What will I learn in my CDL training?
If you’ve never driven a straight truck or tractor-trailer before, it may seem fairly straightforward. As long as you drive safely and have a solid route to follow, you should be ready to go, right? Actually, CDL training is a comprehensive educational program that covers many different aspects of safely navigating a large truck around the country.
Keep reading to find out what skills you may develop as a trucking student, then contact the schools in your state to request program specifics.
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What You Learn During Classroom CDL Training
Before you get behind the wheel of a truck, you must develop a strong theoretical understanding of the trucking industry and how to safely drive a truck. Most CDL schools include classroom training periods that last at least one week. While you’re in this phase of your training, you may cover these and other subjects:
- Logs: A major part of your job involves keeping adequate logs. With your mileage logs, you can get paid correctly for the routes you drive, ensure that you are following state and federal laws, and protect you/your company from liability. In the classroom, you should learn how to properly log and verify your logs.
- Federal motor carriers regulations: Over-the-road trucking is heavily regulated at the federal level. Your classroom instructor should cover these restrictions and requirements so you can comply with federal law at all times.
- Weight restrictions: With different license classes and endorsements, you must abide by specific weight restrictions. Through your classroom training, you may learn how to weigh your loads and keep track of the different loads you transport.
- Loading and unloading: The type of loading and unloading you do depends on which company you work for and which type of truck you drive. However, you must be able to properly load and unload any truck you drive.
- Road signs and laws: With a strong understanding of road laws and signs, you can safely drive your truck around the country.
Skills Gained During Behind-the-Wheel Training
Driving training is extremely important, as it prepares you for the skills exam that leads to your CDL. This part of your training is one-on one. It may cover the following skills:
- Maneuvering: Tasks that are easy in a car—turning, going through roundabouts, stopping at a light, and changing lanes—are considerably more difficult in a large truck. Your instructor may teach you these maneuvers in an off-road skills lot and then take you out on the road.
- Starting and parking: Properly starting and parking your truck is an important part of your driving test.
- Truck controls: On the dashboard of your truck, you may find a great variety of buttons, controls, and switches. You must be able to properly identify and use all of these controls.
- Local and highway driving: Your routes may take you through cities and on major highways. As a result, you should practice all of your new skills in both driving situations.
- Vehicle inspection: Vehicle inspection is the first step of your skills test. Your training should show you how to complete a thorough vehicle inspection.
Are you ready to take the next step in your career and become a truck driver? Learn all of these skills and more by contacting truck driving schools near you.