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Railroad Crossing

When operating a commercial bus, you must lower the window and/or open the door to listen for trains. Then close the door prior to moving.

When operating a school bus you must turn off all radios, tape/CD players, heaters and fans to hear adequately. You must lower the window and open the door to listen for trains. Then close door the prior to moving.

Before reaching the crossing, all commercial drivers should:
  • Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears as necessary.
  • Look and listen for the presence of trains.
  • Check traffic in all directions.

Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is in the crossing.

If you are driving a bus, a school bus or a vehicle displaying placards, be prepared to observe the following procedures at every railroad crossing (unless the crossing is exempt):

  • As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing, activate the four-way flashers.
  • Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail and set parking brake.
  • Listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train. If operating a bus, you must open the window and door prior to crossing tracks.
  • Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle crosses the tracks.
  • Do not stop, change gears or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is proceeding across the tracks.
  • The 4-way flashers should be deactivated after the vehicle crosses the tracks.

Not all driving exam routes will have a railroad crossing. You may be asked to explain and demonstrate the proper railroad crossing procedures to the examiner at a simulated location.

When a crossing gate or cross buck seems to be malfunctioning or in a nonworking condition, look for a telephone number for the railroad company to report the malfunction. Each crossing has a number assigned to it. You will need to mention this number when calling to inform the railroad company that the crossing is either malfunctioning or in a nonworking condition.

Bridge/Overpass/Sign

After driving under an overpass, you may be asked to tell the examiner what the posted clearance or height was. After going over a bridge, you may be asked to tell the examiner what the posted weight limit was. If your test route does not have a bridge or overpass, you may be asked about another traffic sign. When asked, be prepared to identify and explain to the examiner any traffic sign that may appear on the route.

Driving Exam Requirements

During the driving exam you must:
  • Wear your safety belt.
  • Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
  • Complete the test without an accident or moving violation.

Scoring

You will be scored on your overall performance in the following general driving behavior categories:

Clutch usage (for manual transmission):
  • Always use the clutch to shift.
  • Double-clutch if vehicle is equipped with non-synchronized transmission.
  • Do not rev or lug the engine.
  • Do not ride the clutch to control speed, coast with the clutch depressed, or “pop the clutch.”
Gear usage (for manual transmission):
  • Do not grind or clash gears.
  • Select a gear that does not rev or lug engine.
  • Do not shift in turns and intersections.
Brake usage:
  • Do not ride or pump brake.
  • Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using steady pressure.
Lane usage:
  • Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks or lane markings.
  • Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks or stop signs.
  • Complete a turn in the proper lane on a multiple-lane road (vehicle should finish a left turn in the lane directly to the right of the center line).
  • Finish a right turn in the right-most (curb) lane.
  • Move to or remain in right-most lane unless lane is blocked.
Remember: If you are driving a bus, you must stop 15 to 50 feet from the nearest rail of a railroad crossing.
This is true for any commercial vehicle while taking the driving exam. You should never shift while driving over a railroad crossing. The entire vehicle must clear the crossing before you shift.
Don't forget to set the parking brake once you have stopped. This applies to buses only! Those taking their driving exam in a truck should not stop at railroad crossings.
In addition to height clearance and weight related signs, you may be asked about any road sign you pass. Be sure to read all your road signs.
Any of these will result in a failure of the driving exam. Remember to wear your seat belt! If you do not wear your seat belt, you will fail the driving exam.
Even if you know how to "float" gears (shift without using the clutch), you should always double clutch during your driving exam.
With your limited driving experience, you will very likely grind and clash gears. This will not result in an automatic failure! You may be docked some points for excessive clashing of gears, but unless you are driving in an unsafe manner or are unable to get the vehicle into gear for an extended period of time, you will still pass the driving exam. If you do miss a gear, stay calm and make good judgment decisions. You will still likely pass the driving exam.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

If you are driving a bus, a school bus or a vehicle displaying placards, you must stop within how many feet from the nearest rail?
  • Between 30 and 60 feet
  • Between 5 and 10 feet
  • Between 10 and 20 feet
  • Between 15 and 50 feet

Quote From The CDL Manual:

If you are driving a bus, a school bus or a vehicle displaying placards, be prepared to observe the following procedures at every railroad crossing (unless the crossing is exempt):

- As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing, activate the four-way flashers.
- Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail and set parking brake.
- Listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train. If operating a bus, you must open the window and door prior to crossing tracks.
- Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle crosses the tracks.
- Do not stop, change gears or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is proceeding across the tracks.
- The 4-way flashers should be deactivated after the vehicle crosses the tracks.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Take the time to memorize the distance you must be from the nearest rail even if you don't plan on obtaining a passenger or Hazardous Material endorsement.

