Most people who want to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) know that they must pass the CDL test. But what does a driver need to know to pass the CDL test? First, a driver must have a normal state driver’s license. Then, they must pass several written computer-based tests at their state department of motor vehicles.
The minimum written tests for a typical Class A (tractor-trailer with air brakes) CDL permit (CDLP) are the General Knowledge test, the Air Brake test, and the Combination Vehicle test. Each of these tests requires the student driver to study the state CDL manual, and learn basic information and concepts. SAGE students can use an awesome online tool to help them study called ProDriverU, which is easy to use, has lots of photos and diagrams, and is self-paced, with hundreds of learning modules and practice tests. It makes getting your CDLP easier than ever!
To get a permit, the driver must also be able to pass the medical exam required by the U.S. Department of Transportation. SAGE can help arrange that exam with a local doctor, and answer most questions about health/medical requirements.
Once a driver has the CDLP, they can drive a truck as long as a licensed CDL holder is in the truck with them! This is how SAGE can help you get a CDL, since our instructors help you learn the behind the wheel driving skills step by step. A driver can take the CDL test after they have held their CDLP for 14 days.
The CDL skills and driving test has 3 parts, and SAGE helps you prepare for each one: first, drivers must demonstrate how to properly complete a vehicle inspection of over 100 items on the truck. This takes practice, studying and memorization by each driver. Next, drivers complete the basic control skills part of the exam. This involves basic backing maneuvers like backing the tractor-trailer in a straight line, or backing into a simulated parking space or alley dock. If you pass these two sections, you are graded on a road test. During the road test, the tester scores the driver on many different skills, such as turns, shifting, navigating intersections, crossing railroad tracks, and getting on and off highways.
This may seem like a lot to do, and it does require good instruction, a willingness to learn, and practice at a variety of skills. But SAGE has been successful teaching entry level truck drivers since 1989, and we are happy to help you get a CDL too. You’ll be amazed at the job opportunities available if you get your CDL!