X
X
12
X
X
X
X
X
X
13
X
X
X
X
X
X
*Study section 5 if you plan to operate vehicles
equipped with air brakes.
Figure 1.2
On-road Test. You will be tested on your skill to
safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic
situations. The situations may include left and right
1-2
1.2 – Driver Disqualifications
1.2.4 – Violation of Out-of-Service Orders
1.2.1 – General
You will lose your CDL:
You may not drive a commercial motor vehicle if
you are disqualified for any reason.
 For at least 180 days if you have committed your
first violation of an out-of-service violation order.
 For at least two years if you have committed two
out-of-service violation orders in a ten-year period.
 For at least three years if you have committed three
or more out-of-service violation orders in a ten-year
period.
1.2.2 – Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of an
Accident, and Commission of a Felony
It is illegal to operate a CMV if your blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. If you
operate a CMV, you shall be deemed to have
given your consent to alcohol testing.
1.2.5 – Railroad-highway Grade Crossing
Violations
You will lose your CDL:
You will lose your CDL for at least one year for a
first offense for:
 For at least 60 days for your first violation.
 For at least 120 days for your second violation
within any three-year period.
 For at least one year for your third violation within
any three-year period.
 Driving a CMV if your blood alcohol concentration is
.04% or higher.
 Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol.
 Refusing to undergo blood alcohol testing.
 Driving a CMV while under the influence of a
controlled substance.
 Leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV.
 Committing a felony involving the use of a CMV.
These violations include violation of a federal, state
or local law or regulation pertaining to one of the
following six offenses at a railroad-highway grade
crossing:
You will lose your CDL for at least three years if
the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV
that is placarded for hazardous materials.
 For drivers who are not required to always stop,
failing to stop before reaching the crossing if the
tracks are not clear.
 For drivers who are not required to always stop,
failing to slow down and check that the tracks are
clear of an approaching train.
 For drivers who are always required to stop, failing
to stop before driving onto the crossing.
 For all drivers failing to have sufficient space to
drive completely through the crossing without
stopping.
 For all drivers failing to obey a traffic control device
or the directions of an enforcement official at the
crossing.
 For all drivers failing to negotiate a crossing
because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.
You will lose your CDL for life for a second offense.
You will lose your CDL for life if you use a CMV to
commit a felony involving controlled substances.
You will be put out-of-service for 24 hours if you
have any detectable amount of alcohol under
.04%.
1.2.3 – Serious Traffic Violations
Serious traffic violations are excessive speeding
(15 mph or more above the posted limit), reckless
driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following
a vehicle too closely, and traffic offenses
committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic
accidents.
1.2.6 – Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Background Check and Disqualifications
If you require a hazardous materials endorsement
you will be required to submit your fingerprints and
be subject to a background check.
You will lose your CDL:
 For at least 60 days if you have committed two
serious traffic violations within a three-year period
involving a CMV.
 For at least 120 days for three serious traffic
violations within a three-year period involving a
CMV.
You will be denied or you will lose your hazardous
materials endorsement if you:
 Are not a lawful permanent resident of the United
States.
1-3
 Renounce your United States citizenship.
 Are wanted or under indictment for certain felonies.
 Have a conviction in military or civilian court for
certain felonies.
 Have been adjudicated as a mental defective or
committed to a mental institution.
 Are considered to pose a security threat as
determined by the Transportation Security
Administration.
other jurisdiction of any traffic violation (except
parking). This is true no matter what type of vehicle
you were driving.
 You must notify your employer if your license is
suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are
disqualified from driving.
 You must give your employer information on all
driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years.
You must do this when you apply for a commercial
driving job.
 No one can drive a commercial motor vehicle
without a CDL. A court may fine you up to $5,000 or
put you in jail for breaking this rule.
 If you have a hazardous materials endorsement
you must notify and surrender your hazardous
materials endorsement to the state that issued your
CDL within 24 hours of any conviction or indictment
in any jurisdiction, civilian or military, for, or found
not guilty by reason of insanity of a disqualifying
crime listed in 49 CFR 1572.103; who is
adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a
mental institution as specified in 49 CFR 1572.109;
or who renounces his or her U. S. citizenship.
 Your employer may not let you drive a commercial
motor vehicle if you have more than one license or
if you’re CDL is suspended or revoked. A court may
fine the employer up to $5,000 or put him/her in jail
for breaking this rule.
 All states are connected to one computerized
system to share information about CDL drivers. The
states will check on drivers' accident records to be
sure that drivers do not have more than one CDL.
The background check procedures vary from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Your licensing agency will
provide you with all the information you need to
complete the required TSA background check
procedures.
1.2.7 – Traffic Violations in Your Personal
Vehicle
The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA)
of 1999 requires a CDL holder to be disqualified from
operating a commercial motor vehicle if the CDL
holder has been convicted of certain types of moving
violations in their personal vehicle.
If your license to operate your personal vehicle is
revoked, cancelled, or suspended due to serious
speeding violations you will lose your CDL for
periods ranging from 60 to 120 days.
If your license to operate your personal vehicle is
revoked, cancelled, or suspended due to alcohol
violations, you will lose your CDL for 1 year. If you
are convicted of a second alcohol conviction in
your personal vehicle you will lose your CDL for
life.
Your state may have additional rules that you must
also obey.
If your license to operate your personal vehicle is
revoked, cancelled, or suspended you may not
obtain a “hardship” license to operate a CMV.
1.3 – Other CDL Rules
There are other federal and state rules that affect
drivers operating CMVs in all states. Among them
are:
 You cannot have more than one license. If you
break this rule, a court may fine you up to $5,000 or
put you in jail and keep your home state license
and return any others.
 You must notify your employer within 30 days of
conviction for any traffic violations (except parking).
This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were
driving.
 You must notify your motor vehicle licensing
agency within 30 days if you are convicted in any
1-4
2.1 – Vehicle Inspection
Section 2
2.1.1 – Why Inspect
DRIVING SAFELY
Safety is the most important reason you inspect
your vehicle, safety for yourself and for other road
users.
This Section Covers
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Vehicle Inspection
Basic Control of Your Vehicle
Shifting Gears
Seeing
Communicating
Space Management
Controlling Your Speed
Seeing Hazards
Distracted Driving
Aggressive Drivers/Road Rage
Night Driving
Driving in Fog
Winter Driving
Hot Weather Driving
Railroad-highway Crossings
Mountain Driving
Driving Emergencies
Antilock Braking Systems
Skid Control and Recovery
Accident Procedures
Fires
Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Driving
Staying Alert and Fit to Drive
Hazardous Materials Rules
A vehicle defect found during an inspection could
save you problems later. You could have a
breakdown on the road that will cost time and
dollars, or even worse, a crash caused by the
defect.
Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect
their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also
may inspect your vehicles. If they judge the vehicle
to be unsafe, they will put it "out of service" until it
is fixed.
2.1.2 – Types of Vehicle Inspection
Pre-trip Inspection. A pre-trip inspection will help
you find problems that could cause a crash or
breakdown.
During a Trip. For safety you should:
 Watch gauges for signs of trouble.
 Use your senses to check for problems (look, listen,
smell, feel).
 Check critical items when you stop:
o Tires, wheels and rims.
o Brakes.
o Lights and reflectors.
o Brake and electrical connections to trailer.
o Trailer coupling devices.
o Cargo securement devices.
This section contains knowledge and safe driving
information that all commercial drivers should
know. You must pass a test on this information to
get a CDL. This section does not have specific
information on air brakes, combination vehicles,
doubles, or passenger vehicles. When preparing
for the Pre-trip Inspection Test, you must review
the material in Section 11 in addition to the
information in this section. This section does have
basic information on hazardous materials (HazMat)
that all drivers should know. If you need a HazMat
endorsement, you should study Section 9.
After-trip Inspection and Report. You should do
an after-trip inspection at the end of the trip, day, or
tour of duty on each vehicle you operated. It may
include filling out a vehicle condition report listing
any problems you find. The inspection report helps
a motor carrier know when the vehicle needs
repairs.
2-1
 Spring hangers that allow movement of axle from
proper position. See Figure 2.2.
 Cracked or broken spring hangers.
 Missing or broken leaves in any leaf spring. If onefourth or more are missing, it will put the vehicle
"out of service", but any defect could be dangerous.
See Figure 2.3.
 Broken leaves in a multi-leaf spring or leaves that
have shifted so they might hit a tire or other part.
 Leaking shock absorbers.
 Torque rod or arm, u-bolts, spring hangers, or other
axle positioning parts that are cracked, damaged,
or missing.
 Air suspension systems that are damaged and/or
leaking. See Figure 2.4.
 Any loose, cracked, broken, or missing frame
members.
2.1.3 – What to Look For
Tire Problems
 Too much or too little air pressure.
 Bad wear. You need at least 4/32-inch tread depth
in every major groove on front tires. You need 2/32
inch on other tires. No fabric should show through
the tread or sidewall.
 Cuts or other damage.
 Tread separation.
 Dual tires that come in contact with each other or
parts of the vehicle.
 Mismatched sizes.
 Radial and bias-ply tires used together.
 Cut or cracked valve stems.
 Regrooved, recapped, or retreaded tires on the
front wheels of a bus. These are prohibited.
Wheel and Rim Problems
 Damaged rims.
 Rust around wheel nuts may mean the nuts are
loose--check tightness. After a tire has been
changed, stop a short while later and re-check
tightness of nuts.
 Missing clamps, spacers, studs, or lugs means
danger.
 Mismatched, bent, or cracked lock rings are
dangerous.
 Wheels or rims that have had welding repairs are
not safe.
Bad Brake Drums or Shoes
 Cracked drums.
 Shoes or pads with oil, grease, or brake fluid on
them.
 Shoes worn dangerously thin, missing, or broken.
Figure 2.1
Steering System Defects
 Missing nuts, bolts, cotter keys, or other parts.
 Bent, loose, or broken parts, such as steering
column, steering gear box, or tie rods.
 If power steering equipped, check hoses, pumps,
and fluid level; check for leaks.
 Steering wheel play of more than 10 degrees
(approximately 2 inches movement at the rim of a
20-inch steering wheel) can make it hard to steer.
Figure 2.1 illustrates a typical steering system.
Suspension System Defects. The suspension
system holds up the vehicle and its load. It keeps
the axles in place. Therefore, broken suspension
parts can be extremely dangerous. Look for:
2-2
Figure 2.4
Exhaust System Defects. A broken exhaust
system can let poison fumes into the cab or
sleeper berth. Look for:
 Loose, broken, or missing exhaust pipes, mufflers,
tailpipes, or vertical stacks.
 Loose, broken, or missing mounting brackets,
clamps, bolts, or nuts.
 Exhaust system parts rubbing against fuel system
parts, tires, or other moving parts of vehicle.
 Exhaust system parts that are leaking.
Figure 2.2
Emergency Equipment. Vehicles must be
equipped with emergency equipment. Look for:
 Fire extinguisher(s).
 Spare electrical fuses (unless equipped with circuit
breakers).
 Warning devices for parked vehicles (for example,
three reflective warning triangles).
Cargo (Trucks). You must make sure the truck is
not overloaded and the cargo is balanced and
secured before each trip. If the cargo contains
hazardous materials, you must inspect for proper
papers and placarding.
2.1.4 – CDL Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test
In order to obtain a CDL you will be required to
pass a pre-trip vehicle inspection test. You will be
tested to see if you know whether your vehicle is
safe to drive. You will be asked to do a pre-trip
inspection of your vehicle and explain to the
examiner what you would inspect and why. The
following seven-step inspection method should be
useful.
Figure 2.3
2-3
2.1.5 – Seven-step Inspection Method
Step 3: Start Engine and Inspect Inside the Cab
Method of Inspection. You should do a pre-trip
inspection the same way each time so you will
learn all the steps and be less likely to forget
something.
Get In and Start Engine
 Make sure parking brake is on.
 Put gearshift in neutral (or "park" if automatic).
 Start engine; listen for unusual noises.
 If equipped, check the Anti-lock Braking System
(ABS) indicator lights. Light on dash should come
on and then turn off. If it stays on the ABS is not
working properly. For trailers only, if the yellow light
on the left rear of the trailer stays on, the ABS is not
working properly.
Approaching the Vehicle. Notice general
condition. Look for damage or vehicle leaning to
one side. Look under the vehicle for fresh oil,
coolant, grease, or fuel leaks. Check the area
around the vehicle for hazards to vehicle
movement (people, other vehicles, objects, lowhanging wires, limbs, etc.).
Look at the Gauges
Vehicle Inspection Guide
 Oil pressure. Should come up to normal within
seconds after engine is started. See Figure 2.5
 Air pressure. Pressure should build from 50 to 90
psi within 3 minutes. Build air pressure to governor
cut-out (usually around 120 – 140 psi.) Know your
vehicles requirements.
 Ammeter and/or voltmeter. Should be in normal
range(s).
 Coolant temperature. Should begin gradual rise to
normal operating range.
 Engine oil temperature. Should begin gradual rise
to normal operating range.
 Warning lights and buzzers. Oil, coolant, charging
circuit warning, and antilock brake system lights
should go out right away.
Step 1: Vehicle Overview
Review Last Vehicle Inspection Report. Drivers
may have to make a vehicle inspection report in
writing each day. The motor carrier must repair any
items in the report that affect safety and certify on
the report that repairs were made or were
unnecessary. You must sign the report only if
defects were noted and certified to be repaired or
not needed to be repaired.
Step 2: Check Engine Compartment
Check That the Parking Brakes Are On and/or
Wheels Chocked. You may have to raise the
hood, tilt the cab (secure loose things so they don't
fall and break something), or open the engine
compartment door. Check the following:
Check Condition of Controls. Check all of the
following for looseness, sticking, damage, or
improper setting:
 Engine oil level.
 Coolant level in radiator; condition of hoses.
 Power steering fluid level; hose condition (if so
equipped).
 Windshield washer fluid level.
 Battery fluid level, connections, and tie downs
(battery may be located elsewhere).
 Automatic transmission fluid level (may require
engine to be running).
 Check belts for tightness and excessive wear
(alternator, water pump, air compressor)--learn how
much "give" the belts should have when adjusted
right, and check each one.
 Leaks in the engine compartment (fuel, coolant, oil,
power steering fluid, hydraulic fluid, battery fluid).
 Cracked, worn electrical wiring insulation.
 Steering wheel.
 Clutch.
 Accelerator ("gas pedal").
 Brake controls.
o Foot brake.
o Trailer brake (if vehicle has one).
o Parking brake.
o Retarder controls (if vehicle has them).
 Transmission controls.
 Interaxle differential lock (if vehicle has one).
 Horn(s).
 Windshield wiper/washer.
 Lights.
o Headlights.
o Dimmer switch.
o Turn signal.
o Four-way flashers.
o Parking, clearance, identification, marker
switch(es).
Lower and secure hood, cab, or engine
compartment door.
2-4
Step 5: Do Walkaround Inspection
 Go to front of vehicle and check that low beams are
on and both of the four-way flashers are working.
 Push dimmer switch and check that high beams
work.
 Turn off headlights and four-way emergency
flashers.
 Turn on parking, clearance, side-marker, and
identification lights.
 Turn on right turn signal, and start walk-around
inspection.
General
 Walkaround and inspect.
 Clean all lights, reflectors, and glass as you go
along.
Left Front Side
 Driver's door glass should be clean.
 Door latches or locks should work properly.
 Left front wheel.
o Condition of wheel and rim--missing, bent,
broken studs, clamps, lugs, or any signs of
misalignment.
o Condition of tires--properly inflated, valve
stem and cap OK, no serious cuts, bulges,
or tread wear.
o Use wrench to test rust-streaked lug nuts,
indicating looseness.
o Hub oil level OK, no leaks.
Figure 2.5
Check Mirrors and Windshield. Inspect mirrors
and windshield for cracks, dirt, illegal stickers, or
other obstructions to seeing clearly. Clean and
adjust as necessary.
Check Emergency Equipment
Check for safety equipment:
 Spare electrical fuses (unless vehicle has
circuit breakers).
 Three red reflective triangles.
 Properly charged and rated fire extinguisher.
Left front suspension.
 Condition of spring, spring hangers, shackles,
u-bolts.
 Shock absorber condition.
Check for optional items such as:
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Left front brake.
Chains (where winter conditions require).
Tire changing equipment.
List of emergency phone numbers.
Accident reporting kit (packet).
 Condition of brake drum or disc.
 Condition of hoses.
Front
Step 4: Turn Off Engine and Check Lights
 Condition of front axle.
 Condition of steering system.
o No loose, worn, bent, damaged or missing
parts.
o Must grab steering mechanism to test for
looseness.
Make sure the parking brake is set, turn off the
engine, and take the key with you. Turn on
headlights (low beams) and four-way emergency
flashers, and get out of the vehicle.
2-5
 Condition of windshield.
o Check for damage and clean if dirty.
o Check windshield wiper arms for proper
spring tension.
o Check wiper blades for damage, "stiff"
rubber, and securement.
o
o
 Lights and reflectors.
o Parking, clearance, and identification lights
clean, operating, and proper color (amber
at front).
o Reflectors clean and proper color (amber
at front).
o Right front turn signal light clean,
operating, and proper color (amber or
white on signals facing forward).
If oversize, all required signs (flags, lamps,
and reflectors) safely and properly
mounted and all required permits in
driver's possession.
Curbside cargo compartment doors in
good condition, securely closed,
latched/locked and required security seals
in place.
Right Rear
 Condition of wheels and rims--no missing, bent, or
broken spacers, studs, clamps, or lugs.
 Condition of tires--properly inflated, valve stems
and caps OK, no serious cuts, bulges, tread wear,
tires not rubbing each other, and nothing stuck
between them.
 Tires same type, e.g., not mixed radial and bias
types.
 Tires evenly matched (same sizes).
 Wheel bearing/seals not leaking.
 Suspension.
o Condition of spring(s), spring hangers,
shackles, and u-bolts.
o Axle secure.
o Powered axle(s) not leaking lube (gear oil).
o Condition of torque rod arms, bushings.
o Condition of shock absorber(s).
o If retractable axle equipped, check
condition of lift mechanism. If air powered,
check for leaks.
o Condition of air ride components.
Right Side
 Right front: check all items as done on left front.
 Primary and secondary safety cab locks engaged (if
cab-over-engine design).
 Right fuel tank(s).
o Securely mounted, not damaged, or
leaking.
o Fuel crossover line secure.
o Tank(s) contain enough fuel.
o Cap(s) on and secure.
 Condition of visible parts.
o Rear of engine--not leaking.
o Transmission--not leaking.
o Exhaust system--secure, not leaking, not
touching wires, fuel, or air lines.
o Frame and cross members--no bends or
cracks.
o Air lines and electrical wiring--secured
against snagging, rubbing, wearing.
o Spare tire carrier or rack not damaged (if
so equipped).
o Spare tire and/or wheel securely mounted
in rack.
o Spare tire and wheel adequate (proper
size, properly inflated).
 Brakes.
o Brake adjustment.
o Condition of brake drum(s) or discs.
o Condition of hoses--look for any wear due
to rubbing.
 Lights and reflectors.
o Side-marker lights clean, operating, and
proper color (red at rear, others amber).
o Side-marker reflectors clean and proper
color (red at rear, others amber).
 Cargo securement (trucks).
o Cargo properly blocked, braced, tied,
chained, etc.
o Header board adequate, secure (if
required).
o Side boards, stakes strong enough, free of
damage, properly set in place (if so
equipped).
o Canvas or tarp (if required) properly
secured to prevent tearing, billowing, or
blocking of mirrors.
Rear
 Lights and reflectors.
o Rear clearance and identification lights
clean, operating, and proper color (red at
rear).
o Reflectors clean and proper color (red at
rear).
o Taillights clean, operating, and proper
color (red at rear).
o Right rear turn signal operating, and
proper color (red, yellow, or amber at rear).
2-6
 License plate(s) present, clean, and secured.
 Splash guards present, not damaged, properly
fastened, not dragging on ground, or rubbing tires.
 Cargo secure (trucks).
o Cargo properly blocked, braced, tied,
chained, etc.
o Tailboards up and properly secured.
o End gates free of damage, properly
secured in stake sockets.
o Canvas or tarp (if required) properly
secured to prevent tearing, billowing, or
blocking of either the rearview mirrors or
rear lights.
o If over-length, or over-width, make sure all
signs and/or additional lights/flags are
safely and properly mounted and all
required permits are in driver's possession.
o Rear doors securely closed, latched/locked.
 Check for all required papers, trip manifests,
permits, etc.
 Secure all loose articles in cab (they might interfere
with operation of the controls or hit you in a crash).
 Start the engine.
Left Side
Test Parking Brake(s)
 Check all items as done on right side, plus:
o Battery(ies) (if not mounted in engine
compartment).
o Battery box(es) securely mounted to
vehicle.
o Box has secure cover.
o Battery(ies) secured against movement.
o Battery(ies) not broken or leaking.
o Fluid in battery(ies) at proper level (except
maintenance-free type).
o Cell caps present and securely tightened
(except maintenance-free type).
o Vents in cell caps free of foreign material
(except maintenance-free type).
 Set parking brake (power unit only).
 Release trailer parking brake (if applicable).
 Place vehicle into a low gear.
 Gently pull forward against parking brake to make
sure the parking brake holds.
 Repeat the same steps for the trailer with trailer
parking brake set and power unit parking brakes
released (if applicable).
 If it doesn't hold vehicle, it is faulty; get it fixed.
Step 7: Start the Engine and Check
Test for Hydraulic Leaks. If the vehicle has
hydraulic brakes, pump the brake pedal three
times. Then apply firm pressure to the pedal and
hold for five seconds. The pedal should not move.
If it does, there may be a leak or other problem.
Get it fixed before driving. If the vehicle has air
brakes, do the checks described in Sections 5 and
6 of this manual.
Brake System
Test Service Brake Stopping Action
 Go about five miles per hour.
 Push brake pedal firmly.
 "Pulling" to one side or the other can mean brake
trouble.
 Any unusual brake pedal "feel" or delayed stopping
action can mean trouble.
Step 6: Check Signal Lights
Get In and Turn Off Lights
 Turn off all lights.
 Turn on stop lights (apply trailer hand brake or have
a helper put on the brake pedal).
 Turn on left turn signal lights.
If you find anything unsafe during the pre-trip
inspection, get it fixed. Federal and state laws
forbid operating an unsafe vehicle.
2.1.6 – Inspection During a Trip
Get Out and Check Lights
Check Vehicle Operation Regularly
 Left front turn signal light clean, operating and
proper color (amber or white on signals facing the
front).
 Left rear turn signal light and both stop lights clean,
operating, and proper color (red, yellow, or amber).
You should check:
 Instruments.
 Air pressure gauge (if you have air brakes).
 Temperature gauges.
 Pressure gauges.
 Ammeter/voltmeter.
 Mirrors.
Get In Vehicle
 Turn off lights not needed for driving.
2-7
 Tires.
 Cargo, cargo covers.
 Lights.
 Etc.
2.2 – Basic Control of Your Vehicle
To drive a vehicle safely, you must be able to
control its speed and direction. Safe operation of a
commercial vehicle requires skill in:
If you see, hear, smell, or feel anything that might
mean trouble, check it out.
 Accelerating.
 Steering.
 Stopping.
 Backing safely.
Safety Inspection. Drivers of trucks and truck
tractors when transporting cargo must inspect the
securement of the cargo within the first 50 miles of
a trip and every 150 miles or every three hours
(whichever comes first) after.
Fasten your seatbelt when on the road. Apply the
parking brake when you leave your vehicle.
2.1.7 – After-trip Inspection and Report
2.2.1 – Accelerating
You may have to make a written report each day
on the condition of the vehicle(s) you drove. Report
anything affecting safety or possibly leading to
mechanical breakdown.
Don't roll back when you start. You may hit
someone behind you. If you have a manual
transmission vehicle, partly engage the clutch
before you take your right foot off the brake. Put on
the parking brake whenever necessary to keep
from rolling back. Release the parking brake only
when you have applied enough engine power to
keep from rolling back. On a tractor-trailer
equipped with a trailer brake hand valve, the hand
valve can be applied to keep from rolling back.
Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle
does not jerk. Rough acceleration can cause
mechanical damage. When pulling a trailer, rough
acceleration can damage the coupling.
Subsection 2.1
Test Your Knowledge
The vehicle inspection report tells the motor carrier
about problems that may need fixing. Keep a copy
of your report in the vehicle for one day. That way,
the next driver can learn about any problems you
have found.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
Speed up very gradually when traction is poor, as
in rain or snow. If you use too much power, the
drive wheels may spin. You could lose control. If
the drive wheels begin to spin, take your foot off
the accelerator.
What is the most important reason for
doing a vehicle inspection?
What things should you check during a
trip?
Name some key steering system parts.
Name some suspension system defects.
What three kinds of emergency equipment
must you have?
What is the minimum tread depth for front
tires? For other tires?
Name some things you should check on
the front of your vehicle during the
walkaround inspection.
What should wheel bearing seals be
checked for?
How many red reflective triangles should
you carry?
How do you test hydraulic brakes for
leaks?
Why put the starter switch key in your
pocket during the pre-trip inspection?
2.2.2 – Steering
Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands.
Your hands should be on opposite sides of the
wheel. If you hit a curb or a pothole (chuckhole),
the wheel could pull away from your hands unless
you have a firm hold.
2.2.3 – Stopping
Push the brake pedal down gradually. The amount
of brake pressure you need to stop the vehicle will
depend on the speed of the vehicle and how
quickly you need to stop. Control the pressure so
the vehicle comes to a smooth, safe stop. If you
have a manual transmission, push the clutch in
when the engine is close to idle.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 2.1.
2-8
2.2.4 – Backing Safely
2.3 – Shifting Gears
Because you cannot see everything behind your
vehicle, backing is always dangerous. Avoid
backing whenever you can. When you park, try to
park so you will be able to pull forward when you
leave. When you have to back, here are a few
simple safety rules:
Correct shifting of gears is important. If you can't
get your vehicle into the right gear while driving,
you will have less control.
2.3.1 – Manual Transmissions
Basic Method for Shifting Up. Most heavy
vehicles with manual transmissions require double
clutching to change gears. This is the basic
method:
 Start in the proper position.
 Look at your path.
 Use mirrors on both sides.
 Back slowly.
 Back and turn toward the driver's side whenever
possible.
 Use a helper whenever possible.
 These rules are discussed in turn below.
 Release accelerator, push in clutch and shift to
neutral at the same time.
 Release clutch.
 Let engine and gears slow down to the rpm
required for the next gear (this takes practice).
 Push in clutch and shift to the higher gear at the
same time.
 Release clutch and press accelerator at the same
time.
Start in the Proper Position. Put the vehicle in
the best position to allow you to back safely. This
position will depend on the type of backing to be
done.
Look at Your Path. Look at your line of travel
before you begin. Get out and walk around the
vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and
overhead, in and near the path your vehicle will
take.
Shifting gears using double clutching requires
practice. If you remain too long in neutral, you may
have difficulty putting the vehicle into the next
gear. If so, don't try to force it. Return to neutral,
release clutch, increase engine speed to match
road speed, and try again.
Use Mirrors on Both Sides. Check the outside
mirrors on both sides frequently. Get out of the
vehicle and check your path if you are unsure.
Knowing When to Shift Up. There are two ways
of knowing when to shift:
Back Slowly. Always back as slowly as possible.
Use the lowest reverse gear. That way you can
more easily correct any steering errors. You also
can stop quickly if necessary.
Use Engine Speed (rpm). Study the driver's
manual for your vehicle and learn the operating
rpm range. Watch your tachometer, and shift up
when your engine reaches the top of the range.
(Some newer vehicles use "progressive" shifting,
the rpm at which you shift becomes higher as you
move up in the gears. Find out what's right for the
vehicle you will operate.)
Back and Turn Toward the Driver's Side. Back
to the driver's side so you can see better. Backing
toward the right side is very dangerous because
you can't see as well. If you back and turn toward
the driver's side, you can watch the rear of your
vehicle by looking out the side window. Use driverside backing--even if it means going around the
block to put your vehicle in this position. The
added safety is worth it.
Use Road Speed (mph). Learn what speeds each
gear is good for. Then, by using the speedometer,
you'll know when to shift up.
With either method, you may learn to use engine
sounds to know when to shift.
Use a Helper. Use a helper when you can. There
are blind spots you can't see. That's why a helper
is important. The helper should stand near the
back of your vehicle where you can see the helper.
Before you begin backing, work out a set of hand
signals that you both understand. Agree on a
signal for "stop”.
Basic Procedures for Shifting Down
 Release accelerator, push in clutch, and shift to
neutral at the same time.
 Release clutch.
 Press accelerator, increase engine and gear speed
to the rpm required in the lower gear.
 Push in clutch and shift to lower gear at the same
time.
2-9
 Release clutch and press accelerator at the same
time.
 Downshifting, like upshifting, requires knowing
when to shift. Use either the tachometer or the
speedometer and downshift at the right rpm or road
speed.
whenever you let up on the accelerator pedal all
the way.
Because these devices can be noisy, be sure you
know where their use is permitted.
Caution. When your drive wheels have poor
traction, the retarder may cause them to skid.
Therefore, you should turn the retarder off
whenever the road is wet, icy, or snow covered.
Special conditions where you should downshift
are:
Before Starting Down a Hill. Slow down and shift
down to a speed that you can control without using
the brakes hard. Otherwise the brakes can
overheat and lose their braking power.
Subsections 2.2 and 2.3
Test Your Knowledge
Downshift before starting down the hill. Make sure
you are in a low enough gear, usually lower than
the gear required to climb the same hill.
1.
2.
Before Entering a Curve. Slow down to a safe
speed, and downshift to the right gear before
entering the curve. This lets you use some power
through the curve to help the vehicle be more
stable while turning. It also allows you to speed up
as soon as you are out of the curve.
3.
4.
5.
6.
2.3.2 – Multi-speed Rear Axles and
Auxiliary Transmissions
7.
Multi-speed rear axles and auxiliary transmissions
are used on many vehicles to provide extra gears.
You usually control them by a selector knob or
switch on the gearshift lever of the main
transmission. There are many different shift
patterns. Learn the right way to shift gears in the
vehicle you will drive.
8.
Why should you back toward the driver's
side?
If stopped on a hill, how can you start
moving without rolling back?
When backing, why is it important to use a
helper?
What's the most important hand signal that
you and the helper should agree on?
What are the two special conditions where
you should downshift?
When should you downshift automatic
transmissions?
Retarders keep you from skidding when
the road is slippery. True or False?
What are the two ways to know when to
shift?
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.2 and 2.3.
2.4 – Seeing
2.3.3 – Automatic Transmissions
To be a safe driver you need to know what's going
on all around your vehicle. Not looking properly is a
major cause of accidents.
Some vehicles have automatic transmissions. You
can select a low range to get greater engine
braking when going down grades. The lower
ranges prevent the transmission from shifting up
beyond the selected gear (unless the governor rpm
is exceeded). It is very important to use this
braking effect when going down grades.
2.4.1 – Seeing Ahead
All drivers look ahead; but many don't look far
enough ahead.
2.3.4 – Retarders
Importance of Looking Far Enough Ahead.
Because stopping or changing lanes can take a lot
of distance, knowing what the traffic is doing on all
sides of you is very important. You need to look
well ahead to make sure you have room to make
these moves safely.
Some vehicles have "retarders”. Retarders help
slow a vehicle, reducing the need for using your
brakes. They reduce brake wear and give you
another way to slow down. There are four basic
types of retarders (exhaust, engine, hydraulic, and
electric). All retarders can be turned on or off by
the driver. On some vehicles the retarding power
can be adjusted. When turned "on”, retarders apply
their braking power (to the drive wheels only)
How Far Ahead to Look. Most good drivers look
at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead. That means
looking ahead the distance you will travel in 12 to
15 seconds. At lower speeds, that's about one
block. At highway speeds it's about a quarter of a
2-10
mile. If you're not looking that far ahead, you may
have to stop too quickly or make quick lane
changes. Looking 12 to 15 seconds ahead doesn't
mean not paying attention to things that are closer.
Good drivers shift their attention back and forth,
near and far. Figure 2.6 illustrates how far to look
ahead.
Check Your Vehicle. Use the mirrors to keep an
eye on your tires. It's one way to spot a tire fire. If
you're carrying open cargo, you can use the
mirrors to check it. Look for loose straps, ropes, or
chains. Watch for a flapping or ballooning tarp.
Special Situations. Special situations require
more than regular mirror checks. These are lane
changes, turns, merges, and tight maneuvers.
Lane Changes. You need to check your mirrors to
make sure no one is alongside you or about to
pass you. Check your mirrors:
 Before you change lanes to make sure there is
enough room.
 After you have signaled, to check that no one has
moved into your blind spot.
 Right after you start the lane change, to doublecheck that your path is clear.
 After you complete the lane change.
Figure 2.6
Turns. In turns, check your mirrors to make sure
the rear of your vehicle will not hit anything.
Look for Traffic. Look for vehicles coming onto
the highway, into your lane, or turning. Watch for
brake lights from slowing vehicles. By seeing these
things far enough ahead, you can change your
speed, or change lanes if necessary to avoid a
problem. If a traffic light has been green for a long
time it will probably change before you get there.
Start slowing down and be ready to stop.
Merges. When merging, use your mirrors to make
sure the gap in traffic is large enough for you to
enter safely.
Tight Maneuvers. Any time you are driving in
close quarters, check your mirrors often. Make
sure you have enough clearance.
2.4.2 – Seeing to the Sides and Rear
How to Use Mirrors. Use mirrors correctly by
checking them quickly and understanding what you
see. When you use your mirrors while driving on
the road, check quickly. Look back and forth
between the mirrors and the road ahead. Don't
focus on the mirrors for too long. Otherwise, you
will travel quite a distance without knowing what's
happening ahead.
It's important to know what's going on behind and
to the sides. Check your mirrors regularly. Check
more often in special situations.
Mirror Adjustment. Mirror adjustment should be
checked prior to the start of any trip and can only
be checked accurately when the trailer(s) are
straight. You should check and adjust each mirror
to show some part of the vehicle. This will give you
a reference point for judging the position of the
other images.
Many large vehicles have curved (convex, "fisheye”,
"spot”, "bugeye") mirrors that show a wider area than
flat mirrors. This is often helpful. But everything
appears smaller in a convex mirror than it would if
you were looking at it directly. Things also seem
farther away than they really are. It's important to
realize this and to allow for it. Figure 2.7 shows the
field of vision using a convex mirror.
Regular Checks. You need to make regular
checks of your mirrors to be aware of traffic and to
check your vehicle.
Traffic. Check your mirrors for vehicles on either
side and in back of you. In an emergency, you may
need to know whether you can make a quick lane
change. Use your mirrors to spot overtaking
vehicles. There are "blind spots" that your mirrors
cannot show you. Check your mirrors regularly to
know where other vehicles are around you, and to
see if they move into your blind spots.
2-11
Slowing Down. Warn drivers behind you when
you see you'll need to slow down. A few light taps
on the brake pedal -- enough to flash the brake
lights -- should warn following drivers. Use the
four-way emergency flashers for times when you
are driving very slowly or are stopped. Warn other
drivers in any of the following situations:
 Trouble Ahead. The size of your vehicle may
make it hard for drivers behind you to see hazards
ahead. If you see a hazard that will require slowing
down, warn the drivers behind by flashing your
brake lights.
 Tight Turns. Most car drivers don't know how
slowly you have to go to make a tight turn in a large
vehicle. Give drivers behind you warning by braking
early and slowing gradually.
 Stopping on the Road. Truck and bus drivers
sometimes stop in the roadway to unload cargo or
passengers, or to stop at a railroad crossing. Warn
following drivers by flashing your brake lights. Don't
stop suddenly.
 Driving Slowly. Drivers often do not realize how
fast they are catching up to a slow vehicle until they
are very close. If you must drive slowly, alert
following drivers by turning on your emergency
flashers if it is legal. (Laws regarding the use of
flashers differ from one state to another. Check the
laws of the states where you will drive.)
Figure 2.7
2.5 – Communicating
Don't Direct Traffic. Some drivers try to help out
others by signaling when it is safe to pass. You
should not do this. You could cause an accident.
You could be blamed and it could cost you many
thousands of dollars.
2.5.1 – Signal Your Intentions
Other drivers can't know what you are going to do
until you tell them.
2.5.2 – Communicating Your Presence
Signaling what you intend to do is important for
safety. Here are some general rules for signaling.
Other drivers may not notice your vehicle even
when it's in plain sight. To help prevent accidents,
let them know you're there.
Turns. There are three good rules for using turn
signals:
When Passing. Whenever you are about to pass
a vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist, assume they
don't see you. They could suddenly move in front
of you. When it is legal, tap the horn lightly or, at
night, flash your lights from low to high beam and
back. And, drive carefully enough to avoid a crash
even if they don't see or hear you.
 Signal early. Signal well before you turn. It is the
best way to keep others from trying to pass you.
 Signal continuously. You need both hands on the
wheel to turn safely. Don't cancel the signal until
you have completed the turn.
 Cancel your signal. Don't forget to turn off your turn
signal after you've turned (if you don't have selfcanceling signals).
When It's Hard to See. At dawn, dusk, in rain, or
snow, you need to make yourself easier to see. If
you are having trouble seeing other vehicles, other
drivers will have trouble seeing you. Turn on your
lights. Use the headlights, not just the identification
or clearance lights. Use the low beams; high
beams can bother people in the daytime as well as
at night.
Lane Changes. Put your turn signal on before
changing lanes. Change lanes slowly and
smoothly. That way a driver you didn't see may
have a chance to honk his/her horn, or avoid your
vehicle.
2-12
When Parked at the Side of the Road. When you
pull off the road and stop, be sure to turn on the
four-way emergency flashers. This is important at
night. Don't trust the taillights to give warning.
Drivers have crashed into the rear of a parked
vehicle because they thought it was moving
normally.
If you must stop on a road or the shoulder of any
road, you must put out your emergency warning
devices within ten minutes. Place your warning
devices at the following locations:
 If you must stop on or by a one-way or divided
highway, place warning devices 10 feet, 100
feet, and 200 feet toward the approaching traffic.
See Figure 2.8.
 If you stop on a two-lane road carrying traffic in
both directions or on an undivided highway,
place warning devices within 10 feet of the front
or rear corners to mark the location of the
vehicle and 100 feet behind and ahead of the
vehicle, on the shoulder or in the lane you
stopped in. See Figure 2.9.
Figure 2.9
 Back beyond any hill, curve, or other obstruction
that prevents other drivers from seeing the
vehicle within 500 feet. If line of sight view is
obstructed due to hill or curve, move the rearmost triangle to a point back down the road so
warning is provided. See Figure 2.10.
Figure 2.8
Figure 2.10
2-13
When putting out the triangles, hold them between
yourself and the oncoming traffic for your own
safety. (So other drivers can see you.)
Stopping Distance Chart
Use Your Horn When Needed. Your horn can let
others know you're there. It can help to avoid a
crash. Use your horn when needed. However, it
can startle others and could be dangerous when
used unnecessarily.
2.6 – Controlling Speed
Driving too fast is a major cause of fatal crashes.
You must adjust your speed depending on driving
conditions. These include traction, curves, visibility,
traffic, and hills.
Miles
Per
Hour
How Far
The Rig
Will
Travel in
One
Second
Driver
Reaction
Distance
Vehicle
Braking
Distance
Total
Stopping
Distance
15 mph
22 ft.
17 ft.
29 ft.
46 ft.
30 mph
44 ft.
33 ft.
115 ft.
148 ft.
45 mph
66 ft.
50 ft.
260 ft.
310 ft.
50 mph
73 ft.
55 ft.
320 ft.
375 ft.
55 mph
81 ft.
61 ft.
390 ft.
451 ft.
Figure 2.11
The Effect of Vehicle Weight on Stopping
Distance. The heavier the vehicle, the more work
the brakes must do to stop it, and the more heat
they absorb. But the brakes, tires, springs, and
shock absorbers on heavy vehicles are designed
to work best when the vehicle is fully loaded.
Empty trucks require greater stopping distances
because an empty vehicle has less traction.
2.6.1 – Stopping Distance
Perception Distance + Reaction Distance +
Braking Distance =Total Stopping Distance
Perception Distance. This is the distance your
vehicle travels from the time your eyes see a
hazard until your brain recognizes it. The
perception time for an alert driver is about 3/4
second. At 55 mph, you travel 60 feet in 3/4
second or about 81 feet per second.
2.6.2 – Matching Speed to the Road
Surface
You can't steer or brake a vehicle unless you have
traction. Traction is friction between the tires and
the road. There are some road conditions that
reduce traction and call for lower speeds.
Reaction Distance. The distance traveled from
the time your brain tells your foot to move from the
accelerator until your foot is actually pushing the
brake pedal. The average driver has a reaction
time of 3/4 second. This accounts for an additional
60 feet traveled at 55 mph.
Slippery Surfaces. It will take longer to stop, and
it will be harder to turn without skidding, when the
road is slippery. Wet roads can double stopping
distance. You must drive slower to be able to stop
in the same distance as on a dry road. Reduce
speed by about one-third (e.g., slow from 55 to
about 35 mph) on a wet road. On packed snow,
reduce speed by a half, or more. If the surface is
icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop driving as
soon as you can safely do so.
Braking Distance. The distance it takes to stop
once the brakes are put on. At 55 mph on dry
pavement with good brakes, it can take a heavy
vehicle about 390 feet to stop. It takes about 4 1/2
seconds.
Total Stopping Distance. At 55 mph, it will take
about six seconds to stop and your vehicle will
travel about 450 feet.
Identifying Slippery Surfaces. Sometimes it's
hard to know if the road is slippery. Here are some
signs of slippery roads:
The Effect of Speed on Stopping Distance.
Whenever you double your speed, it takes about
four times as much distance to stop and your
vehicle will have four times the destructive power if
it crashes. High speeds increase stopping
distances greatly. By slowing down a little, you can
gain a lot in reduced braking distance. See Figure
2.11
 Shaded Areas. Shady parts of the road will remain
icy and slippery long after open areas have melted.
 Bridges. When the temperature drops, bridges will
freeze before the road will. Be especially careful
when the temperature is close to 32 degrees
Fahrenheit.
 Melting Ice. Slight melting will make ice wet. Wet
ice is much more slippery than ice that is not wet.
 Black Ice. Black ice is a thin layer that is clear
enough that you can see the road underneath it. It
makes the road look wet. Any time the
2-14
temperature is below freezing and the road looks
wet, watch out for black ice.
 Vehicle Icing. An easy way to check for ice is to
open the window and feel the front of the mirror,
mirror support, or antenna. If there's ice on these,
the road surface is probably starting to ice up.
 Just After Rain Begins. Right after it starts to rain,
the water mixes with oil left on the road by vehicles.
This makes the road very slippery. If the rain
continues, it will wash the oil away.
 Hydroplaning. In some weather, water or slush
collects on the road. When this happens, your
vehicle can hydroplane. It's like water skiing--the
tires lose their contact with the road and have little
or no traction. You may not be able to steer or
brake. You can regain control by releasing the
accelerator and pushing in the clutch. This will slow
your vehicle and let the wheels turn freely. If the
vehicle is hydroplaning, do not use the brakes to
slow down. If the drive wheels start to skid, push in
the clutch to let them turn freely.
2.6.4 – Speed and Distance Ahead
You should always be able to stop within the
distance you can see ahead. Fog, rain, or other
conditions may require that you slow down to be
able to stop in the distance you can see. At night,
you can't see as far with low beams as you can
with high beams. When you must use low beams,
slow down.
2.6.5 – Speed and Traffic Flow
When you're driving in heavy traffic, the safest
speed is the speed of other vehicles. Vehicles
going the same direction at the same speed are
not likely to run into one another. In many states,
speed limits are lower for trucks and buses than for
cars. It can vary as much as 15 mph. Use extra
caution when you change lanes or pass on these
roadways. Drive at the speed of the traffic, if you
can without going at an illegal or unsafe speed.
Keep a safe following distance.
It does not take a lot of water to cause
hydroplaning. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds
as low as 30 mph if there is a lot of water.
Hydroplaning is more likely if tire pressure is low,
or the tread is worn. (The grooves in a tire carry
away the water; if they aren't deep, they don't work
well.)
The main reason drivers exceed speed limits is to
save time. But, anyone trying to drive faster than
the speed of traffic will not be able to save much
time. The risks involved are not worth it. If you go
faster than the speed of other traffic, you'll have to
keep passing other vehicles. This increases the
chance of a crash, and it is more tiring. Fatigue
increases the chance of a crash. Going with the
flow of traffic is safer and easier.
Road surfaces where water can collect can create
conditions that cause a vehicle to hydroplane.
Watch for clear reflections, tire splashes, and
raindrops on the road. These are indications of
standing water.
2.6.6 – Speed on Downgrades
Your vehicle's speed will increase on downgrades
because of gravity. Your most important objective
is to select and maintain a speed that is not too
fast for the:
2.6.3 – Speed and Curves
Drivers must adjust their speed for curves in the
road. If you take a curve too fast, two things can
happen. The tires can lose their traction and
continue straight ahead, so you skid off the road.
Or, the tires may keep their traction and the vehicle
rolls over. Tests have shown that trucks with a high
center of gravity can roll over at the posted speed
limit for a curve.
 Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
 Length of the grade.
 Steepness of the grade.
 Road conditions.
 Weather.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign
indicating "Maximum Safe Speed”, never exceed
the speed shown. Also, look for and heed warning
signs indicating the length and steepness of
the grade. You must use the braking effect of
the engine as the principal way of controlling
your speed on downgrades. The braking effect of
the engine is greatest when it is near the governed
rpms and the transmission is in the lower
gears. Save your brakes so you will be able to
slow or stop as required by road and traffic
conditions. Shift your transmission to a low gear
before starting down the grade and use the proper
Slow to a safe speed before you enter a curve.
