What Happens If I Just Can't Do The Basic Skills Test For The CDL Exam? What Are My Options?

Topic 19580 | Page 1

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Gina D.'s Comment
member avatar

I finished my hours at Road master and took my CDL test last Saturday on May 13th. My teachers have all been wonderful (unbelievably patient and supportive) and they have really worked with me in a very small group setting the last few weekends. The teachers all say, "you'll pass, quit overthinking it!" While I appreciate the vote of confidence I'm a nervous freaking wreck. Last weekend all I did was work on maneuvers and I did them most of the time without assistance on Saturday and Sunday morning. But by Sunday afternoon after 10 hours of getting in and out of that truck in 97 degree heat by 4:00 p.m. I couldn't do anything. Felt like amnesia and I also felt this guilt for wasting the teachers time when at the end of the day I couldn't retain anything. My husband and I have been in a weekend class since the beginning of March and still work at our Mon-Friday teaching jobs. No days off for months and I feel like I'm going to fall down from exhaustion.

I know the pretrip and can drive the truck but I keep getting stuck on the maneuvers. I got through my pretrip just fine and then just got the worst case of nerves I've ever had. I'm in Florida and the skill test is a randomly generated thing, so I have to be able to do all maneuvers and can't really just focus on nailing one thing. Last Saturday I didn't get past offset before my brain turned to mush and I felt sick. I know how to perform the maneuvers and what to do but I'm really scared to death that I'll never pass. I'm a 48 year old school teacher with 2 post graduate degrees and 5 children.

My husband (who does everything well) wants to be team drivers and I'm just consumed with self doubt. He passed his pretrip and skills test but hit a curb and has to take the driving portion again. Nothing worries my husband and he's confident that he'll do his best and pass on to get his license. I've never thought I couldn't do anything, ever in my life but now I just feel so stuck. I want this new job and life so bad that my nerves are fried from thinking about "what if" all week. I have another test this Saturday, 5/20, and all I've done for days is study my written moves and practice with my toy truck. I'm a weekend student so I haven't been in a truck all week and no, there is no opportunity to practice the day of the test. I'm looking at what else I could do if I just can't pass. I'm a planner and right now I'm so worried. Never felt so dumb in my life as I do when I'm trying to alleydock or parallel. The anxiety is killing me and I'm thinking about what else I could do for a living. I'm finished with my teaching job on June 2nd and want to be in that truck with my husband. Any advice or better ideas. Pretty blue at the moment. embarrassed.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Gina,

I certainly understand your anxiety. I have 2 college degrees and worked in healthcare for 20 years.

I'm a single parent as well. I'd had enough of healthcare and was dealing with a severe case of burnout. I was literally trying to do anything to get away from patient care.

With nobody to rely on, yet having two of my 4 kids still at home, the pressure was intense. Failure was not an option as that would mean going back to work at the hospital. I'd rather flip burgers at Mickey D's and I sincerely mean that.

I was a nervous wreck when it came to testing, which is not typical for me. My first attempt, I did my pretrip and passed that. The DOT officer would do everything in batches.. all the pretrips, then everyone for their backing skills, then everyone for road testing. Before my turn came up for the backing, I was so torn up that I couldn't stop throwing up. I elected to forfeit my turn and reschedule for another day/attempt. Luckily in my state you get 4 attempts for the one testing fee.

The following week I was able to get an appointment for testing. I passed my backing skills. Again, I was a bundle of nerves. Like you, I worked and went to CDL school part time on weekends. I was EXHAUSTED. My turn came up for the road test. Suddenly double clutching was again my enemy. I had learned to drive a truck 20 years prior as my ex and I had owned multiple trucks and he had taught me (and I actually had a CDL permit so he could teach me) on the times I could escape from the hospital for several days. Driving a truck is like riding a bicycle.. once you learn you may get rusty but after being back behind the wheel, it comes back, however I had learned to float gears fromthe get go as it was never my intention at that time to actually get my CDL. I was a healthcare professional and quite content in that. For me, truck driving was fun and simply a time when I could spend more time with my husband. Long story short I failed my road test for floating gears a couple times.. I was devastated, but I knew I could drive and had 2 more testing attempts. The examiner was great. He told me it would be okay and that I would pass and that in my state it almost always takes 3 or 4 attempts to pass everything which is why they give that many attempts.

