TruckingTruth logo

Section 12: On-Road Driving Exam

You will drive over a test route that has a variety of traffic situations. At all times during the exam, you must drive in a safe and responsible manner.

During the driving exam, 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.

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.

12.1 How You will be Tested

Turns

You have been asked to make a turn:
  • Check traffic in all directions.
  • Use turn signals and safely get into the lane needed for the turn.
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.
If you must stop before making the turn:
  • 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.
When ready to turn:
  • Check traffic in all directions.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel during the turn.
  • Do not change gears 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.
After the 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).

Intersections

As you approach an intersection:
  • 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.
When driving through an intersection:
  • Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
  • Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and traffic in the intersection.
  • Do not change lanes or shift gears while proceeding through the intersection.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel.
Once through the intersection:
  • Continue checking traffic.
  • Accelerate smoothly and change gears as necessary.
While taking your driving exam, always slow down early and smoothly so that you can utilize downshifting. Do not hold down the clutch or stay in neutral. Always try to be in a gear.
If you cannot see the tires of the vehicle in front of you, than you are too close and will be penalized. Always stay back far enough so you can see the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
Never let your vehicle roll back. You should let off the clutch a bit until you hit the "friction point" before letting off the brake pedal to prevent rolling back, especially on an incline.
The examiner will check to make sure you are glancing at your mirror throughout the entire turn. Make sure you are doing so.
If turning from the right lane, you should end up in the right most lane when you complete your turn. If turning from the left lane, you should end up in the left most lane after completing your turn.
Most commercial vehicles do not have self-cancelling turn signals. You must deactivate the turn signal manually.
Do you remember how to determine a safe gap? Make certain you can see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you.
Remember: Your entire truck (both the truck and the trailer) must clear the intersection before you shift. This may seem unnatural, but if you shift in an intersection, you will be penalized.
Whenever possible, both hands should remain on the wheel. Do not rest your hand on the shifter. As soon as you've made a shift, put your hand back on the wheel until you need to shift again. Even if it's for a short time, you should always keep your hands on the wheel between shifts.

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

As you approach a turn, you should:
  • Keep the truck in gear and depress the clutch pedal before slowing down
  • Put the truck in the highest possible gear before slowing down
  • Put the truck in neutral before using the brake pedal to slow down
  • Slow down by downshifting to avoid coasting

Quote From The CDL Manual:

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.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

The examiners will check to make sure you're able to keep the truck in gear by using proper downshifting. Avoid taking the truck out of gear until absolutely necessary.

Next
After making a turn, you should:
  • Make sure the turn signal is off
  • Straddle both lanes until you're up to speed in order to prevent vehicles from passing
  • Accelerate as slowly as possible
  • Move into the left-most lane

Quote From The CDL Manual:

After the 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).

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Semi-trucks do not come with self-cancelling turn signals. You must cancel turn signals manually. Therefor, it is extremely important to remember to cancel your turn signal after making a turn. Driving with your turn signal on is not only very dangerous, it will cost you points during the driving exam.

Prev
Next
If stopping behind another vehicle, where should you stop?
  • Where you can see the rear tires on the vehicle ahead of you
  • At least 5 car lengths back
  • Where you can see the rear license plate of the vehicle ahead of you
  • As close as possible so no vehicles will cut in front of you

Quote From The CDL Manual:

If stopping behind another vehicle, stop where you can see the rear tires on the vehicle ahead of you (safe gap).

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Examiners do check your "safe gap" when stopped behind other vehicles. Be certain you can see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you.

Prev
Next
Traffic in an intersection has the right of way, except:
  • Traffic in the intersection never have the right of way
  • After their light turns red
  • Traffic in the intersection always has the right of way
  • When you have a green light

Quote From The CDL Manual:

When driving through an intersection:

- Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
- Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and traffic in the intersection.
- Do not change lanes or shift gears while proceeding through the Intersection.
- Keep your hands on the wheel.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Regardless of what color a traffic light is, you must always yield to pedestrians and traffic in the intersection.

Prev
Next
When driving through an intersection, where should your hands be?
  • One hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the gear shift
  • One hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the emergency brake
  • One hand on the steering wheel and one hand on or near the air horn
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel

Quote From The CDL Manual:

When driving through an intersection:

- Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
- Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and traffic in the intersection.
- Do not change lanes or shift gears while proceeding through the Intersection.
- Keep your hands on the wheel.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

The examiners actively check to see your hand placement. Whenever possible, keep both hands on the wheel. This is especially true while driving through an intersection.

Prev
Next
Unless told otherwise by the examiner, which lane should you be in?
  • The left-most lane
  • The center lane
  • It doesn't matter which lane you choose
  • The right-most lane

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Urban/Rural Straight

During this part of the exam, 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.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

During the driving exam, if there is more than one lane, always try to be in the right lane. You may or may not continue this practice after passing your exams, but for the purpose of the CDL driving exam, you should always attempt to be in the right most-lane.

Prev
Next
Which of the following is FALSE about making a turn:
  • Keep checking your mirror to make sure the vehicle does not hit anything on the inside of the turn
  • Change gears half way through the turn
  • Vehicle should not move into oncoming traffic.
  • Check traffic in all directions

Quote From The CDL Manual:

When ready to turn:

- Check traffic in all directions.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel during the turn.
- Do not change gears 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.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

During your driving exam, never change gears during a turn. However, only the tractor needs to complete the turn before you are allowed to shift. You do not have to wait for the trailer to straighten out.

Prev
Next
As you approach an intersection, you should:
  • Never change gears while approaching an intersection
  • Speed up in order to clear the intersection quicker
  • Brake smoothly and, if necessary, change gears
  • Depress the clutch and coast through the intersection

Quote From The CDL Manual:

As you approach an intersection:

- 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.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

While approaching an intersection, if you must slow down, do not coast. Downshift if necessary.

Prev
Next
If you stop at an intersection and need to make a right turn, you should:
  • Turn the wheels to the left before you begin moving, then turn them to the right after gaining forward momentum
  • Keep the front wheels aimed straight ahead until you start moving again
  • Turn the wheels to the right before you begin moving
  • None of these answers are correct

Quote From The CDL Manual:

If you must stop before making the turn:

- 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.

Prev
Next
When stopping at an intersection, you should stop behind:
  • The stop line
  • The crosswalk
  • The stop sign
  • Whichever of these is first

Quote From The CDL Manual:

If you must stop before making the turn:

- 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.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Make sure you stop before the stop line, crosswalk, or stop sign - whichever comes first. After you've made a complete stop, you can inch forward to get a better view of cross traffic if needed.

Prev
Next
During a turn, when should you change gears?
  • About half way through the turn
  • About 3/4 of the way through the turn
  • Only in the first half of the turn
  • Only after the turn has been completed

Quote From The CDL Manual:

When ready to turn:

- Check traffic in all directions.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel during the turn.
- Do not change gears 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.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

While taking your driving exam, remember to never shift gears during a turn. Once your tractor has completed the turn, you may shift up. You do not have to wait for the trailer to completely straighten out.

Prev
Finish
Please select an option
[4,1,1,3,4,4,2,3,2,4,4]
11

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only are they fantastic, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! So sign up now and get instant access to our member's section, including:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Private messaging for more personal questions
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

About Us

Picture Of Brett Aquila
TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare you for a great start to your trucking career.