Braking in a curve is dangerous because it is
easier to lock the wheels and cause a skid. Slow
down as needed. Don't ever exceed the posted
speed limit for the curve. Be in a gear that will let
you accelerate slightly in the curve. This will help
you keep control.
2-15
braking techniques. Please read carefully the
section on going down long, steep downgrades
safely in "Mountain Driving”.
2.7.1 – Space Ahead
Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area
ahead of the vehicle--the space you're driving into -that is most important.
2.6.7 – Roadway Work Zones
Speeding traffic is the number one cause of injury
and death in roadway work zones. Observe the
posted speed limits at all times when approaching
and driving through a work zone. Watch your
speedometer, and don’t allow your speed to creep
up as you drive through long sections of road
construction. Decrease your speed for adverse
weather or road conditions. Decrease your speed
even further when a worker is close to the
roadway.
The Need for Space Ahead. You need space
ahead in case you must suddenly stop. According
to accident reports, the vehicle that trucks and
buses most often run into is the one in front of
them. The most frequent cause is following too
closely. Remember, if the vehicle ahead of you is
smaller than yours, it can probably stop faster than
you can. You may crash if you are following too
closely.
How Much Space? How much space should you
keep in front of you? One good rule says you need
at least one second for each 10 feet of vehicle
length at speeds below 40 mph. At greater speeds,
you must add 1 second for safety. For example, if
you are driving a 40-foot vehicle, you should leave
4 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead. In
a 60-foot rig, you'll need 6 seconds. Over 40 mph,
you'd need 5 seconds for a 40-foot vehicle and 7
seconds for a 60-foot vehicle. See Figure 2.12.
Subsections 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
How far ahead does the manual say you
should look?
What are two main things to look for
ahead?
What's your most important way to see the
sides and rear of your vehicle?
What does "communicating" mean in safe
driving?
Where should your reflectors be placed
when stopped on a divided highway?
What three things add up to total stopping
distance?
If you go twice as fast, will your stopping
distance increase by two or four times?
Empty trucks have the best braking. True
or False?
What is hydroplaning?
What is "black ice”?
To know how much space you have, wait until the
vehicle ahead passes a shadow on the road, a
pavement marking, or some other clear landmark.
Then count off the seconds like this: "one
thousand-and-one, one thousand-and-two", and so
on, until you reach the same spot. Compare your
count with the rule of one second for every ten feet
of length.
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.4, 2.5, and
2.6.
2.7 – Managing Space
To be a safe driver, you need space all around
your vehicle. When things go wrong, space gives
you time to think and to take action.
To have space available when something goes
wrong, you need to manage space. While this is
true for all drivers, it is very important for large
vehicles. They take up more space and they
require more space for stopping and turning.
2-16
 When you are traveling slowly. Drivers trapped
behind slow vehicles often follow closely.
 In bad weather. Many car drivers follow large
vehicles closely during bad weather, especially
when it is hard to see the road ahead.
If you find yourself being tailgated, here are some
things you can do to reduce the chances of a
crash:
 Avoid quick changes. If you have to slow down or
turn, signal early, and reduce speed very gradually.
 Increase your following distance. Opening up room
in front of you will help you to avoid having to make
sudden speed or direction changes. It also makes it
easier for the tailgater to get around you.
 Don't speed up. It's safer to be tailgated at a low
speed than a high speed.
 Avoid tricks. Don't turn on your taillights or flash
your brake lights. Follow the suggestions above.
2.7.3 – Space to the Sides
Commercial vehicles are often wide and take up
most of a lane. Safe drivers will manage what little
space they have. You can do this by keeping your
vehicle centered in your lane, and avoid driving
alongside others.
Staying Centered in a Lane. You need to keep
your vehicle centered in the lane to keep safe
clearance on either side. If your vehicle is wide,
you have little room to spare.
Figure 2.12
If you are driving a 40-foot truck and only counted
up to 2 seconds, you're too close. Drop back a little
and count again until you have 4 seconds of
following distance (or 5 seconds, if you're going
over 40 mph). After a little practice, you will know
how far back you should be. Remember to add 1
second for speeds above 40 mph. Also remember
that when the road is slippery, you need much
more space to stop.
Traveling Next to Others. There are two dangers
in traveling alongside other vehicles:
 Another driver may change lanes suddenly and turn
into you.
 You may be trapped when you need to change
lanes.
2.7.2 – Space Behind
Find an open spot where you aren't near other
traffic. When traffic is heavy, it may be hard to find
an open spot. If you must travel near other
vehicles, try to keep as much space as possible
between you and them. Also, drop back or pull
forward so that you are sure the other driver can
see you.
You can't stop others from following you too
closely. But there are things you can do to make it
safer.
Stay to the Right. Heavy vehicles are often
tailgated when they can't keep up with the speed of
traffic. This often happens when you're going
uphill. If a heavy load is slowing you down, stay in
the right lane if you can. Going uphill, you should
not pass another slow vehicle unless you can get
around quickly and safely.
Strong Winds. Strong winds make it difficult to
stay in your lane. The problem is usually worse for
lighter vehicles. This problem can be especially
bad coming out of tunnels. Don't drive alongside
others if you can avoid it.
Dealing with Tailgaters Safely. In a large vehicle,
it's often hard to see whether a vehicle is close
behind you. You may be tailgated:
2-17
of your vehicle close to the curb. This will stop other
drivers from passing you on the right.
 Don't turn wide to the left as you start the turn. A
following driver may think you are turning left and
try to pass you on the right. You may crash into the
other vehicle as you complete your turn.
 If you must cross into the oncoming lane to make a
turn, watch out for vehicles coming toward you.
Give them room to go by or to stop. However, don't
back up for them, because you might hit someone
behind you. See Figure 2.13.
2.7.4 – Space Overhead
Hitting overhead objects is a danger. Make sure
you always have overhead clearance.
 Don't assume that the heights posted at bridges
and overpasses are correct. Re-paving or packed
snow may have reduced the clearances since the
heights were posted.
 The weight of a cargo van changes its height. An
empty van is higher than a loaded one. That you
got under a bridge when you were loaded does not
mean that you can do it when you are empty.
 If you doubt you have safe space to pass under an
object, go slowly. If you aren't sure you can make it,
take another route. Warnings are often posted on
low bridges or underpasses, but sometimes they
are not.
 Some roads can cause a vehicle to tilt. There can
be a problem clearing objects along the edge of the
road, such as signs, trees, or bridge supports.
Where this is a problem, drive a little closer to the
center of the road.
 Before you back into an area, get out and check for
overhanging objects such as trees, branches, or
electric wires. It's easy to miss seeing them while
you are backing. (Also check for other hazards at
the same time.)
Figure 2.13
Left Turns. On a left turn, make sure you have
reached the center of the intersection before you
start the left turn. If you turn too soon, the left side
of your vehicle may hit another vehicle because of
offtracking.
2.7.5 – Space Below
Many drivers forget about the space under their
vehicles. That space can be very small when a
vehicle is heavily loaded. This is often a problem
on dirt roads and in unpaved yards. Don't take a
chance on getting hung up. Drainage channels
across roads can cause the ends of some vehicles
to drag. Cross such depressions carefully.
If there are two turning lanes, always take the right
turn lane. Don't start in the inside lane because
you may have to swing right to make the turn.
Drivers on your left can be more readily seen. See
Figure 2.14.
Railroad tracks can also cause problems,
particularly when pulling trailers with a low
underneath clearance. Don’t take a chance on
getting hung up halfway across.
2.7.6 – Space for Turns
The space around a truck or bus is important in
turns. Because of wide turning and offtracking,
large vehicles can hit other vehicles or objects
during turns.
Right Turns. Here are some rules to help prevent
right-turn crashes:
Figure 2.14
 Turn slowly to give yourself and others more time to
avoid problems.
 If you are driving a truck or bus that cannot make
the right turn without swinging into another lane,
turn wide as you complete the turn. Keep the rear
2-18
often distracted and drive unsafely. Workers and
construction vehicles may get in the way. Drive
slowly and carefully near work zones. Use your
four-way flashers or brake lights to warn drivers
behind you.
2.7.7 – Space Needed to Cross or Enter
Traffic
Be aware of the size and weight of your vehicle
when you cross or enter traffic. Here are some
important things to keep in mind:
Drop Off. Sometimes the pavement drops off
sharply near the edge of the road. Driving too near
the edge can tilt your vehicle toward the side of the
road. This can cause the top of your vehicle to hit
roadside objects (signs, tree limbs). Also, it can be
hard to steer as you cross the drop off, going off
the road, or coming back on.
 Because of slow acceleration and the space large
vehicles require, you may need a much larger gap
to enter traffic than you would in a car.
 Acceleration varies with the load. Allow more room
if your vehicle is heavily loaded.
 Before you start across a road, make sure you can
get all the way across before traffic reaches you.
Foreign Objects. Things that have fallen on the
road can be hazards. They can be a danger to
your tires and wheel rims. They can damage
electrical and brake lines. They can be caught
between dual tires and cause severe damage.
Some obstacles that appear to be harmless can be
very dangerous. For example, cardboard boxes
may be empty, but they may also contain some
solid or heavy material capable of causing
damage. The same is true of paper and cloth
sacks. It is important to remain alert for objects of
all sorts, so you can see them early enough to
avoid them without making sudden, unsafe moves.
2.8 – Seeing Hazards
2.8.1 – Importance of Seeing Hazards
What Is a Hazard? A hazard is any road condition
or other road user (driver, bicyclist, pedestrian) that
is a possible danger. For example, a car in front of
you is headed toward the freeway exit, but his
brake lights come on and he begins braking hard.
This could mean that the driver is uncertain about
taking the off ramp. He might suddenly return to
the highway. This car is a hazard. If the driver of
the car cuts in front of you, it is no longer just a
hazard; it is an emergency.
Off Ramps/On Ramps. Freeway and turnpike
exits can be particularly dangerous for commercial
vehicles. Off ramps and on ramps often have
speed limit signs posted. Remember, these speeds
may be safe for automobiles, but may not be safe
for larger vehicles or heavily loaded vehicles. Exits
that go downhill and turn at the same time can be
especially dangerous. The downgrade makes it
difficult to reduce speed. Braking and turning at the
same time can be a dangerous practice. Make
sure you are going slowly enough before you get
on the curved part of an off ramp or on ramp.
Seeing Hazards Lets You Be Prepared. You will
have more time to act if you see hazards before
they become emergencies. In the example above,
you might make a lane change or slow down to
prevent a crash if the car suddenly cuts in front of
you. Seeing this hazard gives you time to check
your mirrors and signal a lane change. Being
prepared reduces the danger. A driver who did not
see the hazard until the slow car pulled back on
the highway in front of him would have to do
something very suddenly. Sudden braking or a
quick lane change is much more likely to lead to a
crash.
2.8.3 – Drivers Who Are Hazards
In order to protect yourself and others, you must
know when other drivers may do something
hazardous. Some clues to this type of hazard are
discussed below.
Learning to See Hazards. There are often clues
that will help you see hazards. The more you drive,
the better you can learn to see hazards. This
section will talk about hazards that you should be
aware of.
Blocked Vision. People who can't see others are
a very dangerous hazard. Be alert for drivers
whose vision is blocked. Vans, loaded station
wagons, and cars with the rear window blocked are
examples. Rental trucks should be watched
carefully. Their drivers are often not used to the
limited vision they have to the sides and rear of the
truck. In winter, vehicles with frosted, ice-covered,
or snow-covered windows are hazards.
2.8.2 – Hazardous Roads
Slow down and be very careful if you see any of
the following road hazards.
Work Zones. When people are working on the
road, it is a hazard. There may be narrower lanes,
sharp turns, or uneven surfaces. Other drivers are
Vehicles may be partly hidden by blind
intersections or alleys. If you only can see the rear
2-19
or front end of a vehicle but not the driver, then he
or she can't see you. Be alert because he/she may
back out or enter into your lane. Always be
prepared to stop.
often careless. Jacked up wheels or raised hoods
are hazard clues.
Accidents. Accidents are particularly hazardous.
People involved in the accident may not look for
traffic. Passing drivers tend to look at the accident.
People often run across the road without looking.
Vehicles may slow or stop suddenly.
Delivery Trucks Can Present a Hazard.
Packages or vehicle doors often block the driver’s
vision. Drivers of step vans, postal vehicles, and
local delivery vehicles often are in a hurry and may
suddenly step out of their vehicle or drive their
vehicle into the traffic lane.
Shoppers. People in and around shopping areas
are often not watching traffic because they are
looking for stores or looking into store windows.
Parked Vehicles Can Be Hazards, especially
when people start to get out of them. Or, they may
suddenly start up and drive into your way. Watch
for movement inside the vehicle or movement of
the vehicle itself that shows people are inside.
Watch for brake lights or backup lights, exhaust,
and other clues that a driver is about to move. Be
careful of a stopped bus. Passengers may cross in
front of or behind the bus, and they often can't see
you.
Confused Drivers. Confused drivers often change
direction suddenly or stop without warning.
Confusion is common near freeway or turnpike
interchanges and major intersections. Tourists
unfamiliar with the area can be very hazardous.
Clues to tourists include car-top luggage and outof-state license plates. Unexpected actions
(stopping in the middle of a block, changing lanes
for no apparent reason, backup lights suddenly
going on) are clues to confusion. Hesitation is
another clue, including driving very slowly, using
brakes often, or stopping in the middle of an
intersection. You may also see drivers who are
looking at street signs, maps, and house numbers.
These drivers may not be paying attention to you.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Can Also Be
Hazards. Walkers, joggers, and bicyclists may be
on the road with their back to the traffic, so they
can't see you. Sometimes they wear portable
stereos with headsets, so they can't hear you
either. This can be dangerous. On rainy days,
pedestrians may not see you because of hats or
umbrellas. They may be hurrying to get out of the
rain and may not pay attention to the traffic.
Slow Drivers. Motorists who fail to maintain
normal speed are hazards. Seeing slow moving
vehicles early can prevent a crash. Some vehicles,
by their nature, are slow and seeing them is a
hazard
clue
(mopeds,
farm
machinery,
construction machinery, tractors, etc.). Some of
these will have the "slow moving vehicle" symbol to
warn you. This is a red triangle with an orange
center. Watch for it.
Distractions. People who are distracted are
hazards. Watch for where they are looking. If they
are looking elsewhere, they can't see you. But be
alert even when they are looking at you. They may
believe that they have the right of way.
Children. Children tend to act quickly without
checking traffic. Children playing with one another
may not look for traffic and are a serious hazard.
Drivers Signaling a Turn May Be a Hazard.
Drivers signaling a turn may slow more than
expected or stop. If they are making a tight turn
into an alley or driveway, they may go very slowly.
If pedestrians or other vehicles block them, they
may have to stop on the roadway. Vehicles turning
left may have to stop for oncoming vehicles.
Talkers. Drivers or pedestrians talking to one
another may not be paying close attention to the
traffic.
Drivers in a Hurry. Drivers may feel your
commercial vehicle is preventing them from getting
where they want to go on time. Such drivers may
pass you without a safe gap in the oncoming
traffic, cutting too close in front of you. Drivers
entering the road may pull in front of you in order to
avoid being stuck behind you, causing you to
brake. Be aware of this and watch for drivers who
are in a hurry.
Workers. People working on or near the roadway
are a hazard clue. The work creates a distraction
for other drivers and the workers themselves may
not see you.
Ice Cream Trucks. Someone selling ice cream is
a hazard clue. Children may be nearby and may
not see you.
Disabled Vehicles. Drivers changing a tire or
fixing an engine often do not pay attention to the
danger that roadway traffic is to them. They are
Impaired Drivers. Drivers who are sleepy, have
had too much to drink, are on drugs, or who are ill
are hazards. Some clues to these drivers are:
2-20
 Weaving across the road or drifting from one side to
another. Leaving the road (dropping right wheels
onto the shoulder, or bumping across a curb in a
turn). Stopping at the wrong time (stopping at a
green light, or waiting for too long at a stop). Open
window in cold weather. Speeding up or slowing
down suddenly, driving too fast or too slow.
2.
3.
4.
Be alert for drunk drivers and sleepy drivers late at
night.
5.
6.
Driver Body Movement as a Clue. Drivers look in
the direction they are going to turn. You may
sometimes get a clue from a driver's head and
body movements that a driver may be going to
make a turn, even though the turn signals aren't
on. Drivers making over-the-shoulder checks may
be going to change lanes. These clues are most
easily seen in motorcyclists and bicyclists. Watch
other road users and try to tell whether they might
do something hazardous.
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.7 and 2.8
2.9 – Distracted Driving
Whenever you are driving a vehicle and your
attention is not on the road, you’re putting yourself,
your passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians
in danger. Distracted driving can result when you
perform any activity that may shift your full
attention from the driving task. Taking your eyes off
the road or hands off the steering wheel presents
obvious driving risks. Mental activities that take
your mind away from driving are just as dangerous.
Your eyes can gaze at objects in the driving scene
but fail to see them because your attention is
distracted elsewhere.
Conflicts. You are in conflict when you have to
change speed and/or direction to avoid hitting
someone. Conflicts occur at intersections where
vehicles meet, at merges (such as turnpike on
ramps) and where there are needed lane changes
(such as the end of a lane, forcing a move to
another lane of traffic). Other situations include
slow moving or stalled traffic in a traffic lane, and
accident scenes. Watch for other drivers who are
in conflict because they are a hazard to you. When
they react to this conflict, they may do something
that will put them in conflict with you.
Activities that can distract your attention include:
talking to passengers; adjusting the radio, CD
player or climate controls; eating, drinking or
smoking; reading maps or other literature; picking
up something that fell; reading billboards and other
road advertisements; watching other people and
vehicles including aggressive drivers; talking on a
cell phone or CB radio; using telematic devices
(such as navigation systems, pagers, etc.);
daydreaming or being occupied with other mental
distractions.
2.8.4 – Always Have a Plan
You should always be looking for hazards.
Continue to learn to see hazards on the road.
However, don't forget why you are looking for the
hazards--they may turn into emergencies. You look
for the hazards in order to have time to plan a way
out of any emergency. When you see a hazard,
think about the emergencies that could develop
and figure out what you would do. Always be
prepared to take action based on your plans. In
this way, you will be a prepared, defensive driver
who will improve your own safety as well as the
safety of all road users.
2.9.1 – Don’t Drive Distracted
If drivers react a half-second slower because of
distractions, crashes double. Some tips to follow so
you won’t become distracted:
 Review and be totally familiar with all safety and
usage features on any in-vehicle electronics,
including your wireless or cell phone, before you
drive.
 Pre-program radio stations.
 Pre-load you favorite CDs or cassette tapes.
 Clear the vehicle of any unnecessary objects.
Subsections 2.7 and 2.8
Test Your Knowledge
1.
If you are driving a 30-foot vehicle at 55
mph, how many seconds of following
distance should you allow?
You should decrease your following
distance if somebody is following you too
closely. True or False?
If you swing wide to the left before turning
right, another driver may try to pass you on
the right. True or False?
What is a hazard?
Why make emergency plans when you see
a hazard?
How do you find out how many seconds of
following distance space you have?
2-21
 Review maps and plan your route before you
begin driving.
 Adjust all mirrors for best all-round visibility before
you start your trip.
 Don’t attempt to read or write while you drive.
 Avoid smoking, eating, and drinking while you drive.
 Don’t engage in complex or emotionally intense
conversations with other occupants.
o Be very careful when passing a driver who
seems to be distracted. The other driver may
not be aware of your presence, and they
may drift in front of you.
2.10 – Aggressive Drivers/Road Rage
2.10.1 – What Is It?
2.9.2 – Use In-vehicle Communication
Equipment Cautiously
Aggressive driving and road rage is not a new
problem. However, in today’s world, where heavy
and slow-moving traffic and tight schedules are the
norm, more and more drivers are taking out their
anger and frustration in their vehicles.
When possible, pull off the road in a safe, legal place
when making/receiving a call on communication
equipment.
Crowded roads leave little room for error, leading
to suspicion and hostility among drivers and
encouraging them to take personally the mistakes
of other drivers.
 If possible, turn the cell phone off until your
destination is reached.
 Position the cell phone within easy reach.
 Pre-program cell phones with commonly called
numbers.
 If you have to place a call, find a safe place to pull
off the road. Do not place a call while driving.
 Some jurisdictions require that only hands-free
devices can be used while driving. Even these
devices are unsafe to use when you are moving
down the road.
 If you must use your cell phone, keep
conversations short. Develop ways to get free of
long-winded friends and associates while on the
road. Never use the cell phone for social visiting.
 Hang up in tricky traffic situations.
 Do not use the equipment when approaching
locations with heavy traffic, road construction,
heavy pedestrian traffic, or severe weather
conditions.
 Do not attempt to type or read messages on your
satellite system while driving.
Aggressive driving is the act of operating a motor
vehicle in a selfish, bold, or pushy manner, without
regard for the rights or safety of others.
Road rage is operating a motor vehicle with the
intent of doing harm to others or physically
assaulting a driver or their vehicle.
2.10.2 – Don’t Be an Aggressive Driver
How you feel before you even start your vehicle
has a lot to do with how stress will affect you while
driving.
 Reduce your stress before and while you drive.
Listen to “easy listening” music.
 Give the drive your full attention. Don’t allow
yourself to become distracted by talking on your cell
phone, eating, etc.
 Be realistic about your travel time. Expect delays
because of traffic, construction, or bad weather and
make allowances.
 If you’re going to be later than you expected – deal
with it. Take a deep breath and accept the delay.
 Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Try to
imagine why he or she is driving that way.
Whatever their reason, it has nothing to do with
you.
 Slow down and keep your following distance
reasonable.
 Don’t drive slowly in the left lane of traffic.
 Avoid gestures. Keep you hands on the wheel.
 Avoid making any gestures that might anger
another driver, even seemingly harmless
expressions of irritation like shaking your head.
 Be a cautious and courteous driver. If another
driver seems eager to get in front of you, say,
“Be my guest”. This response will soon become
2.9.3 – Watch Out for Other Distracted
Drivers
You need to be able to recognize other drivers who
are engaged in any form of driving distraction. Not
recognizing other distracted drivers can prevent
you from perceiving or reacting correctly in time to
prevent a crash. Watch for:
 Vehicles that may drift over the lane divider lines or
within their own lane.
 Vehicles traveling at inconsistent speeds.
 Drivers who are preoccupied with maps, food,
cigarettes, cell phones, or other objects.
 Drivers who appear to be involved in conversations
with their passengers.
o Give a distracted driver plenty of room and
maintain your safe following distance.
2-22
a habit and you won’t be as offended by other drivers’
actions.
2.11.2 – Driver Factors
2.10.3 – What You Should Do When
Confronted by an Aggressive Driver
Vision. People can't see as sharply at night or in
dim light. Also, their eyes need time to adjust to
seeing in dim light. Most people have noticed this
when walking into a dark movie theater.
 First and foremost, make every attempt to get out of
their way.
 Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge
them by speeding up or attempting to hold-yourown in your travel lane.
 Avoid eye contact.
 Ignore gestures and refuse to react to them.
 Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate
authorities by providing a vehicle description,
license number, location and, if possible, direction
of travel.
 If you have a cell phone, and can do it safely, call
the police.
 If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash farther
down the road, stop a safe distance from the crash
scene, wait for the police to arrive, and report the
driving behavior that you witnessed.
Glare. Drivers can be blinded for a short time by
bright light. It takes time to recover from this
blindness. Older drivers are especially bothered by
glare. Most people have been temporarily blinded
by camera flash units or by the high beams of an
oncoming vehicle. It can take several seconds to
recover from glare. Even two seconds of glare
blindness can be dangerous. A vehicle going 55
mph will travel more than half the distance of a
football field during that time. Don't look directly at
bright lights when driving. Look at the right side of
the road. Watch the sidelines when someone
coming toward you has very bright lights on.
Fatigue and Lack of Alertness. Fatigue (being
tired) and lack of alertness are bigger problems at
night. The body's need for sleep is beyond a
person's control. Most people are less alert at
night, especially after midnight. This is particularly
true if you have been driving for a long time.
Drivers may not see hazards as soon, or react as
quickly, so the chance of a crash is greater. If you
are sleepy, the only safe cure is to get off the road
and get some sleep. If you don't, you risk your life
and the lives of others.
Subsections 2.9 and 2.10
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What are some tips to follow so you won’t
become a distracted driver?
How
do
you
use
in-vehicle
communications equipment cautiously?
How do you recognize a distracted driver?
What is the difference between aggressive
driving and road rage?
What should you do when confronted with
an aggressive driver?
What are some things you can do to
reduce your stress before and while you
drive?
2.11.3 – Roadway Factors
Poor Lighting. In the daytime there is usually
enough light to see well. This is not true at night.
Some areas may have bright street lights, but
many areas will have poor lighting. On most roads
you will probably have to depend entirely on your
headlights.
Less light means you will not be able to see
hazards as well as in daytime. Road users who do
not have lights are hard to see. There are many
accidents at night involving pedestrians, joggers,
bicyclists, and animals.
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.9 and 2.10.
2.11 – Driving at Night
Even when there are lights, the road scene can be
confusing. Traffic signals and hazards can be hard
to see against a background of signs, shop
windows, and other lights.
2.11.1 – It's More Dangerous
You are at greater risk when you drive at night.
Drivers can't see hazards as quickly as in daylight,
so they have less time to respond. Drivers caught
by surprise are less able to avoid a crash.
The problems of night driving involve the driver, the
roadway, and the vehicle.
Drive slower when lighting is poor or confusing.
Drive slowly enough to be sure you can stop in the
distance you can see ahead.
2-23
Drunk Drivers. Drunk drivers and drivers under
the influence of drugs are a hazard to themselves
and to you. Be especially alert around the closing
times for bars and taverns. Watch for drivers who
have trouble staying in their lane or maintaining
speed, who stop without reason, or show other
signs of being under the influence of alcohol or
drugs.
your windshield on the inside and outside for safe
driving at night.
2.11.5 – Night Driving Procedures
Pre-trip Procedures. Make sure you are rested
and alert. If you are drowsy, sleep before you
drive! Even a nap can save your life or the lives of
others. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure they are
clean and unscratched. Don't wear sunglasses at
night. Do a complete pre-trip inspection of your
vehicle. Pay attention to checking all lights and
reflectors, and cleaning those you can reach.
2.11.4 – Vehicle Factors
Headlights. At night your headlights will usually be
the main source of light for you to see by and for
others to see you. You can't see nearly as much
with your headlights as you see in the daytime.
With low beams you can see ahead about 250 feet
and with high beams about 350-500 feet. You must
adjust your speed to keep your stopping distance
within your sight distance. This means going slowly
enough to be able to stop within the range of your
headlights. Otherwise, by the time you see a
hazard, you will not have time to stop.
Avoid Blinding Others. Glare from your
headlights can cause problems for drivers coming
toward you. They can also bother drivers going in
the same direction you are, when your lights shine
in their rearview mirrors. Dim your lights before
they cause glare for other drivers. Dim your lights
within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle and when
following another vehicle within 500 feet.
Avoid Glare from Oncoming Vehicles. Do not
look directly at lights of oncoming vehicles. Look
slightly to the right at a right lane or edge marking,
if available. If other drivers don't put their low
beams on, don't try to "get back at them" by putting
your own high beams on. This increases glare for
oncoming drivers and increases the chance of a
crash.
Night driving can be more dangerous if you have
problems with your headlights. Dirty headlights
may give only half the light they should. This cuts
down your ability to see, and makes it harder for
others to see you. Make sure your lights are clean
and working. Headlights can be out of adjustment.
If they don't point in the right direction, they won't
give you a good view and they can blind other
drivers. Have a qualified person make sure they
are adjusted properly.
Use High Beams When You Can. Some drivers
make the mistake of always using low beams. This
seriously cuts down on their ability to see ahead.
Use high beams when it is safe and legal to do so.
Use them when you are not within 500 feet of an
approaching vehicle. Also, don't let the inside of
your cab get too bright. This makes it harder to see
outside. Keep the interior light off, and adjust your
instrument lights as low as you can to still be able
to read the gauges.
Other Lights. In order for you to be seen easily,
the following must be clean and working properly:
 Reflectors.
 Marker lights.
 Clearance lights.
 Taillights.
 Identification lights.
If You Get Sleepy, Stop at the Nearest Safe
Place. People often don't realize how close they
are to falling asleep even when their eyelids are
falling shut. If you can safely do so, look at yourself
in a mirror. If you look sleepy, or you just feel
sleepy, stop driving! You are in a very dangerous
condition. The only safe cure is to sleep.
Turn Signals and Brake Lights. At night your turn
signals and brake lights are even more important
for telling other drivers what you intend to do. Make
sure you have clean, working turn signals and stop
lights.
Windshield and Mirrors. It is more important at
night than in the daytime to have a clean
windshield and clean mirrors. Bright lights at night
can cause dirt on your windshield or mirrors to
create a glare of its own, blocking your view. Most
people have experienced driving toward the sun
just as it has risen or is about to set, and found that
they can barely see through a windshield that
seemed to look OK in the middle of the day. Clean
2.12 – Driving in Fog
Fog can occur at any time. Fog on highways can
be extremely dangerous. Fog is often unexpected,
and visibility can deteriorate rapidly. You should
watch for foggy conditions and be ready to reduce
your speed. Do not assume that the fog will thin
out after you enter it.
2-24
The best advice for driving in fog is don’t. It is
preferable that you pull off the road into a rest area
or truck stop until visibility is better. If you must
drive, be sure to consider the following:
enough while driving (for example, if your wipers
fail), stop safely and fix the problem.
Tires. Make sure you have enough tread on your
tires. The drive tires must provide traction to push
the rig over wet pavement and through snow. The
steering tires must have traction to steer the
vehicle. Enough tread is especially important in
winter conditions. You must have at least 4/32 inch
tread depth in every major groove on front tires
and at least 2/32 inch on other tires. More would
be better. Use a gauge to determine if you have
enough tread for safe driving.
 Obey all fog-related warning signs.
 Slow down before you enter fog.
 Use low-beam headlights and fog lights for best
visibility even in daytime, and be alert for other
drivers who may have forgotten to turn on their
lights.
 Turn on your 4-way flashers. This will give vehicles
approaching you from behind a quicker opportunity
to notice your vehicle.
 Watch for vehicles on the side of the roadway.
 Seeing taillights or headlights in front of you may
not be a true indication of where the road is ahead
of you. The vehicle may not be on the road at all.
 Use roadside highway reflectors as guides to
determine how the road may curve ahead of you.
 Listen for traffic you cannot see.
 Avoid passing other vehicles.
 Don’t stop along the side of the road, unless
absolutely necessary.
Tire Chains. You may find yourself in conditions
where you can't drive without chains, even to get to
a place of safety. Carry the right number of chains
and extra cross-links. Make sure they will fit your
drive tires. Check the chains for broken hooks,
worn or broken cross-links, and bent or broken
side chains. Learn how to put the chains on before
you need to do it in snow and ice.
Lights and Reflectors. Make sure the lights and
reflectors are clean. Lights and reflectors are
especially important during bad weather. Check
from time to time during bad weather to make sure
they are clean and working properly.
2.13 – Driving in Winter
2.13.1 – Vehicle Checks
Windows and Mirrors. Remove any ice, snow,
etc., from the windshield, windows, and mirrors
before starting. Use a windshield scraper, snow
brush, and windshield defroster as necessary.
Make sure your vehicle is ready before driving in
winter weather. You should make a regular pre-trip
inspection, paying extra attention to the following
items.
Hand Holds, Steps, and Deck Plates. Remove all
ice and snow from hand holds, steps, and deck
plates. This will reduce the danger of slipping.
Coolant Level and Antifreeze Amount. Make
sure the cooling system is full and there is enough
antifreeze in the system to protect against freezing.
This can be checked with a special coolant tester.
Radiator Shutters and Winterfront. Remove ice
from the radiator shutters. Make sure the
winterfront is not closed too tightly. If the shutters
freeze shut or the winterfront is closed too much,
the engine may overheat and stop.
Defrosting and Heating Equipment. Make sure
the defrosters work. They are needed for safe
driving. Make sure the heater is working, and that
you know how to operate it. If you use other
heaters and expect to need them (e.g., mirror
heaters, battery box heaters, fuel tank heaters),
check their operation.
Exhaust System. Exhaust system leaks are
especially dangerous when cab ventilation may be
poor (windows rolled up, etc.). Loose connections
could permit poisonous carbon monoxide to leak
into your vehicle. Carbon monoxide gas will cause
you to be sleepy. In large enough amounts it can
kill you. Check the exhaust system for loose parts
and for sounds and signs of leaks.
Wipers and Washers. Make sure the windshield
wiper blades are in good condition. Make sure the
wiper blades press against the window hard
enough to wipe the windshield clean, otherwise
they may not sweep off snow properly. Make sure
the windshield washer works and there is washing
fluid in the washer reservoir.
2.13.2 – Driving
Slippery Surfaces. Drive slowly and smoothly on
slippery roads. If it is very slippery, you shouldn't
drive at all. Stop at the first safe place.
Use windshield washer antifreeze to prevent
freezing of the washer liquid. If you can't see well
2-25
Start Gently and Slowly. When first starting, get
the feel of the road. Don't hurry.
2.14 – Driving in Very Hot Weather
2.14.1 – Vehicle Checks
Check for Ice. Check for ice on the road,
especially bridges and overpasses. A lack of spray
from other vehicles indicates ice has formed on the
road. Also, check your mirrors and wiper blades for
ice. If they have ice, the road most likely will be icy
as well.
Do a normal pre-trip inspection, but pay special
attention to the following items.
Tires. Check the tire mounting and air pressure.
Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100
miles when driving in very hot weather. Air
pressure increases with temperature. Do not let air
out or the pressure will be too low when the tires
cool off. If a tire is too hot to touch, remain stopped
until the tire cools off. Otherwise the tire may blow
out or catch fire.
Adjust Turning and Braking to Conditions.
Make turns as gently as possible. Don't brake any
harder than necessary, and don't use the engine
brake or speed retarder. (They can cause the
driving wheels to skid on slippery surfaces.)
Adjust Speed to Conditions. Don't pass slower
vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly and watch
far enough ahead to keep a steady speed. Avoid
having to slow down and speed up. Take curves at
slower speeds and don't brake while in curves. Be
aware that as the temperature rises to the point
where ice begins to melt, the road becomes even
more slippery. Slow down more.
Engine Oil. The engine oil helps keep the engine
cool, as well as lubricating it. Make sure there is
enough engine oil. If you have an oil temperature
gauge, make sure the temperature is within the
proper range while you are driving.
Engine Coolant. Before starting out, make sure
the engine cooling system has enough water and
antifreeze according to the engine manufacturer's
directions. (Antifreeze helps the engine under hot
conditions as well as cold conditions.) When
driving, check the water temperature or coolant
temperature gauge from time to time. Make sure
that it remains in the normal range. If the gauge
goes above the highest safe temperature, there
may be something wrong that could lead to engine
failure and possibly fire. Stop driving as soon as
safely possible and try to find out what is wrong.
Adjust Space to Conditions. Don't drive
alongside other vehicles. Keep a longer following
distance. When you see a traffic jam ahead, slow
down or stop to wait for it to clear. Try hard to
anticipate stops early and slow down gradually.
Watch for snowplows, as well as salt and sand
trucks, and give them plenty of room.
Wet Brakes. When driving in heavy rain or deep
standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water in
the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, to
apply unevenly, or to grab. This can cause lack of
braking power, wheel lockups, pulling to one side
or the other, and jackknife if you pull a trailer.
Some vehicles have sight glasses, see-through
coolant overflow containers, or coolant recovery
containers. These permit you to check the coolant
level while the engine is hot. If the container is not
part of the pressurized system, the cap can be
safely removed and coolant added even when the
engine is at operating temperature.
Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing
water if possible. If not, you should:
 Slow down and place transmission in a low gear.
 Gently put on the brakes. This presses linings
against brake drums or discs and keeps mud, silt,
sand, and water from getting in.
 Increase engine rpm and cross the water while
keeping light pressure on the brakes.
 When out of the water, maintain light pressure on
the brakes for a short distance to heat them up and
dry them out.
 Make a test stop when safe to do so. Check behind
to make sure no one is following, then apply the
brakes to be sure they work well. If not, dry them
out further as described above.
 (CAUTION: Do not apply too much brake pressure
and accelerator at the same time, or you can
overheat brake drums and linings.)
Never remove the radiator cap or any part of the
pressurized system until the system has cooled.
Steam and boiling water can spray under pressure
and cause severe burns. If you can touch the
radiator cap with your bare hand, it is probably cool
enough to open.
If coolant has to be added to a system without a
recovery tank or overflow tank, follow these steps:
 Shut engine off.
 Wait until engine has cooled.
 Protect hands (use gloves or a thick cloth).
 Turn radiator cap slowly to the first stop, which
releases the pressure seal.
2-26
 Step back while pressure is released from cooling
system.
 When all pressure has been released, press down
on the cap and turn it further to remove it.
 Visually check level of coolant and add more
coolant if necessary.
 Replace cap and turn all the way to the closed
position.
2.15 – Railroad-Highway Crossings
Engine Belts. Learn how to check v-belt tightness
on your vehicle by pressing on the belts. Loose
belts will not turn the water pump and/or fan
properly. This will result in overheating. Also, check
belts for cracking or other signs of wear.
2.15.1 – Types of Crossings
Railroad-highway grade crossings are a special
kind of intersection where the roadway crosses
train tracks. These crossings are always
dangerous. Every such crossing must be
approached with the expectation that a train is
coming.
Passive Crossings. This type of crossing does
not have any type of traffic control device. The
decision to stop or proceed rests entirely in your
hands. Passive crossings require you to recognize
the crossing, search for any train using the tracks
and decide if there is sufficient clear space to cross
safely. Passive crossings have yellow circular
advance warning signs, pavement markings and
crossbucks to assist you in recognizing a crossing.
Hoses. Make sure coolant hoses are in good
condition. A broken hose while driving can lead to
engine failure and even fire.
2.14.2 – Driving
Watch for Bleeding Tar. Tar in the road pavement
frequently rises to the surface in very hot weather.
Spots where tar "bleeds" to the surface are very
slippery.
Active Crossings. This type of crossing has a
traffic control device installed at the crossing to
regulate traffic at the crossing. These active
devices include flashing red lights, with or without
bells and flashing red lights with bells and gates.
Go Slowly Enough to Prevent Overheating.
High speeds create more heat for tires and the
engine. In desert conditions the heat may build up
to the point where it is dangerous. The heat will
increase chances of tire failure or even fire, and
engine failure.
2.15.2 – Warning Signs and Devices
Advance Warning Signs. The round, black-onyellow warning sign is placed ahead of a public
railroad-highway crossing. The advance warning
sign tells you to slow down, look and listen for the
train, and be prepared to stop at the tracks if a train
is coming. See Figure 2.15.
Subsections 2.11, 2.12, 2.13, and 2.14
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Pavement Markings. Pavement markings mean
the same as the advance warning sign. They
consist of an “X” with the letters “RR” and a nopassing marking on two-lane roads. See Figure
2.16.
You should use low beams whenever you
can. True or False?
What should you do before you drive if you
are drowsy?
What effects can wet brakes cause? How
can you avoid these problems?
You should let air out of hot tires so the
pressure goes back to normal. True or
False?
You can safely remove the radiator cap as
long as the engine isn't overheated. True
or False?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer all of them, re-read subsections 2.11, 2.12,
2.13, and 2.14.
Figure 2.15
2-27
Flashing Red Light Signals. At many highwayrail grade crossings, the crossbuck sign has
flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin
to flash, stop! A train is approaching. You are
required to yield the right-of-way to the train. If
there is more than one track, make sure all tracks
are clear before crossing. See Figure 2.18.
Gates. Many railroad-highway crossings have
gates with flashing red lights and bells. Stop when
the lights begin to flash and before the gate lowers
across the road lane. Remain stopped until the
gates go up and the lights have stopped flashing.
Proceed when it is safe. See Figure 2.18.
Figure 2.16
There is also a no passing zone sign on two-lane
roads. There may be a white stop line painted on
the pavement before the railroad tracks. The front
of the school bus must remain behind this line
while stopped at the crossing.
Crossbuck Signs. This sign marks the grade
crossing. It requires you to yield the right-of-way to
the train. If there is no white line painted on the
pavement, you must stop the bus before the
crossbuck sign. When the road crosses over more
than one set of tracks, a sign below the crossbuck
indicates the number of tracks. See Figure 2.17.
Figure 2.18
2.15.3 – Driving Procedures
Never Race a Train to a Crossing. Never attempt
to race a train to a crossing. It is extremely difficult
to judge the speed of an approaching train.
Reduce Speed. Speed must be reduced in
accordance with your ability to see approaching
trains in any direction, and speed must be held to a
point which will permit you to stop short of the
tracks in case a stop is necessary.
Don't Expect to Hear a Train. Because of noise
inside your vehicle, you cannot expect to hear the
train horn until the train is dangerously close to the
crossing.
Don't Rely on Signals. You should not rely solely
upon the presence of warning signals, gates, or
flagmen to warn of the approach of trains. Be
especially alert at crossings that do not have gates
or flashing red light signals.
Figure 2.17
2-28
crossing using all identifiable landmarks, especially
the DOT number, if posted.
Double Tracks Require a Double Check.
Remember that a train on one track may hide a
train on the other track. Look both ways before
crossing. After one train has cleared a crossing, be
sure no other trains are near before starting across
the tracks.
2.16 – Mountain Driving
In mountain driving, gravity plays a major role. On
any upgrade, gravity slows you down. The steeper
the grade, the longer the grade, and/or the heavier
the load--the more you will have to use lower gears
to climb hills or mountains. In coming down long,
steep downgrades, gravity causes the speed of
your vehicle to increase. You must select an
appropriate safe speed, then use a low gear, and
proper braking techniques. You should plan ahead
and obtain information about any long, steep
grades along your planned route of travel. If
possible, talk to other drivers who are familiar with
the grades to find out what speeds are safe.
Yard Areas and Grade Crossings in Cities and
Towns. Yard areas and grade crossings in cities
and towns are just as dangerous as rural grade
crossings. Approach them with as much caution.
2.15.4 – Stopping Safely at RailroadHighway Crossings
A full stop is required at grade crossings whenever:
 The nature of the cargo makes a stop mandatory
under state or federal regulations.
 Such a stop is otherwise required by law.
You must go slowly enough so your brakes can
hold you back without getting too hot. If the brakes
become too hot, they may start to "fade”. This
means you have to apply them harder and harder
to get the same stopping power. If you continue to
use the brakes hard, they can keep fading until you
cannot slow down or stop at all.
When stopping be sure to:
 Check for traffic behind you while stopping
gradually. Use a pullout lane, if available.
 Turn on your four-way emergency flashers.
2.15.5 – Crossing the Tracks
2.16.1 – Select a "Safe" Speed
Railroad crossings with steep approaches can
cause your unit to hang up on the tracks.
Your most important consideration is to select a
speed that is not too fast for the:
 Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
 Length of the grade.
 Steepness of the grade.
 Road conditions.
 Weather.
Never permit traffic conditions to trap you in a
position where you have to stop on the tracks. Be
sure you can get all the way across the tracks
before you start across. It takes a typical tractortrailer unit at least 14 seconds to clear a single
track and more than 15 seconds to clear a double
track.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign
indicating "Maximum Safe Speed”, never exceed
the speed shown. Also, look for and heed warning
signs indicating the length and steepness of the
grade.
Do not shift gears while crossing railroad tracks.
2.15.6 – Special Situations
You must use the braking effect of the engine as
the principal way of controlling your speed. The
braking effect of the engine is greatest when it is
near the governed rpms and the transmission is in
the lower gears. Save your brakes so you will be
able to slow or stop as required by road and traffic
conditions.
Be Aware! These trailers can get stuck on raised
crossings:
 Low slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving van,
possum-belly livestock trailer).
 Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle
tractor.
2.16.2 – Select the Right Gear Before
Starting Down the Grade
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get
out of the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check
signposts or signal housing at the crossing for
emergency notification information. Call 911 or
other emergency number. Give the location of the
Shift the transmission to a low gear before starting
down the grade. Do not try to downshift after your
speed has already built up. You will not be able to
shift into a lower gear. You may not even be able
2-29
to get back into any gear and all engine braking
effect will be lost. Forcing an automatic
transmission into a lower gear at high speed could
damage the transmission and also lead to loss of
all engine braking effect.
For example, if your "safe" speed is 40 mph, you
would not apply the brakes until your speed
reaches 40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard
enough to gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph
and then release the brakes. Repeat this as often
as necessary until you have reached the end of the
downgrade.
With older trucks, a rule for choosing gears is to
use the same gear going down a hill that you
would need to climb the hill. However, new trucks
have low friction parts and streamlined shapes for
fuel economy. They may also have more powerful
engines. This means they can go up hills in higher
gears and have less friction and air drag to hold
them back going down hills. For that reason,
drivers of modern trucks may have to use lower
gears going down a hill than would be required to
go up the hill. You should know what is right for
your vehicle.
Escape ramps have been built on many steep
mountain downgrades. Escape ramps are made to
stop runaway vehicles safely without injuring
drivers and passengers. Escape ramps use a long
bed of loose, soft material to slow a runaway
vehicle, sometimes in combination with an
upgrade.
Know escape ramp locations on your route. Signs
show drivers where ramp are located. Escape
ramps save lives, equipment and cargo.