I got another appointment 2 weeks later. It was snowing like crazy which really made me nervous (along with everyone else). Nobody was jumping up to do the road testing and it was beginning to snow very very hard. He asked who was going first and we all hesitated. The examiner asked me if I was ready and I tried to stall. He then told me "you know, if we get on a road test and I decide it's too slick, that will be the only road test given today."

My response? "It's a damn fine day to get my CDL" and I did. I was the only one who got to road test that day and yes, I passed.

Looking back, I still can't understand why I was so nervous and torn up over everything. Don't let your nerves get the best of you like I did. And remember, even if you don't pass everything the first time, you'll still be okay and will eventually do it if you don't give up. The nervousness and anxiety severely complicated things for sure.

Best of luck to you and try to relax as much as possible.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Float Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

Double Clutching:

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

Gina D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you Susan! I just needed to hear someone besides my husband say keep going. I took my test last Saturday and prayed for any maneuver but Alley dock. I don't pray but I literally would have sold my soul to just parallel. We are random in Florida and I felt pretty confident in my offset and either parallel but NOT Alley dock so of course, I got Alley dock! The examiner told me before I started the test and true to form I just burst out crying. Why? I didn't want to let my husband, my teachers or myself down. I was so nervous but so prepared to get this test done but I also knew I didn't have that skill nailed. My set up was off and I just couldn't fix it. The examiner was very nice and told me that he needed me to stick it out and not give up. He said that he'd seen a lot of improvement since last week and told me that he felt I was 2 hours away from a CDL. The tears dried up and my school director told me (assured me) that he would have my alley docking blindfold in one day. I had to ask the what if I don't pass question and he said that then I'd take it a fourth time but that I would not be leaving trucking school without a CDL. So, I took yesterday off and it was the first day off I've had in over a month of non stop work. My body and brain feel rested again and I feel like I needed the rest if I was going to keep going. Honestly, I feel great today, haven't felt this positive or not sore since the beginning of March! I'm going to finish out my school contract year and the last day for work is June 2nd. I'm going back to Road master on June 5th and plan on working on all maneuvers that week and test out on June 9th at the end of the week. Leaving the truck on a Sunday and knowing that I wouldn't be back in it for a week was also really messing with my confidence. I think that was my old body was saying take a day off and finish one thing so you can move on to the other. I appreciate your story :) and I'll be testing in an automatic! Feeling relaxed and grateful for the next chapter in my life. Thanks again for the encouragement and I'll let you know when I pass that test. No longer if but when thank-you.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Awesome. You try to rest and relax because your definitely gonna pass this. It's amazing that as much as I beat myself up and struggled, I'm now a company trainer lol. You'll be just fine.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I hope by now you passed. Basically you are driving a trailer. Relax.

Gina D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello all well I tested again and unfortunately when my examiner had me pull up for my parallel I forgot to go back before I started my move. My husband was watching from the doorway and said he wanted to cry because up until then I had set everything up and we really thought this was it. So I'm back at school and I'm still practicing the parallel which I can do with no problem next time I want alley dock. I've decided that until they give up on me I'm not going to give up. I'll keep you posted on whether I pass or not but I have learned to drive my trailer And can now fix my offset which is something I could never do before. I think it's all attitude and after this year where I lost a family member to cancer in her early 30s… Truck driving school is not going to be what breaks me ☺ so please God let me pass this next time!

Gina D.'s Comment
member avatar

I PASSED!!!! Couldn't even parallel park my car this time last month but did it with no points for my test. Honestly, never thought I would get this far. dancing-dog.gif

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations Gina. As you now know it's simply about the determination to not give up.

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Kim R.'s Comment
member avatar

I love ready these stories.. Hi..my name is Kim..I am currently in truck driving school..I have about 1 1/2 weeks left..I am doing really well at driving and my backups, it's the pretrip I cannot get to sink in..I just finding the other things more interesting. Thank you.

Reyn R.'s Comment
member avatar

I love ready these stories.. Hi..my name is Kim..I am currently in truck driving school..I have about 1 1/2 weeks left..I am doing really well at driving and my backups, it's the pretrip I cannot get to sink in..I just finding the other things more interesting. Thank you.

Hi Kim! A trainee was relating a story about pre-trips that was awesome. Basically, his trainer would put “prizes” at different places along the pre-trip checklist that would incentivize the trainee to be more thorough in his process.

Also, another was made to verbally call out his sequence while going through his checklist. I’m sure with enough time & practice it all becomes second nature & you can catch potential problems before hitting the road rather than on the interstate with no help for miles.

Good luck! If you haven’t already read this or just need a refresher, here’s the Link

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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