Next
Before reaching a railroad crossing, all commercial drivers should:
  • Downshift while crossing the railroad tracks
  • Speed up to clear the crossing as quickly as possible
  • None of these answers are correct
  • Slow down, look and listen for the presence of trains

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Before reaching the crossing, all commercial drivers should:

- Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears as necessary.
- Look and listen for the presence of trains.
- Check traffic in all directions.
- Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is in the crossing.

Prev
Next
A vehicle displaying placards must stop at all railroad crossings except:
  • Crossings with no lights or gates
  • Crossings marked as exempt
  • Tracks used only for freight purposes (no passenger trains)
  • Crossings within industrial facilities

Quote From The CDL Manual:

If you are driving a bus, a school bus or a vehicle displaying placards, be prepared to observe the following procedures at every railroad crossing (unless the crossing is exempt):

- As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing, activate the four-way flashers.
- Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail and set parking brake.
- Listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train. If operating a bus, you must open the window and door prior to crossing tracks.
- Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle crosses the tracks.
- Do not stop, change gears or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is proceeding across the tracks.
- The 4-way flashers should be deactivated after the vehicle crosses the tracks.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Tracks with signage that says "exempt" or "abandoned" are the only exceptions for placarded vehicles.

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Next
Which of the following will result in an automatic failure of the driving exam?
  • Driving too slow
  • Failure to use your turn signal
  • Improper downshifting
  • Failure to wear your seat belt

Quote From The CDL Manual:

During the driving exam you must:

- Wear your safety belt.
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
- Complete the test without an accident or moving violation.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Be sure you put your seat belt on before releasing the parking brakes. Failure to properly wear your seat belt is an automatic failure!

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Next
When can you shift gears during a railroad crossing?
  • Once both the tractor and trailer have cleared the crossing
  • You should always downshift during a railroad crossing
  • Once the tractor has cleared the crossing
  • You should always shift up during a railroad crossing

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is in the crossing.

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Next
After driving under an overpass, the examiner may ask you:
  • The examiner will not ask any questions after driving under a bridge
  • The weight limit of the bridge
  • What the posted clearance or height of the bridge was
  • What street you drove under

Quote From The CDL Manual:

After driving under an overpass, you may be asked to tell the examiner what the posted clearance or height was. After going over a bridge, you may be asked to tell the examiner what the posted weight limit was. If your test route does not have a bridge or overpass, you may be asked about another traffic sign. When asked, be prepared to identify and explain to the examiner any traffic sign that may appear on the route.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

It is extremely important that you real all your signs during the driving exam. It is very likely that an examiner will ask about height clearance when driving under a bridge, and bridge weight ratings when driving over a bridge.

Prev
Next
When making a right turn, you should:
  • If two lanes are available, straddle both lanes until the trailer is straight, then choose a safe lane
  • Finish the turn in the left lane
  • Finish the turn in the center lane
  • Finish the turn in the right most (curb) lane

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Lane usage:

- Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks or lane markings.
- Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks or stop signs.
- Complete a turn in the proper lane on a multiple-lane road (vehicle should finish a left turn in the lane directly to the right of the center line).
- Finish a right turn in the right-most (curb) lane.
- Move to or remain in right-most lane unless lane is blocked.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

When making a left turn, finish the turn in the left lane and when making a right turn, finish the turn in the right lane. Be sure no vehicles "squeeze" next to you while making the turn.

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Next
Which of the following is NOT allowed during your driving exam:
  • None of these are allowed during the driving exam
  • Shifting in turns
  • "Floating" the gears (shifting without using the clutch pedal)
  • Resting your foot on the clutch pedal (riding the clutch)

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Clutch usage (for manual transmission):

- Always use the clutch to shift.
- Double-clutch if vehicle is equipped with non-synchronized transmission.
- Do not rev or lug the engine.
- Do not ride the clutch to control speed, coast with the clutch depressed, or "pop the clutch."

Gear usage (for manual transmission):

- Do not grind or clash gears.
- Select a gear that does not rev or lug engine.
- Do not shift in turns and intersections.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

You are not expected to shift perfectly. You only need to prove you are safe and will not pose a hazard to the general public. However, there are some basic rules you must follow.

- Do not stall the truck! This may result in an immediate failure.
- You must shift the transmission using the clutch (they will check for this).

Grinding or clashing gears will NOT result in an automatic failure. But it's important for you to learn how to recover when missing a gear. If you lose too much speed or stall the truck, you may be forced to retest.

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