2.16.3 – Brake Fading or Failure
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub
against the brake drum or disks to slow the vehicle.
Braking creates heat, but brakes are designed to
take a lot of heat. However, brakes can fade or fail
from excessive heat caused by using them too
much and not relying on the engine braking effect.
Subsections 2.15 and 2.16
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
Brake fade is also affected by adjustment. To
safely control a vehicle, every brake must do its
share of the work. Brakes out of adjustment will
stop doing their share before those that are in
adjustment. The other brakes can then overheat
and fade, and there will not be enough braking
available to control the vehicle. Brakes can get out
of adjustment quickly, especially when they are
used a lot; also, brake linings wear faster when
they are hot. Therefore, brake adjustment must be
checked frequently.
3.
4.
5.
What factors determine your selection of a
"safe" speed when going down a long,
steep downgrade?
Why should you be in the proper gear
before starting down a hill?
Describe the proper braking technique
when going down a long, steep
downgrade.
What type of vehicles can get stuck on a
railroad-highway crossing?
How long does it take for a typical tractortrailer unit to clear a double track?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.15 and
2.16.
2.16.4 – Proper Braking Technique
Remember. The use of brakes on a long and/or
steep downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is in
the proper low gear, the following are the proper
braking techniques:
2.17 – Driving Emergencies
Traffic emergencies occur when two vehicles are
about to collide. Vehicle emergencies occur when
tires, brakes, or other critical parts fail. Following
the safety practices in this manual can help
prevent emergencies. But if an emergency does
happen, your chances of avoiding a crash depend
upon how well you take action. Actions you can
take are discussed below.
 Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a definite
slowdown.
 When your speed has been reduced to
approximately five mph below your "safe" speed,
release the brakes. (This brake application should
last for about three seconds.)
 When your speed has increased to your "safe"
speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
2.17.1 – Steering to Avoid a Crash
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do in an
emergency. When you don't have enough room to
2-30
stop, you may have to steer away from what's
ahead. Remember, you can almost always turn to
miss an obstacle more quickly than you can stop.
(However, top-heavy vehicles and tractors with
multiple trailers may flip over.)
Avoid Braking. If possible, avoid using the brakes
until your speed has dropped to about 20 mph.
Then brake very gently to avoid skidding on a
loose surface.
Keep One Set of Wheels on the Pavement, if
Possible. This helps to maintain control.
Keep Both Hands on the Steering Wheel. In
order to turn quickly, you must have a firm grip on
the steering wheel with both hands. The best way
to have both hands on the wheel, if there is an
emergency, is to keep them there all the time.
Stay on the Shoulder. If the shoulder is clear,
stay on it until your vehicle has come to a stop.
Signal and check your mirrors before pulling back
onto the road.
How to Turn Quickly and Safely. A quick turn
can be made safely, if it's done the right way. Here
are some points that safe drivers use:
Returning to the Road. If you are forced to return
to the road before you can stop, use the following
procedure:
 Do not apply the brake while you are turning. It's
very easy to lock your wheels while turning. If that
happens, you may skid out of control.
 Do not turn any more than needed to clear
whatever is in your way. The more sharply you turn,
the greater the chances of a skid or rollover.
 Be prepared to "countersteer”, that is, to turn the
wheel back in the other direction, once you've
passed whatever was in your path. Unless you are
prepared to countersteer, you won't be able to do it
quickly enough. You should think of emergency
steering and countersteering as two parts of one
driving action.
 Hold the wheel tightly and turn sharply enough to
get right back on the road safely. Don't try to edge
gradually back on the road. If you do, your tires
might grab unexpectedly and you could lose
control.
 When both front tires are on the paved surface,
countersteer immediately. The two turns should be
made as a single "steer-countersteer" move.
2.17.2 – How to Stop Quickly and Safely
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you, your
natural response is to hit the brakes. This is a good
response if there's enough distance to stop, and
you use the brakes correctly.
Where to Steer. If an oncoming driver has drifted
into your lane, a move to your right is best. If that
driver realizes what has happened, the natural
response will be to return to his or her own lane.
You should brake in a way that will keep your
vehicle in a straight line and allow you to turn if it
becomes necessary. You can use the "controlled
braking" method or the "stab braking" method.
If something is blocking your path, the best
direction to steer will depend on the situation.
 If you have been using your mirrors, you'll know
which lane is empty and can be safely used.
 If the shoulder is clear, going right may be best. No
one is likely to be driving on the shoulder but
someone may be passing you on the left. You will
know if you have been using your mirrors.
 If you are blocked on both sides, a move to the right
may be best. At least you won't force anyone into
an opposing traffic lane and a possible head-on
collision.
Controlled Braking. With this method, you apply
the brakes as hard as you can without locking the
wheels. Keep steering wheel movements very
small while doing this. If you need to make a larger
steering adjustment or if the wheels lock, release
the brakes. Re-apply the brakes as soon as you
can.
Stab Braking
 Apply your brakes all the way.
 Release brakes when wheels lock up.
 As soon as the wheels start rolling, apply the
brakes fully again. (It can take up to one second for
the wheels to start rolling after you release the
brakes. If you re-apply the brakes before the
wheels start rolling, the vehicle won't straighten
out.)
Leaving the Road. In some emergencies, you
may have to drive off the road. It may be less risky
than facing a collision with another vehicle.
Most shoulders are strong enough to support the
weight of a large vehicle and, therefore, offer an
available escape route. Here are some guidelines,
if you do leave the road.
2-31
Don't Jam on the Brakes. Emergency braking does
not mean pushing down on the brake pedal as hard
as you can. That will only keep the wheels
locked up and cause a skid. If the wheels are
skidding, you cannot control the vehicle.
brings it to a stop. Others turn uphill, using the hill
to stop the vehicle and soft gravel to hold it in
place.
Any driver who loses brakes going downhill should
use an escape ramp if it's available. If you don't
use it, your chances of having a serious crash may
be much greater.
2.17.3 – Brake Failure
Brakes kept in good condition rarely fail. Most
hydraulic brake failures occur for one of two
reasons: (Air brakes are discussed in Section 5.)
If no escape ramp is available, take the least
hazardous escape route you can--such as an open
field or a side road that flattens out or turns uphill.
Make the move as soon as you know your brakes
don't work. The longer you wait, the faster the
vehicle will go, and the harder it will be to stop.
 Loss of hydraulic pressure.
 Brake fade on long hills.
Loss of Hydraulic Pressure. When the system
won't build up pressure, the brake pedal will feel
spongy or go to the floor. Here are some things
you can do.
2.17.4 – Tire Failure
Recognize Tire Failure. Quickly knowing you
have a tire failure will let you have more time to
react. Having just a few extra seconds to
remember what it is you're supposed to do can
help you. The major signs of tire failure are:
Downshift. Putting the vehicle into a lower gear
will help to slow the vehicle.
Pump the Brakes. Sometimes pumping the brake
pedal will generate enough hydraulic pressure to
stop the vehicle.
 Sound. The loud "bang" of a blowout is an easily
recognized sign. Because it can take a few seconds
for your vehicle to react, you might think it was
some other vehicle. But any time you hear a tire
blow, you'd be safest to assume it is yours.
 Vibration. If the vehicle thumps or vibrates heavily,
it may be a sign that one of the tires has gone flat.
With a rear tire, that may be the only sign you get.
 Feel. If the steering feels "heavy”, it is probably a
sign that one of the front tires has failed.
Sometimes, failure of a rear tire will cause the
vehicle to slide back and forth or "fishtail”. However,
dual rear tires usually prevent this.
Use the Parking Brake. The parking or
emergency brake is separate from the hydraulic
brake system. Therefore, it can be used to slow the
vehicle. However, be sure to press the release
button or pull the release lever at the same time
you use the emergency brake so you can adjust
the brake pressure and keep the wheels from
locking up.
Find an Escape Route. While slowing the vehicle,
look for an escape route--an open field, side street,
or escape ramp. Turning uphill is a good way to
slow and stop the vehicle. Make sure the vehicle
does not start rolling backward after you stop. Put
it in low gear, apply the parking brake, and, if
necessary, roll back into some obstacle that will
stop the vehicle.
Respond to Tire Failure. When a tire fails, your
vehicle is in danger. You must immediately:
 Hold the Steering Wheel Firmly. If a front tire fails,
it can twist the steering wheel out of your hand. The
only way to prevent this is to keep a firm grip on the
steering wheel with both hands at all times.
 Stay Off the Brake. It's natural to want to brake in
an emergency. However, braking when a tire has
failed could cause loss of control. Unless you're
about to run into something, stay off the brake until
the vehicle has slowed down. Then brake very
gently, pull off the road, and stop.
 Check the Tires. After you've come to a stop, get
out and check all the tires. Do this even if the
vehicle seems to be handling all right. If one of your
dual tires goes, the only way you may know it is by
getting out and looking at it.
Brake Failure on Downgrades. Going slow
enough and braking properly will almost always
prevent brake failure on long downgrades. Once
the brakes have failed, however, you are going to
have to look outside your vehicle for something to
stop it.
Your best hope is an escape ramp. If there is one,
there'll be signs telling you about it. Use it. Ramps
are usually located a few miles from the top of the
downgrade. Every year, hundreds of drivers avoid
injury to themselves or damage to their vehicles by
using escape ramps. Some escape ramps use soft
gravel that resists the motion of the vehicle and
2-32
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.
2.18 – Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
ABS is a computerized system that keeps your
wheels from locking up during hard brake
applications.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes
on once you are under way, you may have lost
ABS control.
ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It does
not decrease or increase your normal braking
capability. ABS only activates when wheels are
about to lock up.
In the case of towed units manufactured before it
was required by the Department of Transportation,
it may be difficult to tell if the unit is equipped with
ABS. Look under the vehicle for the ECU and
wheel speed sensor wires coming from the back of
the brakes.
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle
under control during hard braking.
2.18.1 – How Antilock Braking Systems
Work
2.18.4 – How ABS Helps You
Sensors detect potential wheel lock up. An
electronic control unit (ECU) will then decrease
brake pressure to avoid wheel lockup.
Brake pressure is adjusted to provide
maximum braking without danger of lockup.
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid, jackknife, or even spin the vehicle.
the
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.
ABS works far faster than the driver can respond to
potential wheel lockup. At all other times the brake
system will operate normally.
2.18.2 – Vehicles Required to Have
Antilock Braking Systems
2.18.5 – ABS on the Tractor Only or Only
on the Trailer
The Department of Transportation requires that
ABS be on:
Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer, or
even on only one axle, still gives you more control
over the vehicle during braking. Brake normally.
 Truck tractors with air brakes built on or after March
1, 1997.
 Other air brake vehicles, (trucks, buses, trailers,
and converter dollies) built on or after March 1,
1998.
 Hydraulically braked trucks and buses with a gross
vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or more built on
or after March 1, 1999.
When only the tractor has ABS, you should be able
to maintain steering control, and there is less
chance of jackknifing. But keep your eye on the
trailer and let up on the brakes (if you can safely do
so) if it begins to swing out.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control
or start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes (if
you can safely do so) until you regain control.
Many commercial vehicles built before these dates
have been voluntarily equipped with ABS.
2.18.3 – How to Know If Your Vehicle Is
Equipped with ABS
2.18.6 – Braking with ABS
Tractors, trucks, and buses will have yellow ABS
malfunction lamps on the instrument panel.
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should
brake as you always have. In other words:
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on
the left side, either on the front or rear corner.
 Use only the braking force necessary to stop safely
and stay in control.
 Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the bus, tractor, the trailer, or both.
Dollies manufactured on or after March 1, 1998,
are required to have a lamp on the left side.
2-33
 As you slow down, monitor your tractor and trailer
and back off the brakes (if it is safe to do so) to stay
in control.
2.19 – Skid Control and Recovery
A skid happens whenever the tires lose their grip
on the road. This is caused in one of four ways:
There is only one exception to this procedure. If
you drive a straight truck or combination with
working ABS on all axles, in an emergency stop,
you can fully apply the brakes.
Over-braking. Braking too hard and locking up the
wheels. Skids also can occur when using the
speed retarder when the road is slippery.
2.18.7 – Braking If ABS Is Not Working
Over-steering. Turning the wheels more sharply
than the vehicle can turn.
Without ABS you still have normal brake functions.
Drive and brake as you always have.
Over-acceleration. Supplying too much power to
the drive wheels, causing them to spin.
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps
to tell you if something isn’t working.
Driving Too Fast. Most serious skids result from
driving too fast for road conditions. Drivers who
adjust their driving to conditions don't overaccelerate and don't have to over-brake or oversteer from too much speed.
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.
2.19.1 – Drive-wheel Skids
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes
on once you are under way, you may have lost
ABS control on one or more wheels.
By far the most common skid is one in which the
rear wheels lose traction through excessive
braking or acceleration. Skids caused by
acceleration usually happen on ice or snow.
Taking your foot off the accelerator can easily stop
them. (If it is very slippery, push the clutch in.
Otherwise, the engine can keep the wheels from
rolling freely and regaining traction.)
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
2.18.8 – Safety Reminders
Rear wheel braking skids occur when the rear
drive wheels lock. Because locked wheels have
less traction than rolling wheels, the rear wheels
usually slide sideways in an attempt to "catch up"
with the front wheels. In a bus or straight truck, the
vehicle will slide sideways in a "spin out”. With
vehicles towing trailers, a drive-wheel skid can let
the trailer push the towing vehicle sideways,
causing a sudden jackknife. See Figure 2.19.
 ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow more
closely, or drive less carefully.
 ABS won’t prevent power or turning skids–ABS
should prevent brake-induced skids or jackknifes,
but not those caused by spinning the drive wheels
or going too fast in a turn.
 ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping distance.
ABS will help maintain vehicle control, but not
always shorten stopping distance.
 ABS won’t increase or decrease ultimate stopping
power–ABS is an “add-on” to your normal brakes,
not a replacement for them.
 ABS won’t change the way you normally brake.
Under normal brake conditions, your vehicle will
stop as it always stopped. ABS only comes into
play when a wheel would normally have locked up
because of over braking.
 ABS won’t compensate for bad brakes or poor
brake maintenance.
 Remember: The best vehicle safety feature is still a
safe driver.
 Remember: Drive so you never need to use your
ABS.
 Remember: If you need it, ABS could help to
prevent a serious crash.
Figure 2.19
2-34
2.19.2 – Correcting a Drive-wheel Braking
Skid
2.20 – Accident Procedures
When you're in an accident and not seriously hurt,
you need to act to prevent further damage or
injury. The basic steps to be taken at any accident
are to:
Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking
skid.
Stop Braking. This will let the rear wheels roll
again, and keep the rear wheels from sliding.
 Protect the area.
 Notify authorities.
 Care for the injured.
Countersteer. As a vehicle turns back on course,
it has a tendency to keep on turning. Unless you
turn the steering wheel quickly the other way, you
may find yourself skidding in the opposite direction.
2.20.1 – Protect the Area
The first thing to do at an accident scene is to keep
another accident from happening in the same spot.
To protect the accident area:
Learning to stay off the brake, turn the steering
wheel quickly, push in the clutch, and countersteer
in a skid takes a lot of practice. The best place to
get this practice is on a large driving range or "skid
pad”.
 If your vehicle is involved in the accident, try to get it
to the side of the road. This will help prevent
another accident and allow traffic to move.
 If you're stopping to help, park away from the
accident. The area immediately around the accident
will be needed for emergency vehicles.
 Put on your flashers.
 Set out reflective triangles to warn other traffic.
Make sure other drivers can see them in time to
avoid the accident.
2.19.3 – Front-wheel Skids
Driving too fast for conditions causes most frontwheel skids. Other causes include lack of tread on
the front tires and cargo loaded so not enough
weight is on the front axle. In a front-wheel skid,
the front end tends to go in a straight line
regardless of how much you turn the steering
wheel. On a very slippery surface, you may not be
able to steer around a curve or turn.
2.20.2 – Notify Authorities
If you have a cell phone or CB, call for assistance
before you get out of your vehicle. If not, wait until
after the accident scene has been properly
protected, then phone or send someone to phone
the police. Try to determine where you are so you
can give the exact location.
When a front-wheel skid occurs, the only way to
stop the skid is to let the vehicle slow down. Stop
turning and/or braking so hard. Slow down as
quickly as possible without skidding.
2.20.3 – Care for the Injured
Subsections 2.17, 2.18, and 2.19
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
If a qualified person is at the accident and helping
the injured, stay out of the way unless asked to
assist. Otherwise, do the best you can to help any
injured parties. Here are some simple steps to
follow in giving assistance:
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do
in an emergency. True or False?
What are some advantages of going right
instead of left around an obstacle?
What is an "escape ramp”?
If a tire blows out, you should put the brakes
on hard to stop quickly. True or False?
How do you know if your vehicle has antilock
brakes?
What is the proper braking technique when
driving a vehicle with antilock brakes?
How do antilock brakes help you?
 Don't move a severely injured person unless the
danger of fire or passing traffic makes it necessary.
 Stop heavy bleeding by applying direct pressure to
the wound.
 Keep the injured person warm.
2.21 – Fires
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.17, 2.18,
and 2.19.
Truck fires can cause damage and injury. Learn
the causes of fires and how to prevent them. Know
what to do to extinguish fires.
2-35
 With an engine fire, turn off the engine as soon as
you can. Don't open the hood if you can avoid it.
Shoot foam through louvers, radiator, or from the
vehicle’s underside.
 For a cargo fire in a van or box trailer, keep the
doors shut, especially if your cargo contains
hazardous materials. Opening the van doors will
supply the fire with oxygen and can cause it to burn
very fast.
2.21.1 – Causes of Fire
The following are some causes of vehicle fires:
 After Accidents. Spilled fuel, improper use of
flares.
 Tires. Under-inflated tires and duals that touch.
 Electrical System. Short circuits due to damaged
insulation, loose connections.
 Fuel. Driver smoking, improper fueling, loose fuel
connections.
 Cargo. Flammable cargo, improperly sealed or
loaded cargo, poor ventilation.
Extinguish the Fire. Here are some rules to follow
in putting out a fire:
 When using the extinguisher, stay as far away from
the fire as possible.
 Aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in the
flames.
2.21.2 – Fire Prevention
Pay attention to the following:
Use the Right Fire Extinguisher
 Pre-trip Inspection. Make a complete inspection of
the electrical, fuel, and exhaust systems, tires, and
cargo. Be sure to check that the fire extinguisher is
charged.
 En Route Inspection. Check the tires, wheels, and
truck body for signs of heat whenever you stop
during a trip.
 Follow Safe Procedures. Follow correct safety
procedures for fueling the vehicle, using brakes,
handling flares, and other activities that can cause a
fire.
 Monitoring. Check the instruments and gauges
often for signs of overheating and use the mirrors to
look for signs of smoke from tires or the vehicle.
 Caution. Use normal caution in handling anything
flammable.
 Figures 2.20 and 2.21 detail the type of fire
extinguisher to use by class of fire.
 The B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to work
on electrical fires and burning liquids.
 The A:B:C type is designed to work on burning
wood, paper, and cloth as well.
 Water can be used on wood, paper, or cloth, but
don't use water on an electrical fire (can cause
shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread the flames).
 A burning tire must be cooled. Lots of water may be
required.
 If you're not sure what to use, especially on a
hazardous materials fire, wait for firefighters.
 Position yourself upwind. Let the wind carry the
extinguisher to the fire.
 Continue until whatever was burning has been
cooled. Absence of smoke or flame does not mean
the fire cannot restart.
2.21.3 – Fire Fighting
Knowing how to fight fires is important. Drivers who
didn’t know what to do have made fires worse.
Know how the fire extinguisher works. Study the
instructions printed on the extinguisher before you
need it. Here are some procedures to follow in
case of fire.
Class/Type of Fires
Class
A
B
Pull Off the Road. The first step is to get the
vehicle off the road and stop. In doing so:
 Park in an open area, away from buildings, trees,
brush, other vehicles, or anything that might catch
fire.
 Don't pull into a service station!
 Notify emergency services of your problem and
your location.
C
D
Keep the Fire from Spreading. Before trying to
put out the fire, make sure that it doesn't spread
any further.
Type
Wood, Paper, Ordinary Combustibles
Extinguish by Cooling and Quenching
Using Water or Dry Chemicals
Gasoline, Oil, Grease, Other Greasy
Liquids
Extinguish by Smothering, Cooling or
Heat Shielding using carbon Dioxide or
Dry Chemicals
Electrical Equipment Fires
Extinguish with Nonconducting Agents
such as Carbon Dioxide or Dry
Chemicals. DO NOT USE WATER.
Fires in Combustible Metals
Extinguish by Using Specialized
Extinguishing Powders
Figure 2.20
2-36
Class of Fire/Type of Extinguisher
Class of Fire
B or C
A, B, C, or D
D
B or C
D
B or C
B or C
A
A
A or B
B, On Some A
Fire Extinguisher Type
Regular Dry Chemical
Multi Purpose Dry Chemical
Purple K Dry Chemical
KCL Dry Chemical
Dry
Powder
Special
Compound
Carbon Dioxide (Dry)
Halogenated Agent (Gas)
Water
Water With Anti-Freeze
Water, Loaded Steam Style
Foam
Figure 2.21
Subsections 2.20 and 2.21
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What are some things to do at an accident
scene to prevent another accident?
Name two causes of tire fires.
What kinds of fires is a B:C extinguisher
not good for?
When using your extinguisher, should you
get as close as possible to the fire?
Name some causes of vehicle fires.
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.20 and
2.21.
2-37
What Is a Drink? It is the alcohol in drinks that
affects human performance. It doesn't make
any difference whether that alcohol comes
from "a couple of beers”, or from two
glasses of wine, or two shots of hard liquor.
Approximate Blood Alcohol Content
2.22 – Alcohol, Other Drugs, and
Driving
2.22.1 – Alcohol and Driving
Effects
Drinks
Body Weight in Pounds
140
160
180
200
220
240
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.
0
0
1
.04
.03
.03
.02
.02
.02
.02
.
0
2
2
.08
.06
.05
.05
.04
.04
.03
3
.11
.09
.08
.07
.06
.06
.05
4
.15
.12
.11
.09
.08
.08
.07
5
.19
.16
.13
.12
.11
.09
.09
All of the following drinks contain the same amount
of alcohol:
6
.23
.19
.16
.14
.13
.11
.10
 A 12-ounce glass of 5% beer.
 A 5-ounce glass of 12% wine.
 A 1 1/2-ounce shot of 80 proof liquor.
7
.26
.22
.19
.16
.15
.13
.12
8
.30
.25
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
9
.34
.28
.24
.21
.19
.17
.15
10
.38
.31
.27
.23
.21
.19
.17
How Alcohol Works. Alcohol goes directly into
the blood stream and is carried to the brain. After
passing through the brain, a small percentage is
removed in urine, perspiration, and by breathing,
while the rest is carried to the liver. The liver can
only process one-third an ounce of alcohol per
hour, which is considerably less than the alcohol in
a standard drink. This is a fixed rate, so only time,
not black coffee or a cold shower, will sober you
up. If you have drinks faster than your body can
get rid of them, you will have more alcohol in your
body, and your driving will be more affected. The
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) commonly
measures the amount of alcohol in your body. See
Figure 2.22.
What Determines Blood Alcohol
Concentration? BAC is determined by the amount
of alcohol you drink (more alcohol means higher
BAC), how fast you drink (faster drinking means
higher BAC), and your weight (a small person
doesn't have to drink as much to reach the same
BAC).
.
0
3
.
0
5
.
0
6
.
0
8
.
0
9
.
1
1
.
1
3
.
1
4
.
1
6
Legally Intoxicated
Criminal Penalties
120
.00
Driving Skills Significantly
Affected Criminal Penalties
100
0
Only Safe
Impairment
Driving Limit Begins
Drinking alcohol and then driving is very dangerous
and a serious problem. People who drink alcohol
are involved in traffic accidents resulting in over
20,000 deaths every year. Alcohol impairs muscle
coordination, reaction time, depth perception, and
night vision. It also affects the parts of the brain
that control judgment and inhibition. For some
people, one drink is all it takes to show signs of
impairment.
Subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking. One
drink is 1.25 oz. of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. of beer,
or 5 oz. of table wine.
Figure 2.22
Alcohol and the Brain. Alcohol affects more and
more of the brain as BAC builds up. The first part
of the brain affected controls judgment and selfcontrol. One of the bad things about this is it can
keep drinkers from knowing they are getting drunk.
And, of course, good judgment and self-control are
absolutely necessary for safe driving.
As BAC continues to build up, muscle control,
vision, and coordination are affected more and
more. Effects on driving may include:
 Straddling lanes.
 Quick, jerky starts.
 Not signaling, failure to use lights.
 Running stop signs and red lights.
 Improper passing.
See Figure 2.23.
2-38
These effects mean increased chances of a crash
and chances of losing your driver's license. Accident
statistics show that the chance of a crash is much
greater for drivers who have been drinking than for
drivers who have not.
2.22.2 – Other Drugs
Besides alcohol, other legal and illegal drugs are
being used more often. Laws prohibit possession
or use of many drugs while on duty. They prohibit
being under the influence of any "controlled
substance”, amphetamines (including "pep pills”,
“uppers”, and "bennies"), narcotics, or any other
substance, which can make the driver unsafe. This
could include a variety of prescription and over-thecounter drugs (cold medicines), which may make
the driver drowsy or otherwise affect safe driving
ability. However, possession and use of a drug
given to a driver by a doctor is permitted if the
doctor informs the driver that it will not affect safe
driving ability.
Effects Of Increasing
Blood Alcohol Content
Blood Alcohol Content is the amount of alcohol in
your blood recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100
milliliters of blood. Your BAC depends on the amount
of blood (which increases with weight) and the
amount of alcohol you consume over time (how fast
you drink). The faster you drink, the higher your
BAC, as the liver can only handle about one drink
per hour—the rest builds up in your blood.
BAC
.02
Effects on Body
Mellow feeling, slight
body warmth.
.05
Noticeable relaxation.
.08
Definite impairment in
coordination &
judgment .
Pay attention to warning labels for legitimate drugs
and medicines, and to doctor's orders regarding
possible effects. Stay away from illegal drugs.
Effects on Driving
Condition
Less inhibited.
Less alert, less selffocused,
coordination
impairment begins.
Drunk driving limit,
impaired
coordination &
judgment.
Don't use any drug that hides fatigue--the only cure
for fatigue is rest. Alcohol can make the effects of
other drugs much worse. The safest rule is don't
mix drugs with driving at all.
Use of drugs can lead to traffic accidents resulting
in death, injury, and property damage.
Furthermore, it can lead to arrest, fines, and jail
sentences. It can also mean the end of a person's
driving career.
Noisy, possible
Reduction in
embarrassing
.10*
reaction time.
behavior, mood
swings.
Impaired balance &
.15
movement, clearly
Unable to drive.
drunk.
Many lose
.30
consciousness.
Most lose
.40
consciousness, some
die.
Breathing stops,
.50
many die.
BAC of .10 means that 1/10 of 1 % (or 1/1000) of
your total blood content is alcohol.
2.23 – Staying Alert and Fit to Drive
Driving a vehicle for long hours is tiring. Even the
best of drivers will become less alert. However,
there are things that good drivers do to help stay
alert and safe.
2.23.1 – Be Ready to Drive
Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is not like money. You
can’t save it up ahead of time and you can’t borrow
it. But, just as with money, you can go into debt
with it. If you don’t sleep enough, you “owe” more
sleep to yourself. This debt can only be paid off by
sleeping. You can’t overcome it with willpower, and
it won’t go away by itself. The average person
needs seven or eight hours of sleep every 24
hours. Leaving on a long trip when you're already
tired is dangerous. If you have a long trip
scheduled, make sure that you get enough sleep
before you go.
Figure 2.23
How Alcohol Affects Driving. All drivers are
affected by drinking alcohol. Alcohol affects
judgment, vision, coordination, and reaction time. It
causes serious driving errors, such as:
 Increased reaction time to hazards.
 Driving too fast or too slow.
 Driving in the wrong lane.
 Running over the curb.
 Weaving.
Schedule Trips Safely. Try to arrange your
schedule so you are not in “sleep debt” before a
long trip. Your body gets used to sleeping during
certain hours. If you are driving during those hours,
you will be less alert. If possible, try to schedule
2-39
trips for the hours you are normally awake. Many
heavy motor vehicle accidents occur between
midnight and 6 a.m. Tired drivers can easily fall
asleep at these times, especially if they don't
regularly drive at those hours. Trying to push on
and finish a long trip at these times can be very
dangerous.
Be sure to take a mid-afternoon break and plan to
sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.
Recognize the Danger Signals of Drowsy
Driving. Sleep is not voluntary. If you’re drowsy,
you can fall asleep and never even know it. If you
are drowsy, you are likely to have “micro sleeps”–
brief naps that last around four or five seconds. At
55 miles an hour, that’s more than 100 yards, and
plenty of time for a crash. Even if you are not
aware of being drowsy, if you have a sleep debt
you are still at risk. Here are a few ways to tell if
you’re about to fall asleep. If you experience any of
these danger signs, take them as a warning that
you could fall asleep without meaning to.
Exercise Regularly. Resistance to fatigue and
improved sleep are among the benefits of regular
exercise. Try to incorporate exercise into your daily
life. Instead of sitting and watching TV in your
sleeper, walk or jog a few laps around the parking
lot. A little bit of daily exercise will give you energy
throughout the day.
 Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves.
 You have trouble keeping your head up.
 You can’t stop yawning.
 You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
 You don’t remember driving the last few miles.
 You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss traffic
signs.
 You keep jerking the truck back into the lane.
 You have drifted off the road and narrowly missed
crashing.
Eat Healthy. It is often hard for drivers to find
healthy food. But with a little extra effort, you can
eat healthy, even on the road. Try to find
restaurants with healthy, balanced meals. If you
must eat at fast-food restaurants, pick low-fat
items. Another simple way to reduce your caloric
intake is to eliminate fattening snacks. Instead, try
fruit or vegetables.
Avoid Medication. Many medicines can make you
sleepy. Those that do have a label warning against
operating vehicles or machinery. The most
common medicine of this type is an ordinary cold
pill. If you have to drive with a cold, you are better
off suffering from the cold than from the effects of
the medicine.
If you have even one of these symptoms, you may
be in danger of falling asleep. Pull off the road in a
safe place and take a nap.
2.23.3 – When You Do Become Sleepy
Visit Your Doctor. Regular checkups literally can
be lifesavers. Illnesses such as diabetes, heart
disease, and skin and colon cancer can be
detected easily and treated if found in time.
When you are sleepy, trying to "push on" is far
more dangerous than most drivers think. It is a
major cause of fatal accidents. Here are some
important rules to follow.
You should consult your physician or a local sleep
disorder center if you suffer from frequent daytime
sleepiness, have difficulty sleeping at night, take
frequent naps, fall asleep at strange times, snore
loudly, gasp and choke in your sleep, and/or wake
up feeling as though you have not had enough
sleep.
Stop to Sleep. When your body needs sleep,
sleep is the only thing that will work. If you have to
make a stop anyway, make it whenever you feel
the first signs of sleepiness, even if it is earlier than
you planned. By getting up a little earlier the next
day, you can keep on schedule without the danger
of driving while you are not alert.
2.23.2 – While You Are Driving
Take a Nap. If you can't stop for the night, at least
pull off at a safe place, such as a rest area or truck
stop, and take a nap. A nap as short as a half-hour
will do more to overcome fatigue than a half-hour
coffee stop.
Keep Cool. A hot, poorly ventilated vehicle can
make you sleepy. Keep the window or vent
cracked open or use the air conditioner, if you
have one.
Avoid Drugs. There are no drugs that can
overcome being tired. While they may keep you
awake for a while, they won't make you alert. And
eventually, you'll be even more tired than if you
hadn't taken them at all. Sleep is the only thing that
can overcome fatigue.
Take Breaks. Short breaks can keep you alert. But
the time to take them is before you feel really
drowsy or tired. Stop often. Walk around and
inspect your vehicle. It may help to do some
physical exercises.
2-40
Do Not. Do not rely on coffee or another source of
caffeine to keep you awake. Do not count on the
radio, an open window, or other tricks to keep you
awake.
Class
1
2.23.4 – Illness
2
Once in a while, you may become so ill that you
cannot operate a motor vehicle safely. If this
happens to you, you must not drive. However, in
case of an emergency, you may drive to the
nearest place where you can safely stop.
3
4
5
2.24 – Hazardous Materials Rules For
All Commercial Drivers
6
All drivers should know something about
hazardous materials. You must be able to
recognize hazardous cargo, and you must know
whether or not you can haul it without having a
hazardous materials endorsement on your CDL
license.
7
8
9
2.24.1 – What Are Hazardous Materials?
None
Hazardous materials are products that pose
a risk to health, safety, and property during
transportation. See Figure 2.24.
None
2.24.2 – Why Are There Rules?
You must follow the many rules about transporting
hazardous materials. The intent of the rules is to:
Hazard Class Definitions
Class Name
Example
Ammunition,
Explosives
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Gases
Helium
Gasoline
Fuel,
Flammable
Acetone
Flammable
Matches, Fuses
Solids
Ammonium
Oxidizers
Nitrate, Hydrogen
Peroxide
Pesticides,
Poisons
Arsenic
Uranium,
Radioactive
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Corrosives
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous
Asbestos
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated
Hair Spray or
MaterialCharcoal
Domestic)
Combustible
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Liquids
Fluid
Figure 2.24
To Communicate the Risk. The shipper uses a
shipping paper and diamond shaped hazard labels
to warn dockworkers and drivers of the risk.
 Contain the product.
 Communicate the risk.
 Ensure safe drivers and equipment.
After an accident or hazardous material spill or
leak, you may be injured and unable to
communicate the hazards of the materials you are
transporting. Firefighters and police can prevent or
reduce the amount of damage or injury at the
scene if they know what hazardous materials are
being carried. Your life, and the lives of others,
may depend on quickly locating the hazardous
materials shipping papers. For that reason, you
must tab shipping papers related to hazardous
materials or keep them on top of other shipping
papers. You must also keep shipping papers:
To Contain the Product. Many hazardous
products can injure or kill on contact. To protect
drivers and others from contact, the rules tell
shippers how to package safely. Similar rules tell
drivers how to load, transport, and unload bulk
tanks. These are containment rules.
 In a pouch on the driver's door, or
 In clear view within reach while driving, or
 On the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
2-41
2.24.3 – Lists of Regulated Products
Placards are used to warn others of hazardous
materials. Placards are signs put on the outside of
a vehicle that identify the hazard class of the
cargo. A placarded vehicle must have at least four
identical placards. They are put on the front, rear,
and both sides. Placards must be readable from all
four directions. They are at least 10 3/4 inches
square, turned upright on a point, in a diamond
shape. Cargo tanks and other bulk packaging
display the identification number of their contents
on placards or orange panels.
Identification Numbers are four digit codes used
by first responders to identify hazardous materials.
An identification number may be used to identify
more than one chemical on shipping papers. The
identification number will be preceded by the
letters “NA” or “UN”. The US DOT Emergency
Response Guidebook (ERG) identifies the
chemicals all identification numbers are assigned
to.
Not all vehicles carrying hazardous materials need
to have placards. The rules about placards are
given in Section 9 of this manual. You can drive a
vehicle that carries hazardous materials if it does
not require placards. If it requires placards, you
cannot drive it unless your driver license has the
hazardous materials endorsement. See Figure
2.25.
Figure 2.25
Hazardous materials drivers must also know which
products they can load together, and which they
cannot. These rules are also in Section 9. Before
loading a truck with more than one type of product,
you must know if it is safe to load them together. If
you do not know, ask your employer.
The rules require all drivers of placarded vehicles
to learn how to safely load and transport
hazardous products. They must have a commercial
driver license with the hazardous materials
endorsement. To get the required endorsement,
you must pass a written test on material found in
Section 9 of this manual. A tank endorsement is
required for certain vehicles that transport liquids
or gases. The liquid or gas does not have to be a
hazardous material. A tank endorsement is only
required if your vehicle needs a Class A or B CDL
and your vehicle has a permanently mounted
cargo tank of any capacity; or your vehicle is
carrying a portable tank with a capacity of 1,000
gallons or more. Drivers who need the hazardous
materials endorsement must learn the placard
rules. If you do not know if your vehicle needs
placards, ask your employer. Never drive a vehicle
needing placards unless you have the hazardous
materials endorsement. To do so is a crime. When
stopped, you will be cited and you will not be
allowed to drive your truck further. It will cost you
time and money. A failure to placard when needed
may risk your life and others if you have an
accident. Emergency help will not know of your
hazardous cargo.
Subsections 2.22, 2.23, and 2.24
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Common medicines for colds can make
you sleepy. True or False?
What should you do if you become sleepy
while driving?
Coffee and a little fresh air will help a
drinker sober up. True or False?
What is a hazardous materials placard?
Why are placards used?
What is “sleep debt”?
What are the danger signals of drowsy
driving?
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.22, 2.23,
and 2.24.
2-42
Re-check. Re-check the cargo and securing
devices as often as necessary during a trip to keep
the load secure. You need to inspect again:
Section 3
TRANSPORTING CARGO
SAFELY
 After you have driven for 3 hours or 150 miles.
 After every break you take during driving.
This Section Covers




Federal, state, and local regulations for commercial
vehicle weight, securing cargo, covering loads, and
where you can drive large vehicles vary from place
to place. Know the rules where you will be driving.
Inspecting Cargo
Cargo Weight and Balance
Securing Cargo
Cargo Needing Special Attention
3.2 – Weight and Balance
You are responsible for not being overloaded. The
following are some definitions of weight you should
know.
This section tells you about hauling cargo safely.
You must understand basic cargo safety rules to
get a CDL.
3.2.1 – Definitions You Should Know
If you load cargo wrong or do not secure it, it can
be a danger to others and yourself. Loose cargo
that falls off a vehicle can cause traffic problems
and others could be hurt or killed. Loose cargo
could hurt or kill you during a quick stop or crash.
Your vehicle could be damaged by an overload.
Steering could be affected by how a vehicle is
loaded, making it more difficult to control the
vehicle.
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). The total weight of
a single vehicle plus its load.
Gross Combination Weight (GCW). The total
weight of a powered unit, plus trailer(s), plus the
cargo.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The
maximum GVW specified by the manufacturer for a
single vehicle plus its load.
Whether or not you load and secure the cargo
yourself, you are responsible for:
Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR).
The maximum GCW specified by the manufacturer
for a specific combination of vehicles plus its load.
 Inspecting your cargo.
 Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced weight.
 Knowing your cargo is properly secured and does
not obscure your view ahead or to the sides.
 Knowing your cargo does not restrict your access to
emergency equipment.
Axle Weight. The weight transmitted to the ground
by one axle or one set of axles.
Tire Load. The maximum safe weight a tire can
carry at a specified pressure. This rating is stated
on the side of each tire.
If you intend to carry hazardous material that
requires placards on your vehicle, you will also
need to have a hazardous materials endorsement.
Section 9 of this manual has the information you
need to pass the hazardous materials test.
Suspension Systems. Suspension systems have
a manufacturer's weight capacity rating.
3.1 – Inspecting Cargo
Coupling Device Capacity. Coupling devices are
rated for the maximum weight they can pull and/or
carry.
As part of your pre-trip inspection, make sure the
truck is not overloaded and the cargo is balanced
and secured properly.
3.2.2 – Legal Weight Limits
You must keep weights within legal limits. States
have maximums for GVWs, GCWs, and axle
weights. Often, maximum axle weights are set by a
bridge formula. A bridge formula permits less
maximum axle weight for axles that are closer
together. This is to prevent overloading bridges
and roadways.
After Starting. Inspect the cargo and its securing
devices again within the first 50 miles after
beginning a trip. Make any adjustments needed.
3-1
Overloading can have bad effects on steering,
braking, and speed control. Overloaded trucks
have to go very slowly on upgrades. Worse, they
may gain too much speed on downgrades.
Stopping distance increases. Brakes can fail when
forced to work too hard.
During bad weather or in mountains, it may not be
safe to operate at legal maximum weights. Take
this into account before driving.
3.2.3 – Don't Be Top-Heavy
The height of the vehicle's center of gravity is very
important for safe handling. A high center of gravity
(cargo piled up high or heavy cargo on top) means
you are more likely to tip over. It is most dangerous
in curves, or if you have to swerve to avoid a
hazard. It is very important to distribute the cargo
so it is as low as possible. Put the heaviest parts of
the cargo under the lightest parts.
3.2.4 – Balance the Weight
Poor weight balance can make vehicle handling
unsafe. Too much weight on the steering axle can
cause hard steering. It can damage the steering
axle and tires. Under-loaded front axles (caused by
shifting weight too far to the rear) can make the
steering axle weight too light to steer safely. Too
little weight on the driving axles can cause poor
traction. The drive wheels may spin easily. During
bad weather, the truck may not be able to keep
going. Weight that is loaded so there is a high
center of gravity causes greater chance of rollover.
On flat bed vehicles, there is also a greater chance
that the load will shift to the side or fall off. See
Figure 3.1.
Figure 3.1
3.3.2 – Cargo Tiedown
On flatbed trailers or trailers without sides, cargo
must be secured to keep it from shifting or falling
off. In closed vans, tiedowns can also be important
to prevent cargo shifting that may affect the
handling of the vehicle. Tiedowns must be of the
proper type and proper strength. Federal
regulations require the aggregate working load limit
of any securement system used to secure an
article or group of articles against movement must
be at least one-half times the weight of the article
or group of articles. Proper tiedown equipment
must be used, including ropes, straps, chains, and
tensioning devices (winches, ratchets, clinching
components). Tiedowns must be attached to the
vehicle correctly (hooks, bolts, rails, rings). See
figure 3.2.
3.3 – Securing Cargo
3.3.1 – Blocking and Bracing
Blocking is used in the front, back, and/or sides of
a piece of cargo to keep it from sliding. Blocking is
shaped to fit snugly against cargo. It is secured to
the cargo deck to prevent cargo movement.
Bracing is also used to prevent movement of
cargo. Bracing goes from the upper part of the
cargo to the floor and/or walls of the cargo
compartment.
Figure 3.2
3-2
Cargo should have at least one tiedown for each
ten feet of cargo. Make sure you have enough
tiedowns to meet this need. No matter how small
the cargo, it should have at least two tiedowns.
3.4.2 – Hanging Meat
Hanging meat (suspended beef, pork, lamb) in a
refrigerated truck can be a very unstable load with
a high center of gravity. Particular caution is
needed on sharp curves such as off ramps and on
ramps. Go slowly.
There are special requirements for securing
various heavy pieces of metal. Find out what they
are if you are to carry such loads.
3.4.3 – Livestock
3.3.3 – Header Boards
Front-end header boards ("headache racks")
protect you from your cargo in case of a crash or
emergency stop. Make sure the front-end structure
is in good condition. The front-end structure should
block the forward movement of any cargo you
carry.
Livestock can move around in a trailer, causing
unsafe handling. With less than a full load, use
false bulkheads to keep livestock bunched
together. Even when bunched, special care is
necessary because livestock can lean on curves.
This shifts the center of gravity and makes rollover
more likely.
3.3.4 – Covering Cargo
3.4.4 – Oversized Loads
There are two basic reasons for covering cargo:
Spill protection is a safety requirement in many
states. Be familiar with the laws in the states you
drive in.
Over-length, over-width, and/or overweight loads
require special transit permits. Driving is usually
limited to certain times. Special equipment may be
necessary such as "wide load" signs, flashing
lights, flags, etc. Such loads may require a police
escort or pilot vehicles bearing warning signs
and/or flashing lights. These special loads require
special driving care.
You should look at your cargo covers in the mirrors
from time to time while driving. A flapping cover
can tear loose, uncovering the cargo, and possibly
block your view or someone else's.
Section 3
Test Your Knowledge
 To protect people from spilled cargo.
 To protect the cargo from weather.
3.3.5 – Sealed and Containerized Loads
1.
Containerized loads generally are used when
freight is carried part way by rail or ship. Delivery
by truck occurs at the beginning and/or end of the
journey. Some containers have their own tiedown
devices or locks that attach directly to a special
frame. Others have to be loaded onto flat bed
trailers. They must be properly secured just like
any other cargo.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
You cannot inspect sealed loads, but you should
check that you don't exceed gross weight and axle
weight limits.
7.
8.
3.4 – Cargo Needing Special Attention
9.
3.4.1 – Dry Bulk
What four things related to cargo are
drivers responsible for?
How often must you stop while on the road
to check your cargo?
How is Gross Combination Weight Rating
different from Gross Combination Weight?
Name two situations where legal maximum
weights may not be safe.
What can happen if you don't have enough
weight on the front axle?
What is the minimum number of tiedowns
for any flat bed load?
What is the minimum number of tiedowns
for a 20-foot load?
Name the two basic reasons for covering
cargo on an open bed.
What must you check before transporting a
sealed load?
These questions may be on your test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read Section 3.
Dry bulk tanks require special care because they
have a high center of gravity, and the load can
shift. Be extremely cautious (slow and careful)
going around curves and making sharp turns.
3-3
Section 4
4.1.2 – Access Doors and Panels
TRANSPORTING
PASSENGERS SAFELY
As you check the outside of the bus, close any
open emergency exits. Also, close any open
access panels (for baggage, restroom service,
engine, etc.) before driving.
This Section Covers






4.1.3 – Bus Interior
Vehicle Inspection
Loading
On the Road
After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Prohibited Practices
Use of Brake-door Interlocks
People sometimes damage unattended buses.
Always check the interior of the bus before driving
to ensure rider safety. Aisles and stairwells should
always be clear. The following parts of your bus
must be in safe working condition:
 Each handhold and railing.
