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  • Commercial Driver Education in Ohio

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    No State Education Mandate

    In order to obtain your Commercial Driver License (CDL), you'll need to pass both a driving and a written test. Currently, there are no state-mandated hourly requirements for classroom or behind-the-wheel training.

    Driving Courses

    Because you need to learn how to drive the big rigs somewhere, you have a choice of attending a state-operated or third-party provider course (scroll down to the bottom for contact information). Some of the schools listed also provide rental vehicles that you can use for your test.

    The Manual

    All of the information you need to pass your written test is contained in the voluminous Commercial Driver License Manual, and this will most likely be your "textbook" in many classes.

    If you don't want to download the manual, it's probably easier just to swing by any deputy registrar's branch and pick up your copy.

    What You'll Find in the Manual

    Some sections contain information that will appear on the tests. In these sections, you'll learn about vehicle inspection and control, gear shifting, speed and space management, communicating, night driving, winter driving, mountain driving, emergencies, and staying alert.

    You'll also learn about how to haul cargo safely, including cargo inspection, cargo weight and balance, securing cargo, and how to handle liquids in bulk.

    Then, there are specialized sections for those who only need a certain endorsement or class of license. These sections include information for drivers needing a passenger endorsement, school bus endorsement, or hazardous materials endorsement.

    There are also sections devoted to those who will be driving vehicles with air brakes, those who will be towing double or triple trailers, and those who will be driving a tank vehicle.

    Inspection and Skills Testing

    Pre-Trip Inspection

    During the pre-trip inspection, you will need to demonstrate to the examiner that the vehicle is safe to drive. You may also be asked to identify parts and explain the importance of those parts. The handbook walks you through the process, covering everything from the engine belts to the mirrors to the parking brakes to the horn. There are also special sections for school bus, trailer, and coach bus inspections.

    Skills

    The basic vehicle control skills test is covered by discussing the different exercises you might be tested on, including doing a forward stop, parallel parking, straight line backing, right turn, backward serpentine, and an alley dock. Diagrams are provided for these maneuvers.

    The road test section takes a look at the traffic situations on which you will be tested. Included in this are intersections, expressways, stops, starts, turns, lane changes, railroad crossings, and upgrading and downgrading.

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