Commercial Driver Education in Delaware
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Operating a commercial motor vehicle is a huge responsibility. The vehicles you'll operate are large, heavy, and carrying cargo. There is a lot to learn about the equipment, driving skills, traffic rules, federal laws, and safety.
The minimum training requirement you must meet, at both the state and federal levels, is not measured in classroom hours or driving time. Your training is measured by passing the written and road tests. However, some longer-combination-vehicle (LCV) drivers must receive training in driver wellness, driver qualifications, hours of service, and whistleblower protection.
Delaware has a unique and effective two step CDL licensing process. When you apply for a CDL you will need to pass the eye exam and the written tests first.
Step two is the road skills test; you complete this after you have used your CDL Temporary Instruction Permit for six months. So, how do you prepare for the written tests?
The Commercial Driver's Manual is a comprehensive and critical resource for you. All you need to know to pass the written exam is inside the manual.
You can expect to spend a lot of time reading the manual and practicing your driving based on what you read. There are helpful diagrams and driving examples. With so much to learn about driving a commercial motor vehicle, the Commercial Driver's Manual will be your primary resource.
You will want to download the manual, all 198 pages, or visit a DMV office to get your own copy for study and reference.
The manual is broken out into three major sections with chapters in each section that deal specifically with certain CDL and CMV topics.
Before you receive your CDL you must complete all the required testing. The manual begins with a section on testing. Safe driving and cargo safety are also included in the first section of the manual.
To read about road conditions, skids, and motor vehicle fires you will want to review chapter two of section one. Learning how to secure and stow your cargo is very important for your own safety, the safety of other vehicles on the road, and the protection of the cargo itself.
Carefully review chapter three to learn some basics about cargo safety. Of course, every load is a little different and you will have to be thoughtful when loading your truck or trailer. Checking the cargo mid-trip is required and recommended.
If you are going to be transporting passengers, driving a combination vehicle, or tanker you will want to read section two very carefully. Learning how to couple and decouple trailers is covered in the manual.
Hauling hazardous materials can be dangerous and there is an entire chapter dedicated to transporting hazardous materials. Your employer may offer you additional training when it comes to Hazmat.
One primary objective of the Commercial Driver's Manual is to teach the skills needed when driving a CMV. Section three goes over the pre-trip inspection process where you walk around your vehicle and make sure the equipment is in proper working order.
Diagrams are included to show you realistic driving situations like turning, parking, or backing up. Use the diagrams to visualize yourself driving a CMV and then practice the maneuvers they exhibit. You will be scored by the DMV licensing official based on how well you drive the controlled course, including pull ups and staying inside the border lines.
The manual does a great job of explaining what you can expect; knowing what to expect will help perform better when you go in for your driving skills test. For example, to pass the driving test you have to wear your safety belt, obey all traffic signs, and complete the route without any violations or accidents.
The state and federal agencies don't require you to have any formal commercial drivers training. However, most drivers enroll in a course to provide them with valuable practice and learning.
There is a lot to know and your own background will determine any specific learning needs you have. For example, if you have experience in mechanics but no actual Class A driving, then you'll need more training in the truck and less training on the equipment mechanics.
Driver training courses bring perspective and organization to the learning process. Another great benefit of drivers training is the classroom experience. Learning along side other CDL applicants can enrich your own understanding of the material.
Because you cannot prepare too much, consider self-study before sitting for the CDL exam. Of course you'll use the Commercial Driver's Manual as your primary learning source, but other programs are out there that can enhance your learning experience.
Self-study also has the advantage of learning at your pace. You are able to follow a structured program but at a pace that matches your learning style and schedule.
Applying for your CDL, passing the written exam, and practicing for the road skills test will be time consuming. However, if you are using the CDL to earn a living you will make the time; some employers support CDL learners with tuition reimbursement or driving practice.
Other Topics in This Section
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- Trucker Testing: Commercial Drivers License Exams
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- Commercial Driver Education: Are You Ready to Drive a Big Rig?
- How to Prepare for a CDL Permit Exam
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