 Floor covering.
 Signaling devices, including the restroom
emergency buzzer, if the bus has a restroom.
 Emergency exit handles.
Bus drivers must have a commercial driver license
if they drive a vehicle designed to seat more than
16 or more persons, including the driver.
Bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement
on their commercial driver license. To get the
endorsement you must pass a knowledge test on
Sections 2 and 4 of this manual. (If your bus has
air brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test on
Section 5.) You must also pass the skills tests
required for the class of vehicle you drive.
The seats must be safe for riders. All seats must
be securely fastened to the bus.
Never drive with an open emergency exit door or
window. The "Emergency Exit" sign on an
emergency door must be clearly visible. If there is
a red emergency door light, it must work. Turn it on
at night or any other time you use your outside
lights.
4.1 – Vehicle Inspection
Before driving your bus, you must be sure it is
safe. You must review the inspection report made
by the previous driver. Only if defects reported
earlier have been certified as repaired or not
needed to be repaired, should you sign the
previous driver's report. This is your certification
that the defects reported earlier have been fixed.
4.1.4 – Roof Hatches
You may lock some emergency roof hatches in a
partly open position for fresh air. Do not leave them
open as a regular practice. Keep in mind the bus's
higher clearance while driving with them open.
Make sure your bus has the fire extinguisher and
emergency reflectors required by law. The bus
must also have spare electrical fuses, unless
equipped with circuit breakers.
4.1.1 – Vehicle Systems
Make sure these things are in good working order
before driving:
4.1.5 – Use Your Seatbelt!
 Service brakes, including air hose couplings (if your
bus has a trailer or semitrailer).
 Parking brake.
 Steering mechanism.
 Lights and reflectors.
 Tires (front wheels must not have recapped or
regrooved tires).
 Horn.
 Windshield wiper or wipers.
 Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.
 Coupling devices (if present).
 Wheels and rims.
 Emergency equipment.
The driver's seat should have a seat belt. Always
use it for safety.
4.2 – Loading and Trip Start
Do not allow riders to leave carry-on baggage in a
doorway or aisle. There should be nothing in the
aisle that might trip other riders. Secure baggage
and freight in ways that avoid damage and:
 Allow the driver to move freely and easily.
4-1
 Allow riders to exit by any window or door in an
emergency.
 Protect riders from injury if carry-ons fall or shift.
 Division 2.3 poison gas, liquid Class 6 poison, tear
gas, irritating material.
 More than 100 pounds of solid Class 6 poisons.
 Explosives in the space occupied by people, except
small arms ammunition.
 Labeled radioactive materials in the space occupied
by people.
 More than 500 pounds total of allowed hazardous
materials, and no more than 100 pounds of any one
class.
4.2.1 – Hazardous Materials
Watch for cargo or baggage containing hazardous
materials. Most hazardous materials cannot be
carried on a bus.
The Federal Hazardous Materials Table shows
which materials are hazardous. They pose a risk to
health, safety, and property during transportation.
The rules require shippers to mark containers of
hazardous material with the material's name,
identification number, and hazard label. There are
nine different four-inch, diamond-shaped hazard
labels. See Figure 4.1. Watch for the diamondshaped labels. Do not transport any hazardous
material unless you are sure the rules allow it.
Class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
None
None
Riders sometimes board a bus with an unlabeled
hazardous material. Do not allow riders to carry on
common hazards such as car batteries or gasoline.
4.2.3 – Standee Line
No rider may stand forward of the rear of the
driver's seat. Buses designed to allow standing
must have a two-inch line on the floor or some
other means of showing riders where they cannot
stand. This is called the standee line. All standing
riders must stay behind it.
Hazard Class Definitions
Class Name
Example
Ammunition,
Explosives
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Gases
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Flammable
Acetone
Flammable
Matches, Fuses
Solids
Ammonium
Oxidizers
Nitrate, Hydrogen
Peroxide
Pesticides,
Poisons
Arsenic
Uranium,
Radioactive
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Corrosives
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous
Asbestos
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated
Hair Spray or
MaterialCharcoal
Domestic)
Combustible
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Liquids
Fluid
Figure 4.1
4.2.4 – At Your Destination
When arriving at the destination or intermediate
stops announce:
 The location.
 Reason for stopping.
 Next departure time.
 Bus number.
Remind riders to take carry-ons with them if they
get off the bus. If the aisle is on a lower level than
the seats, remind riders of the step-down. It is best
to tell them before coming to a complete stop.
Charter bus drivers should not allow riders on the
bus until departure time. This will help prevent theft
or vandalism of the bus.
4.3 – On the Road
4.3.1 – Passenger Supervision
Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger
comfort and safety rules. Mention rules about
smoking, drinking, or use of radio and tape players
at the start of the trip. Explaining the rules at the
start will help to avoid trouble later on.
4.2.2 – Forbidden Hazardous Materials
While driving, scan the interior of your bus as well
as the road ahead, to the sides, and to the rear.
You may have to remind riders about rules, or to
keep arms and heads inside the bus.
Buses may carry small-arms ammunition labeled
ORM-D, emergency hospital supplies, and drugs.
You can carry small amounts of some other
hazardous materials if the shipper cannot send
them any other way. Buses must never carry:
4-2
 You do not have to stop, but must slow down and
carefully check for other vehicles:
o At streetcar crossings.
o Where a policeman or flagman is directing
traffic.
o If a traffic signal is green.
o At crossings marked as "exempt" or
"abandoned”.
4.3.2 – At Stops
Riders can stumble when getting on or off, and
when the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to
watch their step when leaving the bus. Wait for
them to sit down or brace themselves before
starting. Starting and stopping should be as
smooth as possible to avoid rider injury.
4.3.6 – Drawbridges
Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive
rider. You must ensure this rider's safety as well as
that of others. Don't discharge such riders where it
would be unsafe for them. It may be safer at the
next scheduled stop or a well-lighted area where
there are other people. Many carriers have
guidelines for handling disruptive riders.
Stop at Drawbridges. Stop at drawbridges that do
not have a signal light or traffic control attendant.
Stop at least 50 feet before the draw of the bridge.
Look to make sure the draw is completely closed
before crossing. You do not need to stop, but must
slow down and make sure it's safe, when:
4.3.3 – Common Accidents
 There is a traffic light showing green.
 The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer who
controls traffic whenever the bridge opens.
The Most Common Bus Accidents. Bus
accidents often happen at intersections. Use
caution, even if a signal or stop sign controls other
traffic. School and mass transit buses sometimes
scrape off mirrors or hit passing vehicles when
pulling out from a bus stop. Remember the
clearance your bus needs, and watch for poles and
tree limbs at stops. Know the size of the gap your
bus needs to accelerate and merge with traffic.
Wait for the gap to open before leaving the stop.
Never assume other drivers will brake to give you
room when you signal or start to pull out.
4.4 – After-trip Vehicle Inspection
Inspect your bus at the end of each shift. If you
work for an interstate carrier, you must complete a
written inspection report for each bus driven. The
report must specify each bus and list any defect
that would affect safety or result in a breakdown. If
there are no defects, the report should say so.
Riders sometimes damage safety-related parts
such as handholds, seats, emergency exits, and
windows. If you report this damage at the end of a
shift, mechanics can make repairs before the bus
goes out again. Mass transit drivers should also
make sure passenger signaling devices and brakedoor interlocks work properly.
4.3.4 – Speed on Curves
Crashes on curves that kill people and destroy
buses result from excessive speed, often when
rain or snow has made the road slippery. Every
banked curve has a safe "design speed”. In good
weather, the posted speed is safe for cars but it
may be too high for many buses. With good
traction, the bus may roll over; with poor traction, it
might slide off the curve. Reduce speed for curves!
If your bus leans toward the outside on a banked
curve, you are driving too fast.
4.5 – Prohibited Practices
Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless
absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed
building with riders on board.
Don't talk with riders, or engage in any other
distracting activity, while driving.
4.3.5 – Railroad-Highway Crossings Stops
Stop at RR Crossings:
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders
aboard the vehicle, unless getting off would be
unsafe. Only tow or push the bus to the nearest
safe spot to discharge passengers. Follow your
employer's guidelines on towing or pushing
disabled buses.
 Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before
railroad crossings.
 Listen and look in both directions for trains. You
should open your forward door if it improves your
ability to see or hear an approaching train. Before
crossing after a train has passed, make sure there
isn't another train coming in the other direction on
other tracks.
 If your bus has a manual transmission, never
change gears while crossing the tracks.
4-3
4.6 – Use of Brake-Door Interlocks
Urban mass 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.
Section 4
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Name some things to check in the interior
of a bus during a pre-trip inspection.
What are some hazardous materials you
can transport by bus?
What are some hazardous materials you
can’t transport by bus?
What is a standee line?
Does it matter where you make a
disruptive passenger get off the bus?
How far from a railroad crossing should
you stop?
When must you stop before crossing a
drawbridge?
Describe from memory the “prohibited
practices” listed in the manual.
The rear door of a transit bus has to be
open to put on the parking brake. True or
False?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 4.
4-4
5.1.2 – Air Compressor Governor
Section 5
The governor controls when the air compressor
will pump air into the air storage tanks. When air
tank pressure rises to the "cut-out" level (around
125 pounds per-square-inch or "psi"), the
governor stops the compressor from pumping air.
When the tank pressure falls to the "cut-in"
pressure (around 100 psi), the governor allows the
compressor to start pumping again.
AIR BRAKES
This Section Covers




Air Brake System Parts
Dual Air Brake Systems
Inspecting Air Brakes
Using Air Brakes
5.1.3 – Air Storage Tanks
This section tells you about air brakes. If you want
to drive a truck or bus with air brakes, or pull a
trailer with air brakes, you need to read this
section. If you want to pull a trailer with air brakes,
you also need to read Section 6, Combination
Vehicles. An air brake endorsement is only
required if your vehicle needs a CDL.
Air storage tanks are used to hold compressed air.
The number and size of air tanks varies among
vehicles. The tanks will hold enough air to allow
the brakes to be used several times, even if the
compressor stops working.
Air brakes use compressed air to make the brakes
work. Air brakes are a good and safe way of
stopping large and heavy vehicles, but the brakes
must be well maintained and used properly.
Air brakes are really three different braking
systems:
service brake, parking brake, and
emergency brake.
Compressed air usually has some water and
some compressor oil in it, which is bad for the air
brake system. For example, the water can freeze
in cold weather and cause brake failure. The water
and oil tend to collect in the bottom of the air tank.
Be sure that you drain the air tanks completely.
Each air tank is equipped with a drain valve in the
bottom. There are two types:
 The service brake system applies and releases the
brakes when you use the brake pedal during
normal driving.
 The parking brake system applies and releases the
parking brakes when you use the parking brake
control.
 The emergency brake system uses parts of the
service and parking brake systems to stop the
vehicle in a brake system failure.
 Manually operated by turning a quarter turn or by
pulling a cable. You must drain the tanks yourself
at the end of each day of driving. See Figure 5.1.
 Automatic--the water and oil are automatically
expelled. These tanks may be equipped for
manual draining as well.
 Automatic air tanks are available with electric
heating devices. These help prevent freezing of
the automatic drain in cold weather.
5.1.4 – Air Tank Drains
The parts of these systems are discussed in
greater detail below.
5.1 – The Parts of an Air Brake System
There are many parts to an air brake system. You
should know about the parts discussed here.
5.1.1 – Air Compressor
The air compressor pumps air into the air storage
tanks (reservoirs). The air compressor is
connected to the engine through gears or a v-belt.
The compressor may be air cooled or may be
cooled by the engine cooling system. It may have
its own oil supply or be lubricated by engine oil. If
the compressor has its own oil supply, check the
oil level before driving.
Figure 5.1
5-1
thus twisting the brake camshaft. This turns the
s-cam (so called because it is shaped like the
letter "S"). The s-cam forces the brake shoes
away from one another and presses them against
the inside of the brake drum. When you release
the brake pedal, the s-cam rotates back and a
spring pulls the brake shoes away from the drum,
letting the wheels roll freely again. See Figure 5.2.
5.1.5 – Alcohol Evaporator
Some air brake systems have an alcohol
evaporator to put alcohol into the air system. This
helps to reduce the risk of ice in air brake valves
and other parts during cold weather. Ice inside the
system can make the brakes stop working.
Check the alcohol container and fill up as
necessary, every day during cold weather. Daily
air tank drainage is still needed to get rid of water
and oil. (Unless the system has automatic drain
valves.)
5.1.6 – Safety Valve
A safety relief valve is installed in the first tank the
air compressor pumps air to. The safety valve
protects the tank and the rest of the system from
too much pressure. The valve is usually set to
open at 150 psi. If the safety valve releases air,
something is wrong. Have the fault fixed by a
mechanic.
5.1.7 – The Brake Pedal
You put on the brakes by pushing down the brake
pedal. (It is also called the foot valve or treadle
valve.) Pushing the pedal down harder applies
more air pressure. Letting up on the brake pedal
reduces the air pressure and releases the brakes.
Releasing the brakes lets some compressed air
go out of the system, so the air pressure in the
tanks is reduced. It must be made up by the air
compressor. Pressing and releasing the pedal
unnecessarily can let air out faster than the
compressor can replace it. If the pressure gets too
low, the brakes won't work.
Figure 5.2
Wedge Brakes. In this type of brake, the brake
chamber push rod pushes a wedge directly
between the ends of two brake shoes. This
shoves them apart and against the inside of the
brake drum. Wedge brakes may have a single
brake chamber, or two brake chambers, pushing
wedges in at both ends of the brake shoes.
Wedge type brakes may be self-adjusting or may
require manual adjustment.
Disc Brakes. In air-operated disc brakes, air
pressure acts on a brake chamber and slack
adjuster, like s-cam brakes. But instead of the scam, a "power screw" is used. The pressure of the
brake chamber on the slack adjuster turns the
power screw. The power screw clamps the disc or
rotor between the brake lining pads of a caliper,
similar to a large c-clamp.
5.1.8 – Foundation Brakes
Foundation brakes are used at each wheel. The
most common type is the s-cam drum brake. The
parts of the brake are discussed below.
Brake Drums, Shoes, and Linings. Brake drums
are located on each end of the vehicle's axles.
The wheels are bolted to the drums. The braking
mechanism is inside the drum. To stop, the brake
shoes and linings are pushed against the inside of
the drum. This causes friction, which slows the
vehicle (and creates heat). The heat a drum can
take without damage depends on how hard and
how long the brakes are used. Too much heat can
make the brakes stop working.
Wedge brakes and disc brakes are less common
than s-cam brakes.
5.1.9 – Supply Pressure Gauges
All vehicles with air brakes have a pressure gauge
connected to the air tank. If the vehicle has a dual
air brake system, there will be a gauge for each
half of the system. (Or a single gauge with two
needles.) Dual systems will be discussed later.
These gauges tell you how much pressure is in
the air tanks.
S-cam Brakes. When you push the brake pedal,
air is let into each brake chamber. Air pressure
pushes the rod out, moving the slack adjuster,
5-2
Many vehicles have automatic front wheel limiting
valves. They reduce the air to the front brakes
except when the brakes are put on very hard (60
psi or more application pressure). These valves
cannot be controlled by the driver.
5.1.10 – Application Pressure Gauge
This gauge shows how much air pressure you are
applying to the brakes. (This gauge is not on all
vehicles.) Increasing application pressure to hold
the same speed means the brakes are fading. You
should slow down and use a lower gear. The need
for increased pressure can also be caused by
brakes out of adjustment, air leaks, or mechanical
problems.
5.1.14 – Spring Brakes
All trucks, truck tractors, and buses must be
equipped with emergency brakes and parking
brakes. They must be held on by mechanical force
(because air pressure can eventually leak away).
Spring brakes are usually used to meet these
needs. When driving, powerful springs are held
back by air pressure. If the air pressure is
removed, the springs put on the brakes. A parking
brake control in the cab allows the driver to let the
air out of the spring brakes. This lets the springs
put the brakes on. A leak in the air brake system,
which causes all the air to be lost, will also cause
the springs to put on the brakes.
5.1.11 – Low Air Pressure Warning
A low air pressure warning signal is required on
vehicles with air brakes. A warning signal you can
see must come on before the air pressure in the
tanks falls below 60 psi. (Or one half the
compressor governor cutout pressure on older
vehicles.) The warning is usually a red light. A
buzzer may also come on.
Another type of warning is the "wig wag”. This
device drops a mechanical arm into your view
when the pressure in the system drops below 60
psi. An automatic wig wag will rise out of your view
when the pressure in the system goes above 60
psi. The manual reset type must be placed in the
"out of view" position manually. It will not stay in
place until the pressure in the system is above 60
psi.
Tractor and straight truck spring brakes will come
fully on when air pressure drops to a range of 20
to 45 psi (typically 20 to 30 psi). Do not wait for the
brakes to come on automatically. When the low air
pressure warning light and buzzer first come on,
bring the vehicle to a safe stop right away, while
you can still control the brakes.
On large buses it is common for the low pressure
warning devices to signal at 80-85 psi.
The braking power of spring brakes depends on
the brakes being in adjustment. If the brakes are
not adjusted properly, neither the regular brakes
nor the emergency/parking brakes will work right.
5.1.12 – Stop Light Switch
5.1.15 – Parking Brake Controls
Drivers behind you must be warned when you put
your brakes on. The air brake system does this
with an electric switch that works by air pressure.
The switch turns on the brake lights when you put
on the air brakes.
In newer vehicles with air brakes, you put on the
parking brakes using a diamond-shaped, yellow,
push-pull control knob. You pull the knob out to
put the parking brakes (spring brakes) on, and
push it in to release them. On older vehicles, the
parking brakes may be controlled by a lever. Use
the parking brakes whenever you park.
5.1.13 – Front Brake Limiting Valve
Some older vehicles (made before 1975) have a
front brake limiting valve and a control in the cab.
The control is usually marked "normal" and
"slippery”. When you put the control in the
"slippery" position, the limiting valve cuts the
"normal" air pressure to the front brakes by half.
Limiting valves were used to reduce the chance of
the front wheels skidding on slippery surfaces.
However, they actually reduce the stopping power
of the vehicle. Front wheel braking is good under
all conditions. Tests have shown front wheel skids
from braking are not likely even on ice. Make sure
the control is in the "normal" position to have
normal stopping power.
Caution. Never push the brake pedal down when
the spring brakes are on. If you do, the brakes
could be damaged by the combined forces of the
springs and the air pressure. Many brake systems
are designed so this will not happen. But not all
systems are set up that way, and those that are
may not always work. It is much better to develop
the habit of not pushing the brake pedal down
when the spring brakes are on.
Modulating Control Valves. In some vehicles a
control handle on the dash board may be used to
apply the spring brakes gradually. This is called a
5-3
modulating valve. It is spring-loaded so you have
a feel for the braking action. The more you move
the control lever, the harder the spring brakes
come on. They work this way so you can control
the spring brakes if the service brakes fail. When
parking a vehicle with a modulating control valve,
move the lever as far as it will go and hold it in
place with the locking device.
Dual Parking Control Valves. When main air
pressure is lost, the spring brakes come on. Some
vehicles, such as buses, have a separate air tank
which can be used to release the spring brakes.
This is so you can move the vehicle in an
emergency. One of the valves is a push-pull type
and is used to put on the spring brakes for
parking. The other valve is spring loaded in the
"out" position. When you push the control in, air
from the separate air tank releases the spring
brakes so you can move. When you release the
button, the spring brakes come on again. There is
only enough air in the separate tank to do this a
few times. Therefore, plan carefully when moving.
Otherwise, you may be stopped in a dangerous
location when the separate air supply runs out.
See Figure 5.3.
5.1.16 – Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
Truck tractors with air brakes built on or after
March 1, 1997, and other air brakes vehicles,
(trucks, buses, trailers, and converter dollies) built
on or after March 1, 1998, are required to be
equipped with antilock brakes. Many commercial
vehicles built before these dates have been
voluntarily equipped with ABS. Check the
certification label for the date of manufacture to
determine if your vehicle is equipped with ABS.
ABS is a computerized system that keeps your
wheels from locking up during hard brake
applications.
Figure 5.3
 On newer vehicles, the malfunction lamp comes
on at start-up for a bulb check, and then goes
out quickly. On older systems, the lamp could
stay on until you are driving over five mph.
 If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or
goes on once you are under way, you may have
lost ABS control at one or more wheels.
 In the case of towed units manufactured before
it was required by the Department of
Transportation, it may be difficult to tell if the
unit is equipped with ABS. Look under the
vehicle for the electronic control unit (ECU) and
wheel speed sensor wires coming from the
back of the brakes.
 ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It
does not decrease or increase your normal
braking capability. ABS only activates when
wheels are about to lock up.
 ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle
under control during hard braking.
 Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction
lamps to tell you if something isn’t working.
 Tractors, trucks, and buses will have yellow
ABS malfunction lamps on the instrument panel.
 Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps
on the left side, either on the front or rear
corner. Dollies manufactured on or after March
1, 1998 are required to have a lamp on the left
side.
5-4
Figure 5.4
operates the regular brakes on the rear axle or
axles. The other system operates the regular
brakes on the front axle (and possibly one rear
axle). Both systems supply air to the trailer (if there
is one). The first system is called the "primary"
system. The other is called the "secondary"
system. See Figure 5.4.
Subsection 5.1
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Why must air tanks be drained?
What is a supply pressure gauge used for?
All vehicles with air brakes must have a
low air pressure warning signal. True or
False?
What are spring brakes?
Front wheel brakes are good under all
conditions. True or False?
How do you know if your vehicle is
equipped with antilock brakes?
Before driving a vehicle with a dual air system,
allow time for the air compressor to build up a
minimum of 100 psi pressure in both the primary
and secondary systems. Watch the primary and
secondary air pressure gauges (or needles, if the
system has two needles in one gauge). Pay
attention to the low air pressure warning light and
buzzer. The warning light and buzzer should shut
off when air pressure in both systems rises to a
value set by the manufacturer. This value must be
greater than 60 psi.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.1.
The warning light and buzzer should come on
before the air pressure drops below 60 psi in either
system. If this happens while driving, you should
stop right away and safely park the vehicle. If one
air system is very low on pressure, either the front
or the rear brakes will not be operating fully. This
means it will take you longer to stop. Bring the
vehicle to a safe stop, and have the air brakes
system fixed.
5.2 – Dual Air Brake
Most heavy-duty vehicles use dual air brake
systems for safety. A dual air brake system has
two separate air brake systems, which use a single
set of brake controls. Each system has its own air
tanks, hoses, lines, etc. One system typically
5-5
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster
should only be used as a temporary measure to
correct the adjustment in an emergency situation
as it is likely the brake will soon be back out of
adjustment since this procedure usually does not
fix the underlying adjustment problem.
5.3 – Inspecting Air Brake Systems
You should use the basic seven-step inspection
procedure described in Section 2 to inspect your
vehicle. There are more things to inspect on a
vehicle with air brakes than one without them.
These things are discussed below, in the order
they fit into the seven-step method.
(Note: Automatic slack adjusters are made by
different manufacturers and do not all operate
the same. Therefore, the specific manufacturer’s
Service Manual should be consulted prior to
troubleshooting a brake adjustment problem.)
5.3.1 – During Step 2 Engine Compartment
Checks
Check Air Compressor Drive Belt (if
compressor is belt-driven). If the air compressor
is belt-driven, check the condition and tightness of
the belt. It should be in good condition.
Check Brake Drums (or Discs), Linings, and
Hoses. Brake drums (or discs) must not have
cracks longer than one half the width of the friction
area. Linings (friction material) must not be loose
or soaked with oil or grease. They must not be
dangerously thin. Mechanical parts must be in
place, not broken or missing. Check the air hoses
connected to the brake chambers to make sure
they aren't cut or worn due to rubbing.
5.3.2 – During Step 5 Walkaround
Inspection
Check Slack Adjusters on S-cam Brakes. Park
on level ground and chock the wheels to prevent
the vehicle from moving. Release the parking
brakes so you can move the slack adjusters. Use
gloves and pull hard on each slack adjuster that
you can reach. If a slack adjuster moves more than
about one inch where the push rod attaches to it, it
probably needs adjustment. Adjust it or have it
adjusted. Vehicles with too much brake slack can
be very hard to stop. Out-of-adjustment brakes are
the most common problem found in roadside
inspections. Be safe. Check the slack adjusters.
5.3.3 – Step 7 Final Air Brake Check
Do the following checks instead of the hydraulic
brake check shown in Section 2, Step 7: Check
Brake System.
Test Low Pressure Warning Signal. Shut the
engine off when you have enough air pressure so
that the low pressure warning signal is not on. Turn
the electrical power on and step on and off the
brake pedal to reduce air tank pressure. The low
air pressure warning signal must come on before
the pressure drops to less than 60 psi in the air
tank (or tank with the lowest air pressure, in dual
air systems). See Figure 5.5.
All vehicles built since 1994 have automatic slack
adjustors. Even though automatic slack adjustors
adjust themselves during full brake applications,
they must be checked.
Automatic adjusters should not have to be
manually adjusted except when performing
maintenance on the brakes and during installation
of the slack adjusters. In a vehicle equipped with
automatic adjusters, when the pushrod stroke
exceeds the legal brake adjustment limit, it is an
indication that a mechanical problem exists in the
adjuster itself, a problem with the related
foundation brake components, or that the adjuster
was improperly installed.
If the warning signal doesn't work, you could lose
air pressure and you would not know it. This could
cause sudden emergency braking in a singlecircuit air system. In dual systems the stopping
distance will be increased. Only limited braking can
be done before the spring brakes come on.
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster to
bring a brake pushrod stroke within legal limits is
generally masking a mechanical problem and is
not fixing it. Further, routine adjustment of most
automatic adjusters will likely result in premature
wear of the adjuster itself. It is recommended that
when brakes equipped with automatic adjusters
are found to be out of adjustment, the driver take
the vehicle to a repair facility as soon as possible
to have the problem corrected.
5-6
If air pressure does not build up fast enough, your
pressure may drop too low during driving, requiring
an emergency stop. Don't drive until you get the
problem fixed.
Test Air Leakage Rate. With a fully-charged air
system (typically 125 psi), turn off the engine,
release the parking brake, and time the air
pressure drop. The loss rate should be less than
two psi in one minute for single vehicles and less
than three psi in one minute for combination
vehicles. Then apply 90 psi or more with the brake
pedal. After the initial pressure drop, if the air
pressure falls more than three psi in one minute for
single vehicles (more than four psi for combination
vehicles), the air loss rate is too much. Check for
air leaks and fix before driving the vehicle.
Otherwise, you could lose your brakes while
driving.
Check Air Compressor Governor Cut-in and
Cut-out Pressures. Pumping by the air
compressor should start at about 100 psi and stop
at about 125 psi. (Check manufacturer's
specifications.) Run the engine at a fast idle. The
air governor should cut-out the air compressor at
about the manufacturer's specified pressure. The
air pressure shown by your gauge(s) will stop
rising. With the engine idling, step on and off the
brake to reduce the air tank pressure. The
compressor should cut-in at about the
manufacturer's specified cut-in pressure. The
pressure should begin to rise.
Figure 5.5
Check That Spring Brakes Come On
Automatically.
Continue to fan off the air
pressure by stepping on and off the brake pedal to
reduce tank pressure. The tractor protection valve
and parking brake valve should close (pop out) on
a tractor-trailer combination vehicle and the
parking brake valve should close (pop out) on
other combination and single vehicle types when
the air pressure falls to the manufacturer’s
specification (20 – 40 psi). This will cause the
spring brakes to come on.
If the air governor does not work as described
above, it may need to be fixed. A governor that
does not work properly may not keep enough air
pressure for safe driving.
Test Parking Brake. Stop the vehicle, put the
parking brake on, and gently pull against it in a low
gear to test that the parking brake will hold.
Test Service Brakes. Wait for normal air
pressure, release the parking brake, move the
vehicle forward slowly (about five mph), and apply
the brakes firmly using the brake pedal. Note any
vehicle "pulling" to one side, unusual feel, or
delayed stopping action.
Check Rate of Air Pressure Buildup. When the
engine is at operating rpms, the pressure should
build from 85 to 100 psi within 45 seconds in dual
air systems. (If the vehicle has larger than
minimum air tanks, the buildup time can be longer
and still be safe. Check the manufacturer's
specifications.) In single air systems (pre-1975),
typical requirements are pressure buildup from 50
to 90 psi within 3 minutes with the engine at an idle
speed of 600-900 rpms.
This test may show you problems, which you
otherwise wouldn't know about until you needed
the brakes on the road.
5-7
or start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes (if
you can safely do so) until you gain control.
Subsections 5.2 and 5.3
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
When you drive a tractor-trailer combination with
ABS, you should brake as you always have. In
other words:
What is a dual air brake system?
What are the slack adjusters?
How can you check slack adjusters?
How can you test the low pressure warning
signal?
How can you check that the spring brakes
come on automatically?
What are the maximum leakage rates?
 Use only the braking force necessary to stop safely
and stay in control.
 Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the tractor, the trailer, or both.
 As you slow down, monitor your tractor and trailer
and back off the brakes (if it is safe to do so) to stay
in control.
There is only one exception to this procedure, if
you always drive a straight truck or combination
with working ABS on all axles, in an emergency
stop, you can fully apply the brakes.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 5.2 and 5.3.
Without ABS, you still have normal brake functions.
Drive and brake as you always have.
5.4 – Using Air Brakes
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
5.4.1 – Normal Stops
Push the brake pedal down. Control the pressure
so the vehicle comes to a smooth, safe stop. If you
have a manual transmission, don't push the clutch
in until the engine rpm is down close to idle. When
stopped, select a starting gear.
5.4.3 – Emergency Stops
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you, your
natural response is to hit the brakes. This is a good
response if there's enough distance to stop, and
you use the brakes correctly.
5.4.2 – Braking with Antilock Brakes
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid, jackknife, or even spin the vehicle.
You should brake in a way that will keep your
vehicle in a straight line and allow you to turn if it
becomes necessary. You can use the "controlled
braking" method or the "stab braking" method.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The computer
senses impending lockup, reduces the braking
pressure to a safe level, and you maintain control.
You may or may not be able to stop faster with
ABS, but you should be able to steer around an
obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused by
over braking.
Controlled Braking. With this method, you apply
the brakes as hard as you can without locking the
wheels. Keep steering wheel movements very
small while doing this. If you need to make a larger
steering adjustment or if the wheels lock, release
the brakes. Re-apply the brakes as soon as you
can.
Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer, or
even on only one axle, still gives you more control
over the vehicle during braking. Brake normally.
Stab Braking
 Apply your brakes all the way.
 Release brakes when wheels lock up.
 As soon as the wheels start rolling, apply the
brakes fully again. (It can take up to one second for
the wheels to start rolling after you release the
brakes. If you re-apply the brakes before the
wheels start rolling, the vehicle won't straighten
out.)
When only the tractor has ABS, you should be able
to maintain steering control, and there is less
chance of jackknifing. But, keep your eye on the
trailer and let up on the brakes (if you can safely do
so) if it begins to swing out.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control
5-8
5.4.4 – Stopping Distance
Brake fade is also affected by adjustment. To
safely control a vehicle, every brake must do its
share of the work. Brakes out of adjustment will
stop doing their share before those that are in
adjustment. The other brakes can then overheat
and fade, and there will not be enough braking
available to control the vehicle(s). Brakes can get
out of adjustment quickly, especially when they are
hot. Therefore, check brake adjustment often.
Stopping distance was described in Section 2
under "Speed and Stopping Distance”. With air
brakes there is an added delay--the time required
for the brakes to work after the brake pedal is
pushed. With hydraulic brakes (used on cars and
light/medium trucks), the brakes work instantly.
However, with air brakes, it takes a little time (one
half second or more) for the air to flow through the
lines to the brakes. Thus, the total stopping
distance for vehicles with air brake systems is
made up of four different factors.
5.4.6 – Proper Braking Technique
Remember. The use of brakes on a long and/or
steep downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is in
the proper low gear, the following is the proper
braking technique:
Perception Distance + Reaction Distance + Brake
Lag Distance + Effective Braking Distance = Total
Stopping Distance
 Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a definite
slowdown.
 When your speed has been reduced to
approximately five mph below your "safe" speed,
release the brakes. (This application should last for
about three seconds.)
 When your speed has increased to your "safe"
speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
The air brake lag distance at 55 mph on dry
pavement adds about 32 feet. So at 55 mph for an
average driver under good traction and brake
conditions, the total stopping distance is over 450
feet. See Figure 5.6.
Stopping Distance Chart
How Far
The Rig
Will
Travel in
One
Second
Driver
Reaction
Distance
Vehicle
Braking
Distance
Total
Stopping
Distance
15 mph
22 ft.
17 ft.
29 ft.
46 ft.
30 mph
44 ft.
33 ft.
115 ft.
148 ft.
45 mph
66 ft.
50 ft.
260 ft.
310 ft.
50 mph
73 ft.
55 ft.
320 ft.
375 ft.
55 mph
81 ft.
61 ft.
390 ft.
451 ft.
Miles Per
Hour
For example, if your "safe" speed is 40 mph, you
would not apply the brakes until your speed
reaches 40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard
enough to gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph
and then release the brakes. Repeat this as often
as necessary until you have reached the end of the
downgrade.
5.4.7 – Low Air Pressure
If the low air pressure warning comes on, stop and
safely park your vehicle as soon as possible. There
might be an air leak in the system. Controlled
braking is possible only while enough air remains
in the air tanks. The spring brakes will come on
when the air pressure drops into the range of 20 to
45 psi. A heavily loaded vehicle will take a long
distance to stop because the spring brakes do not
work on all axles. Lightly loaded vehicles or
vehicles on slippery roads may skid out of control
when the spring brakes come on. It is much safer
to stop while there is enough air in the tanks to use
the foot brakes.
Figure 5.6
5.4.5 – Brake Fading or Failure
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub
against the brake drum or disks to slow the vehicle.
Braking creates heat, but brakes are designed to
take a lot of heat. However, brakes can fade or fail
from excessive heat caused by using them too
much and not relying on the engine braking effect.
Excessive use of the service brakes results in
overheating and leads to brake fade. Brake fade
results from excessive heat causing chemical
changes in the brake lining, which reduce friction,
and also causing expansion of the brake drums.
As the overheated drums expand, the brake shoes
and linings have to move farther to contact the
drums, and the force of this contact is reduced.
Continued overuse may increase brake fade until
the vehicle cannot be slowed down or stopped.
5.4.8 – Parking Brakes
Any time you park, use the parking brakes, except
as noted below. Pull the parking brake control
knob out to apply the parking brakes, push it in to
release. The control will be a yellow, diamondshaped knob labeled "parking brakes" on newer
5-9
vehicles. On older vehicles, it may be a round blue
knob or some other shape (including a lever that
swings from side to side or up and down).
Don't use the parking brakes if the brakes are very
hot (from just having come down a steep grade), or
if the brakes are very wet in freezing temperatures.
If they are used while they are very hot, they can
be damaged by the heat. If they are used in
freezing temperatures when the brakes are very
wet, they can freeze so the vehicle cannot move.
Use wheel chocks on a level surface to hold the
vehicle. Let hot brakes cool before using the
parking brakes. If the brakes are wet, use the
brakes lightly while driving in a low gear to heat
and dry them.
If your vehicle does not have automatic air tank
drains, drain your air tanks at the end of each
working day to remove moisture and oil.
Otherwise, the brakes could fail.
Never leave your vehicle unattended
without applying the parking brakes or
chocking the wheels. Your vehicle might
roll away and cause injury and damage.
Subsection 5.4
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Why should you be in the proper gear before
starting down a hill?
What factors can cause brakes to fade or
fail?
The use of brakes on a long, steep
downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. True or False?
If you are away from your vehicle only a short
time, you do not need to use the parking
brake. True or False?
How often should you drain air tanks?
How do you brake when you drive a tractortrailer combination with ABS?
You still have normal brake functions if your
ABS is not working. True or False?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.4.
5-10
Avoid quick lane changes, especially when fully
loaded.
Section 6
COMBINATION VEHICLES
6.1.2 – Steer Gently
This Section Covers





Trucks with trailers have a dangerous "crack-thewhip" effect. When you make a quick lane change,
the crack-the-whip effect can turn the trailer over.
There are many accidents where only the trailer
has overturned.
Driving Combinations
Combination Vehicle Air Brakes
Antilock Brake Systems
Coupling and Uncoupling
Inspecting Combinations
"Rearward amplification" causes the crack-thewhip effect. Figure 6.1 shows eight types of
combination
vehicles
and
the
rearward
amplification each has in a quick lane change.
Rigs with the least crack-the-whip effect are shown
at the top and those with the most, at the bottom.
Rearward amplification of 2.0 in the chart means
that the rear trailer is twice as likely to turn over as
the tractor. You can see that triples have a
rearward amplification of 3.5. This means you can
roll the last trailer of triples 3.5 times as easily as a
five-axle tractor.
This section provides information needed to pass
the tests for combination vehicles (tractor-trailer,
doubles, triples, straight truck with trailer). The
information is only to give you the minimum
knowledge
needed
for
driving
common
combination vehicles. You should also study
Section 7 if you need to pass the test for doubles
and triples.
6.1 – Driving Combination Vehicles
Safely
Steer gently and smoothly when you are pulling
trailers. If you make a sudden movement with your
steering wheel, your trailer could tip over. Follow
far enough behind other vehicles (at least 1
second for each 10 feet of your vehicle length, plus
another second if going over 40 mph). Look far
enough down the road to avoid being surprised
and having to make a sudden lane change. At
night, drive slowly enough to see obstacles with
your headlights before it is too late to change lanes
or stop gently. Slow down to a safe speed before
going into a turn.
Combination vehicles are usually heavier, longer,
and require more driving skill than single
commercial vehicles. This means that drivers of
combination vehicles need more knowledge and
skill than drivers of single vehicles. In this section,
we talk about some important safety factors that
apply specifically to combination vehicles.
6.1.1 – Rollover Risks
More than half of truck driver deaths in crashes are
the result of truck rollovers. When more cargo is
piled up in a truck, the "center of gravity" moves
higher up from the road. The truck becomes easier
to turn over. Fully loaded rigs are ten times more
likely to roll over in a crash than empty rigs.
6.1.3 – Brake Early
Control your speed whether fully loaded or empty.
Large combination vehicles take longer to stop
when they are empty than when they are fully
loaded. When lightly loaded, the very stiff
suspension springs and strong brakes give poor
traction and make it very easy to lock up the
wheels. Your trailer can swing out and strike other
vehicles. Your tractor can jackknife very quickly.
You also must be very careful about driving
"bobtail" tractors (tractors without semitrailers).
Tests have shown that bobtails can be very hard to
stop smoothly. It takes them longer to stop than a
tractor-semitrailer loaded to maximum gross
weight.
The following two things will help you prevent
rollover--keep the cargo as close to the ground as
possible, and drive slowly around turns. Keeping
cargo low is even more important in combination
vehicles than in straight trucks. Also, keep the load
centered on your rig. If the load is to one side so it
makes a trailer lean, a rollover is more likely. Make
sure your cargo is centered and spread out as
much as possible. (Cargo distribution is covered in
Section 3 of this manual.)
In any combination rig, allow lots of following
distance and look far ahead, so you can brake
early. Don't be caught by surprise and have to
make a "panic" stop.
Rollovers happen when you turn too fast. Drive
slowly around corners, on ramps, and off ramps.
6-1
Figure 6.1
6.1.4 – Railroad-Highway Crossings
6.1.5 – Prevent Trailer Skids
Railroad-highway crossings can also cause
problems, particularly when pulling trailers with low
underneath clearance.
When the wheels of a trailer lock up, the trailer will
tend to swing around. This is more likely to happen
when the trailer is empty or lightly loaded. This
type of jackknife is often called a "trailer jackknife”.
See Figure 6.2.
These trailers can get stuck on raised crossings:
 Low slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving van,
possum-belly livestock trailer).
 Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle
tractor.
The procedure for stopping a trailer skid is:
Recognize the Skid. The earliest and best way to
recognize that the trailer has started to skid is by
seeing it in your mirrors. Any time you apply the
brakes hard, check the mirrors to make sure the
trailer is staying where it should be. Once the
trailer swings out of your lane, it's very difficult to
prevent a jackknife.
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get
out of the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check
signposts or signal housing at the crossing for
emergency notification information. Call 911 or
other emergency number. Give the location of the
crossing using all identifiable landmarks, especially
the DOT number, if posted.
* (From R.D. Ervin, R.L. Nisconger, C.C.
MacAdam, and P.S. Fancher, “Influence of size
and weigh variables on the stability and control
properties of heavy trucks, “University of Michigan
Transportation Research Institute, 1983).
6-2
complete your turn without entering another traffic
lane, turn wide as you complete the turn. This is
better than swinging wide to the left before starting
the turn because it will keep other drivers from
passing you on the right. See Figure 6.4.
Figure 6.3
Figure 6.2
Stop Using the Brake. Release the brakes to get
traction back. Do not use the trailer hand brake (if
you have one) to "straighten out the rig”. This is the
wrong thing to do since the brakes on the trailer
wheels caused the skid in the first place. Once the
trailer wheels grip the road again, the trailer will
start to follow the tractor and straighten out.
Figure 6.4
6.1.7 – Backing with a Trailer.
6.1.6 – Turn Wide
Backing with a Trailer. When backing a car,
straight truck, or bus, you turn the top of the
steering wheel in the direction you want to go.
When backing a trailer, you turn the steering wheel
in the opposite direction. Once the trailer starts to
turn, you must turn the wheel the other way to
follow the trailer.
When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear
wheels follow a different path than the front
wheels. This is called offtracking or "cheating”.
Figure 6.3 shows how offtracking causes the path
followed by a tractor to be wider than the rig itself.
Longer vehicles will offtrack more. The rear wheels
of the powered unit (truck or tractor) will offtrack
some, and 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.
Steer the front end wide enough around a corner
so the rear end does not run over the curb,
pedestrians, etc. However, keep the rear of your
vehicle close to the curb. This will stop other
drivers from passing you on the right. If you cannot
Whenever you back up with a trailer, try to position
your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If
you must back on a curved path, back to the
driver's side so you can see. See Figure 6.5.
6-3
Subsection 6.1
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What two things are important to prevent
rollover?
When you turn suddenly while pulling
doubles, which trailer is most likely to turn
over?
Why should you not use the trailer hand
brake to straighten out a jackknifing trailer?
What is offtracking?
When you back a trailer, you should
position your vehicle so you can back in a
curved path to the driver’s side. True or
False?
What type of trailers can get stuck on
railroad-highway crossings?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 6.1.
6.2 – Combination Vehicle Air Brakes
You should study Section 5: Air Brakes before
reading this. In combination vehicles the braking
system has parts to control the trailer brakes, in
addition to the parts described in Section 5. These
parts are described below.
6.2.1 – Trailer Hand Valve
Figure 6.5
The trailer hand valve (also called the trolley valve
or Johnson bar) works the trailer brakes. The trailer
hand valve should be used only to test the trailer
brakes. Do not use it in driving because of the
danger of making the trailer skid. The foot brake
sends air to all of the brakes on the vehicle
(including the trailer(s)). There is much less danger
of causing a skid or jackknife when using just the
foot brake.
Look at Your Path. Look at your line of travel
before you begin. Get out and walk around the
vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and
overhead, in and near the path your vehicle.
Use Mirrors on Both Sides. Check the outside
mirrors on both sides frequently. Get out of the
vehicle and re-inspect your path if you are unsure.
Never use the hand valve for parking because all
the air might leak out unlocking the brakes (in
trailers that don't have spring brakes). Always use
the parking brakes when parking. If the trailer does
not have spring brakes, use wheel chocks to keep
the trailer from moving.
Back Slowly. This will let you make corrections
before you get too far off course.
Correct Drift Immediately. As soon as you see
the trailer getting off the proper path, correct it by
turning the top of the steering wheel in the
direction of the drift.
6.2.2 – Tractor Protection Valve
Pull Forward. When backing a trailer, make pullups to re-position your vehicle as needed.
The tractor protection valve keeps air in the tractor
or truck brake system should the trailer break away
or develop a bad leak. The tractor protection valve
6-4
is controlled by the "trailer air supply" control valve
in the cab. The control valve allows you to open
and shut the tractor protection valve. The tractor
protection valve will close automatically if air
pressure is low (in the range of 20 to 45 psi). When
the tractor protection valve closes, it stops any air
from going out of the tractor. It also lets the air out
of the trailer emergency line. This causes the trailer
emergency brakes to come on, with possible loss
of control. (Emergency brakes are covered later.)
protection valve to close (the air supply knob will
pop out).
Emergency lines are often coded with the color red
(red hose, red couplers, or other parts) to keep
from getting them mixed up with the blue service
line.
6.2.5 – Hose Couplers (Glad Hands)
Glad hands are coupling devices used to connect
the service and emergency air lines from the truck
or tractor to the trailer. The couplers have a rubber
seal, which prevents air from escaping. Clean the
couplers and rubber seals before a connection is
made. When connecting the glad hands, press the
two seals together with the couplers at a 90 degree
angle to each other. A turn of the glad hand
attached to the hose will join and lock the couplers.
6.2.3 – Trailer Air Supply Control
The trailer air supply control on newer vehicles is a
red eight-sided knob, which you use to control the
tractor protection valve. You push it in to supply the
trailer with air, and pull it out to shut the air off and
put on the trailer emergency brakes. The valve will
pop out (thus closing the tractor protection valve)
when the air pressure drops into the range of 20 to
45 psi. Tractor protection valve controls or
"emergency" valves on older vehicles may not
operate automatically. There may be a lever rather
than a knob. The "normal" position is used for
pulling a trailer. The "emergency" position is used
to shut the air off and put on the trailer emergency
brakes.
When coupling, make sure to couple the proper
glad hands together. To help avoid mistakes,
colors are sometimes used. Blue is used for the
service lines and red for the emergency (supply)
lines. Sometimes, metal tags are attached to the
lines with the words "service" and "emergency"
stamped on them. See Figure 6.6
If you do cross the air lines, supply air will be sent
to the service line instead of going to charge the
trailer air tanks. Air will not be available to release
the trailer spring brakes (parking brakes). If the
spring brakes don't release when you push the
trailer air supply control, check the air line
connections.
6.2.4 – Trailer Air Lines
Every combination vehicle has two air lines, the
service line and the emergency line. They run
between each vehicle (tractor to trailer, trailer to
dolly, dolly to second trailer, etc.).
Service Air Line. The service line (also called the
control line or signal line) carries air, which is
controlled by the foot brake or the trailer hand
brake. Depending on how hard you press the foot
brake or hand valve, the pressure in the service
line will similarly change. The service line is
connected to relay valves. These valves allow the
trailer brakes to be applied more quickly than
would otherwise be possible.
Older trailers do not have spring brakes. If the air
supply in the trailer air tank has leaked away there
will be no emergency brakes, and the trailer
wheels will turn freely. If you crossed the air lines,
you could drive away but you wouldn't have trailer
brakes. This would be very dangerous. Always test
the trailer brakes before driving with the hand valve
or by pulling the air supply (tractor protection valve)
control. Pull gently against them in a low gear to
make sure the brakes work.
Emergency Air Line. The emergency line (also
called the supply line) has two purposes. First, it
supplies air to the trailer air tanks. Second, the
emergency line controls the emergency brakes on
combination vehicles. Loss of air pressure in the
emergency line causes the trailer emergency
brakes to come on. The pressure loss could be
caused by a trailer breaking loose, thus tearing
apart the emergency air hose. Or it could be
caused by a hose, metal tubing, or other part
breaking, letting the air out. When the emergency
line loses pressure, it also causes the tractor
Some vehicles have "dead end" or dummy
couplers to which the hoses may be attached
when they are not in use. This will prevent water
and dirt from getting into the coupler and the air
lines. Use the dummy couplers when the air lines
are not connected to a trailer. If there are no
dummy couplers, the glad hands can sometimes
be locked together (depending on the couplings). It
is very important to keep the air supply clean.
6-5
6.2.8 – Trailer Service, Parking and
Emergency Brakes
Newer trailers have spring brakes just like trucks
and truck tractors. However, converter dollies and
trailers built before 1975 are not required to have
spring brakes. Those that do not have spring
brakes have emergency brakes, which work from
the air stored in the trailer air tank. The emergency
brakes come on whenever air pressure in the
emergency line is lost. These trailers have no
parking brake. The emergency brakes come on
whenever the air supply knob is pulled out or the
trailer is disconnected. A major leak in the
emergency line will cause the tractor protection
valve to close and the trailer emergency brakes to
come on. But the brakes will hold only as long as
there is air pressure in the trailer air tank.
Eventually, the air will leak away and then there
will be no brakes. Therefore, it is very important for
safety that you use wheel chocks when you park
trailers without spring brakes.
You may not notice a major leak in the service line
until you try to put the brakes on. Then, the air loss
from the leak will lower the air tank pressure
quickly. If it goes low enough, the trailer
emergency brakes will come on.
Figure 6.6
6.2.6 – Trailer Air Tanks
Each trailer and converter dolly has one or more
air tanks. They are filled by the emergency (supply)
line from the tractor. They provide the air pressure
used to operate trailer brakes. Air pressure is sent
from the air tanks to the brakes by relay valves.
Subsection 6.2
Test Your Knowledge
1.
The pressure in the service line tells how much
pressure the relay valves should send to the trailer
brakes. The pressure in the service line is
controlled by the brake pedal (and the trailer hand
brake).
2.
It is important that you don't let water and oil build
up in the air tanks. If you do, the brakes may not
work correctly. Each tank has a drain valve on it
and you should drain each tank every day. If your
tanks have automatic drains, they will keep most
moisture out. But you should still open the drains to
make sure.
6.
3.
4.
5.
Why should you not use the trailer hand
valve while driving?
Describe what the trailer air supply control
does.
Describe what the service line is for.
What is the emergency air line for?
Why should you use chocks when parking
a trailer without spring brakes?
Where are shut-off valves?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 6.2.
6.2.7 – Shut-off Valves
Shut-off valves (also called cut-out cocks) are used
in the service and supply air lines at the back of
trailers used to tow other trailers. These valves
permit closing the air lines off when another trailer
is not being towed. You must check that all shut-off
valves are in the open position except the ones at
the back of the last trailer, which must be closed.
6-6
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle
under control during hard braking.
6.3 – Antilock Brake Systems
6.3.1 – Trailers Required to Have ABS
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The computer
senses impending lockup, reduces the braking
pressure to a safe level, and you maintain control.
All trailers and converter dollies built on or after
March 1, 1998, are required to have ABS.
However, many trailers and converter dollies built
before this date have been voluntarily equipped
with ABS.
Having ABS on only the trailer, or even on only
one axle, still gives you more control over the
vehicle during braking.
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on
the left side, either on the front or rear corner. See
Figure 6.7. Dollies manufactured on or after March
1, 1998, are required to have a lamp on the left
side.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control
or start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes (if
you can safely do so) until you gain control.
In the case of vehicles manufactured before the
required date, it may be difficult to tell if the unit is
equipped with ABS. Look under the vehicle for the
ECU and wheel speed sensor wires coming from
the back of the brakes.
When you drive a tractor-trailer combination with
ABS, you should brake as you always have. In
other words:
 Use only the braking force necessary to stop safely
and stay in control.
 Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the tractor, the trailer, or both.
 As you slow down, monitor your tractor and trailer
and back off the brakes (if it is safe to do so) to stay
in control.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow more
closely, or drive less carefully.
6.4 – Coupling and Uncoupling
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is
basic to safe operation of combination vehicles.
Wrong coupling and uncoupling can be very
dangerous. General coupling and uncoupling steps
are listed below. There are differences between
different rigs, so learn the details of coupling and
uncoupling the truck(s) you will operate.
6.4.1 – Coupling Tractor-Semitrailers
Figure 6.7
Step 1. Inspect Fifth Wheel
 Check for damaged/missing parts.
 Check to see that mounting to tractor is secure, no
cracks in frame, etc.
 Be sure that the fifth wheel plate is greased as
required. Failure to keep the fifth wheel plate
lubricated could cause steering problems because
of friction between the tractor and trailer.
6.3.2 – Braking with ABS
ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It does
not decrease or increase your normal braking
capability. ABS only activates when wheels are
about to lock up.
6-7
 Make sure air lines are safely supported where they
won't be crushed or caught while tractor is backing
under the trailer.
Check if fifth wheel is in proper position for coupling.
 Wheel tilted down toward rear of tractor.
 Jaws open.
 Safety unlocking handle in the automatic lock
position.
 If you have a sliding fifth wheel, make sure it is
locked.
 Make sure the trailer kingpin is not bent or
broken.
Step 8. Supply Air to Trailer
 From cab, push in "air supply" knob or move tractor
protection valve control from the "emergency" to the
"normal" position to supply air to the trailer brake
system.
 Wait until the air pressure is normal.
 Check brake system for crossed air lines.
o Shut engine off so you can hear the
brakes.
o Apply and release trailer brakes and listen
for sound of trailer brakes being applied
and released. You should hear the brakes
move when applied and air escape when
the brakes are released.
o Check air brake system pressure gauge
for signs of major air loss.
Step 2. Inspect Area and Chock Wheels
 Make sure area around the vehicle is clear.
 Be sure trailer wheels are chocked or spring brakes
are on.
 Check that cargo (if any) is secured against
movement due to tractor being coupled to the
trailer.
Step 3. Position Tractor
 When you are sure trailer brakes are working, start
engine.
 Make sure air pressure is up to normal.
 Put the tractor directly in front of the trailer. (Never
back under the trailer at an angle because you
might push the trailer sideways and break the
landing gear.)
 Check position, using outside mirrors, by looking
down both sides of the trailer.
Step 9. Lock Trailer Brakes
Step 4. Back Slowly
 Pull out the "air supply" knob or move the tractor
protection valve control from "normal" to
"emergency”.
 Back until fifth wheel just touches the trailer.
 Don't hit the trailer.
Step 10. Back Under Trailer
 Put on the parking brake.
 Put transmission in neutral.
 Use lowest reverse gear.
 Back tractor slowly under trailer to avoid hitting the
kingpin too hard.
 Stop when the kingpin is locked into the fifth wheel.
Step 6. Check Trailer Height
Step 11. Check Connection for Security
 The trailer should be low enough that it is raised
slightly by the tractor when the tractor is backed
under it. Raise or lower the trailer as needed. (If the
trailer is too low, the tractor may strike and damage
the trailer nose; if the trailer is too high, it may not
couple correctly.)
 Check that the kingpin and fifth wheel are aligned.
 Raise trailer landing gear slightly off ground.
 Pull tractor gently forward while the trailer brakes
are still locked to check that the trailer is locked
onto the tractor.
Step 5. Secure Tractor
Step 12. Secure Vehicle
 Put transmission in neutral.
 Put parking brakes on.
 Shut off engine and take key with you so someone
else won't move truck while you are under it.
Step 7. Connect Air Lines to Trailer
 Check glad hand seals and connect tractor
emergency air line to trailer emergency glad hand.
 Check glad hand seals and connect tractor service
air line to trailer service glad hand.
Step 13. Inspect Coupling
 Use a flashlight, if necessary.
6-8
 Make sure there is no space between upper and
lower fifth wheel. If there is space, something is
wrong (kingpin may be on top of the closed fifth
wheel jaws, and trailer would come loose very
easily).
 Go under trailer and look into the back of the fifth
wheel. Make sure the fifth wheel jaws have closed
around the shank of the kingpin.
 Check that the locking lever is in the "lock" position.
 Check that the safety latch is in position over
locking lever. (On some fifth wheels the catch must
be put in place by hand.)
 If the coupling isn't right, don't drive the coupled
unit; get it fixed.
 Have tractor lined up with the trailer. (Pulling out at
an angle can damage landing gear.)
Step 2. Ease Pressure on Locking Jaws
 Shut off trailer air supply to lock trailer brakes.
 Ease pressure on fifth wheel locking jaws by
backing up gently. (This will help you release the
fifth wheel locking lever.)
 Put parking brakes on while tractor is pushing
against the kingpin. (This will hold rig with pressure
off the locking jaws.)
Step 3. Chock Trailer Wheels
 Chock the trailer wheels if the trailer doesn't have
spring brakes or if you're not sure. (The air could
leak out of the trailer air tank, releasing its
emergency brakes. Without chocks, the trailer could
move.)
Step 14. Connect the Electrical Cord and Check
Air Lines
 Plug the electrical cord into the trailer and fasten the
safety catch.
 Check both air lines and electrical line for signs of
damage.
 Make sure air and electrical lines will not hit any
moving parts of vehicle.
Step 4. Lower the Landing Gear
 If trailer is empty, lower the landing gear until it
makes firm contact with the ground.
 If trailer is loaded, after the landing gear makes firm
contact with the ground, turn crank in low gear a
few extra turns. This will lift some weight off the
tractor. (Do not lift trailer off the fifth wheel.) This
will:
o Make it easier to unlatch fifth wheel.
o Make it easier to couple next time.
Step 15. Raise Front Trailer Supports (Landing
Gear)
 Use low gear range (if so equipped) to begin raising
the landing gear. Once free of weight, switch to the
high gear range.
 Raise the landing gear all the way up. (Never drive
with landing gear only part way up as it may catch
on railroad tracks or other things.)
 After raising landing gear, secure the crank handle
safely.
 When full weight of trailer is resting on tractor:
o Check for enough clearance between rear of
tractor frame and landing gear. (When tractor
turns sharply, it must not hit landing gear.)
o Check that there is enough clearance
between the top of the tractor tires and the
nose of the trailer.
 Disconnect air lines from trailer. Connect air line
glad hands to dummy couplers at back of cab or
couple them together.
 Hang electrical cable with plug down to prevent
moisture from entering it.
 Make sure lines are supported so they won't be
damaged while driving the tractor.
Step 16. Remove Trailer Wheel Chocks
Step 6. Unlock Fifth Wheel
 Remove and store wheel chocks in a safe place.
 Raise the release handle lock.
 Pull the release handle to "open" position.
 Keep legs and feet clear of the rear tractor wheels
to avoid serious injury in case the vehicle moves.
Step 5. Disconnect Air Lines and Electrical
Cable
6.4.2 – Uncoupling Tractor-Semitrailers
The following steps will help you to uncouple
safely.
Step 7. Pull Tractor Partially Clear of Trailer
 Pull tractor forward until fifth wheel comes out from
under the trailer.
 Stop with tractor frame under trailer (prevents trailer
from falling to ground if landing gear should
collapse or sink).
Step 1. Position Rig
 Make sure surface of parking area can support
weight of trailer.
6-9
Step 8. Secure Tractor
Coupling System Areas
 Apply parking brake.
 Place transmission in neutral.
 Check fifth wheel (lower).
o Securely mounted to frame.
o No missing or damaged parts.
o Enough grease.
o No visible space between upper and lower
fifth wheel.
o Locking jaws around the shank, not the head
of kingpin. See Figure 6.8.
o Release arm properly seated and safety
latch/lock engaged.
Step 9. Inspect Trailer Supports
 Make sure ground is supporting trailer.
 Make sure landing gear is not damaged.
Step 10. Pull Tractor Clear of Trailer
 Release parking brakes.
 Check the area and drive tractor forward until it
clears.
Subsections 6.3 and 6.4
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What might happen if the trailer is too high
when you try to couple?
After coupling, how much space should be
between the upper and lower fifth wheel?
You should look into the back of the fifth
wheel to see if it is locked onto the kingpin.
True or False?
To drive you need to raise the landing gear
only until it just lifts off the pavement. True
or False?
How do you know if your trailer is equipped
with antilock brakes?
Figure 6.8
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 6.3 and 6.4.
 Check fifth wheel (upper).
o Glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame.
o Kingpin not damaged.
 Air and electric lines to trailer.
o Electrical cord firmly plugged in and secured.
o Air lines properly connected to glad hands,
no air leaks, properly secured with enough
slack for turns.
o All lines free from damage.
6.5 – Inspecting a Combination Vehicle
Use the seven-step inspection procedure
described in Section 2 to inspect your combination
vehicle. There are more things to inspect on a
combination vehicle than on a single vehicle. (For
example, tires, wheels, lights, reflectors, etc.)
However, there are also some new things to check.
These are discussed below.
 Sliding fifth wheel.
o Slide not damaged or parts missing.
o Properly greased.
o All locking pins present and locked in place.
o If air powered--no air leaks.
o Check that fifth wheel is not so far forward
that tractor frame will hit landing gear, or the
cab hit the trailer, during turns.
6.5.1 – Additional Things to Check During a
Walkaround Inspection
Do these checks in addition to those already listed
in Section 2.
6-10
Test Trailer Emergency Brakes. Charge the
trailer air brake system and check that the trailer
rolls freely. Then stop and pull out the trailer air
supply control (also called tractor protection valve
control or trailer emergency valve), or place it in
the "emergency" position. Pull gently on the trailer
with the tractor to check that the trailer emergency
brakes are on.
Landing Gear
 Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or otherwise
damaged.
 Crank handle in place and secured.
 If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
6.5.2 – Combination Vehicle Brake Check
Test Trailer Service Brakes. Check for normal air
pressure, release the parking brakes, move the
vehicle forward slowly, and apply trailer brakes
with the hand control (trolley valve), if so equipped.
You should feel the brakes come on. This tells you
the trailer brakes are connected and working. (The
trailer brakes should be tested with the hand valve
but controlled in normal operation with the foot
pedal, which applies air to the service brakes at all
wheels.)
Do these checks in addition to Section 5.3:
Inspecting Air Brake Systems.
The following section explains how to check air
brakes on combination vehicles. Check the brakes
on a double or triple trailer as you would any
combination vehicle.
Check That Air Flows to All Trailers. Use the
tractor parking brake and/or chock the wheels to
hold the vehicle. Wait for air pressure to reach
normal, then push in the red "trailer air supply"
knob. This will supply air to the emergency (supply)
lines. Use the trailer handbrake to provide air to the
service line. Go to the rear of the rig. Open the
emergency line shut-off valve at the rear of the last
trailer. You should hear air escaping, showing the
entire system is charged. Close the emergency line
valve. Open the service line valve to check that
service pressure goes through all the trailers (this
test assumes that the trailer handbrake or the
service brake pedal is on), and then close the
valve. If you do NOT hear air escaping from both
lines, check that the shut-off valves on the trailer(s)
and dolly(ies) are in the OPEN position. You MUST
have air all the way to the back for all the brakes to
work.
Subsection 6.5
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Test Tractor Protection Valve. Charge the trailer
air brake system. (That is, build up normal air
pressure and push the "air supply" knob in.) Shut
the engine off. Step on and off the brake pedal
several times to reduce the air pressure in the
tanks. The trailer air supply control (also called the
tractor protection valve control) should pop out (or
go from "normal" to "emergency" position) when
the air pressure falls into the pressure range
specified by the manufacturer. (Usually within the
range of 20 to 45 psi.)
Which shut-off valves should be open and
which closed?
How can you test that air flows to all
trailers?
How can you test the tractor protection
valve?
How can you test the trailer emergency
brakes?
How can you test the trailer service
brakes?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer all of them, re-read subsection 6.5.
If the tractor protection valve doesn't work right, an
air hose or trailer brake leak could drain all the air
from the tractor. This would cause the emergency
brakes to come on, with possible loss of control.
6-11
ahead so you can slow down or change lanes
gradually when necessary.
Section 7
DOUBLES AND TRIPLES
7.1.5 – Manage Space
This Section Covers




Doubles and triples take up more space than other
commercial vehicles. They are not only longer, but
also need more space because they can't be
turned or stopped suddenly. Allow more following
distance. Make sure you have large enough gaps
before entering or crossing traffic. Be certain you
are clear at the sides before changing lanes.
Pulling Double/Triple Trailers
Coupling and Uncoupling
Inspecting Doubles and Triples
Checking Air Brakes
7.1.6 – Adverse Conditions
This section has information you need to pass the
CDL knowledge test for driving safely with double
and triple trailers. It tells about how important it is
to be very careful when driving with more than one
trailer, how to couple and uncouple correctly, and
about inspecting doubles and triples carefully. (You
should also study Sections 2, 5, and 6.)
Be more careful in adverse conditions. In bad
weather, slippery conditions, and mountain driving,
you must be especially careful if you drive double
and triple bottoms. You will have greater length
and more dead axles to pull with your drive axles
than other drivers. There is more chance for skids
and loss of traction.
7.1 – Pulling Double/Triple Trailers
7.1.7 – Parking the Vehicle
Take special care when pulling two and three
trailers. There are more things that can go wrong,
and doubles/triples are less stable than other
commercial vehicles. Some areas of concern are
discussed below.
Make sure you do not get in a spot you cannot pull
straight through. You need to be aware of how
parking lots are arranged in order to avoid a long
and difficult escape.
7.1.1 – Prevent Trailer from Rolling Over
7.1.8 – Antilock Braking Systems on
Converter Dollies
To prevent trailers from rolling over, you must steer
gently and go slowly around corners, on ramps, off
ramps, and curves. A safe speed on a curve for a
straight truck or a single trailer combination vehicle
may be too fast for a set of doubles or triples.
Converter dollies built on or after March 1, 1998,
are required to have antilock brakes. These dollies
will have a yellow lamp on the left side of the dolly.
7.2 – Coupling and Uncoupling
7.1.2 – Beware of the Crack-the-whip Effect
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is
basic to safe operation of doubles and triples.
Wrong coupling and uncoupling can be very
dangerous. Coupling and uncoupling steps for
doubles and triples are listed below.
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 most likely to turn over. If you don't
understand the crack-the-whip effect, study
subsection 6.1.2 of this manual.
7.2.1 – Coupling Twin Trailers
Secure Second (Rear) Trailer
7.1.3 – Inspect Completely
If the second trailer doesn't have spring brakes,
drive the tractor close to the trailer, connect the
emergency line, charge the trailer air tank, and
disconnect the emergency line. This will set the
trailer emergency brakes (if the slack adjusters are
correctly adjusted). Chock the wheels if you have
any doubt about the brakes.
There are more critical parts to check when you
have two or three trailers. Check them all. Follow
the procedures described later in this section.
7.1.4 – Look Far Ahead
Doubles and triples must be driven very smoothly
to avoid rollover or jackknife. Therefore, look far
7-1
For the safest handling on the road, the more
heavily loaded semitrailer should be in first position
behind the tractor. The lighter trailer should be in
the rear.
Connect Converter Dolly to Rear Trailer
 Make sure trailer brakes are locked and/or wheels
chocked.
 Make sure trailer height is correct. (It must be
slightly lower than the center of the fifth wheel, so
trailer is raised slightly when dolly is pushed under.)
 Back converter dolly under rear trailer.
 Raise landing gear slightly off ground to prevent
damage if trailer moves.
 Test coupling by pulling against pin of the second
semitrailer.
 Make visual check of coupling. (No space between
upper and lower fifth wheel. Locking jaws closed on
kingpin.)
 Connect safety chains, air hoses, and light cords.
 Close converter dolly air tank petcock and shut-off
valves at rear of second trailer (service and
emergency shut-offs).
 Open shut-off valves at rear of first trailer (and on
dolly if so equipped).
 Raise landing gear completely.
 Charge trailer brakes (push "air supply" knob in),
and check for air at rear of second trailer by
opening the emergency line shut-off. If air pressure
isn't there, something is wrong and the brakes won't
work.
A converter gear on a dolly is a coupling device of
one or two axles and a fifth wheel by which a
semitrailer can be coupled to the rear of a tractortrailer combination forming a double bottom rig.
See Figure 7.1.
Figure 7.1
Position Converter Dolly in Front of Second
(Rear) Trailer
 Release dolly brakes by opening the air tank
petcock. (Or, if the dolly has spring brakes, use
the dolly parking brake control.)
 If the distance is not too great, wheel the dolly
into position by hand so it is in line with the
kingpin.
 Or, use the tractor and first semitrailer to pick up
the converter dolly:
7.2.2 – Uncoupling Twin Trailers
Uncouple Rear Trailer
 Park rig in a straight line on firm level ground.
 Apply parking brakes so rig won't move.
 Chock wheels of second trailer if it doesn't have
spring brakes.
 Lower landing gear of second semitrailer enough to
remove some weight from dolly.
 Close air shut-offs at rear of first semitrailer (and on
dolly if so equipped).
 Disconnect all dolly air and electric lines and secure
them.
 Release dolly brakes.
 Release converter dolly fifth wheel latch.
 Slowly pull tractor, first semitrailer, and dolly forward
to pull dolly out from under rear semitrailer.
o Position combination as close as possible to
converter dolly.
o Move dolly to rear of first semitrailer and
couple it to the trailer.
o Lock pintle hook.
o Secure dolly support in raised position.
o Pull dolly into position as close as possible to
nose of the second semitrailer.
o Lower dolly support.
o Unhook dolly from first trailer.
o Wheel dolly into position in front of second
trailer in line with the kingpin.
Uncouple Converter Dolly
Connect Converter Dolly to Front Trailer





 Lower dolly landing gear.
 Disconnect safety chains.
 Apply converter gear spring brakes or chock
wheels.
 Release pintle hook on first semi-trailer.
 Slowly pull clear of dolly.
Back first semitrailer into position in front of dolly
tongue.
Hook dolly to front trailer.
Lock pintle hook.
Secure converter gear support in raised position.
7-2
 Never unlock the pintle hook with the dolly still
under the rear trailer. The dolly tow bar may fly up,
possibly causing injury, and making it very difficult
to re-couple.
Coupling System Areas
 Check fifth wheel (lower).
o Securely mounted to frame.
o No missing or damaged parts.
o Enough grease.
o No visible space between upper and lower
fifth wheel.
o Locking jaws around the shank, not the head
of kingpin.
o Release arm properly seated and safety
latch/lock engaged.
7.2.3 – Coupling and Uncoupling Triple
Trailers
Couple Tractor/First Semitrailer to
Second/Third Trailers
 Couple tractor to first trailer. Use the method
already described for coupling tractor-semitrailers.
 Move converter dolly into position and couple first
trailer to second trailer using the method for
coupling doubles. Triples rig is now complete.
 Check fifth wheel (upper).
o Glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame.
o Kingpin not damaged.
 Air and electric lines to trailer.
o Electrical cord firmly plugged in and secured.
o Air lines properly connected to glad hands,
no air leaks, properly secured with enough
slack for turns.
o All lines free from damage.
Uncouple Triple-trailer Rig
 Uncouple third trailer by pulling the dolly out, then
unhitching the dolly using the method for
uncoupling doubles.
 Uncouple remainder of rig as you would any
double-bottom rig using the method already
described.
 Sliding fifth wheel.
o Slide not damaged or parts missing.
o Properly greased.
o All locking pins present and locked in place.
o If air powered, no air leaks.
o Check that fifth wheel is not so far forward
that the tractor frame will hit landing gear, or
cab will hit the trailer, during turns.
7.2.4 – Coupling and Uncoupling Other
Combinations
The methods described so far apply to the more
common tractor-trailer combinations. However,
there are other ways of coupling and uncoupling
the many types of truck-trailer and tractor-trailer
combinations that are in use. There are too many
to cover in this manual. You will need to learn the
correct way to couple and uncouple the vehicle(s)
you will drive according to the manufacturer and/or
owner specifications.
Landing Gear
 Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or otherwise
damaged.
 Crank handle in place and secured.
 If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
7.3 – Inspecting Doubles and Triples
Double and Triple Trailers
Use the seven-step inspection procedure
described in Section 2 to inspect your combination
vehicle. There are more things to inspect on a
combination vehicle than on a single vehicle. Many
of these items are simply more of what you would
find on a single vehicle. (For example, tires,
wheels, lights, reflectors, etc.) However, there are
also some new things to check. These are
discussed below.
 Shut-off valves (at rear of trailers, in service and
emergency lines).
o Rear of front trailers: OPEN.
o Rear of last trailer: CLOSED.
o Converter dolly air tank drain valve:
CLOSED.
 Be sure air lines are supported and glad hands are
properly connected.
 If spare tire is carried on converter gear (dolly),
make sure it's secured.
 Be sure pintle-eye of dolly is in place in pintle hook
of trailer(s).
 Make sure pintle hook is latched.
 Safety chains should be secured to trailer(s).
 Be sure light cords are firmly in sockets on trailers.
7.3.1 – Additional Checks
Do these checks in addition to those already listed
in Section 2, Step 5: Do Walkaround Inspection.
7-3
7.3.2 – Additional Things to Check During a
Walkaround Inspection
Test Trailer Emergency Brakes. Charge the
trailer air brake system and check that the trailer
rolls freely. Then stop and pull out the trailer air
supply control (also called tractor protection valve
control or trailer emergency valve) or place it in the
"emergency" position. Pull gently on the trailer with
the tractor to check that the trailer emergency
brakes are on.
Do these checks in addition to subsection 5.3,
Inspecting Air Brake Systems.
7.4 – Doubles/Triples Air Brake Check
Check the brakes on a double or triple trailer as
you would any combination vehicle. Subsection
6.5.2 explains how to check air brakes on
combination vehicles. You must also make the
following checks on your double or triple trailers.
Test Trailer Service Brakes. Check for normal air
pressure, release the parking brakes, move the
vehicle forward slowly, and apply trailer brakes
with the hand control (trolley valve), if so equipped.
You should feel the brakes come on. This tells you
the trailer brakes are connected and working. (The
trailer brakes should be tested with the hand valve,
but controlled in normal operation with the foot
pedal, which applies air to the service brakes at all
wheels.)
7.4.1 – Additional Air Brake Checks
Check That Air Flows to All Trailers (Double
and Triple Trailers). Use the tractor parking brake
and/or chock the wheels to hold the vehicle. Wait
for air pressure to reach normal, then push in the
red "trailer air supply" knob. This will supply air to
the emergency (supply) lines. Use the trailer
handbrake to provide air to the service line. Go to
the rear of the rig. Open the emergency line shutoff valve at the rear of the last trailer. You should
hear air escaping, showing the entire system is
charged. Close the emergency line valve. Open
the service line valve to check that service
pressure goes through all the trailers (this test
assumes that the trailer handbrake or the service
brake pedal is on), and then close the valve. If you
do NOT hear air escaping from both lines, check
that the shut-off valves on the trailer(s) and
dolly(ies) are in the OPEN position. You MUST
have air all the way to the back for all the brakes to
work.
Section 7
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What is a converter dolly?
Do converter dollies have spring brakes?
What three methods can you use to secure
a second trailer before coupling?
How do you check to make sure trailer
height is correct before coupling?
What do you check when making a visual
check of coupling?
Why should you pull a dolly out from under
a trailer before you disconnect it from the
trailer in front?
What should you check for when
inspecting the converter dolly? The pintle
hook?
Should the shut-off valves on the rear of
the last trailer be open or closed? On the
first trailer in a set of doubles? On the
middle trailer of a set of triples?
How can you test that air flows to all
trailers?
How do you know if your converter dolly is
equipped with antilock brakes?
Test Tractor Protection Valve. Charge the trailer
air brake system. (That is, build up normal air
pressure and push the "air supply" knob in.) Shut
the engine off. Step on and off the brake pedal
several times to reduce the air pressure in the
tanks. The trailer air supply control (also called the
tractor protection valve control) should pop out (or
go from "normal" to "emergency" position) when
the air pressure falls into the pressure range
specified by the manufacturer. (Usually within the
range of 20 to 45 psi.)
7.
If the tractor protection valve doesn't work properly,
an air hose or trailer brake leak could drain all the
air from the tractor. This would cause the
emergency brakes to come on, with possible loss
of control.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 7.
8.
9.
10.
7-4
Section 8
8.1.2 – Check Special Purpose Equipment
TANK VEHICLES
If your vehicle has any of the following equipment,
make sure it works:
This Section Covers



 Vapor recovery kits.
 Grounding and bonding cables.
 Emergency shut-off systems.
 Built in fire extinguisher.
Inspecting Tank Vehicles
Driving Tank Vehicles
Safe Driving Rules
Never drive a tank vehicle with open valves or
manhole covers.
This section has information needed to pass the
CDL knowledge test for driving a tank vehicle. (You
should also study Sections 2, 5, 6, and 9). A tank
endorsement is required for certain vehicles that
transport liquids or gases. The liquid or gas does
not have to be a hazardous material. A tank
endorsement is required if your vehicle needs a
Class A or B CDL and you want to haul a liquid or
liquid gas in a permanently mounted cargo tank
rated at 119 gallons or more or a portable tank
rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
A tank
endorsement is also required for Class C vehicles
when the vehicle is used to transport hazardous
materials in liquid or gas form.
8.1.3 – Special Equipment
Check the emergency equipment required for your
vehicle. Find out what equipment you're required to
carry and make sure you have it (and it works).
8.2 – Driving Tank Vehicles
Hauling liquids in tanks requires special skills
because of the high center of gravity and liquid
movement. See Figure 8.1.
Before loading, unloading, or driving a tanker,
inspect the vehicle. This makes sure that the
vehicle is safe to carry the liquid or gas and is safe
to drive.
8.1 – Inspecting Tank Vehicles
Tank vehicles have special items that you need to
check. Tank vehicles come in many types and
sizes. You need to check the vehicle's operator
manual to make sure you know how to inspect
your tank vehicle.
Figure 8.1
8.2.1 – High Center of Gravity
8.1.1 – Leaks
High center of gravity means that much of the
load's weight is carried high up off the road. This
makes the vehicle top-heavy and easy to roll over.
Liquid tankers are especially easy to roll over.
Tests have shown that tankers can turn over at the
speed limits posted for curves. Take highway
curves and on ramp/off ramp curves well below the
posted speeds.
On all tank vehicles, the most important item to
check for is leaks. Check under and around the
vehicle for signs of any leaking. Don't carry liquids
or gases in a leaking tank. To do so is a crime. You
will be cited and prevented from driving further.
You may also be liable for the clean up of any spill.
In general, check the following:
 Check the tank's body or shell for dents or leaks.
 Check the intake, discharge, and cut-off valves.
Make sure the valves are in the correct position
before loading, unloading, or moving the vehicle.
 Check pipes, connections, and hoses for leaks,
especially around joints.
 Check manhole covers and vents. Make sure the
covers have gaskets and they close correctly. Keep
the vents clear so they work correctly.
8.2.2 – Danger of Surge
Liquid surge results from movement of the liquid in
partially filled tanks. This movement can have bad
effects on handling. For example, when coming to
a stop, the liquid will surge back and forth. When
the wave hits the end of the tank, it tends to push
the truck in the direction the wave is moving. If the
truck is on a slippery surface such as ice, the wave
8-1
can shove a stopped truck out into an intersection.
The driver of a liquid tanker must be very familiar
with the handling of the vehicle.
8.3 – Safe Driving Rules
In order to drive tank vehicles safely, you must
remember to follow all the safe driving rules. A few
of these rules are:
8.2.3 – Bulkheads
Some liquid tanks are divided into several smaller
tanks by bulkheads. When loading and unloading
the smaller tanks, the driver must pay attention to
weight distribution. Don't put too much weight on
the front or rear of the vehicle.
8.3.1 – Drive Smoothly
Because of the high center of gravity and the surge
of the liquid, you must start, slow down, and stop
very smoothly. Also, make smooth turns and lane
changes.
8.2.4 – Baffled Tanks
8.3.2 – Controlling Surge
Baffled liquid tanks have bulkheads in them with
holes that let the liquid flow through. The baffles
help to control the forward and backward liquid
surge. Side-to-side surge can still occur. This can
cause a roll over.
Keep a steady pressure on the brakes. Do not
release too soon when coming to a stop.
Brake far in advance of a stop and increase your
following distance.
8.2.5 – Un-baffled Tanks
If you must make a quick stop to avoid a crash,
use controlled or stab braking. If you do not
remember how to stop using these methods,
review subsection 2.17.2. Also, remember that if
you steer quickly while braking, your vehicle may
roll over.
Un-baffled liquid tankers (sometimes called
"smooth bore" tanks) have nothing inside to slow
down the flow of the liquid. Therefore, forward-andback surge is very strong. Un-baffled tanks are
usually those that transport food products (milk, for
example). (Sanitation regulations forbid the use of
baffles because of the difficulty in cleaning the
inside of the tank.) Be extremely cautious (slow
and careful) in driving smooth bore tanks,
especially when starting and stopping.
8.3.3 – Curves
Slow down before curves, then accelerate slightly
through the curve. The posted speed for a curve
may be too fast for a tank vehicle.
8.2.6 – Outage
8.3.4 – Stopping Distance
Never load a cargo tank totally full. Liquids expand
as they warm and you must leave room for the
expanding liquid. This is called "outage”. Since
different liquids expand by different amounts, they
require different amounts of outage. You must
know the outage requirement when hauling liquids
in bulk.
Keep in mind how much space you need to stop
your vehicle. Remember that wet roads double the
normal stopping distance. Empty tank vehicles
may take longer to stop than full ones.
8.3.5 – Skids
8.2.7 – How Much to Load?
Don't over steer, over accelerate, or over brake. If
you do, your vehicle may skid. On tank trailers, if
your drive wheels or trailer wheels begin to skid,
your vehicle may jackknife. When any vehicle
starts to skid, you must take action to restore
traction to the wheels.
A full tank of dense liquid (such as some acids)
may exceed legal weight limits. For that reason,
you may often only partially fill tanks with heavy
liquids. The amount of liquid to load into a tank
depends on:
 The amount the liquid will expand in transit.
 The weight of the liquid.
 Legal weight limits.
8-2
Section 8
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
How are bulkheads different than baffles?
Should a tank vehicle take curves, on
ramps, or off ramps at the posted speed
limits?
How are smooth bore tankers different to
drive than those with baffles?
What three things determine how much
liquid you can load?
What is outage?
How can you help control surge?
What two reasons make special care
necessary when driving tank vehicles?
These questions may be on the test. If you can't
answer them all, re-read Section 8.
8-3
You must have a commercial driver license (CDL)
with a hazardous materials endorsement before
you drive any size vehicle that is used to transport
hazardous material as defined in 49 CFR 383.5.
You must pass a written test about the regulations
and requirements to get this endorsement.
Section 9
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
This Section Covers







Everything you need to know to pass the written
test is in this section. However, this is only a
beginning. Most drivers need to know much more
on the job. You can learn more by reading and
understanding the federal and state rules
applicable to hazardous materials, as well as,
attending hazardous materials training courses.
Your employer, colleges and universities, and
various associations usually offer these courses.
You can get copies of the Federal Regulations (49
CFR) through your local Government Printing
Office bookstore and various industry publishers.
Union or company offices often have copies of the
rules for driver use. Find out where you can get
your own copy to use on the job.
The Intent of the Regulations
Bulk Tank Loading, Unloading, and
Marking
Driver Responsibilities
Driving and Parking Rules
Communications Rules
Emergencies
Loading and Unloading
Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk
to
health,
safety,
and
property
during
transportation. The term often is shortened to
HAZMAT, which you may see on road signs, or to
HM in government regulations. Hazardous
materials include explosives, various types of gas,
solids, flammable and combustible liquid, and other
materials. Because of the risks involved and the
potential consequences these risks impose, all
levels of government regulate the handling of
hazardous materials.
The regulations require training and testing for all
drivers involved in transporting hazardous
materials. Your employer or a designated
representative is required to provide this training
and testing. Hazardous materials employers are
required to keep a record of that training on each
employee as long as that employee is working with
hazardous materials, and for 90 days thereafter.
The regulations require that hazardous materials
employees be trained and tested at least once
every three years.
The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) is
found in parts 171-180 of title 49 of the Code of
Federal Regulations. The common reference for
these regulations is 49 CFR 171-180.
By March 24, 2006, all drivers must be trained in
the security risks of hazardous materials
transportation. This training must include how to
recognize and respond to possible security threats.
The Hazardous Materials Table in these
regulations contains a list of these items. However,
this list is not all-inclusive. Whether or not a
material is considered hazardous is based on its
characteristics and the shipper's decision on
whether or not the material meets a definition of a
hazardous material in the regulations.
The regulations also require that drivers have
special training before driving a vehicle
transporting certain flammable gas materials or
highway route controlled quantities of radioactive
materials. In addition, drivers transporting cargo
tanks and portable tanks must receive specialized
training. Each driver’s employer or his or her
designated representative must provide such
training.
The regulations require vehicles transporting
certain types or quantities of hazardous materials
to display diamond-shaped, square on point,
warning signs called placards.
This section is designed to assist you in
understanding your role and responsibilities in
hauling hazardous materials. Due to the constantly
changing nature of government regulations, it is
impossible to guarantee absolute accuracy of the
materials in this section. An up-to-date copy of the
complete regulations is essential for you to have.
Included in these regulations is a complete
glossary of terms.
Some locations require permits to transport certain
explosives or bulk hazardous wastes. States and
counties also may require drivers to follow special
hazardous
materials
routes.
The
federal
government may require permits or exemptions for
special hazardous materials cargo such as rocket
fuel. Find out about permits, exemptions, and
special routes for the places you drive.
9-1
9.1 – The Intent of the Regulations
9.2 – Hazardous Materials
Transportation—Who Does What
9.1.1 – Contain the Material
9.2.1 – The Shipper
Transporting hazardous materials can be risky.
The regulations are intended to protect you, those
around you, and the environment. They tell
shippers how to package the materials safely and
drivers how to load, transport, and unload the
material. These are called "containment rules”.
 Sends products from one place to another by truck,
rail, vessel, or airplane.
 Uses the hazardous materials regulations to
determine the product’s:
o Proper shipping name.
o Hazard class.
o Identification number.
o Packing group.
o Correct packaging.
o Correct label and markings.
o Correct placards.
9.1.2 – Communicate the Risk
To communicate the risk, shippers must warn
drivers and others about the material's hazards.
The regulations require shippers to put hazard
warning labels on packages, provide proper
shipping papers, emergency response information,
and placards. These steps communicate the
hazard to the shipper, the carrier, and the driver.
 Must package, mark, and label the materials;
prepare shipping papers; provide emergency
response information; and supply placards.
 Certify on the shipping paper that the shipment has
been prepared according to the rules (unless you
are pulling cargo tanks supplied by you or your
employer).
9.1.3 – Assure Safe Drivers and Equipment
In order to get a hazardous materials endorsement
on a CDL, you must pass a written test about
transporting hazardous materials. To pass the test,
you must know how to:
9.2.2 – The Carrier
 Takes the shipment from the shipper to its
destination.
 Prior to transportation, checks that the shipper
correctly described, marked, labeled, and otherwise
prepared the shipment for transportation.
 Refuses improper shipments.
 Reports accidents and incidents involving
hazardous materials to the proper government
agency.
 Identify what are hazardous materials.
 Safely load shipments.
 Properly placard your vehicle in accordance with
the rules.
 Safely transport shipments.
Learn the rules and follow them. Following the
rules reduces the risk of injury from hazardous
materials. Taking shortcuts by breaking rules is
unsafe. Rule breakers can be fined and put in jail.
9.2.3 – The Driver
Inspect your vehicle before and during each trip.
Law enforcement officers may stop and inspect
your vehicle. When stopped, they may check your
shipping papers, vehicle placards, and the
hazardous materials endorsement on your driver
license, and your knowledge of hazardous
materials.
 Makes sure the shipper has identified, marked, and
labeled the hazardous materials properly.
 Refuses leaking packages and shipments.
 Placards vehicle when loading, if required.
 Safely transports the shipment without delay.
 Follows all special rules about transporting
hazardous materials.
 Keeps hazardous materials shipping papers and
emergency response information in the proper
place.
9-2
After an accident or hazardous materials spill or
leak, you may be injured and unable to
communicate the hazards of the materials you are
transporting. Firefighters and police can prevent or
reduce the amount of damage or injury at the
scene if they know what hazardous materials are
being carried. Your life, and the lives of others,
may depend on quickly locating the hazardous
materials shipping papers. For that reason the
rules require:
9.3 – Communication Rules
9.3.1 – Definitions
Some words and phrases have special meanings
when talking about hazardous materials. Some of
these may differ from meanings you are used to.
The words and phrases in this section may be on
your test. The meanings of other important words
are in the glossary at the end of Section 9.
 Shippers to describe hazardous materials correctly
and include an emergency response telephone
number on shipping papers.
 Carriers and drivers to put tabs on hazardous
materials shipping papers, or keep them on top of
other shipping papers and keep the required
emergency response information with the shipping
papers.
 Drivers to keep hazardous materials shipping
papers:
o In a pouch on the driver's door, or
o In clear view within immediate reach while
the seat belt is fastened while driving, or
o On the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
A material's hazard class reflects the risks
associated with it. There are nine different hazard
classes. The types of materials included in these
nine classes are in Figure 9.1.
Hazardous Materials Table
2
Division
Class
1
4
Mass Explosives
Projection Hazards
Mass Fire Hazards
Very Insensitive
Extreme Insensitive
Dynamite
Flares
Display Fireworks
Ammunition
Blasting Agents
Explosive Devices
2.1
2.2
Flammable Gases
Non-Flammable
Gases
Poisonous/Toxic
Gases
Flammable Liquids
Propane
Helium
-
5.1
5.2
Oxidizers
Organic Peroxides
Ammonium Nitrate
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Peroxide
6.1
Poison (Toxic
Material)
Infectious
Substances
Radioactive
Corrosives
Miscellaneous
Hazardous Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated MaterialDomestic)
Combustible Liquids
Potassium Cyanide
6.2
7
8
-
9
-
e
-
Shippers put diamond-shaped hazard warning
labels on most hazardous materials packages.
These labels inform others of the hazard. If the
diamond label won't fit on the package, shippers
may put the label on a tag securely attached to the
package. For example, compressed gas cylinders
that will not hold a label will have tags or decals.
Labels look like the examples in Figure 9.2.
Gasoline
Ammonium Picrate,
Wetted
White Phosphorus
Sodium
6
9.3.2 – Package Labels
Fluorine, Compressed
Flammable Gases
Spontaneously
Combustible
Spontaneously
Combustible When
Wet
4.1
4.2
4.3
5
Examples
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
2.3
3
Name of Class or
Division
Examples of HAZMAT Labels.
Anthrax Virus
Uranium
Battery Fluid
Polychlorinated
Biphenyls (PCB)
Food Flavorings,
Medicines
Fuel Oil
Figure 9.1
A shipping paper describes the hazardous
materials being transported. Shipping orders, bills
of lading, and manifests are all shipping papers.
Figure 9.6 shows an example shipping paper.
Figure 9.2
9-3
9.3.3 – Lists of Regulated Products
There are three main lists used by shippers,
carriers, and drivers when trying to identify
hazardous materials. Before transporting a
material, look for its name on three lists. Some
materials are on all lists, others on only one.
Always check the following lists:
Placards. Placards are used to warn others of
hazardous materials. Placards are signs put on the
outside of a vehicle and on bulk packages, which
identify the hazard class of the cargo. A placarded
vehicle must have at least four identical placards.
They are put on the front, rear, and both sides of
the vehicle. See Figure 9.3. Placards must be
readable from all four directions. They are at least
10 3/4 inches square, square-on-point, in a
diamond shape. Cargo tanks and other bulk
packaging display the identification number of their
contents on placards or orange panels or white
square-on-point displays that are the same size as
placards.
 Section 172.101, the Hazardous Materials Table.
 Appendix A to Section 172.101, the List of
Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities.
 Appendix B to Section 172.101, the List of Marine
Pollutants.
The Hazardous Materials Table. Figure 9.4
shows part of the Hazardous Materials Table.
Column 1 tells which shipping mode(s) the entry
affects and other information concerning the
shipping description. The next five columns show
each material's shipping name, hazard class or
division, identification number, packaging group,
and required labels.
Examples of HAZMAT Placards.
Six different symbols may appear in Column 1 of
the table.
(+)
(A)
(W)
Figure 9.3
Identification numbers are a four-digit code used
by first responders to identify hazardous materials.
An identification number may be used to identify
more than one chemical. The letters “NA or “UN”
will precede the identification number. The United
States Department of Transportation’s Emergency
Response Guidebook (ERG) identifies the
chemicals all identification numbers are assigned
to.
(D)
9-4
Shows the proper shipping name, hazard
class, and packing group to use, even if
the material doesn't meet the hazard class
definition.
Means the hazardous material described
in Column 2 is subject to the HMR only
when offered or intended for transport by
air unless it is a hazardous substance or
hazardous waste.
Means the hazardous material described
in Column 2 is subject to the HMR only
when offered or intended for transportation
by water unless it is a hazardous
substance, hazardous waste, or marine
pollutant.
Means the proper shipping name is
appropriate for describing materials for
domestic transportation, but may not be
proper for international transportation.
49 CFR 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table
Packaging (173. ***)
Symbols
Hazardous Materials
Description & Proper
Shipping Names
Hazard
Class or
Division
Identification
Numbers
PG
Label
Codes
Special
Provisions
(172.1010
Exceptions
Non
Bulk
Bulk
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8A)
(8B)
(8C)
A
Acetaldehyde ammonia
9
UN1841
III
9
IB8, IP6
155
204
240
Figure 9.4
Appendix A to 49 CFR 172
List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities
Hazardous
Substances
Phenyl mercaptan
@
Phenylmercuric
acetate
N-Phenylthiourea
Phorate
Phosgene
Phosphine
Phosphoric acid
Phosphoric acid,
diethyl
4-nitrophenyl ester
Reportable Quantity (RQ)
Pounds (Kilograms)
Synonyms
Benzinethiol,
Thiophenol
Mercury, (acetato-0)
phenyl
100 (45.4)
100 (45.4)
Thiourea, phenyl
100 (45.4)
Phosphorodithioic acid,
O,O-diethyl S(ethylthio), methylester
Carbonyl chloride
Hydrogen Phosphide
10 (4.54)
10 (4.54) *
100 (45.4)
5000 (2270)
Diethyl-p nitrophenyl
phosphate
100 (45.4)
Phosphoric acid,
1 (.454)
Lead phosphate
lead salt
* Spills of 10 pounds or more must be reported.
Figure 9.5
(I)
(G)
Identifies a proper shipping name that is
used to describe materials in international
transportation. A different shipping name
may be used when only domestic
transportation is involved.
Means this hazardous material described
in Column 2 is a generic shipping name. A
generic
shipping
name
must
be
accompanied by a technical name on the
shipping paper. A technical name is a
specific chemical that makes the product
hazardous.
Column 3 shows a material's hazard class or
division, or the entry "Forbidden”. Never transport
a "Forbidden" material. You placard shipments
based on the quantity and hazard class. You can
decide which placards to use if you know these
three things:
 Material's hazard class.
 Amount being shipped.
 Amount of all hazardous materials of all classes on
your vehicle.
Column 4 lists the identification number for each
proper shipping name. Identification numbers are
preceded by the letters "UN" or "NA”. The letters
"NA" are associated with proper shipping names
that are only used within the United States and to
and from Canada. The identification number must
appear on the shipping paper as part of the
shipping description and also appear on the
package. It also must appear on cargo tanks and
other bulk packaging. Police and firefighters use
Column 2 lists the proper shipping names and
descriptions of regulated materials. Entries are in
alphabetical order so you can more quickly find the
right entry. The table shows proper shipping
names in regular type. The shipping paper must
show proper shipping names. Names shown in
italics are not proper shipping names.
9-5
this number to quickly identify the hazardous
materials.
is only used for chemicals in a container with a
capacity of 119 gallons or more without a placard
or label as specified by the HMR.
Column 5 shows the packing group (in Roman
numeral) assigned to a material.
Any bulk packages of a Marine Pollutant must
display the Marine Pollutant marking (white triangle
with a fish and an “X” through the fish). This
marking (it is not a placard) must also be displayed
on the outside of the vehicle. In addition, a notation
must be made on the shipping papers near the
description of the material: “Marine Pollutant”.
Column 6 shows the hazard warning label(s)
shippers must put on packages of hazardous
materials. Some products require use of more than
one label due to a dual hazard being present. No
label is needed where the table shows the word
NONE.
Shipping Paper
Column 7 lists the additional (special) provisions
that apply to this material. When there is an entry
in this column, you must refer to the federal
regulations for specific information. The numbers
1-6 in this column mean the hazardous material is
a poison inhalation hazard (PIH). PIH materials
have special requirements for shipping papers,
marking, and placards.
TO:
ABC
Corporation
88
Valley
Street
Anywhere,
VA
Quantity
1
cylinder
Column 8 is a three-part column showing the
section numbers covering the packaging
requirements for each hazardous material.
HM
RQ
(“RQ”
means that
this is a
reportable
quantity.)
DEF
Corporation
55
Mountain
FROM:
Street
Nowhere,
CO
Description
Page
1 of 1
Phosgene,
2.3,
UN1076
Poison,
Inhalation
Hazard,
Zone A
25 lbs
Weight
(Phosgene is the
proper
shipping
name from Column
2 of the Hazardous
Materials
Table.)
(2.3 is the Hazard
Class from Column
3 of the Hazardous
Materials
Table.)
(Un1076
is
the
Identification
Number
from
Column 4 of the
Hazardous materials
Table.)
This is to certify that the above named materials are
properly classified, described, packaged marked and
labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation
according to the applicable regulations of the United
States Department of Transportation.
Note: Columns 9 and 10 do not apply to
transportation by highway.
Appendix A to 49 CFR 172.101 - The List of
Hazardous
Substances
and
Reportable
Quantities. The DOT and the EPA want to know
about spills of hazardous substances. They are
named in the List of Hazardous Substances and
Reportable Quantities. See Figure 9.5. Column 3
of the list shows each product's reportable quantity
(RQ). When these materials are being transported
in a reportable quantity or greater in one package,
the shipper displays the letters RQ on the shipping
paper and package. The letters RQ may appear
before or after the basic description. You or your
employer must report any spill of these materials,
which occurs in a reportable quantity.
If the words INHALATION HAZARD appear on the
shipping paper or package, the rules require
display of the POISON INHALATION HAZARD or
POISON GAS placards, as appropriate. These
placards must be used in addition to other
placards, which may be required by the product's
hazard class. Always display the hazard class
placard and the POISON INHALATION HAZARD
placard, even for small amounts.
DEF
Corporation
Smith
October 15,
2003
Special Instructions: 24 hour
John Smith 1-800-555-5555
Shipper:
Per:
Date:
Carrier:
Per:
Date:
Safety
First
Emergency Contact,
Figure 9.6
9.3.4 – The Shipping Paper
Appendix B to 49 CFR 172.101 - Marine
Pollutants
The shipping paper shown in Figure 9.6 describes
a shipment. A shipping paper for hazardous
materials must include:
Appendix B is a listing of chemicals that are toxic
to marine life. For highway transportation, this list
9-6
 Page numbers if the shipping paper has more than
one page. The first page must tell the total number
of pages. For example, "Page 1 of 4".
 A proper shipping description for each hazardous
material.
 A shipper's certification, signed by the shipper,
saying they prepared the shipment according to the
rules.
to safely handle incidents involving the material. It
must include information on the shipping name of
the hazardous materials, risks to health, fire,
explosion, and initial methods of handling spills,
fires, and leaks of the materials.
Such information can be on the shipping paper or
some other document that includes the basic
description and technical name of the hazardous
material. Or, it may be in a guidance book such as
the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG).
Motor carriers may assist shippers by keeping an
ERG on each vehicle carrying hazardous
materials. The driver must provide the emergency
response information to any federal, state, or local
authority responding to a hazardous materials
incident or investigating one.
9.3.5 – The Item Description
If a shipping paper describes both hazardous and
non-hazardous products, the hazardous materials
will be either:
 Described first.
 Highlighted in a contrasting color.
 Identified by an "X" placed before the shipping
name in a column captioned "HM". The letters "RQ"
may be used instead of "X" if a reportable quantity
is present in one package.
Total quantity must appear before or after the basic
description. The packaging type and the unit of
measurement may be abbreviated. For example:
10 ctns. Paint, 3, UN1263, PG II, 500 lbs.
The basic description of hazardous materials
includes the proper shipping name, hazard class or
division, the identification number, and the packing
group, if any, in that order. The packing group is
displayed in Roman numerals and may be
preceded by "PG".
The shipper of hazardous wastes must put the
word WASTE before the proper shipping name of
the material on the shipping paper (hazardous
waste manifest). For example:
Waste Acetone, 3, UN1090, PG II.
Shipping name, hazard class, and identification
number must not be abbreviated unless specifically
authorized in the hazardous materials regulations.
The description must also show:
A non-hazardous material may not be described by
using a hazard class or an identification number.
9.3.6 – Shipper's Certification
 The total quantity and unit of measure.
 The letters RQ, if a reportable quantity.
 If the letters RQ appear, the name of the hazardous
substance.
 For all materials with the letter “G” (Generic) in
Column 1, the technical name of the hazardous
material.
When the shipper packages hazardous materials,
he/she certifies that the package has been
prepared according to the rules. The signed
shipper's certification appears on the original
shipping paper. The only exceptions are when a
shipper is a private carrier transporting their own
product and when the package is provided by the
carrier (for example, a cargo tank). Unless a
package is clearly unsafe or does not comply with
the HMR, you may accept the shipper's
certification concerning proper packaging. Some
carriers have additional rules about transporting
hazardous materials. Follow your employer's rules
when accepting shipments.
Shipping papers also must list an emergency
response telephone number. The emergency
response telephone number is the responsibility of
the shipper. It can be used by emergency
responders to obtain information about any
hazardous materials involved in a spill or fire.
Some hazardous materials do not need a
telephone number. You should check the
regulations for a listing.
9.3.7 – Package Markings and Labels
Shippers also must provide emergency response
information to the motor carrier for each hazardous
material being shipped. The emergency response
information must be able to be used away from the
motor vehicle and must provide information on how
Shippers print required markings directly on the
package, an attached label, or tag. An important
package marking is the name of the hazardous
materials. It is the same name as the one on the
shipping paper. The requirements for marking vary
9-7
by package size and material being transported.
When required, the shipper will put the following on
the package:
9.3.9 – Hazardous Waste Manifest
When transporting hazardous wastes, you must
sign by hand and carry a Uniform Hazardous
Waste Manifest. The name and EPA registration
number of the shippers, carriers, and destination
must appear on the manifest. Shippers must
prepare, date, and sign by hand the manifest.
Treat the manifest as a shipping paper when
transporting the waste. Only give the waste
shipment to another registered carrier or
disposal/treatment
facility.
Each
carrier
transporting the shipment must sign by hand the
manifest. After you deliver the shipment, keep your
copy of the manifest. Each copy must have all
needed signatures and dates, including those of
the person to whom you delivered the waste.
 The name and address of shipper or consignee.
 The hazardous material's shipping name and
identification number.
 The labels required.
It is a good idea to compare the shipping paper to
the markings and labels. Always make sure that
the shipper shows the correct basic description on
the shipping paper and verifies that the proper
labels are shown on the packages. If you are not
familiar with the material, ask the shipper to
contact your office.
If rules require it, the shipper will put RQ, MARINE
POLLUTANT,
BIOHAZARD,
HOT,
or
INHALATION-HAZARD on the package. Packages
with liquid containers inside will also have package
orientation markings with the arrows pointing in the
correct upright direction. The labels used always
reflect the hazard class of the product. If a package
needs more than one label, the labels will be close
together, near the proper shipping name.
9.3.10 – Placarding
Attach the appropriate placards to the vehicle
before you drive it. You are only allowed to move
an improperly placarded vehicle during an
emergency, in order to protect life or property.
Placards must appear on both sides and both ends
of the vehicle. Each placard must be:
9.3.8 – Recognizing Hazardous Materials
 Easily seen from the direction it faces.
 Placed so the words or numbers are level and read
from left to right.
 At least three inches away from any other
markings.
 Kept clear of attachments or devices such as
ladders, doors, and tarpaulins.
 Kept clean and undamaged so that the color,
format, and message are easily seen.
 Be affixed to a background of contrasting color.
 The use of “Drive Safely” and other slogans is
prohibited.
 The front placard may be on the front of the tractor
or the front of the trailer.
Learn to recognize shipments of hazardous
materials. To find out if the shipment includes
hazardous materials, look at the shipping paper.
Does it have:
 An entry with a proper shipping name, hazard
class, and identification number?
 A highlighted entry, or one with an X or RQ in the
hazardous materials column?
Other clues suggesting hazardous materials:
 What business is the shipper in? Paint dealer?
Chemical supply? Scientific supply house? Pest
control or agricultural supplier? Explosives,
munitions, or fireworks dealer?
 Are there tanks with diamond labels or placards on
the premises?
 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, or
identification number on the package?
 Are there any handling precautions?
To decide which placards to use, you need to
know:
 The hazard class of the materials.
 The amount of hazardous materials shipped.
 The total weight of all classes of hazardous
materials in your vehicle.
9.3.11 – Placard Tables
There are two placard tables, Table 1 and Table 2.
Table 1 materials must be placarded whenever any
amount is transported. See Figure 9.7.
9-8
Except for bulk packagings, the hazard classes in
Table 2 need placards only if the total amount
transported is 1,001 pounds or more including the
package. Add the amounts from all shipping
papers for all the Table 2 products you have on
board. See Figure 9.8.
Placard Table 2
1,001 Pounds Or More
Category of Material
(Hazard class or division
number and additional
Placard Name
description, as
appropriate)
Placard Table 1
Any Amount
1.4 Very Insensitive
1.5 Extreme Insensitive
1.6
2.1 Flammable Gases
2.2 Non- Flammable Gases
3 Flammable Liquids
Combustible Liquid
4.1 Flammable Gases
4.2 Spontaneously
IF YOUR VEHICLE
PLACARD AS…
CONTAINS ANY
AMOUNT OF……
1.1 Mass Explosives
Explosives 1.1
1.2 Project Hazards
Explosives 1.2
1.3 Mass Fire Hazards Explosives 1.3
2.3 Poisonous/Toxic
Poison Gas
Gases
4.3 Spontaneously
Dangerous When Wet
Combustible When
Wet
5.2 (Organic Peroxide,
Type B, liquid or solid,
Organic Peroxide
Temperature
controlled)
6.1 (Inhalation hazard
Poison
zone A & B only)
7 (Radioactive Yellow
Radioactive
III label only)
Figure 9.7
Combustible
5.1 Oxidizers
Explosives 1.4
Explosives 1.5
Explosives 1.6
Flammable Gas
Non-Flammable Gas.
Flammable
Combustible*
Flammable Solid
Spontaneously
Combustible
Oxidizer
5.2 (other than organic
peroxide, Type B, liquid or
solid, Temperature
Controlled)
Organic Peroxide
6.1 (other than inhalation
hazard zone A or B)
Poison
6.2 Infectious Substances
(None)
8 Corrosives
Corrosive
9 Miscellaneous Hazardous
Class 9**
Materials
ORM-D
(None)
* FLAMMABLE may be used in place of a
COMBUSTIBLE on a cargo tank or portable tank.
** Class 9 Placard is not required for domestic
transportation.
You may use DANGEROUS placards instead of
separate placards for each Table 2 hazard class
when:
 You have 1,001 pounds or more of two or more
Table 2 hazard classes, requiring different placards
and
 You have not loaded 2,205 pounds or more of any
Table 2 hazard class material at any one place.
(You must use the specific placard for this material.)
 The dangerous placard is an option, not a
requirement. You can always placard for the
materials.
Figure 9.8
Placards used to identify the primary or subsidiary
hazard class of a material must have the hazard
class or division number displayed in the lower
corner of the placard. Permanently affixed
subsidiary hazard placards without the hazard
class number may be used as long as they stay
within color specifications. Non-permanently
affixed subsidiary hazard placards without the
hazard class number may be used until October 1,
2005.
If the words INHALATION HAZARD are on the
shipping paper or package, you must display
POISON GAS or POISON INHALATION placards
in addition to any other placards needed by the
product's hazard class. The 1,000 pound exception
does not apply to these materials.
Placards may be displayed for hazardous materials
even if not required so long as the placard
identifies the hazard of the material being
transported.
Materials with a secondary hazard of dangerous
when wet must display the DANGEROUS WHEN
WET placard in addition to any other placards
needed by the product’s hazard class. The 1,000pound exception to placarding does not apply to
these materials.
A bulk packaging is a single container with a
capacity of 119 gallons or more. A bulk package,
and a vehicle transporting a bulk package, must be
placarded, even if it only has the residue of a
hazardous material. Certain bulk packages only
9-9
have to be placarded on the two opposite sides or
may display labels. All other bulk packages must
be placarded on all four sides.
No Smoking. When loading or unloading
hazardous materials, keep fire away. Don't let
people smoke nearby. Never smoke around:
 Class 1 (Explosives)
 Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
 Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
 Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
 Class 5 (Oxidizers)
Subsections 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Shippers package in order to (fill in the
blank) the material.
Driver placard their vehicle to (fill in the
blank) the risk.
What three things do you need to know to
decide which placards (if any) you need?
A hazardous materials identification
number must appear on the (fill in the
blank) and on the (fill in the blank). The
identification number must also appear on
cargo tanks and other bulk packaging.
Where must you keep shipping papers
describing hazardous materials?
Secure Against Movement. Brace containers so
they will not fall, slide, or bounce around during
transportation. Be very careful when loading
containers that have valves or other fittings. All
hazardous materials packages must be secured
during transportation.
After loading, do not open any package during
your trip. Never transfer hazardous materials from
one package to another while in transit. You may
empty a cargo tank, but do not empty any other
package while it is on the vehicle.
Cargo Heater Rules. There are special cargo
heater rules for loading:
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 9.1, 9.2 and
9.3.
 Class 1 (Explosives)
 Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
 Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
9.4 – Loading and Unloading
The rules usually forbid use of cargo heaters,
including automatic cargo heater/air conditioner
units. Unless you have read all the related rules,
don't load the above products in a cargo space that
has a heater.
Do all you can to protect containers of hazardous
materials. Don't use any tools, which might
damage containers or other packaging during
loading. Don't use hooks.
9.4.1 – General Loading Requirements
Use Closed Cargo Space. You cannot have
overhang or tailgate loads of:
Before loading or unloading, set the parking brake.
Make sure the vehicle will not move.
 Class 1 (Explosives)
 Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
 Class 5 (Oxidizers)
Many products become more hazardous when
exposed to heat. Load hazardous materials away
from heat sources.
You must load these hazardous materials into a
closed cargo space unless all packages are:
Watch for signs of leaking or damaged containers:
LEAKS SPELL TROUBLE! Do not transport
leaking packages. Depending on the material, you,
your truck, and others could be in danger. It is
illegal to move a vehicle with leaking hazardous
materials.
 Fire and water resistant.
 Covered with a fire and water resistant tarp.
Precautions for Specific Hazards
Class 1 (Explosives) Materials. Turn your engine
off before loading or unloading any explosives.
Then check the cargo space. You must:
Containers of Class 1 (explosives), Class 3
(flammable liquids), Class 4 (flammable solids),
Class 5 (oxidizers), Class 8 (corrosives), Class 2
(gases), Division 6.1 (poisons), and Class 7
(radioactive) must be braced to prevent movement
of the packages during transportation.
 Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect heater power
sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
9-10
 Make sure there are no sharp points that might
damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails, broken
side panels, and broken floorboards.
 Use a floor lining with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3
(Class A or B Explosives). The floors must be tight
and the liner must be either non-metallic material or
non-ferrous metal.
Do not load nitric acid above any other product.
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.
 Division 1.4 (Explosives C)
 Division 4.1 (Flammable Solids)
 Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet)
 Class 5 (Oxidizers)
 Division 2.3, Zone B (Poisonous Gases)
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:
Do not transfer a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class A
or B Explosive) from one vehicle to another on a
public roadway except in an emergency. If safety
requires an emergency transfer, set out red
warning reflectors, flags, or electric lanterns. You
must warn others on the road.
Never load corrosive liquids with:
 Division 1.1 or 1.2 (Explosives A)
 Division 1.2 or 1.3 (Explosives B)
 Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents)
 Division 2.3, Zone A (Poisonous Gases)
 Division 4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible Materials)
 Division 6.1, PGI, Zone A (Poison Liquids)
Never transport damaged packages of explosives.
Do not take a package that shows any dampness
or oily stain.
Class 2 (Compressed Gases) Including
Cryogenic Liquids. If your vehicle doesn't have
racks to hold cylinders, the cargo space floor must
be flat. The cylinders must be:
Do not transport Division 1.1 or 1.2 (Class A
Explosives) in triples or in vehicle combinations if:
 There is a marked or placarded cargo tank in the
combination.
 The other vehicle in the combination contains:
o Division 1.1 A (Initiating Explosives).
o Packages of Class 7 (Radioactive) materials
labeled "Yellow III”.
o Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1
(Poisonous) materials.
o Hazardous materials in a portable tank, on a
DOT Spec 106A or 110A tank.
 Held upright.
 In racks attached to the vehicle or in boxes that will
keep them from turning over.
Cylinders may be loaded in a horizontal position
(lying down) if it is designed so the relief valve is in
the vapor space.
Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1
(Poisonous) Materials. Never transport these
materials in containers with interconnections.
Never load a package labeled POISON or
POISON INHALATION HAZARD in the driver's cab
or sleeper or with food material for human or
animal consumption. There are special rules for
loading and unloading Class 2 materials in cargo
tanks. You must have special training to do this.
Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5
(Oxidizers) Materials. Class 4 materials are solids
that react (including fire and explosion) to water,
heat, and air or even react spontaneously.
Class 4 and 5 materials must be completely
enclosed in a vehicle or covered securely. Class 4
and 5 materials, which become unstable and
dangerous when wet, must be kept dry while in
transit and during loading and unloading. Materials
that are subject to spontaneous combustion or
heating must be in vehicles with sufficient
ventilation.
Class 7 (Radioactive) Materials. Some packages
of Class 7 (Radioactive) materials bear a number
called the "transport index”. The shipper labels
these packages Radioactive II or Radioactive III,
and prints the package's transport index on the
label. Radiation surrounds each package, passing
through all nearby packages. To deal with this
problem, the number of packages you can load
together is controlled. Their closeness to people,
animals, and unexposed film is also controlled. The
transport index tells the degree of control needed
during transportation. The total transport index of
Class 8 (Corrosive) Materials. If loading by hand,
load breakable containers of corrosive liquid one
by one. Keep them right side up. Do not drop or roll
the containers. Load them onto an even floor
surface. Stack carboys only if the lower tiers can
bear the weight of the upper tiers safely.
9-11
all packages in a single vehicle must not exceed
50.Table A to this section shows rules for each
transport index. It shows how close you can load
Class 7 (Radioactive) materials to people, animals,
or film. For example, you can't leave a package
with a transport index of 1.1 within two feet of
people or cargo space walls.
4.
5.
At the shipper’s dock you’re given a paper
for 100 cartons of battery acid. You
already have 100 pounds of dry Silver
Cyanide on board. What precautions do
you have to take?
Name a hazard class that uses transport
indexes to determine the amount that can
be loaded in a single vehicle.
Do Not Load Table
Do Not Load
Division 6.1 or 2.3
(POISON or poison
inhalation hazard
labeled material).
Division 2.3
(Poisonous) gas Zone
A or Division 6.1
(Poison) liquids, PGI,
Zone A.
Charged storage
batteries.
Class 1 (Detonating
primers).
Division 6.1
(Cyanides or cyanide
mixtures).
Nitric acid (Class B).
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 9.4.
In The Same Vehicle With
Animal or human food unless the
poison package is over packed 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, 1.3 (Class A or
B) Explosives,
Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents),
Division 2.1 (Flammable Gases),
Class 4 (Flammable Solids).
9.5 – Bulk Packaging Marking, Loading
and Unloading
The glossary at the end of this section gives the
meaning of the word bulk. Cargo tanks are bulk
packaging permanently attached to a vehicle.
Cargo tanks remain on the vehicle when you load
and unload them. Portable tanks are bulk
packaging, which are not permanently attached to
a vehicle. The product is loaded or unloaded while
the portable tanks are off the vehicle. Portable
tanks are then put on a vehicle for transportation.
There are many types of cargo tanks in use. The
most common cargo tanks are MC306 for liquids
and MC331 for gases.
Division 1.1 (Class A Explosives).
Any other explosives unless in
authorized containers or
packages.
Acids, corrosive materials, or other
acidic materials which could
release hydrocyanic acid .
For Example:
Cyanides, Inorganic, n.o.s.
Silver Cyanide
Sodium Cyanide.
Other materials unless the nitric
acid is not loaded above any other
material.
9.5.1
You must display the identification number of the
hazardous materials in portable tanks and cargo
tanks and other bulk packaging (such as dump
trucks). Identification numbers are in column 4 of
the Hazardous Materials Table. The rules require
black 100 mm (3.9 inch) numbers on orange
panels, placards, or a white, diamond-shaped
background if no placards are required.
Specification cargo tanks must show re-test date
markings.
Figure 9.9
Mixed loads. The rules require some products to
be loaded separately. You cannot load them
together in the same cargo space. Figure 9.9 lists
some examples. The regulations (the Segregation
and Separation Chart) name other materials you
must keep apart.
Portable tanks must also show the lessee or
owner's name. They must also display the shipping
name of the contents on two opposing sides. The
letters of the shipping name must be at least two
inches tall on portable tanks with capacities of
more than 1,000 gallons and one-inch tall on
portable tanks with capacities of less than 1,000
gallons. The identification number must appear on
each side and each end of a portable tank or other
bulk packaging that hold 1,000 gallons or more
and on two opposing sides, if the portable tank
holds less than 1,000 gallons. The identification
numbers must still be visible when the portable
tank is on the motor vehicle. If they are not visible,
you must display the identification number on both
sides and ends of the motor vehicle.
Subsection 9.4
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
– Markings
Around which hazard classes must you
never smoke?
Which three hazard classes should not be
loaded into a trailer that has a heater/air
conditioner unit?
Should the floor liner required for Division
1.1 or 1.2 materials (Explosives A) be
stainless steel?
9-12
Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are bulk
packages, but are not required to have the owner’s
name or shipping name.
Subsection 9.5
Test Your Knowledge
9.5.2 – Tank Loading
The person in charge of loading and unloading a
cargo tank must be sure a qualified person is
always watching. This person watching the loading
or unloading must:
1.
2.
3.
 Be alert.
 Have a clear view of the cargo tank.
 Be within 25 feet of the tank.
 Know of the hazards of the materials involved.
 Know the procedures to follow in an emergency.
 Be authorized to move the cargo tank and able to
do so.
What are cargo tanks?
How is a portable tank different from a
cargo tank?
Your engine runs a pump used during
delivery of compressed gas. Should you
turn off the engine before or after
unhooking hoses after delivery?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 9.5.
9.6 – Hazardous Materials -- Driving
and Parking Rules
There are special attendance rules for cargo tanks
transporting propane and anhydrous ammonia.
9.6.1 – Parking with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3
(Class A or B) Explosives
Close all manholes and valves before moving a
tank of hazardous materials, no matter how small
the amount in the tank or how short the distance.
Manholes and valves must be closed to prevent
leaks. It is illegal to move a cargo tank with open
valves or covers unless it is empty according to 49
CFR 173.29.
Never park with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class A or
B) explosives within five feet of the traveled part of
the road. Except for short periods of time needed
for vehicle operation necessities (e.g., fueling), do
not park within 300 feet of:
9.5.3 – Flammable Liquids
 A bridge, tunnel, or building.
 A place where people gather.
 An open fire.
Turn off your engine before loading or unloading
any flammable liquids. Only run the engine if
needed to operate a pump. Ground a cargo tank
correctly before filling it through an open filling
hole. Ground the tank before opening the filling
hole, and maintain the ground until after closing
the filling hole.
If you must park to do your job, do so only briefly.
Don't park on private property unless the owner is
aware of the danger. Someone must always watch
the parked vehicle. You may let someone else
watch it for you only if your vehicle is:
9.5.4 – Compressed Gas
 On the shipper's property.
 On the carrier's property.
 On the consignee's property.
Keep liquid discharge valves on a compressed gas
tank closed except when loading and unloading.
Unless your engine runs a pump for product
transfer, turn it off when loading or unloading. If
you use the engine, turn it off after product
transfer, before you unhook the hose. Unhook all
loading/unloading connections before coupling,
uncoupling, or moving a cargo tank. Always chock
trailers and semi-trailers to prevent motion when
uncoupled from the power unit.
You are allowed to leave your vehicle unattended
in a safe haven. A safe haven is an approved
place for parking unattended vehicles loaded with
explosives. Designation of authorized safe havens
is usually made by local authorities.
9-13
Take other routes, even if inconvenient, unless
there is no other way. Never drive a placarded
vehicle near open fires unless you can safely pass
without stopping.
9.6.2 – Parking a Placarded Vehicle Not
Transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class
A or B) Explosives
You may park a placarded vehicle (not laden with
explosives) within five feet of the traveled part of
the road only if your work requires it. Do so only
briefly. Someone must always watch the vehicle
when parked on a public roadway or shoulder. Do
not uncouple a trailer and leave it with hazardous
materials on a public street. Do not park within 300
feet of an open fire.
If transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class A or
B) explosives, you must have a written route plan
and follow that plan. Carriers prepare the route
plan in advance and give the driver a copy. You
may plan the route yourself if you pick up the
explosives at a location other than your employer's
terminal. Write out the plan in advance. Keep a
copy of it with you while transporting the
explosives. Deliver shipments of explosives only to
authorized persons or leave them in locked rooms
designed for explosives storage.
9.6.3 – Attending Parked Vehicles
The person attending a placarded vehicle must:
A carrier must choose the safest route to transport
placarded radioactive materials. After choosing the
route, the carrier must tell the driver about the
radioactive materials, and show the route plan.
 Be in the vehicle, awake, and not in the sleeper
berth, or within 100 feet of the vehicle and have it
within clear view.
 Be aware of the hazards of the materials being
transported.
 Know what to do in emergencies.
 Be able to move the vehicle, if needed.
9.6.6 – No Smoking
Do not smoke within 25 feet of a placarded cargo
tank used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or
Division 2.1 (gases). Also, do not smoke or carry a
lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe within 25 feet of any
vehicle, which contains:
9.6.4 – No Flares!
You might break down and have to use stopped
vehicle signals. Use reflective triangles or red
electric lights. Never use burning signals, such as
flares or fuses, around a:
 Class 1 (Explosives)
 Class 3 Flammable Liquids)
 Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
 Class 5 (Oxidizers)
 Tank used for Class 3 (Flammable Liquids) or
Division 2.1 (Flammable Gas) whether loaded or
empty.
 Vehicle loaded with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class
A or B) Explosives.
9.6.7 – Refuel with Engine Off
Turn off your engine before fueling a motor vehicle
containing hazardous materials. Someone must
always be at the nozzle, controlling fuel flow.
9.6.5 – Route Restrictions
Some states and counties require permits to
transport hazardous materials or wastes. They
may limit the routes you can use. Local rules about
routes and permits change often. It is your job as
driver to find out if you need permits or must use
special routes. Make sure you have all needed
papers before starting.
9.6.8 – 10 B:C Fire Extinguisher
The power unit of placarded vehicles must have a
fire extinguisher with a UL rating of 10 B:C or
more.
9.6.9 – Check Tires
If you work for a carrier, ask your dispatcher about
route restrictions or permits. If you are an
independent trucker and are planning a new route,
check with state agencies where you plan to travel.
Some localities prohibit transportation of
hazardous materials through tunnels, over bridges,
or other roadways. Check before you start.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check
placarded vehicles with dual tires at the start of
each trip and when you park. You must check the
tires each time you stop. The only acceptable way
to check tire pressure is to use a tire pressure
gauge.
Whenever placarded, avoid heavily populated
areas, crowds, tunnels, narrow streets, and alleys.
Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat except
to the nearest safe place to fix it. Remove any
9-14
overheated tire. Place it a safe distance from your
vehicle. Don't drive until you correct the cause of
the overheating. Remember to follow the rules
about parking and attending placarded vehicles.
They apply even when checking, repairing, or
replacing tires.
controlling leaks in dome cover plate fittings on the
cargo tank.
9.6.10 – Where to Keep Shipping Papers
and Emergency Response Information
 Is placarded.
 Carries any amount of chlorine.
 Has cargo tanks, whether loaded or empty used for
hazardous materials.
9.6.12 – Stop Before Railroad Crossings
Stop before a railroad crossing if your vehicle:
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.
You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail.
Proceed only when you are sure no train is
coming. Don't shift gears while crossing the tracks.
 Clearly distinguish hazardous materials shipping
papers from others by tabbing them or keeping
them on top of the stack of papers.
 When you are behind the wheel, keep shipping
papers within your reach (with your seat belt on), or
in a pouch on the driver's door. They must be easily
seen by someone entering the cab.
 When not behind the wheel, leave shipping papers
in the driver's door pouch or on the driver's seat.
 Emergency response information must be kept in
the same location as the shipping paper.
 Papers for Division 1.1, 1.2 or, 1.3 (Class A or B)
Explosives.
9.7 – Hazardous Materials Emergencies
9.7.1 – Emergency Response Guidebook
(ERG)
The Department of Transportation has a
guidebook for firefighters, police, and industry
workers on how to protect themselves and the
public from hazardous materials. The guide is
indexed by proper shipping name and hazardous
materials identification number. Emergency
personnel look for these things on the shipping
paper. That is why it is vital that the proper
shipping name, identification number, label, and
placards are correct.
A carrier must give each driver transporting
Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class A or B) explosives a
copy of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(FMCSR), Part 397. The carrier must also give
written instructions on what to do if delayed or in
an accident. The written instructions must include:
9.7.2 – Accidents/Incidents
As a professional driver, your job at the scene of
an accident is to:
 The names and telephone numbers of people to
contact (including carrier agents or shippers).
 The nature of the explosives transported.
 The precautions to take in emergencies such as
fires, accidents, or leaks.
 Keep people away from the scene.
 Limit the spread of material, only if you can safely
do so.
 Communicate the danger of the hazardous
materials to emergency response personnel.
 Provide emergency responders with the shipping
papers and emergency response information.
Drivers must sign a receipt for these documents.
You must be familiar with, and have in your
possession while driving, the:
Follow this checklist:
 Shipping papers.
 Written emergency instructions.
 Written route plan.
 A copy of FMCSR, Part 397.
 Check to see that your driving partner is OK.
 Keep shipping papers with you.
 Keep people far away and upwind.
 Warn others of the danger.
 Send for help.
 Follow your employer's instructions.
9.6.11 – Equipment for Chlorine
A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must
have an approved gas mask in the vehicle. The
driver must also have an emergency kit for
9-15
 Your name, the carrier's name, and the name of the
community or city where your terminal is located.
 The proper shipping name, hazard class, and
identification number of the hazardous materials, if
you know them.
9.7.3 – Fires
You might have to control minor truck fires on the
road. However, unless you have the training and
equipment to do so safely, don't fight hazardous
materials fires. Dealing with hazardous materials
fires requires special training and protective gear.
This is a lot for someone to remember. It is a good
idea to write it all down for the person you send for
help. The emergency response team must know
these things to find you and to handle the
emergency. They may have to travel miles to get to
you. This information will help them to bring the
right equipment the first time, without having to go
back for it.
When you discover a fire, send for help. You may
use the fire extinguisher to keep minor truck fires
from spreading to cargo before firefighters arrive.
Feel trailer doors to see if they are hot before
opening them. If hot, you may have a cargo fire
and should not open the doors. Opening doors lets
air in and may make the fire flare up. Without air,
many fires only smolder until firemen arrive, doing
less damage. If your cargo is already on fire, it is
not safe to fight the fire. Keep the shipping papers
with you to give to emergency personnel as soon
as they arrive. Warn other people of the danger
and keep them away.
Never move your vehicle, if doing so will cause
contamination or damage the vehicle. Keep
downwind and away from roadside rests, truck
stops, cafes, and businesses. Never try to repack
leaking containers. Unless you have the training
and equipment to repair leaks safely, don't try it.
Call your dispatcher or supervisor for instructions
and, if needed, emergency personnel.
If you discover a cargo leak, identify the hazardous
materials leaking by using shipping papers, labels,
or package location. Do not touch any leaking
material--many people injure themselves by
touching hazardous materials. Do not try to identify
the material or find the source of a leak by smell.
Toxic gases can destroy your sense of smell and
can injure or kill you even if they don't smell. Never
eat, drink, or smoke around a leak or spill.
9.7.4 – Responses to Specific Hazards
Class 1 (Explosives). If your vehicle has a
breakdown or accident while carrying explosives,
warn others of the danger. Keep bystanders away.
Do not allow smoking or open fire near the vehicle.
If there is a fire, warn everyone of the danger of
explosion.
If hazardous materials are spilling from your
vehicle, do not move it any more than safety
requires. You may move off the road and away
from places where people gather, if doing so
serves safety. Only move your vehicle if you can
do so without danger to yourself or others.
Remove all explosives before separating vehicles
involved in a collision. Place the explosives at least
200 feet from the vehicles and occupied buildings.
Stay a safe distance away.
Class 2 (Compressed Gases). If compressed gas
is leaking from your vehicle, warn others of the
danger. Only permit those involved in removing the
hazard or wreckage to get close. You must notify
the shipper if compressed gas is involved in any
accident.
Never continue driving with hazardous materials
leaking from your vehicle in order to find a phone
booth, truck stop, help, or similar reason.
Remember, the carrier pays for the cleanup of
contaminated parking lots, roadways, and drainage
ditches. The costs are enormous, so don't leave a
lengthy trail of contamination. If hazardous
materials are spilling from your vehicle:
Unless you are fueling machinery used in road
construction or maintenance, do not transfer a
flammable compressed gas from one tank to
another on any public roadway.
 Park it.
 Secure the area.
 Stay there.
 Send someone else for help.
Class 3 (Flammable Liquids). If you are
transporting a flammable liquid and have an
accident or your vehicle breaks down, prevent
bystanders from gathering. Warn people of the
danger. Keep them from smoking.
Never transport a leaking cargo tank farther than
needed to reach a safe place. Get off the roadway
When sending someone for help, give that person:
 A description of the emergency.
 Your exact location and direction of travel.
9-16
if you can do so safely. Don't transfer flammable
liquid from one vehicle to another on a public
roadway except in an emergency.
9.7.5
– Required Notification
The National Response Center helps coordinate
emergency response to chemical hazards. It is a
resource to the police and firefighters. It maintains
a 24-hour toll-free line. You or your employer must
phone when any of the following occur as a direct
result of a hazardous materials incident:
Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5
(Oxidizing Materials). If a flammable solid or
oxidizing material spills, warn others of the fire
hazard. Do not open smoldering packages of
flammable solids. Remove them from the vehicle if
you can safely do so. Also, remove unbroken
packages if it will decrease the fire hazard.
 A person is killed.
 An injured person requires hospitalization.
 Estimated property damage exceeds $50,000.
 The general public is evacuated for more than one
hour.
 One or more major transportation arteries or
facilities are closed for one hour or more.
 Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected radioactive
contamination occurs.
 Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected contamination
occur involving shipment of etiologic agents
(bacteria or toxins).
 A situation exists of such a nature (e.g., continuing
danger to life exists at the scene of an incident)
that, in the judgment of the carrier, should be
reported.
Class 6 (Poisonous Materials and Infectious
Substances). It is your job to protect yourself,
other people, and property from harm. Remember
that many products classed as poison are also
flammable. If you think a Division 2.3 (Poison
Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poison Materials) might be
flammable, take the added precautions needed for
flammable liquids or gases. Do not allow smoking,
open flame, or welding. Warn others of the hazards
of fire, of inhaling vapors, or coming in contact with
the poison.
A vehicle involved in a leak of Division 2.3 (Poison
Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poisons) must be checked
for stray poison before being used again.
National Response Center
(800) 424-8802
If a Division 6.2 (Infectious Substances) package is
damaged in handling or transportation, you should
immediately contact your supervisor. Packages
that appear to be damaged or show signs of
leakage should not be accepted.
Persons telephoning the National
Center should be ready to give:
Response
 Their name.
 Name and address of the carrier they work for.
 Phone number where they can be reached.
 Date, time, and location of incident.
 The extent of injuries, if any.
 Classification, name, and quantity of hazardous
materials involved, if such information is available.
 Type of incident and nature of hazardous materials
involvement and whether a continuing danger to life
exists at the scene.
Class 7 (Radioactive Materials). If radioactive
material is involved in a leak or broken package,
tell your dispatcher or supervisor as soon as
possible. If there is a spill, or if an internal
container might be damaged, do not touch or
inhale the material. Do not use the vehicle until it is
cleaned and checked with a survey meter.
Class 8 (Corrosive Materials). If corrosives spill
or leak during transportation, be careful to avoid
further damage or injury when handling the
containers. Parts of the vehicle exposed to a
corrosive liquid must be thoroughly washed with
water. After unloading, wash out the interior as
soon as possible before reloading.
If a reportable quantity of hazardous substance
was involved, the caller should give the name of
the shipper and the quantity of the hazardous
substance discharged.
Be prepared to give your employer the required
information as well. Carriers must make detailed
written reports within 30 days of an incident.
If continuing to transport a leaking tank would be
unsafe, get off the road. If safe to do so, contain
any liquid leaking from the vehicle. Keep
bystanders away from the liquid and its fumes. Do
everything possible to prevent injury to yourself
and to others.
9-17
CHEMTREC
(800) 424-9300
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center
(CHEMTREC) in Washington also has a 24-hour
toll-free line. CHEMTREC was created to provide
emergency personnel with technical information
about the physical properties of hazardous
materials. The National Response Center and
CHEMTREC are in close communication. If you
call either one, they will tell the other about the
problem when appropriate.
TOTAL
INDEX
MINIMUM DISTANCE IN FEET TO
NEAREST UNDEVELOPED FILM
None
0.1
1.0
1.1
5.0
5.1
10.0
10.1
20.0
20.1
30.0
30.1
40.0
40.1
50.0
to
to
to
to
to
to
to
TO PEOPLE OR CARGO
COMPARTMENT
PARTITIONS
TRANSPORT
Radioactive Separation
Table A
0-2
Hrs.
2-4
Hrs.
4-8
Hrs.
8-12
Hrs.
Over 12
Hrs.
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
2
3
4
5
1
3
4
6
8
11
2
4
6
9
11
15
3
5
8
12
16
22
4
7
10
15
20
29
5
8
11
17
22
33
6
9
12
19
24
36
Class
Hazard Class Definitions
Table B
Class Name
Example
1
Explosives
2
Gases
3
Flammable
4
Flammable Solids
5
Oxidizers
6
Poisons
7
Radioactive
8
Corrosives
9
None
None
Miscellaneous
Hazardous
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated
MaterialDomestic)
Combustible
Liquids
Ammunition,
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Propane, Oxygen,
Helium
Gasoline Fuel,
Acetone
Matches, Fuses
Ammonium Nitrate,
Hydrogen Peroxide
Pesticides, Arsenic
Uranium,
Plutonium
Hydrochloric Acid,
Battery Acid
Formaldehyde,
Asbestos
Hair Spray or
Charcoal
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Fluid
Figure 9.11
Subsections 9.6 and 9.7
Test Your Knowledge
1.
2.
3.
Figure 9.10
Do not leave radioactive yellow - II or yellow - III
labeled packages near people, animals, or film
longer than shown in Figure 9.10
4.
Classes of Hazardous Materials
6.
Hazardous materials are categorized into nine
major hazard classes and additional categories for
consumer commodities and combustible liquids.
The classes of hazardous materials are listed in
Figure 9.11.
7.
5.
8.
If your placarded trailer has dual tires, how
often should you check the tires?
What is a safe haven?
How close to the traveled part of the
roadway can you park with Division 1.2 or
1.3 materials (Explosive B)?
How close can you park to a bridge,
tunnel, or building with the same load?
What type of fire extinguisher must
placarded vehicles carry?
You’re hauling 100 pounds of Division 4.3
(dangerous when wet) materials. Do you
need to stop before a railroad-highway
crossing?
At a rest area you discover your hazardous
materials shipments slowly leaking from
the vehicle. There is no phone around.
What should you do?
What is the Emergency Response Guide
(ERG)?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 9.6 and 9.7.
9-18
9.8 – Hazardous Materials Glossary
EPA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This glossary presents definitions of certain terms
used in this section. A complete glossary of terms
can be found in the federal Hazardous Materials
Rules (49 CFR 171.8). You should have an up-todate copy of these rules for your reference.
FMCSR – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations.
Freight container – a reusable container having a
volume of 64 cubic feet or more, designed and
constructed to permit being lifted with its contents
intact and intended primarily for containment of
packages (in unit form) during transportation.
(Note: You will not be tested on this glossary.)
Sec. 171.8 Definitions and abbreviations.
Fuel tank – A tank, other than a cargo tank, used
to transport flammable or combustible liquid or
compressed gas for the purpose of supplying fuel
for propulsion of the transport vehicle to which it is
attached, or for the operation of other equipment
on the transport vehicle.
Bulk packaging – Packaging, other than a vessel,
or a barge, including a transport vehicle or freight
container, in which hazardous materials are loaded
with no intermediate form of containment and
which has:
1.
2.
3.
Gross weight or gross mass – The weight of the
packaging plus the weight of its contents.
A maximum capacity greater than 450 L (119
gallons) as a receptacle for a liquid;
A maximum net mass greater than 400 kg
(882 pounds) or a maximum capacity greater
than 450 L (119 gallons) as a receptacle for a
solid; or
A water capacity greater than 454 kg (1000
pounds) as a receptacle for a gas as defined
in Sec. 173.115.
Hazard class – The category of hazard assigned
to a hazardous material under the definitional
criteria of Part 173 and the provisions of the Sec.
172.101 Table. A material may meet the defining
criteria for more than one hazard class but is
assigned to only one hazard class.
Hazardous materials – A substance or material
which has been determined by the Secretary of
Transportation to be capable of posing an
unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property
when transported in commerce, and which has
been so designated. The term includes hazardous
substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants,
elevated temperature materials and materials
designated as hazardous in the hazardous
materials table of §172.101, and materials that
meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and
divisions in §173, subchapter c of this chapter.
Cargo tank - A bulk packaging which:
1.
2.
3.
Is a tank intended primarily for the carriage of
liquids or gases and includes appurtenances,
reinforcements, fittings, and closures (for
"tank", see 49 CFR 178.345-1(c), 178.337-1,
or 178.338-1, as applicable);
Is permanently attached to or forms a part of
a motor vehicle, or is not permanently
attached to a motor vehicle but which, by
reason of its size, construction, or attachment
to a motor vehicle is loaded or unloaded
without being removed from the motor
vehicle; and
Is not fabricated under a specification for
cylinders, portable tanks, tank cars, or
multi-unit tank car tanks.
Hazardous substance - A material, including its
mixtures and solutions, that:
1.
2.
Is listed in Appendix A to Sec. 172.101;
Is in a quantity, in one package, which equals
or exceeds the reportable quantity (RQ)
listed in Appendix A to Sec. 172.101; and
3.
When in a mixture or solution (i) For radionuclides, conforms to paragraph
7 of Appendix A to Sec. 172.101.
(ii) For other than radionuclides, is in a
concentration by weight which equals or
exceeds the concentration corresponding
to the RQ of the material, as shown in
Figure 9.12.
Carrier – A person engaged in the transportation
of passengers or property by:
1.
2.
Land or water as a common, contract, or
private carrier, or
Civil aircraft.
Consignee – The business or person to whom a
shipment is delivered.
Division – A subdivision of a hazard class.
9-19
N.O.S. - Not otherwise specified.
Hazardous Substance Concentrations
Concentration by Weight
RQ Pounds
(Kilograms
Percent
PPM
5,000
(2,270)
1,000 (45)
100 (45.4)
10 (4.54)
1 (0.454)
10
100,000
2
.2
.02
.002
Figure 9.12
20,000
2,000
200
20
Outage or ullage – The amount by which a
packaging falls short of being liquid full, usually
expressed in percent by volume.
Portable tank – Bulk packaging (except a cylinder
having a water capacity of 1,000 pounds or less)
designed primarily to be loaded onto, or on, or
temporarily attached to a transport vehicle or ship
and equipped with skids, mountings, or
accessories to facilitate handling of the tank by
mechanical means. It does not include a cargo
tank, tank car, multi-unit tank car tank, or trailer
carrying 3AX, 3AAX, or 3T cylinders.
This definition does not apply to petroleum
products that are lubricants or fuels (see 40 CFR
300.6).
Proper shipping name – The name of the
hazardous materials shown in Roman print (not
italics) in Sec. 172.101.
Hazardous waste – For the purposes of this
chapter, means any material that is subject to the
Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specified in
40 CFR Part 262.
P.s.i. or psi – Pounds per square inch.
P.s.i.a. or psia – Pounds per square inch
absolute.
Intermediate bulk container (IBC) – A rigid or
flexible portable packaging, other than a cylinder or
portable tank, which is designed for mechanical
handling. Standards for IBCs manufactured in the
United States are set forth in subparts N and O
§178.
Reportable quantity (RQ) - The quantity specified
in Column 2 of the Appendix to Sec. 172.101 for
any material identified in Column 1 of the
Appendix.
Limited quantity – The maximum amount of a
hazardous material for which there may be specific
labeling or packaging exception.
RSPA – The Research and Special Programs
Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation,
Washington, DC 20590.
Marking – The descriptive name, identification
number,
instructions,
cautions,
weight,
specification, or UN marks or combinations thereof,
required by this subchapter on outer packaging of
hazardous materials.
Shipper's certification – A statement on a
shipping paper, signed by the shipper, saying
he/she prepared the shipment properly according
to law. For example:
"This is to certify that the above named materials are
properly classified, described, packaged, marked and
labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation
according to the applicable regulations or the
Department of Transportation." or
"I hereby declare that the contents of this
consignment are fully and accurately described above by
the proper shipping name and are classified, packaged,
marked and labeled/placarded, and are in all respects in
proper condition for transport by * according to
applicable international and national government
regulations."
* words may be inserted here to indicate mode of
transportation (rail, aircraft, motor vehicle, vessel)
Mixture – A material composed of more than one
chemical compound or element.
Name of contents – The proper shipping name as
specified in Sec. 172.101.
Non-bulk packaging - A packaging, which has:
1.
2.
3.
A maximum capacity of 450 L (119 gallons)
as a receptacle for a liquid;
A maximum net mass less than 400 kg (882
pounds) and a maximum capacity of 450 L
(119 gallons) or less as a receptacle for a
solid; or
A water capacity greater than 454 kg (1,000
pounds) or less as a receptacle for a gas as
defined in Sec. 173.115.
Shipping paper – A shipping order, bill of lading,
manifest, or other shipping document serving a
similar purpose and containing the information
required by Sec. 172.202, 172.203, and 172.204.
9-20
Technical name – A recognized chemical name or
microbiological name currently used in scientific
and technical handbooks, journals, and texts.
Transport vehicle – A cargo-carrying vehicle such
as an automobile, van, tractor, truck, semi-trailer,
tank car, or rail car used for the transportation of
cargo by any mode. Each cargo-carrying body
(trailer, rail car, etc.) is a separate transport
vehicle.
UN standard packaging – A specification
packaging conforming to the standards in the UN
recommendations.
UN – United Nations.
9-21
Section 10
SCHOOL BUSES
This Section Covers







Danger Zones and Use of Mirrors
Loading and Unloading
Emergency Exit and Evacuation
Railroad-Highway Grade Crossings
Student Management
Antilock Braking Systems
Special Safety Considerations
Because state and local laws and regulations
regulate so much of school transportation and
school bus operations, many of the procedures in
this section may differ from state to state. You
should be thoroughly familiar with the laws and
regulations in your state and local school district.
10.1 – Danger Zones and Use of Mirrors
10.1.1 – Danger Zones
The danger zone is the area on all sides of the bus
where children are in the most danger of being hit,
either by another vehicle or their own bus. 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 school bus. In addition, the area to
the left of the bus is always considered dangerous
because of passing cars. Figure 10.1 illustrates
these danger zones.
Figure 10.1
10.1.3 – Outside Left and Right Side Flat
Mirrors
These mirrors are mounted at the left and right
front corners of the bus at the side or front of the
windshield. They are used to monitor traffic, check
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 50 to 150 feet and could extend up to
400 feet depending on the length and width of the
bus.
10.1.2 – 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.
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so
you can see:
 200 feet or 4 bus lengths behind the bus.
 Along the sides of the bus.
 The rear tires touching the ground.
Figure 10.2 shows how both the outside left and
right side flat mirrors should be adjusted.
10-1
Figure 10.3
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.
Figure 10.2
10.1.4 – Outside Left and Right Side
Convex Mirrors
The convex mirrors are located below the outside
flat mirrors. They are used to monitor the left and
right sides at a wide angle. They provide a view of
traffic, clearances, and students at the side of the
bus. These mirrors present a view of people and
objects that does not accurately reflect their size
and distance from the bus.
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.
You should position these mirrors to see:
 The entire side of the bus up to the mirror mounts.
 Front of the rear tires touching the ground.
 At least one traffic lane on either side of the bus.
Figure 10.3 shows how both the outside left and
right side convex mirrors should be adjusted.
Figure 10.4 illustrates how the left and right side
crossover mirrors should be adjusted.
10.1.5 – 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
10-2
the state laws and regulations governing
loading/unloading operations in your state.
10.2.1 – Approaching the Stop
Each school district establishes official routes and
official school bus stops. All stops should be
approved by the school district prior to making the
stop. You should never change the location of a
bus stop without written approval from the
appropriate school district official.
You must use extreme caution when approaching
a school bus stop. You are in a very demanding
situation when entering these areas. It is critical
that you understand and follow all state and local
laws and regulations regarding approaching a
school bus stop. This would involve the proper use
of mirrors, alternating flashing lights, and when
equipped, the moveable stop signal arm and
crossing control arm.
Figure 10.4
10.1.6 – Overhead Inside Rearview Mirror
When approaching the stop, you should:
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.
 Approach cautiously at a slow rate of speed.
 Look for pedestrians, traffic, or other objects before,
during, and after coming to a stop.
 Continuously check all mirrors.
 If the school bus is so equipped, activate alternating
flashing amber warning lights at least 200 feet or
approximately 5-10 seconds before the school bus
stop or in accordance with state law.
 Turn on right turn signal indicator about 100-300
feet or approximately 3-5 seconds before pulling
over.
 Continuously check mirrors to monitor the danger
zones for students, traffic, and other objects.
 Move as far as possible to the right on the traveled
portion of the roadway.
 Bring school bus to a full stop with the front bumper
at least 10 feet away from students at the
designated stop. This forces the students to walk to
the bus so you have a better view of their
movements.
 Place transmission in Park, or if there is no Park
shift point, in Neutral and set the parking brake at
each stop.
 Open service door, if possible, enough to activate
alternating red lights when traffic is a safe distance
from the school bus.
 Make a final check to see that all traffic has stopped
before completely opening the door and signaling
students to approach.
You should position the mirror to see:
 The top of the rear window in the top of the mirror.
 All of the students, including the heads of the
students right behind you.
10.2 – Loading and Unloading
More students are killed while getting on or off a
school bus each year than are killed as
passengers inside of a school bus. As a result,
knowing what to do before, during, and after
loading or unloading students is critical. This
section will give you specific procedures to help
you avoid unsafe conditions which could result in
injuries and fatalities during and after loading and
unloading students.
The information in this section is intended to
provide a broad overview, but is not a definitive set
of actions. It is imperative that you learn and obey
10-3
 Tell students to exit the bus and walk at least 10
feet away from the side of the bus to a position
where the driver can plainly see all students.
 Check all mirrors again. Make sure no students are
around or returning to the bus.
 If you cannot account for a student outside the bus,
secure the bus, and check around and underneath
the bus.
 When all students are accounted for, prepare to
leave by:
o Closing the door.
o Engaging transmission.
o Releasing parking brake.
o Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
o Turning on left turn signal.
o Checking all mirrors again.
o Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
10.2.2 – Loading Procedures
 Perform a safe stop as described in subsection
10.2.1.
 Students should wait in a designated location for
the school bus, facing the bus as it approaches.
 Students should board the bus only when signaled
by the driver.
 Monitor all mirrors continuously.
 Count the number of students at the bus stop and
be sure all board the bus. If possible, know names
of students at each stop. If there is a student
missing, ask the other students where the student
is.
 Have the students board the school bus slowly, in
single file, and use the handrail. The dome light
should be on while loading in the dark.
 Wait until students are seated and facing forward
before moving the bus.
 Check all mirrors. Make certain no one is running to
catch the bus.
 If you cannot account for a student outside, secure
the bus, take the key, and check around and
underneath the bus.
 When all students are accounted for, prepare to
leave by:
o Closing the door.
o Engaging the transmission.
o Releasing the parking brake.
o Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
o Turning on left turn signal.
o Checking all mirrors again.
o Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
 When it is safe, move the bus, enter the traffic flow
and continue the route.
Note: If you have missed a student’s unloading
stop, do not back up. Be sure to follow local
procedures.
Additional Procedures for Students That Must
Cross the Roadway. You should understand what
students should do when exiting a school bus and
crossing the street in front of the bus. In addition,
the school bus driver should understand that
students might not always do what they are
supposed to do. If a student or students must cross
the roadway, they should follow these procedures:
 Walk approximately 10 feet away from the side of
the school bus to a position where you can see
them.
 Walk to a location at least 10 feet in front of the right
corner of the bumper, but still remaining away from
the front of the school bus.
 Stop at the right edge of the roadway. You should
be able to see the student’s feet.
 When it is safe, move the bus to enter traffic flow
and continue the route.
The loading procedure is essentially the same
wherever you load students, but there are slight
differences. When students are loading at the
school campus, you should:
 Turn off the ignition switch.
 Remove key if leaving driver’s compartment.
 Position yourself to supervise loading as required or
recommended by your state or local regulations.
When students reach the edge of the roadway,
they should:
 Stop and look in all directions, making sure the
roadway is clear and is safe.
 Check to see if the red flashing lights on the bus are
still flashing.
 Wait for your signal before crossing the roadway.
10.2.3 – Unloading Procedures on the
Route
 Perform a safe stop at designated unloading areas
as described in subsection 10.2.1.
 Have the students remain seated until told to exit.
 Check all mirrors.
 Count the number of students while unloading to
confirm the location of all students before pulling
away from the stop.
Upon your signal, the students should:
 Cross far enough in front of the school bus to be in
your view.
 Stop at the left edge of the school bus, stop, and
look again for your signal to continue to cross the
roadway.
10-4
 Look for traffic in both directions, making sure
roadway is clear.
 Proceed across the roadway, continuing to look in
all directions.
10.2.5 – Special Dangers of Loading and
Unloading
Dropped or Forgotten Objects. Always focus on
students as they approach the bus and watch for
any who disappear from sight.
Note: The school bus driver should enforce any
state or local regulations or recommendations
concerning student actions outside the school bus.
Students may drop an object near the bus during
loading and unloading. Stopping to pick up the
object, or returning to pick up the object may cause
the student to disappear from the driver’s sight at a
very dangerous moment.
10.2.4 – Unloading Procedures at School
State and local laws and regulations regarding
unloading students at schools, particularly in
situations where such activities take place in the
school parking lot or other location that is off the
traveled roadway, are often different than
unloading along the school bus route. It is
important that the school bus driver understands
and obeys state and local laws and regulations.
The following procedures are meant to be general
guidelines.
Students should be told to leave any dropped
object and move to a point of safety out of the
danger zones and attempt to get the driver’s
attention to retrieve the object.
Handrail Hang-ups. Students have been injured
or killed when clothing, accessories, or even parts
of their body get caught in the handrail or door as
they exited the bus. You should closely observe all
students exiting the bus to confirm that they are in
a safe location prior to moving the bus.
When unloading at the school you should follow
these procedures:
 Perform a safe stop at designated unloading areas
as described in subsection 10.2.1.
 Secure the bus by:
o Turning off the ignition switch.
o Removing
key
if
leaving
driver’s
compartment.
10.2.6 – Post-trip Inspection
When your route or school activity trip is finished,
you should conduct a post-trip inspection of the
bus.
You should walk through the bus and around the
bus looking for the following:
 Have the students remain seated until told to exit.
 Position yourself to supervise unloading as required
or recommended by your state or local regulations.
 Have students exit in orderly fashion.
 Observe students as they step from bus to see that
all move promptly away from the unloading area.
 Walk through the bus and check for hiding/sleeping
students and items left by students.
 Check all mirrors. Make certain no students are
returning to the bus.
 If you cannot account for a student outside the bus
and the bus is secure, check around and
underneath the bus.
 When all students are accounted for, prepare to
leave by:
o Closing the door.
o Fastening safety belt.
o Starting engine.
o Engaging the transmission.
o Releasing the parking brake.
o Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
o Turning on left turn signal.
o Checking all mirrors again.
o Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
 Articles left on the bus.
 Sleeping students.
 Open windows and doors.
 Mechanical/operational problems with the bus, with
special attention to items that are unique to school
buses – mirror systems, flashing warning lamps
and stop signal arms.
 Damage or vandalism.
Any problems or special situations should be
reported immediately to your supervisor or school
authorities.
 When it is safe, pull away from the unloading area.
10-5
10.3 – Emergency Exit and Evacuation
10.3.2 – Evacuation Procedures
An emergency situation can happen to anyone,
anytime, anywhere. It could be a crash, a stalled
school bus on a railroad-highway crossing or in a
high-speed intersection, an electrical fire in the
engine compartment, a medical emergency to a
student on the school bus, etc. Knowing what to do
in an emergency–before, during and after an
evacuation–can mean the difference between life
and death.
Be Prepared and Plan Ahead. When possible,
assign two responsible, older student assistants to
each emergency exit. Teach them how to assist
the other students off the bus. Assign another
student assistant to lead the students to a “safe
place” after evacuation. However, you must
recognize that there may not be older, responsible
students on the bus at the time of the emergency.
Therefore, emergency evacuation procedures must
be explained to all students. This includes knowing
how to operate the various emergency exits and
the importance of listening to and following all
instructions given by you.
10.3.1 – Planning for Emergencies
Determine Need to Evacuate Bus. The first and
most important consideration is for you to
recognize the hazard. If time permits, school bus
drivers should contact their dispatcher to explain
the situation before making a decision to evacuate
the school bus.
Some tips to determine a safe place:
 A safe place will be at least 100 feet off the road in
the direction of oncoming traffic. This will keep the
students from being hit by debris if another vehicle
collides with the bus.
 Lead students upwind of the bus if fire is present.
 Lead students as far away from railroad tracks as
possible and in the direction of any oncoming train.
 Lead students upwind of the bus at least 300 feet if
there is a risk from spilled hazardous materials.
 If the bus is in the direct path of a sighted tornado
and evacuation is ordered, escort students to a
nearby ditch or culvert if shelter in a building is not
readily available, and direct them to lie face down,
hands covering their head. They should be far
enough away so the bus cannot topple on them.
Avoid areas that are subject to flash floods.
As a general rule, student safety and control is
best maintained by keeping students on the bus
during an emergency and/or impending crisis
situation, if so doing does not expose them to
unnecessary risk or injury. Remember, the
decision to evacuate the bus must be a timely one.
A decision to evacuate should
consideration of the following conditions:
include
 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
such as downed power lines?
 Would moving students complicate injuries such as
neck and back injuries and fractures?
 Is there a hazardous spill involved? Sometimes, it
may be safer to remain on the bus and not come in
contact with the material.
Mandatory Evacuations.
evacuate the bus when:
The
driver
General Procedures. Determine if evacuation is in
the best interest of safety.
Determine the best type of evacuation:
 Front, rear or side door evacuation, or some
combination of doors.
 Roof or window evacuation.
Secure the bus by:
 Placing transmission in Park, or if there is no
shift point, in Neutral.
 Setting parking brakes.
 Shutting off the engine.
 Removing ignition key.
 Activating hazard-warning lights.
must
 The bus is on fire or there is a threat of a fire.
 The bus is stalled on or adjacent to a railroadhighway crossing.
 The position of the bus may change and increase
the danger.
 There is an imminent danger of collision.
 There is a need to quickly evacuate because of a
hazardous materials spill.
 If time allows, notify dispatch office of evacuation
location, conditions, and type of assistance needed.
10-6
 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 area resident to call for help. As
a last resort, dispatch two older, responsible
students to go for help.
 Order the evacuation.
 Evacuate students from the bus.
o Do not move a student you believe may have
suffered a neck or spinal injury unless his or
her life is in immediate danger.
o 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.
Figure 10.5
Pavement Markings. Pavement markings mean
the same as the advance warning sign. They
consist of an “X” with the letters ”RR” and a nopassing marking on two-lane roads.
10.4 – Railroad-Highway Crossings
10.4.1 – Types of Crossings
There is also a no passing zone sign on two-lane
roads. There may be a white stop line painted on
the pavement before the railroad tracks. The front
of the school bus must remain behind this line
while stopped at the crossing. See Figure 10.6.
Passive Crossings. This type of crossing does
not have any type of traffic control device. You
must stop at these crossings and follow proper
procedures. However, the decision to proceed
rests entirely in your hands. Passive crossings
require you to recognize the crossing, search for
any train using the tracks and decide if there is
sufficient clear space to cross safely. Passive
crossings have yellow circular advance warning
signs, pavement markings and crossbucks to
assist you in recognizing a crossing.
Active Crossings. This type of crossing has a
traffic control device installed at the crossing to
regulate traffic at the crossing. These active
devices include flashing red lights, with or without
bells and flashing red lights with bells and gates.
10.4.2 – Warning Signs and Devices
Advance Warning Signs. The round, black-onyellow warning sign is placed ahead of a public
railroad-highway crossing. The advance warning
sign tells you to slow down, look and listen for the
train, and be prepared to stop at the tracks if a train
is coming. See Figure 10.5.
Figure 10.6
Crossbuck Signs. This sign marks the crossing. It
requires you to yield the right-of-way to the train. If
there is no white line painted on the pavement, you
must stop the bus before the crossbuck sign.
10-7
When the road crosses over more than one set of
tracks, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the
number of tracks. See Figure 10.7.
Flashing Red Light Signals. At many highwayrail grade crossings, the crossbuck sign has
flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin
to flash, stop! A train is approaching. You are
required to yield the right-of-way to the train. If
there is more than one track, make sure all tracks
are clear before crossing. See Figure 10.8.
Gates. Many railroad-highway crossings have
gates with flashing red lights and bells. Stop when
the lights begin to flash and before the gate lowers
across the road lane. Remain stopped until the
gates go up and the lights have stopped flashing.
Proceed when it is safe. If the gate stays down
after the train passes, do not drive around the
gate. Instead, call your dispatcher. See Figure
10.8.
10.4.3 – Recommended Procedures
Figure 10.8
Each state has laws and regulations governing
how school buses must operate at railroadhighway crossings. It is important for you to
understand and obey these state laws and
regulations. In general, school buses must stop at
all crossings, and ensure it is safe before
proceeding across the tracks. The specific
procedures required in each state vary.
A school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the
highway. However, a school bus does not have the
slightest edge when involved in a crash with a
train. Because of a train’s size and weight it cannot
stop quickly. An emergency escape route does not
exist for a train. You can prevent school bus/train
crashes by following these recommended
procedures.
Approaching the Crossing:
 Slow down, including shifting to a lower gear in
a manual transmission bus, and test your
brakes.
 Activate hazard lights approximately 200 feet
before the crossing. Make sure your intentions
are known.
 Scan your surroundings and check for traffic
behind you.
 Stay to the right of the roadway if possible.
 Choose an escape route in the event of a brake
failure or problems behind you.
At the Crossing:
 Stop no closer than 15 feet and no farther than
50 feet from the nearest rail, where you have
the best view of the tracks.
 Place the transmission in Park, or if there is no
Park shift point, in Neutral and press down on
the service brake or set the parking brakes.
 Turn off all radios and noisy equipment, and
silence the passengers.
Figure 10.7
10-8
 Open the service door and driver’s window.
Look and listen for an approaching train.
10.5 – Student Management
Crossing the Track:
10.5.1 – Don’t Deal with On-bus Problems
When Loading and Unloading
 Check the crossing signals again before
proceeding.
 At a multiple-track crossing, stop only before
the first set of tracks. When you are sure no
train is approaching on any track, proceed
across all of the tracks until you have
completely cleared them.
 Cross the tracks in a low gear. Do not change
gears while crossing.
 If the gate comes down after you have started
across, drive through it even if it means you will
break the gate.
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.
10.4.4 – Special Situations
10.5.2 – Handling Serious Problems
Bus Stalls or Trapped on Tracks. If your bus
stalls or is trapped on the tracks, get everyone out
and off the tracks immediately. Move everyone far
from the bus at an angle, which is both away from
the tracks and toward the train.
Tips on 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.
Police Officer at the Crossing. If a police officer
is at the crossing, obey directions. If there is no
police officer, and you believe the signal is
malfunctioning, call your dispatcher to report the
situation and ask for instructions on how to
proceed.
Obstructed View of Tracks. Plan your route so it
provides maximum sight distance at highway-rail
grade crossings. Do not attempt to cross the tracks
unless you can see far enough down the track to
know for certain that no trains are approaching.
Passive crossings are those that do not have any
type of traffic control device. Be especially careful
at “passive” crossings. Even if there are active
railroad signals that indicate the tracks are clear,
you must look and listen to be sure it is safe to
proceed.
10.6 – Antilock Braking Systems
10.6.1 – Vehicles Required to Have
Antilock Braking Systems
Containment or Storage Areas. If it won’t fit,
don’t commit! Know the length of your bus and the
size of the containment area at highway-rail
crossings on the school bus route, as well as any
crossing you encounter in the course of a school
activity trip. When approaching a crossing with a
signal or stop sign on the opposite side, pay
attention to the amount of room there. Be certain
the bus has enough containment or storage area
to completely clear the railroad tracks on the other
side if there is a need to stop. As a general rule,
add 15 feet to the length of the school bus to
determine an acceptable amount of containment or
storage area.
The Department of Transportation requires that
antilock braking systems be on:
 Air brakes vehicles, (trucks, buses, trailers and
converter dollies) built on or after March 1, 1998.
 Hydraulically braked trucks and buses with a gross
vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or more built on
or after March 1, 1999.
10-9
Many buses built before these dates have been
voluntarily equipped with ABS.
10.6.5 – Safety Reminders
 ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow more
closely, or drive less carefully.
 ABS won’t prevent power or turning skids–ABS
should prevent brake-induced skids but not those
caused by spinning the drive wheels or going too
fast in a turn.
 ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping distance.
ABS will help maintain vehicle control, but not
always shorten stopping distance.
 ABS won’t increase or decrease ultimate stopping
power–ABS is an “add-on” to your normal brakes,
not a replacement for them.
 ABS won’t change the way you normally brake.
Under normal brake conditions, your vehicle will
stop as it always stopped. ABS only comes into
play when a wheel would normally have locked up
because of over braking.
 ABS won’t compensate for bad brakes or poor
brake maintenance.
 Remember: The best vehicle safety feature is still a
safe driver.
 Remember: Drive so you never need to use your
ABS.
 Remember: If you need it, ABS could help to
prevent a serious crash.
Your school bus will have a yellow ABS
malfunction lamp on the instrument panel if it is
equipped with ABS.
10.6.2 – How ABS Helps You
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid or even spin the vehicle.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up and maintain
control. You may or may not be able to stop faster
with ABS, but you should be able to steer around
an obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused
by over braking.
10.6.3 – 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.
10.7 – Special Safety Considerations
10.7.1 – Strobe Lights
Some school buses are equipped with roofmounted, white strobe lights. If your bus is so
equipped, the overhead strobe light should be
used when you have limited visibility. This means
that you cannot easily see around you – in front,
behind, or beside the school bus. Your visibility
could be only slightly limited or it could be so bad
that you can see nothing at all. In all instances,
understand and obey your state or local
regulations concerning the use of these lights.
10.6.4 – Braking if ABS is Not Working
Without ABS, you still have normal brake functions.
Drive and brake as you always have.
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps
to tell you if something is not working. The yellow
ABS malfunction lamp is on the bus’s instrument
panel.
10.7.2 – Driving in High Winds
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.
Strong winds affect the handling of the school bus!
The side of a school bus acts like a sail on a
sailboat. Strong winds can push the school bus
sideways. They can even move the school bus off
the road or, in extreme conditions, tip it over.
If you are caught in strong winds:
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.
 Keep a strong grip on the steering wheel. Try to
anticipate gusts.
 You should slow down to lessen the effect of the
wind, or pull off the roadway and wait.
 Contact your dispatcher to get more information on
how to proceed.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
10-10
10.7.3 – Backing
Backing a school bus is strongly discouraged. You
should back your bus only when you have no other
safe way to move the vehicle. You should never
back a school bus when students are outside of
the bus. Backing is dangerous and increases your
risk of a collision. If you have no choice and you
must back your bus, follow these procedures:
Section 10
Test Your Knowledge
1.
Define the danger zone. How far does the
danger zone extend around the bus?
2. What should you be able to see if the outside
flat mirrors are adjusted properly? The
outside convex mirrors? The crossover
mirrors?
3. You are loading students along the route.
When should you activate your alternating
flashing amber warning lights?
4. You are unloading students along your route.
Where should students walk to after exiting
the bus?
5. After unloading at school, why should you
walk through the bus?
6. What position should students be in front of
the bus before they cross the roadway?
7. Under what conditions must you evacuate the
bus?
8. How far from the nearest rail should you stop
at a highway-rail crossing?
9. What is a passive highway-rail crossing? Why
should you be extra cautious at this type of
crossing?
10. How should you use your brakes if your
vehicle is equipped with antilock brakes
(ABS)?
 Post a lookout. The purpose of the lookout is to
warn you about obstacles, approaching persons,
and other vehicles. The lookout should not give
directions on how to back the bus.
 Signal for quiet on the bus.
 Constantly check all mirrors and rear windows.
 Back slowly and smoothly.
 If no lookout is available:
o Set the parking brake.
o Turn off the motor and take the keys with
you.
o Walk to the rear of the bus to determine
whether the way is clear.
 If you must back-up at a student pick-up point, be
sure to pick up students before backing and watch
for late comers at all times.
 Be sure that all students are in the bus before
backing.
 If you must back-up at a student drop-off point, be
sure to unload students after backing.
10.7.4 – Tail Swing
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Section 10.
A school bus can have up to a three-foot tail swing.
You need to check your mirrors before and during
any turning movements to monitor the tail swing.
10-11
Engine Compartment Belts
Section 11
 Check the following belts for snugness (up to 3/4
inch play at center of belt), cracks, or frays:
o Power steering belt.
o Water pump belt.
o Alternator belt.
o Air compressor belt.
PRE-TRIP VEHICLE
INSPECTION TEST
This Section Covers


Note: If any of the components listed above are
not belt driven, you must:
Internal Inspection
External Inspection
 Tell the examiner which component(s) are not belt
driven.
 Make sure component(s) are operating properly,
are not damaged or leaking, and are mounted
securely.
During the pre-trip inspection, you must show that
the vehicle is safe to drive. You may have to walk
around the vehicle and point to or touch each item
and explain to the examiner what you are checking
and why. You will NOT have to crawl under the
hood or under the vehicle.
11.1
Safe Start
 Depress clutch.
 Place gearshift lever in neutral (or park, for
automatic transmissions).
 Start engine, then release clutch slowly.
All Vehicles
Study the following vehicle parts for the type of
vehicle you will be using during the CDL skills
tests. You should be able to identify each part and
tell the examiner what you are looking for or
inspecting.
11.1.2 – Cab Check/Engine Start
Oil Pressure Gauge
11.1.1 Engine Compartment (Engine Off)
 Make sure oil pressure gauge is working.
 Check that pressure gauge shows increasing or
normal oil pressure or that the warning light goes
off.
 If equipped, oil temperature gauge should begin a
gradual rise to the normal operating range.
Leaks/Hoses
 Look for puddles on the ground.
 Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine and
transmission.
 Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.
Temperature Gauge
Oil Level
 Make sure the temperature gauge is working.
 Temperature should begin to climb to the normal
operating range or temperature light should be off.
 Indicate where dipstick is located.
 See that oil level is within safe operating range.
 Level must be above refill mark.
Air Gauge
Coolant Level
 Make sure the air gauge is working properly.
 Build air pressure to governor cut-out, roughly 120140 psi.
 Inspect reservoir sight glass, or
 (If engine is not hot), remove radiator cap and
check for visible coolant level.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
Power Steering Fluid
 Check that gauges show alternator and/or
generator is charging or that warning light is off.
 Indicate where power steering fluid dipstick is
located.
 Check for adequate power steering fluid level.
 Level must be above refill mark.
11-1
Mirrors and Windshield
o Reflector tape condition.
 Mirrors should be clean and adjusted properly from
the inside.
 Windshield should be clean with no illegal stickers,
no obstructions, or damage to the glass.
Note: Checks of brake, turn signal and four-way
flasher functions must be done separately.
Emergency Equipment
 Check that air horn and/or electric horn work.
 Check for spare electrical fuses.
 Check for three red reflective triangles.
 Check for a properly charged and rated fire
extinguisher.
Heater/Defroster
Horn
 Test that the heater and defroster work.
Parking Brake Check
Note: If the vehicle is not equipped with electrical
fuses, you must mention this to the examiner.
 With the parking brake engaged (trailer brakes
released on combination vehicles), check that
the parking brake will hold vehicle by gently
trying to pull forward with parking brake on.
 With the parking brake released and the trailer
parking brake engaged (combination vehicles only),
check that the trailer parking brake will hold vehicle
by gently trying to pull forward with the trailer
parking brake on.
Steering Play
 Non-power steering: Check for excessive play by
turning steering wheel back and forth. Play should
not exceed 10 degrees (or about two inches on a
20-inch wheel).
 Power steering: With the engine running, check for
excessive play by turning the steering wheel back
and forth. Play should not exceed 10 degrees (or
about two inches on a 20-inch wheel) before front
left wheel barely moves.
Hydraulic Brake Check
 Pump the brake pedal three times, then hold it
down for five seconds. The brake pedal should not
move (depress) during the five seconds.
 If equipped with a hydraulic brake reserve (backup) system, with the key off, depress the brake
pedal and listen for the sound of the reserve system
electric motor.
 Check that the warning buzzer or light is off.
Wipers/Washers
 Check that wiper arms and blades are secure, not
damaged, and operate smoothly.
 If equipped, windshield washers must operate
correctly.
Lights/Reflectors/Reflector Tape Condition
(Sides & Rear)
Air Brake Check (Air Brake Equipped Vehicles
Only)
 Test that dash indicators work when corresponding
lights are turned on:
o Left turn signal.
o Right turn signal.
o Four-way emergency flashers.
o High beam headlight.
o Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) indicator.
 Check that all external lights and reflective
equipment are clean and functional. Light and
reflector checks include:
o Clearance lights (red on rear, amber
elsewhere).
o Headlights (high and low beams).
o Taillights.
o Backing lights.
o Turn signals.
o Four-way flashers.
o Brake lights.
o Red reflectors (on rear) and amber
reflectors (elsewhere).
 Failure to perform all three components of the air
brake check correctly will result in an automatic
failure of the vehicle inspection test. Air brake safety
devices vary. However, this procedure is designed
to see that any safety device operates correctly as
air pressure drops from normal to a low air
condition. For safety purposes, in areas where an
incline is present, you will use wheel chocks during
the air brake check. The proper procedures for
inspecting the air brake system are as follows:
 Shut off the engine, chock your wheels, if
necessary, release the tractor protection valve
and parking brake (push in), fully apply the foot
brake and hold it for one minute. Check the air
gauge to see if the air pressure drops more than
three pounds in one minute (single vehicle) or
four pounds in one minute (combination vehicle).
11-2
 Begin fanning off the air pressure by rapidly
applying and releasing the foot brake. Low air
warning devices (buzzer, light, flag) should
activate before air pressure drops below 60 psi.
 Continue to fan off the air pressure. At
approximately 40 psi on a tractor-trailer
combination vehicle, the tractor protection valve
and parking brake valve should close (pop out).
On other combination vehicle types and single
vehicle types, the parking brake valve should
close (pop out).
11.2.2 – Suspension
Springs/Air/Torque
 Look for missing, shifted, cracked, or broken leaf
springs.
 Look for broken or distorted coil springs.
 If vehicle is equipped with torsion bars, torque
arms, or other types of suspension components,
check that they are not damaged and are mounted
securely.
 Air ride suspension should be checked for damage
and leaks.
Service Brake Check
You will be required to check the application of air
or hydraulic service brakes. This procedure is
designed to determine that the brakes are working
correctly and that the vehicle does not pull to one
side or the other.
Mounts
 Look for cracked or broken spring hangers, missing
or damaged bushings, and broken, loose, or
missing bolts, u-bolts or other axle mounting parts.
(The mounts should be checked at each point
where they are secured to the vehicle frame and
axle[s]).
Pull forward at 5 mph, apply the service brake and
stop. Check to see that the vehicle does not pull to
either side and that it stops when brake is applied.
Shock Absorbers
Safety Belt
 See that shock absorbers are secure and that there
are no leaks.
 Check that the safety belt is securely mounted,
adjusts, latches properly and is not ripped or frayed.
11.2 – External Inspection (School
Bus/Truck/Tractor)
Note: Be prepared to perform the same
suspension components inspection on every axle
(power unit and trailer, if equipped).
11.2.1– Steering
11.2.3 – Brakes
Steering Box/Hoses
Slack Adjustors and Pushrods
 Check that the steering box is securely mounted
and not leaking. Look for any missing nuts, bolts,
and cotter keys.
 Check for power steering fluid leaks or damage to
power steering hoses.
 Look for broken, loose, or missing parts.
 For manual slack adjustors, the brake pushrod
should not move more than one inch (with the
brakes released) when pulled by hand.
Brake Chambers
Steering Linkage
 See that brake chambers are not leaking, cracked,
or dented and are mounted securely.
 See that connecting links, arms, and rods from the
steering box to the wheel are not worn or cracked.
 Check that joints and sockets are not worn or loose
and that there are no missing nuts, bolts, or cotter
keys.
Brake Hoses/Lines
 Look for cracked, worn, or leaking hoses, lines, and
couplings.
Drum Brake
 Check for cracks, dents, or holes. Also check for
loose or missing bolts.
 Check for contaminates such debris or oil/grease.
 Brake linings (where visible) should not be worn
dangerously thin.
11-3
Brake Linings
Note: Be prepared to perform the same wheel
inspection on every axle (power unit and trailer, if
equipped).
 On some brake drums, there are openings where
the brake linings can be seen from outside the
drum. For this type of drum, check that a visible
amount of brake lining is showing.
11.2.5 – Side of Vehicle
Door(s)/Mirror(s)
11.2.4 – Wheels
 Check that door(s) are not damaged and that they
open and close properly from the outside.
 Hinges should be secure with seals intact. Check
that mirror(s) and mirror brackets are not damaged
and are mounted securely with no loose fittings.
Rims
Fuel Tank
 Check for damaged or bent rims. Rims cannot have
welding repairs.
 Check that tank(s) are secure, cap(s) are tight, and
that there are no leaks from tank(s) or lines.
Tires
Battery/Box
The following items must be inspected on every tire:
 Wherever located, see that battery(s) are secure,
connections are tight, and cell caps are present.
 Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
 Battery box and cover or door must be secure.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same brake
components inspection on every axle (power unit
and trailer, if equipped).
 Tread depth: Check for minimum tread depth
(4/32 on steering axle tires, 2/32 on all other
tires).
 Tire condition: Check that tread is evenly worn
and look for cuts or other damage to tread or
sidewalls. Also, make sure that valve caps and
stems are not missing, broken, or damaged.
 Tire inflation: Check for proper inflation by using
a tire gauge, or inflation by striking tires with a
mallet or other similar device.
Drive Shaft
 See that drive shaft is not bent or cracked.
 Couplings should be secure and free of foreign
objects.
Exhaust System
Note: You will not get credit if you simply kick the
tires to check for proper inflation.
 Check system for damage and signs of leaks such
as rust or carbon soot.
 System should be connected tightly and mounted
securely.
Hub Oil Seals/Axle Seals
 See that hub oil/grease seals and axle seals are
not leaking and, if wheel has a sight glass, oil
level is adequate.
Frame
 Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the longitudinal frame members, cross
members, box, and floor.
Lug Nuts
 Check that all lug nuts are present, free of cracks
and distortions, and show no signs of looseness
such as rust trails or shiny threads.
 Make sure all bolt holes are not cracked or
distorted.
11.2.6 – Rear of Vehicle
Splash Guards
 If equipped, check that splash guards or mud flaps
are not damaged and are mounted securely.
Spacers
 If equipped, check that spacers are not bent,
damaged, or rusted through.
 Spacers should be evenly centered, with the
dual wheels and tires evenly separated.
11-4
Doors/Ties/Lifts
th
5 Wheel Skid Plate
 Check that doors and hinges are not damaged and
that they open, close, and latch properly from the
outside, if equipped.
 Ties, straps, chains, and binders must also be
secure.
 If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
 Lift must be fully retracted and latched securely.
 Check for proper lubrication and that 5th wheel skid
plate is securely mounted to the platform and that
all bolts and pins are secure and not missing.
Platform (Fifth Wheel)
 Check for cracks or breaks in the platform structure
which supports the fifth wheel skid plate.
Release Arm (Fifth Wheel)
11.2.7 – Tractor/Coupling
 If equipped, make sure the release arm is in the
engaged position and the safety latch is in place.
Air/Electric Lines
 Listen for air leaks. Check that air hoses and
electrical lines are not cut, chafed, spliced, or worn
(steel braid should not show through).
 Make sure air and electrical lines are not tangled,
pinched, or dragging against tractor parts.
Kingpin/Apron/Gap
 Check that the kingpin is not bent.
 Make sure the visible part of the apron is not bent,
cracked, or broken.
 Check that the trailer is laying flat on the fifth wheel
skid plate (no gap).
Catwalk
 Check that the catwalk is solid, clear of objects, and
securely bolted to tractor frame.
Locking Pins (Fifth Wheel)
 If equipped, look for loose or missing pins in the
slide mechanism of the sliding fifth wheel. If air
powered, check for leaks.
 Make sure locking pins are fully engaged.
 Check that the fifth wheel is positioned properly so
that the tractor frame will clear the landing gear
during turns.
Mounting Bolts
 Look for loose or missing mounting brackets,
clamps, bolts, or nuts. Both the fifth wheel and the
slide mounting must be solidly attached.
 On other types of coupling systems (i.e., ball hitch,
pintle hook, etc.), inspect all coupling components
and mounting brackets for missing or broken parts.
Sliding Pintle
 Check that the sliding pintle is secured with no
loose or missing nuts or bolts and cotter pin is in
place.
Hitch Release Lever
 Check to see that the hitch release lever is in place
and is secure.
Tongue or Draw-bar
Locking Jaws
 Check that the tongue/draw-bar is not bent or
twisted and checks for broken welds and stress
cracks.
 Check that the tongue/draw-bar is not worn
excessively.
 Look into fifth wheel gap and check that locking
jaws are fully closed around the kingpin.
 On other types of coupling systems (i.e., ball hitch,
pintle hook, etc.), inspect the locking mechanism for
missing or broken parts and make sure it is locked
securely. If present, safety cables or chains must be
secure and free of kinks and excessive slack.
Tongue Storage Area
 Check that the storage area is solid and secured to
the tongue.
 Check that cargo in the storage area i.e. chains,
binders, etc. are secure.
11-5
11.3 – School Bus Only
Passenger Entry/Lift
Emergency Equipment
 Check that the entry door is not damaged, operates
smoothly, and closes securely from the inside.
 Hand rails are secure and the step light is working,
if equipped.
 The entry steps must be clear with the treads not
loose or worn excessively.
 If equipped with a handicap lift, look for leaking,
damaged, or missing parts and explain how lift
should be checked for correct operation. Lift must
be fully retracted and latched securely.
 In addition to checking for spare electrical fuses (if
equipped), three red reflective triangles, and a
properly charged and rated fire extinguisher, school
bus drivers must also inspect the following
emergency equipment:
o Emergency Kit.
o Body Fluid Cleanup Kit.
Lighting Indicators
Emergency Exit
 In addition to checking the lighting indicators listed
in Section 10.2 of this manual, school bus drivers
must also check the following lighting indicators
(internal panel lights):
o Alternately flashing amber lights indicator, if
equipped.
o Alternately flashing red lights indicator.
o Strobe light indicator, if equipped.
 Make sure that all emergency exits are not
damaged, operate smoothly, and close securely
from the inside.
 Check that any emergency exit warning devices are
working.
Seating
 Look for broken seat frames and check that seat
frames are firmly attached to the floor.
 Check that seat cushions are attached securely to
the seat frames.
Lights/Reflectors
 In addition to checking the lights and reflective
devices listed in Section 10.2 of this manual, school
bus drivers must also check the following (external)
lights and reflectors:
o Strobe light, if equipped.
o Stop arm light, if equipped.
o Alternately flashing amber lights, if equipped.
o Alternately flashing red lights.
11.4 – Trailer
11.4.1 – Trailer Front
Air/Electrical Connections
Student Mirrors
 Check that trailer air connectors are sealed and in
good condition.
 Make sure glad hands are locked in place, free of
damage or air leaks.
 Make sure the trailer electrical plug is firmly seated
and locked in place.
 In addition to checking the external mirrors, school
bus drivers must also check the internal and
external mirrors used for observing students:
 Check for proper adjustment.
 Checks that all internal and external mirrors and
mirror brackets are not damaged and are mounted
securely with no loose fittings.
 Checks that visibility is not impaired due to dirty
mirrors.
Header Board
 If equipped, check the header board to see that it is
secure, free of damage, and strong enough to
contain cargo.
 If equipped, the canvas or tarp carrier must be
mounted and fastened securely.
 On enclosed trailers, check the front area for signs
of damage such as cracks, bulges, or holes.
Stop Arm
 If equipped, check the stop arm to see that it is
mounted securely to the frame of the vehicle. Also,
check for loose fittings and damage.
11-6
 Check that the entry steps are clear, with the treads
not loose or worn excessively.
 If equipped with a handicap lift, look for any leaking,
damaged or missing part, and explain how it should
be checked for correct operation.
 Lift should be fully retracted and latched securely.
11.4.2 – Side of Trailer
Landing Gear
 Check that the landing gear is fully raised, has no
missing parts, crank handle is secure, and the
support frame is not damaged.
 If power operated, check for air or hydraulic leaks.
Emergency Exits
 Make sure that all emergency exits are not
damaged, operate smoothly, and close securely
from the inside.
 Check that any emergency exit warning devices are
working.
Doors/Ties/Lifts
 If equipped, check that doors are not damaged.
Check that doors open, close, and latch properly
from the outside.
 Check that ties, straps, chains, and binders are
secure.
 If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
 Lift should be fully retracted and latched securely.
Passenger Seating
 Look for broken seat frames and check that seat
frames are firmly attached to the floor.
 Check that seat cushions are attached securely to
the seat frames.
Frame
11.5.2 – Entry/ Exit
 Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the frame, cross members, box, and
floor.
Doors/Mirrors
 Check that entry/exit doors are not damaged and
operate smoothly from the outside. Hinges should
be secure with seals intact.
 Make sure that the passenger exit mirrors and all
external mirrors and mirror brackets are not
damaged and are mounted securely with no loose
fittings.
Tandem Release Arm/Locking Pins
 If equipped, make sure the locking pins are locked
in place and release arm is secured.
11.4.3 – Remainder of Trailer
Remainder of Trailer
11.5.3 – External Inspection of Coach/
Transit Bus
Please refer to Section 11.2 of this manual for
detailed inspection procedures regarding the
following components:





Level/Air Leaks
 See that the vehicle is sitting level (front and rear),
and if air-equipped, check for audible air leaks from
the suspension system.
Wheels.
Suspension system.
Brakes.
Doors/ties/lift.
Splash guards.
Fuel Tank(s)
11.5 – Coach/Transit Bus
 See that fuel tank(s) are secure with no leaks from
tank(s) or lines.
11.5.1 – Passenger Items
Baggage Compartments
Passenger Entry/Lift
 Check that baggage and all other exterior
compartment doors are not damaged, operate
properly, and latch securely.
 Check that entry doors operate smoothly and close
securely from the inside.
 Check that hand rails are secure and, if equipped,
that the step light(s) are working.
11-7
Battery/Box
 Wherever located, see that battery(s) are secure,
connections are tight, and cell caps are present.
 Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
 Check that battery box and cover or door is not
damaged and is secure.
11.5.4 – Remainder of Coach/ Transit Bus
Remainder of Vehicle
 Please refer to Section 11.2 of this manual for
detailed inspection procedures regarding the
wheels.
 Remember, the pre-trip vehicle inspection must
be passed before you can proceed to the basic
vehicle control skills test.
11.6 – Taking the CDL Pre-trip
Inspection Test
11.6.1 – Class A Pre-trip Inspection Test
If you are applying for a Class A CDL, you will be
required to perform one of the four versions of a
pre-trip inspection in the vehicle you have brought
with you for testing. Each of the four tests are
equivalent and you will not know which test you will
take until just before the testing begins.
All of the tests include an engine start, an in-cabinspection, and an inspection of the coupling
system. Then, your test may require an inspection
of the entire vehicle or only a portion of the vehicle
which your CDL Examiner will explain to you.
11.6.2 – Class B and C Pre-trip Inspection
Test
If you are applying for a Class B CDL, you will be
required to perform one of the three versions of a
pre-trip inspection in the vehicle you have brought
with you for testing. Each of the three tests are
equivalent and you will not know which test you will
take until just before the testing begins.
All of the tests include an engine start and an incab inspection. Then, your test may require an
inspection of the entire vehicle or only a portion of
the vehicle which your CDL Examiner will explain
to you. You will also have to inspect any special
features of your vehicle (e.g, school or transit bus).
11-8
11-9
the back of a bus to get a better view, it is scored
as a “look”.
Section 12
BASIC VEHICLE
CONTROL SKILLS TEST
Final Position – It is important that you finish each
exercise exactly as the examiner has instructed
you. If you do not maneuver the vehicle into its
final position as described by the examiner, you
will be penalized and could fail the basic skills test.
This Section Covers


Skills Test Exercises
Skills Test Scoring
12.2 – Exercises
12.2.1 – Straight Line Backing
Your basic control skills could be tested using one
or more of the following exercises off-road or
somewhere on the street during the road test:
You may be asked to back your vehicle in a
straight line between two rows of cones without
touching or crossing over the exercise boundaries.
(See Figure 12.1.)
 Straight line backing.
 Offset back/right.
 Offset back/left.
 Parallel park (driver side).
 Parallel park (conventional).
 Alley dock.
12.2.2 – Offset Back/Right
You may be asked to back into a space that is to
the right rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight
forward and back your vehicle into that space
without striking the side or rear boundaries marked
by cones. You must place your vehicle completely
into the space. (See Figure 12.2.)
These exercises are shown in Figures 12-1
through 12-6.
12.1 – Scoring
12.2.3 – Offset Back/Left
 Crossing Boundaries (encroachments).
 Pull-ups.
 Vehicle Exits.
 Final Position.
You may be asked to back into a space that is to
the left rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight
forward and back your vehicle into that space
without striking the side or rear boundaries marked
by cones. You must place your vehicle completely
into the space. (See Figure 12.3.)
Encroachments – The examiner will score the
number of times you touch or cross over an
exercise boundary line with any portion of your
vehicle. Each encroachment will count as an error.
12.2.4 – Parallel Park (Driver Side)
You may be asked to park in a parallel parking
space that is on your left. You are to drive past the
parking space and back into it bringing the rear of
your vehicle as close as possible to the rear of the
space without crossing side or rear boundaries
marked by cones. You are required to get your
vehicle completely into the space. (See Figure
12.4.)
Pull-ups – You will not be penalized for initial pullups. However, an excessive number of pull-ups,
will count as errors.
Outside Vehicle Observations (Looks) – You
may be permitted to safely stop and exit the
vehicle to check the external position of the vehicle
(look). When doing so, you must place the vehicle
in neutral and set the parking brake(s). Then,
when exiting the vehicle, you must do so safely by
facing the vehicle and maintaining three points of
contact with the vehicle at all times. If you do not
safely secure the vehicle or safely exit the vehicle it
may result in an automatic failure of the basic
control skills test.
The maximum number of times that you may look
to check the position of you vehicle is two (2)
except for the Straight Line Backing exercise,
which allows one look. Each time you open the
door, move from a seated position where in
physical control of the vehicle or on a bus walk to
12.2.5 – Parallel Park (Conventional)
You may be asked to park in a parallel parking
space that is on your right. You are to drive past
the parking space and back into it bringing the rear
of your vehicle as close as possible to the rear of
the space without crossing side or rear boundaries
marked by cones. You are required to get your
vehicle completely into the space. (See Figure
12.5.)
12-1
12.2.6 – Alley Dock
You may be asked to sight-side back your vehicle
into an alley, bringing the rear of your vehicle as
close as possible to the rear of the alley without
going beyond the exercise boundary marked by a
line or row of cones. You are required to get your
vehicle completely into the space with your entire
vehicle straight with the alley. (See Figure 12.6.)
12-2
Figure 12.1: Straight Line
Backing
Figure 12.2: Offset
Back/Right
Figure 12.3: Offset
Back/Left
12-3
Figure 12.4: Parallel Park
(Driver Side)
Figure 12.5: Parallel Park
(Conventional)
12-4
Figure 12.6: Alley Dock
12-5
When ready to turn:
Section 13
 Check traffic in all directions.
 Keep both hands on the steering wheel during the
turn.
 Keep checking your mirror to make sure the vehicle
does not hit anything on the inside of the turn.
 Vehicle should not move into oncoming traffic.
 Vehicle should finish turn in correct lane.
ON-ROAD DRIVING
This Section Covers

How You Will Be Tested
You will drive over a test route that has a variety of
traffic situations. At all times during the test, you
must drive in a safe and responsible manner.
After turn:
 Make sure turn signal is off.
 Get up to speed of traffic, use turn signal, and move
into right-most lane when safe to do so (if not
already there).
 Check mirrors and traffic.
During the driving test, the examiner will be scoring
you on specific driving maneuvers as well as on
your general driving behavior. You will follow the
directions of the examiner. Directions will be given
to you so you will have plenty of time to do what
the examiner has asked. You will not be asked to
drive in an unsafe manner.
13.1.2 – Intersections
As you approach an intersection:
If your test route does not have certain traffic
situations, you may be asked to simulate a traffic
situation. You will do this by telling the examiner
what you are or would be doing if you were in that
traffic situation.
13.1.1 – Turns
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Decelerate gently.
 Brake smoothly and, if necessary, change gears.
 If necessary, come to a complete stop (no coasting)
behind any stop signs, signals, sidewalks, or stop
lines maintaining a safe gap behind any vehicle in
front of you.
 Your vehicle must not roll forward or backward.
You have been asked to make a turn:
When driving through an intersection:
 Check traffic in all directions.
 Use turn signals and safely get into the lane
needed for the turn.
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and traffic
in the intersection.
 Do not change lanes while proceeding through the
intersection.
 Keep your hands on the wheel.
13.1 – How You Will Be Tested
As you approach the turn:
 Use turn signals to warn others of your turn.
 Slow down smoothly, change gears as needed to
keep power, but do not coast unsafely. Unsafe
coasting occurs when your vehicle is out of gear
(clutch depressed or gearshift in neutral) for more
than the length of your vehicle.
Once through the intersection:
 Continue checking mirrors and traffic.
 Accelerate smoothly and change
necessary.
gears
as
If you must stop before making the turn:
13.1.3 – Urban/Rural Straight
 Come to a smooth stop without skidding.
 Come to a complete stop behind the stop line,
crosswalk, or stop sign.
 If stopping behind another vehicle, stop where you
can see the rear tires on the vehicle ahead of you
(safe gap).
 Do not let your vehicle roll.
 Keep the front wheels aimed straight ahead.
During this part of the test, you are expected to
make regular traffic checks and maintain a safe
following distance. Your vehicle should be
centered in the proper lane (right-most lane) and
you should keep up with the flow of traffic but not
exceed the posted speed limit.
13-1
 Apply the parking brake.
 Move the gear shift to neutral or park.
 Remove your feet from the brake and clutch pedals.
13.1.4 –Lane Changes
During multiple lane portions of the test, you will be
asked to change lanes to the left, and then back to
the right. You should make the necessary traffic
checks first, then use proper signals and smoothly
change lanes when it is safe to do so.
When instructed to resume:
 Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in all
directions.
 Turn off your four-way flashers.
 Activate the left turn signal.
 When traffic permits, you should release the
parking brake and pull straight ahead.
 Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle moves.
 Check traffic from all directions, especially to the
left.
 Steer and accelerate smoothly into the proper lane
when safe to do so.
 Once your vehicle is back into the flow of traffic,
cancel your left turn signal.
13.1.5 – Expressway
Before entering the expressway:
 Check traffic.
 Use proper signals.
 Merge smoothly into the proper lane of traffic.
Once on the expressway:
 Maintain proper lane positioning, vehicle spacing,
and vehicle speed.
 Continue to check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
13.1.7 – Curve
When exiting the expressway:
When approaching a curve:
 Make necessary traffic checks.
 Use proper signals.
 Decelerate smoothly in the exit lane.
 Once on the exit ramp, you must continue to
decelerate within the lane markings and maintain
adequate spacing between your vehicle and other
vehicles.
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Before entering the curve, reduce speed so further
braking or shifting is not required in the curve.
 Keep vehicle in the lane.
 Continue checking traffic in all directions.
13.1.6 – Stop/Start
Before reaching the crossing, all commercial
drivers should:
13.1.8 – Railroad Crossing
For this maneuver, you will be asked to pull your
vehicle over to the side of the road and stop as if
you were going to get out and check something on
your vehicle. You must check traffic thoroughly in
all directions and move to the right-most lane or
shoulder of road.
 Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears as
necessary.
 Look and listen for the presence of trains.
 Check traffic in all directions.
As you prepare for the stop:
Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle,
or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is in
the crossing.
 Check traffic.
 Activate your right turn signal.
 Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly, change gears
as necessary.
 Bring your vehicle to a full stop without coasting.
If you are driving a bus, a school bus, or a vehicle
displaying placards, you should be prepared to
observe the following procedures at every railroad
crossing (unless the crossing is exempt):
Once stopped:
 As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing,
activate the four-way flashers.
 Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than 15
feet from the nearest rail.
 Vehicle must be parallel to the curb or shoulder of
the road and safely out of the traffic flow.
 Vehicle should not be blocking driveways, fire
hydrants, intersections, signs, etc.
 Cancel your turn signal.
 Activate your four-way emergency flashers.
13-2
 Listen and look in both directions along the track for
an approaching train and for signals indicating the
approach of a train. If operating a bus, you may
also be required to open the window and door prior
to crossing tracks.
 Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle
crosses the tracks.
 Do not stop, change gears, or change lanes while
any part of your vehicle is proceeding across the
tracks.
 Four-way flashers should be deactivated after the
vehicle crosses the tracks.
 Continue to check mirrors and traffic.
13.1.12 – Gear Usage (for Manual
Transmission)
 Do not grind or clash gears.
 Select gear that does not rev or lug engine.
 Do not shift in turns and intersections.
13.1.13 – Brake Usage
 Do not ride or pump brake.
 Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using steady
pressure.
13.1.14 – Lane Usage
Not all driving road test routes will have a railroad
crossing. You may be asked to explain and
demonstrate the proper railroad crossing
procedures to the examiner at a simulated location.
 Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks, or lane
markings.
 Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks, or stop signs.
 Complete a turn in the proper lane on a multiple
lane road (vehicle should finish a left turn in the lane
directly to the right of the center line).
 Finish a right turn in the right-most (curb) lane.
 Move to or remain in right-most lane unless lane is
blocked.
13.1.9 – Bridge/Overpass/Sign
After driving under an overpass, you may be asked
to tell the examiner what the posted clearance or
height was. After going over a bridge, you may be
asked to tell the examiner what the posted weight
limit was. If your test route does not have a bridge
or overpass, you may be asked about another
traffic sign. When asked, be prepared to identify
and explain to the examiner any traffic sign which
may appear on the route.
13.1.15 – Steering
 Do not over or under steer the vehicle.
 Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times
unless shifting. Once you have completed shift,
return both hands to the steering wheel.
13.1.10 – Student Discharge (School Bus)
13.1.16 – Regular Traffic Checks
If you are applying for a School Bus endorsement,
you will be required to demonstrate loading and
unloading students. Please refer to section 10 of
this manual for procedures on loading and
unloading school students.
 Check traffic regularly.
 Check mirrors regularly.
 Check mirrors and traffic before, while in, and after
an intersection.
 Scan and check traffic in high volume areas and
areas where pedestrians are expected to be
present.
During the driving test you must:
 Wear your safety belt.
 Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
 Complete the test without an accident or moving
violation.
13.1.17 – Use of Turn Signals
 Use turn signals properly.
 Activate turn signals when required.
 Activate turn signals at appropriate times.
 Cancel turn signals upon completion of a turn or
lane change.
You will be scored on your overall performance in
the following general driving behavior categories:
13.1.11 – Clutch Usage (for Manual
Transmission)
 Always use clutch to shift.
 Double-clutch if vehicle is equipped with nonsynchronized transmission.
 Do not rev or lug the engine.
 Do not ride clutch to control speed, coast with the
clutch depressed, or "pop" the clutch.
13-3
Transportation Act (46 U.S.C. section 1801) and the
Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172,
subpart F) must have qualified for and obtained an H
endorsement.
Section 14
MISSOURI COMMERCIAL
DRIVER LICENSE
INFORMATION
You must be at least 21 years of age and a U.S.
citizen or permanent resident alien. You must also
pass the hazardous materials written endorsement
test at a Highway Patrol testing office each time you
apply for renewal or add additional endorsements to
your CDL in order to keep the H endorsement. You
will be required to submit your fingerprints and be
subject to a security threat assessment. (See front
cover for security threat assessment information.)
A Message for Commercial Drivers
The laws that concern driver licensing are a very
important part of highway safety in Missouri. Truck
safety has become a growing national concern in
recent years. The commercial driver license (or
"CDL") law, is an attempt to assure that those
granted the privilege to drive have the knowledge,
skills and ability to drive with reasonable safety on
public streets and highways. The CDL law improves
commercial driver licensing procedures and ensures
a better exchange of information among the states
and with the federal government about drivers of
commercial vehicles.
CDL Study Manual
This manual is intended to help drivers of trucks and
buses prepare for the knowledge and behind the
wheel tests for Class A, B, or C driver licenses. The
material in this manual may also help remind all drivers of trucks and buses of their responsibility as pro
fessional drivers of the biggest vehicles on the highway. Knowledge of the information presented in this
manual is necessary to pass the CDL written examination.
Missouri CDL Eligibility
Age: 18 years (intrastate until age 21); 21 years
(interstate if otherwise eligible)
Residency: You must be a Missouri resident.
Lawful Presence: You must be a United States
citizen or a permanent resident alien.
CDL License Fees and Expiration
Your Missouri driver license expiration date will be
based on your age and type of endorsement. Please
refer to the chart below.
Missouri Nonresident CDL Eligibility
Age 18 years (intrastate until age 21)
21 years (interstate if otherwise eligible)
Missouri Employment: You must be employed b y
a Missouri employer and have a Missouri address.
An employment letter must be provided at time of
license/permit application.
Residency: You must be a resident of a country
other than the United States, Mexico, or Canada.
Residents of Mexico and Canada must apply for a
CDL in their home country since those countries
meet U.S. licensing requirements.
NOTE: You must meet all Missouri licensing and testing requirements. Your license or permit expiration
date cannot be issued beyond the date of your
lawful presence in the United States as determined
by your immigration documents.
Hazardous Materials Endorsement
A driver of a motor vehicle used to transport
hazardous materials in a type, quantity, or both, as to
require placarding under the Hazardous Materials
14-1
Document Type
Term
Fee
CDL
3 years or less
$20.00
CDL
3 years and 1 day
up to 6 years
$40.00
CDL Permit
6 months or less
$5.00
CDL with School
Bus Endorsement
age over 70
1 year
$7.50
CDL Written Test
Fee
$25.00
CDL Skills Test
Fee
$25.00
Office Processing
Fee
Document issued
for 3 years or less
$2.50
Office Processing
Fee
Document issued
for 3 years and 1
day up to 6 years
$5.00
Note: A license with a hazardous materials
endorsement will not be issued beyond the date of
the driver’s current security threat assessment.
Endorsements
Hazardous Materials
(H or X-Hazmat & Tank)
Any vehicle required to be placarded by the federal
government.
CDL Written Examinations
General Knowledge
Air Brake
Combination Vehicle
Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Double/Triple Trailer Endorsement
Passenger Endorsement
Tank Endorsement
School Bus
50 questions
25 questions
20 questions
30 questions
20 questions
20 questions
20 questions
20 questions
Passenger
(P, BP or CP)
Any vehicle designed to carry 16 or more persons,
including the driver.
Tank Vehicle
(N)
Any vehicle that contains a permanently mounted
cargo tank rated at 119 gallons or more or a portable
tank rated at 1,000 gallons or more and the tank is
used to haul a liquid or liquid gas.
You must score 80% on each exam. Written exams
are available at all Highway Patrol testing locations.
For additional test information, please contact any
Highway Patrol Troop Headquarters.
Note: Commercial license examinations are
administered only in English. An interpreter will not
be allowed for any portion of the commercial driver license written or skills examinations.
Double/Triple Trailer
(T)
Any vehicle pulling two or more trailers (towed units)
or any vehicle with double or triple saddle mount
combinations. This includes, but is not limited to, all
types of double/triple trailers, buses pulling
canoe racks, etc.
CDL Permit
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a temporary commercial driver license (CDL) permit. You
must also have passed the written, road sign, and vision tests. A CDL instruction permit shall allow the
holder of a valid license to operate a commercial
motor vehicle when accompanied by the holder of a
CDL that is valid for the vehicle being operated, and
who occupies a seat beside the individual, or reasonably near the individual in the case of buses, for
the purpose of giving instruction in driving the commercial motor vehicle. A CDL instruction permit cannot be issued with either a school bus endorsement
or hazardous materials endorsement.
School Bus
(S)
Any commercial motor vehicle used to transport preprimary, primary, or secondary school students from
home to school, from school to home, or to and from
school sponsored events. School bus does not
include a bus used as a common carrier.
Restrictions
K - Intrastate
The person is not allowed to drive a commercial
motor vehicle outside the state of Missouri or in interstate commerce.
Skills Testing
Skills testing, which consists of a pre-trip inspection,
basic controls exam, and an on-road driving test, will
be given by appointment only. Appointments can be
made by calling the Highway Patrol Troop Headquarters in your area. If you make an appointment,
make sure you are on time. If you cannot keep your
appointment, please give adequate notification.
L - Air Brake
The person is not allowed to drive a commercial
motor vehicle with air brakes. To avoid this restriction, you must pass the written air brake test and
skills test in a commercial motor vehicle equipped
with air brakes.
MILITARY EXEMPTION: In accordance with
302.720, RSMo, the Director of Revenue may
waive the CDL driving skills test for qualified
active-duty/retired members of the U.S. armed
forces. Certain conditions apply, and the applicant
must complete all applicable written tests. For
more detailed information, including a copy of the
skills test waiver application, you may visit
www.dor.mo.gov/mvd/drivers.
U019 - Farm Related Services Industry
The person is restricted to driving a commercial
vehicle during a specific 180-day period. The
remainder of the year the driver must operate a
noncommercial motor vehicle.
14-2
U194 - Class C School Bus Only
The person is restricted to driving a Class C school
bus.
U195 - Class B or C School Bus
The person is restricted to driving a Class B or C
school bus.
of such information. No such employer or shipper
shall knowingly allow a driver to drive a commercial
motor vehicle (CMV) during any period of license
suspension/revocation/cancellation/disqualification
or out-of-service order, or when having more than
one driver license. (This violation is a Class A
misdemeanor.) Each employer must ensure that
drivers of commercial motor vehicles, except for a
few limited categories, comply with the Federal
controlled substance and alcohol testing program
requirements and be medically examined and
certified. Many of the exemptions may be found in
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Title
49 CFR 390.5, 390.3, 391.2, 391.67, 391.68, or
Missouri Revised Statutes, RSMo 301.030, 307.400,
307.177. (This list is not all inclusive and the
Federal Regulations or State Statutes should be
reviewed for a complete understanding of all of the
exemptions.)
Exemptions
Only the following commercial drivers are exempt
from the CDL law:
• A person transporting agricultural products,
farm machinery, farm supplies, or a combination
of these, within 150 miles of the farm, if the
driver is a farmer, family member of the farmer,
or an employee of the farmer. This does not
include someone who is a common or contract
carrier, or driver of any vehicle which must
otherwise be placarded under the Hazardous
Materials Transportation Act.
• Any military personnel driving commercial
motor vehicles for military purposes which
includes active duty military personnel, a
member of the reserves or national guard on
"Full-time Training Duty" or "Inactive Duty for
Training" and national guard military
technicians.
Employee Responsibilities
Any commercial driver holding a CDL issued by
this state is required to:
1. Notify the Director of Revenue of any state,
county, or municipal violation other than
parking, in any other state, within 30 days of
conviction.
2. Notify his/her employer in writing of any state,
county, or municipal violation other than
parking, in this or any other state, within 30
days of conviction.
3. Notify his/her employer of any license suspension/revocation/cancellation/disqualification or
out-of-service order by the end of the business
day after the driver receives notice.
4. When applying for employment as a commercial driver, provide the employer with information of previous employment as a CMV driver
for the previous 10 years as prescribed by the
Secretary of Transportation.
5. Comply with the Federal controlled substance
and alcohol testing program requirements and
be medically examined and certified. Limited
exemptions categories may apply. Many of the
exemptions may be found in the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations, Title 49 CFR 390.5,
390.3, 391.2, 391.67, 391.68, or Missouri
Revised Statutes, RSMo 301.030, 307.400,
307.177. (This list is not all inclusive and the
Federal Regulations or State Statutes should
be reviewed for a complete understanding of all
of the exemptions.)
• Any person in the employ of a fire organization
or a member of a volunteer fire organization,
driving emergency or fire equipment necessary
to the preservation of life or property or to the
execution of emergency governmental
functions under emergency conditions. This
exemption also allows the operation of such
equipment in other functions such as parades,
special events, repair, service or other
authorized movements.
• Any person driving or pulling a recreational
vehicle for personal use.
• Any person driving for personal use, a
commercial motor vehicle while transporting
personal property, such as household goods of
his/her own or another.
• Certain construction equipment not intended for
use on the highway, such as backhoes, motor
graders,
motor
scrapers,
excavators,
bulldozers, etc.
Employer Responsibilities
Each employer of a commercial motor vehicle driver
must require information of previous employment as
required by the Secretary of Transportation, of any
applicant for employment and advise of the purpose
14-3
Implied Consent
Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and
Wisconsin.
A person who holds a CDL in Missouri is deemed to
have given consent to a chemical test or tests of his
or her breath, blood, saliva, or urine for the purpose
of determining any alcohol concentration, or the
presence of controlled substances in such person's
system. (Missouri Revised Statutes, Section
302.745.)
Common Offenses that Require the Suspension/
Revocation of Any Driver License
60-Day Disqualification
• Two serious traffic violations within three years
if the person is a CDL holder or if the person is
operating a CMV. Note:The three-year period
will be based on violation date rather than
conviction date. Serious traffic convictions include: reckless driving, speeding 15 mph or
more above the posted speed limit, improper or
erratic lane changes, following too closely, any
moving violation relating to a fatal crash, driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL, driving a
CMV without CDL in possession, and driving a
CMV without proper class of CDL or endorsement.
• One railroad-highway grade crossing violation
while person is operating a CMV.
• Accumulation of points for moving violations
(offenses committed while the vehicle is in
operation, such as speeding, careless drivingwhile intoxicated), but not equipment violations.
• Driving a motor vehicle with .08% or more
blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or if under
twenty-one years old driving with .02% or more
BAC (administrative suspension/revocation).
• Driving without insurance (administrative
suspension).
• Refusal to submit to chemical testing when requested to do so by law enforcement (one year
revocation).
• Court ordered suspension or revocation of license for drug or alcohol related offenses
(Abuse and Lose).
120-Day Disqualification
• Three or more serious traffic convictions within
three years if person is a CDL holder or if person is operating a CMV. Note: The three-year
period will be based on violation date rather
than conviction date. Serious traffic convictions include: reckless driving, speeding 15
mph or more above the posted speed limit,
improper or erratic lane changes, following too
closely, any moving violation relating to a fatal
crash, driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL,
driving a CMV without CDL in possession, and
driving a CMV without proper class of CDL or
endorsement.
• Second railroad-highway grade crossing violation while person is operating a CMV.
Penalties
A person who refuses to submit to a chemical test
will have the commercial driving privilege disqualified for 1 year and may have the base driving privilege revoked for 1 year.
180-Day Disqualification
• First traffic conviction for violating an out-ofservice order while person is operating a
CMV.
• First traffic conviction for violating an out-ofservice order while operating a CMV and
transporting hazardous materials or transport
ing 15 passengers or more.
Disqualifications
A disqualification is a loss of only commercial driving
privileges for a specified period of time. During a disqualification, if the driver is not otherwise suspended
or revoked, he or she can continue to drive private
(noncommercial) motor vehicles without obtaining
limited driving privileges. A driver may be disqualified for the following convictions in this or any other
state:
1-Year Disqualification
• Driving a CMV with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
• Driving while under the influence of alcohol or
drugs if the person is a CDL holder or if person
is operating a CMV.
• Refusing blood and/or breath test if the person is
a CDL holder or if person is operating a CMV.
• Failing to stop at the scene of an accident if the
accident causes injury or death.
• Using a CMV to commit a felony.
• Driving a CMV with a revoked, suspended,
canceled, or disqualified privilege.
Failure to Appear Disqualification (Non-Member
States)
• If a Missouri CDL driver fails to appear in court
or pay for a traffic ticket received in a
non-member state, Missouri will disqualify the
driver upon notification from that state. The
disqualification will remain in effect until
Missouri receives notification that the driver has
satisfied the ticket. The non-member states are
14-4
• Causing a fatality through the negligent or criminal operation of a CMV (includes the crimes of
motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor
vehicle, and negligent homicide).
• Making a false statement on any application for
a CDL.
• Third or subsequent railroad-highway grade
crossing violation within three years while
operating a CMV.
Examples of point system violations:
Drive While Disqualified
2* points
Excessive Speeding
3*
Failure to Keep Right
2
Failure/Improper Signal
2
Following Too Close
2*
Improper Lane
2*
No Commercial Driver License
2*
*Violations committed by a CDL holder or by a
person operating a commercial motor vehicle will be
used toward CDL disqualification and points are
assessed against base driving privileges.
2-Year Disqualification
• Second traffic conviction within ten years for
driving a CMV while out-of-service.
Reinstatement
3-Year Disqualification
• First conviction for any one of the top seven
violations listed under one-year disqualification
while transporting hazardous materials.
• Third or subsequent conviction within ten years
for violating out-of-service orders while operating a CMV.
• Second or subsequent conviction within ten
years for violating an out-of-service order while
operating a CMV and transporting hazardous
materials or transporting 15 passengers or
more.
Your privilege to drive any motor vehicle can only be
reinstated at the end of the suspension/revocation
period if you submit all required reinstatement
requirements. The following chart lists these
requirements.
FIRST OFFENSE
HOW TO GET YOUR LICENSE BACK
Refusal to submit to a BAC test
• Pay a $45 reinstatement fee and attend a
Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program
(SATOP).
Lifetime Disqualification
• Second conviction for any one of the top seven
violations listed under one-year disqualification.
Permanent Disqualification
• First conviction for using a motor vehicle in the
manufacture or illegal distribution of drugs.
BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) Drive/operate a vehicle with .08% or more
• Pay a $45 reinstatement fee, attend SATOP,
and provide proof of insurance.
Imminent Hazard Disqualification
(not to exceed one year)
• Determination by the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration that a person's driving
constitutes an imminent hazard.
DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
• Pay a $45 reinstatement fee, attend SATOP,
and provide proof of insurance.
Possession of alcohol or drugs/use of drugs while
operating a motor vehicle (Abuse and Lose).
• Pay a $45 reinstatement fee and attend SATOP.
Limited Driving Privileges . . .
Limited Driving Privileges (LDP) cannot be issued to
operate a CMV during any period of suspension,
revocation, cancellation, or disqualification.
The Point System
SUSPENSION
REVOCATION
8 points in 18 months
12 points in 12 months
18 points in 24 months or
24 points in 36 months
1st suspension
- 30 days
2nd suspension
- 60 days
3rd or more suspensions
- 90 days
License revoked for 1 year
MISSOURI'S WRITTEN
COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE TESTS
1. Tests are required for all commercial motor
vehicle operators.
2. Testing time can take from 1–2 hours depending on how many tests you take.
3. You can pass these tests if you study the
manual provided by the Department of
Revenue. Take extra time to study the air
brakes and hazardous materials sections.
14-5
• Maximum height of any vehicle, including load, inside a commercial zone* is limited to 15 feet.
• Maximum height of any vehicle, including load, on
highways other than the interstate and designated
highways is limited to 13½ feet.
4. Tests are given at any Highway Patrol testing
office located throughout the state. Check with
your local Highway Patrol Office for days and
times tests are given.
5. All tests are multiple choice. The following is a
sample test question:
Which of these is a sign of tire failure?
A. Steering that feels heavy
B. A loud bang
C. Vibration
D. All of the above
WIDTH
For additional test information, please contact the
Highway Patrol by calling:
• Maximum width for any vehicle, including load, on
all highways is 102 inches.
Troop A
Troop B
Troop C
Troop D
Troop E
Troop F
Troop G
Troop H
Troop I
Lee's Summi
Macon
Kirkwood
Springfield
Poplar Bluff
Jefferson City
Willow Springs
St. Joseph
Rolla
The width limits for vehicles operating in Missouri are
established in Chapter 304.170 of the Revised
Statutes of Missouri. They are as follows:
These width limits do not include width exclusive devices such as rear view mirrors, hand holds, lights,
cargo securement devices, etc. These devices may
not be designed or used to carry cargo. Consult Appendix D to Part 658 of Title 23, Code of Federal
Regulations for a listing of approved width exclusive
devices as well as Part 658.16 of that same title.
(816) 622-0800
(660) 385-2132
(314) 340-4000
(417) 895-6868
(573) 840-9500
(573) 751-1000
(417) 469-3121
(816) 387-2345
(573) 368-2345
*Commercial Zone — Commercial zone is defined
in Chapter 304.190 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. Contact the Missouri Department of Transportation District Office nearest you for maps
outlining the location and extent of the commercial
zones in Missouri.
You may also visit the Missouri State Highway Patrol
web site at: http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov
Missouri Law Regarding Commercial Vehicles
You will need to know the following information if you
are applying for a commercial driver license. As a
driver of a commercial vehicle, you must obey all
Missouri traffic laws including the laws on commercial vehicles.
LENGTH
NOTE:
1. All size and weight limits listed below include the
load of the vehicle.
2. All limits that refer to interstates or certain designated highways include roads up to 10 miles
from the interstate or designated highway.
3. The size and weight and exceptions listed in this
chapter are for Missouri highways only.
• The maximum overall length for any single vehicle is
limited to 45 feet. Buses and trackless trolley coaches
may have a 1-foot safety bumper at both the front and
rear in addition to this overall length limit.
• The maximum length limit of a tractor and semitrailer combination for operation on the interstate
and designated highways plus 10 miles from those
highways is limited to 53 feet semi-trailer and load
length. There is no overall length limit for these
types of vehicles on those routes.
• The maximum length limit of a tractor and semitrailer combination on all highways other than the
interstate and designated routes plus 10 miles
from those routes is limited to 60 feet overall.
• The maximum length limit of a tractor, semi-trailer,
trailer combination (double bottoms) on the interstate and designated highways plus 10 miles from
those highways is limited to trailer and load length
of 28 feet. There is no overall length limit for these
types of vehicles on those routes.
Maximum vehicle length limits for Missouri are
found in Chapter 304.170 of the Revised Statutes of
Missouri. They are:
HEIGHT
The vehicle height limits are found in Chapter
304.170 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. They
are as follows:
• Maximum height of any vehicle, including load, outside of a commercial zone* on the interstate and
designated highways is limited to 14 feet.
• Maximum height of any vehicle, including load,
transporting motor vehicles on all highways is limited to 14 feet.
14-6
• The maximum length limit for a tractor, semi-trailer,
trailer combination (double bottoms) on all highways other than the interstate and designated
routes plus 10 miles from those routes is 65 feet
overall.
• Maximum length for all automobile or boat transporters is limited to 75 feet overall. These vehicles
are also allowed up to a 3 feet overhang over the
front bumper of the power unit and up to a 4 feet
overhang over the rear of the trailer.
• The maximum length of truck and trailer combinations and all other combinations operated on the
interstate and designated highways plus 10 miles
from those highways is limited to 65 feet overall.
• Maximum length of truck and trailer combinations
and all other combinations operated on all highways other than the interstate and designated
highways plus 10 miles from those highways is 55
feet overall.
• The length limits do not include length exclusive
devices such as refrigeration units on the front of
the trailer, trailer glad hand connection, lift gates at
the rear of a trailer, etc. Consult Appendix D of Part
658 to Title 23, Code of Federal Regulations for a
listing of length exclusive devices as well as Part
658.16 of that same title.
•
•
•
•
•
Exemptions from Size Limits
Exemptions from the size limits are located in Chapter 304.170 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.
They are:
•
1. Farm machinery operated occasionally for short
distances on highways other than the interstate.
2. Vehicles temporarily transporting farm
machinery for repair on highways other than the
interstate.
3. Implement dealers delivering or moving farm
machinery for repair
on highways other than interstate.
4. Vehicles temporarily transporting road making
machinery or road materials on highways other
than the interstate.
5. Vehicles towing disabled vehicles to a place of
storage or repair or removing wrecked or
disabled vehicles from the highway to a place
of storage or repair.
•
weight limit for a steering axle is further limited by
the steering axle tire weight rating or 20,000
pounds, whichever is less.
The maximum weight limit for a single axle on all
highways other than the interstate is 22,000
pounds. The steering axle is considered as any
other single axle, however, the weight limit for a
steering axle is further limited by the steering axle
tire weight rating or 22,000 pounds, whichever is
less.
The maximum weight limit for a single axle in the
commercial zone is 22,400 pounds. The steering
axle is considered as any other single axle, however, the weight limit for a steering axle is further
limited by the steering axle tire weight rating, or
22,400 pounds, whichever is less.
The maximum allowable weight of a tandem axle
group operated on the interstate is limited to
34,000 pounds. The tires of the tandem must have
sufficient tire weight rating for this weight.
The maximum allowable weight of a tandem axle
group operated on highways other than the interstate is 36,000 pounds. The tires of the tandem
must have sufficient tire weight ratings for this
weight.
The maximum allowable gross weight in Missouri
is limited to 80,000 pounds. The gross weight of a
vehicle is also limited by the registered weight of
the vehicle and by the Federal Bridge Formula.
This formula is a function of the length of the vehicle wheelbase and the number of axles in the
wheelbase.
The maximum allowable gross weight in the commercial zone is limited to 22,400 pounds per axle
multiplied by the number of axles to which the vehicle is equipped. In order to exceed the maximum
gross weight of 80,000 pounds in a commercial
zone, the vehicle has to be licensed for 80,000
pounds.
The maximum allowable gross weight may also be
limited by posting the maximum allowable weight
on a bridge by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The maximum weight will be posted on
signage in advance of the affected bridge.
Overdimension and Overweight Permits
The authority to issue overdimension and overweight
permits rests with the Chief Engineer of the Missouri
Department of Transportation. This authority is found in
Chapter 304.200 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.
Weight Limitations (Without Special Permit)
The weight limits for Missouri are found in Chapter
304.180 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. They are:
You may apply for an overdimension or overweight
permit, or request vehicle route maps for large and
heavy vehicle operation, commercial zone maps and
copies of the overdimension and overweight permit
regulations by contacting:
• The maximum weight for a single axle on the interstate is 20,000 pounds. The steering axle is
considered as any other single axle, however, the
14-7
injured persons, fire trucks or rescue vehicles
involved in emergency operations;
8. Vehicles involved in the private not-for-hire
transportation of passengers, i.e., churches,
boy scouts, etc.
Missouri Department of Transportation
Motor Carrier Services Division
1320 Creek Trail Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 893
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0893
Telephone: 800-877-8499 or 573-751-7100
Web site: www.modot.org/mcs
Overdimension and overweight permits will not be issued for reducible loads. Permitted loads must be
moved with properly licensed vehicles over approved
routing with appropriate proof of financial responsibility. Permit fees vary according to weight and
dimension.
Further, drivers operating commercial vehicles engaged in the following types of operations may be excepted from the medical certificate requirements:
1. Farm custom operations when transporting
farm machinery, supplies or both to or from a
farm for custom harvesting operations on a
farm or transporting custom harvested crops to
storage or market;
2. Bee keepers engaged in the seasonal transportation of live bees;
3. Drivers of farm straight trucks;
4. Any driver who possessed a valid Missouri
Class E license on May 13, 1988, and who operates in intrastate commerce only;
5. Commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating or Gross Combination Weight
Rating of 26,000 pounds or less and operated
in intrastate commerce only. This exception
does not apply to the transportation of hazardous materials or to vehicles designed to
transport more than 16 passengers, including
the driver.
Vehicle Route Map
The Missouri Vehicle Route Map is available from the
Missouri Department of Transportation. This map
shows the routes which the larger and heavier trucks
are allowed to travel as specified by state statutory
weight and dimension limitations. You may obtain a
map by calling the phone numbers above or by writing to the address listed above.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Missouri has adopted, as state law, Part 390 through
Part 397 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Therefore, drivers must obey those regulations unless the driver is operating one of the
following:
Equipment Required
Commercial vehicles that are not excepted by the
criteria listed above are required to be equipped
according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations found in Parts 390 through 399, Title 49,
Code of Federal Regulations.
1. Commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating or Gross Combination Weight
Rating of 26,000 pounds or less operated in intrastate commerce only. This exception does
not apply to the transportation of hazardous
materials or to vehicles designed to transport
more than 16 passengers, including the driver;
2. Commercial vehicles licensed for gross weight
of 60,000 pounds or less when used for the
transportation of solid waste and operated in intrastate commerce only;
3. Commercial vehicles licensed for gross weight
of 42,000 pounds or less for farm use by the letter "F" as authorized by Missouri Revised
Statutes, Section 301.010 and operated in intrastate commerce only;
4. School buses transporting children from home
to school and from school to home;
5. Vehicles owned by a federal or state government, or a political subdivision;
6. Vehicles used for the occasional transportation
of property by individuals not for compensation
nor in furtherance of a commercial enterprise;
7. Vehicles transporting human corpses or sick or
Vehicles bearing "local" or "beyond local" license
plates are subject to the vehicle inspection requirements for license renewal. Commercial vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan are
not subject to that requirement, but may be subject to
the inspection requirements of the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations.
Transporting Hazardous Material
If you are transporting hazardous material, you may
be required to comply with the Federal Hazardous
Materials Regulations found in Parts 100 through
187 of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations. Also,
you and your vehicle are subject to the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations.
Information Displayed on Commercial Vehicles
Chapter 301.330 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri
requires commercial vehicles licensed in Missouri to
be marked, in a conspicuous place, with the
following information:
14-8
1. Slow down. It is better to be tailgated at a low
speed than a high speed.
2. Avoid any sudden turns or stops and signal
well in advance.
3. Increase the distance between you and any
vehicle in front of you. This will help you to
avoid any sudden stops.
4. Do not flash your taillights or brake lights at the
tailgater. The tailgater may not believe your
brake lights when you do slow down or stop.
1. The name of the owner, and
2. The address of the vehicle base of operations
(city and state only), and
3. The word "LOCAL" if the vehicle bears a local
license plate.
These markings are not required on a vehicle that is
licensed for a gross weight of 36,000 pounds or less
and is not regularly used for commercial purposes.
Additionally, vehicles subject to the federal safety
regulations are required to be marked in accordance
with Part 390.21, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations with the following:
Space Overhead
Make sure you have enough space over your
vehicle at all times.
—
1. The single trade name or legal name of the
operating carrier, and
2. The USDOT number issued to the company.
—
This marking is required to be displayed on both
sides of the commercial vehicle and be visible from
a distance of 50 feet while the vehicle is stationary.
Do not assume that posted heights at
bridges or underpasses are correct.
Check all wires, signs, trees, and air
conditioning units.
Soft Surfaces
Make sure all surfaces will hold the weight of your
vehicle. Be wary of parking lots, unpaved roads or
parking areas (especially when wet) and construction areas.
Load Security
Chapter 307.010 of the Revised
Statutes of Missouri requires all vehicles transporting
a load of any sort to secure the load against becoming dislodged and falling from the vehicle. Drivers of
vehicles subject to the federal safety regulations
must ensure their cargo is secured according to
Parts 392 and 393, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations. Also, any package containing any hazardous
material must be secured against movement normally incident to transportation.
Space to Cross or Enter Traffic
Your acceleration rate varies with the weight of your
vehicle. Your time to cross the road is also affected
by the length of your vehicle. In a long or heavily
weighted vehicle, you will need a larger gap to cross
the road than you would in a car.
School Bus Information
Weigh Stations
Missouri law has special equipment and operating
regulations for school buses. If you need more information on school transportation, call (573) 751-0357,
or visit their web site at www.dese.mo.gov, or write
to:
Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education
Pupil Transportation Section
P. O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480
Chapter 304.235 of the Revised
Statutes of Missouri requires all commercial motor
vehicles, except those licensed for 18,000 pounds or
less or otherwise exempted by law, to stop at each
official weigh station in Missouri. Vehicles licensed
for 18,000 pounds or less may be directed to stop
at Missouri weigh stations by a peace officer or
commercial vehicle officer.
Off-tracking
When a vehicle turns, the rear wheels take a shorter
path than the front wheels. The greater the distance
between the front and rear wheels, the greater the
difference in their paths. To compensate for the
off-tracking, begin a left turn as far to the right as possible. Begin a right turn as far to the left as possible.
Tailgaters
To avoid an accident with a tailgater, you should:
14-9
Straight Line
Backing
12 ft.
100 ft.
Offset Back/Right
12 ft.
12 ft.
100 ft. Class B
140 ft. Class A
Offset Back/Left
12 ft.
12 ft.
100 ft. Class B
140 ft. Class A
Parallel Park
(Driver Side)
Length of Vehicle plus 15 feet
14-10
Parallel Park (Conventional)
Length of Vehicle plus 15 feet
Alley Dock
70 ft. Class A
50 ft. Class B
40 ft.
3 ft.
12 ft.
14-11
PLEASE RETURN THIS MANUAL TO YOUR EMPLOYER OR
PASS IT ON TO ANOTHER DRIVER
The laws described in this manual are not reproduced in their entirety, and the wording is not identical.
Due to possible legislative changes in federal and state law and Department of Revenue policy, the information in this manual may not always be current. The Department of Revenue will make every effort
to incorporate any changes as soon as possible.
The purpose of this handbook is to assist you in preparing for the CDL written and skills examinations.
You can keep costs down by passing this manual on to your employer or to another driver.
If you have questions or concerns about this manual, please call the Driver License Bureau at
(573) 751-2730, visit www.dor.mo.gov, or write to:
Driver License Bureau
301 West High Street — Room 470
P.O. Box 200
Jefferson City, MO 65105-0200
E-Mail: [email protected]
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