CDL Practice Tests For Transporting Cargo Safely

Our free CDL practice tests for Transporting Cargo Safely are designed to help test your knowledge of the CDL Manual and sharpen your skills for taking the CDL permit and endorsement exams. They are not designed to teach you the knowledge necessary to pass the exams. Please do not try to memorize these CDL practice tests in order to get your CDL. There's a better way.

Our High Road CDL Training Program is by far the easiest and most effective way to learn the materials necessary for passing your written CDL exams and preparing for a great start to your career. We strongly suggest using the High Road (which is 100% free!) to learn the CDL manual before using our practice questions to test your knowledge.

CDL Practice Tests For Transporting Cargo Safely

About The Transporting Cargo Safely CDL Exam

The Transporting Cargo Safely portion of the CDL manual will be on the General Knowledge portion of the CDL permit written exam. A list of questions you should be able to answer for the exam include:

  • What four things related to cargo are drivers responsible for?
  • How often must you stop while on the road to check your cargo?
  • How is Gross Combination Weight Rating different from Gross Combination Weight?
  • Name two situations where legal maximum weights may not be safe.
  • What can happen if you do not have enough weight on the front axle?
  • What is the minimum number of tiedowns for any flat bed load?
  • What is the minimum number of tiedowns for a 20-foot load?
  • Name the two basic reasons for covering cargo on an open bed.
  • What must you check before transporting a sealed load?

Important Parts To Study For Transporting Cargo Safely

Driver Responsibility For Loading Cargo

You must understand basic cargo safety rules to get a CDL. If you load cargo wrong or do not secure it, it can be a danger to others and yourself. Loose cargo that falls off a vehicle can cause traffic problems and others could be hurt or killed. Loose cargo could hurt or kill you during a quick stop or crash. Your vehicle could be damaged by an overload. Steering could be affected by how a vehicle is loaded, making it more difficult to control the vehicle.

Whether or not you load and secure the cargo yourself, you are responsible for:

  • Inspecting your cargo.
  • Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced weight.
  • Knowing your cargo is properly secured and does not obscure your view ahead or to the sides.
  • Knowing your cargo does not restrict your access to emergency equipment.

If you intend to carry hazardous material that requires placards on your vehicle, you will also need to have a hazardous materials endorsement

Inspecting Cargo

As part of your pre-trip inspection, make sure the truck is not overloaded and the cargo is balanced and secured properly.

  • After Starting: Inspect the cargo and its securing devices again within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip. Make any adjustments needed.
  • Re-check: Re-check the cargo and securing devices as often as necessary during a trip to keep the load secure. You need to inspect again:
    • After you have driven for three hours or 150 miles.
    • After every break you take during driving.

Federal, state and local regulations for commercial vehicle weight, securing cargo, covering loads and where you can drive large vehicles vary from place to place. Know the rules of where you will be driving.

Definitions You Must Know

  • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW):
    The total weight of a single vehicle plus its load.
  • Gross Combination Weight (GCW):
    The total weight of a powered unit plus trailer(s), plus the cargo.
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR):
    The maximum GVW specified by the manufacturer for a single vehicle plus its load.
  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR):
    The maximum GCW specified by the manufacturer for a specific combination of vehicles plus its load.

More Definitions You Must Know

  • Axle Weight:
    The weight transmitted to the ground by one axle or one set of axles.
  • Tire Load:
    The maximum safe weight a tire can carry at a specified pressure. This rating is stated on the side of each tire.
  • Suspension Systems:
    Suspension systems have a manufacturer's weight capacity rating.
  • Coupling Device Capacity:
    Coupling devices are rated for the maximum weight they can pull and/or carry

Legal Weight Limits

You must keep weights within legal limits. States have maximums for GVWs, GCWs and axle weights. Often, maximum axle weights are set by a bridge formula. A bridge formula permits less maximum axle weight for axles that are closer together. This is to prevent overloading bridges and roadways.

Overloading can have bad effects on steering, braking and speed control. Overloaded trucks have to go very slowly on upgrades. Worse, they may gain too much speed on downgrades. Stopping distance increases. Brakes can fail when forced to work too hard.

Center Of Gravity And Weight Distribution

Do not Be Top-heavy

The height of the vehicle's center of gravity is important for safe handling. A high center of gravity (cargo piled up high or heavy cargo on top) means you are more likely to tip over. It is most dangerous in curves or if you have to swerve to avoid a hazard. It is important to distribute the cargo so it is as low as possible. Put the heaviest parts of the cargo under the lightest parts.

Balance the Weight

Poor weight balance can make vehicle handling unsafe. Too much weight on the steering axle can cause hard steering. It can damage the steering axle and tires. Under-loaded front axles (caused by shifting weight too far to the rear) can make the steering axle weight too light to steer safely. Too little weight on the driving axles can cause poor traction. The drive wheels may spin easily. During bad weather, the truck may not be able to keep going. Weight that is loaded so there is a high center of gravity causes greater chance of rollover. On flat bed vehicles, there is also a greater chance that the load will shift to the side or fall off.

Securing Cargo

Blocking and Bracing

Blocking is used in the front, back and/or sides of a piece of cargo to keep it from sliding. Blocking is shaped to fit snugly against cargo. It is secured to the cargo deck to prevent cargo movement. Bracing is also used to prevent movement of cargo. Bracing goes from the upper part of the cargo to the floor and/or walls of the cargo compartment.

Cargo Tie-down

On flatbed trailers or trailers without sides, cargo must be secured to keep it from shifting or falling off. In closed vans, tie-downs can also be important to prevent cargo shifting that may affect the handling of the vehicle. Tie-downs must be of the proper type and proper strength. Federal regulations require the aggregate working load limit of any securement system used to secure an article or group of articles against movement must be at least one-half times the weight of the article or group of articles.

Proper tie-down equipment must be used, including ropes, straps, chains and tensioning devices (winches, ratchets, clinching components). Tie-downs must be attached to the vehicle correctly (hooks, bolts, rails, rings).

Cargo should have at least one tie-down for each 10 feet of cargo. Make sure you have enough tie-downs to meet this need. No matter how small the cargo, it should have at least two tie-downs. There are special requirements for securing various heavy pieces of metal. Find out what they are if you are to carry such loads.

Covering Cargo

There are two basic reasons for covering cargo:

  • To protect people from spilled cargo.
  • To protect the cargo from weather.

Spill protection is a safety requirement in many states. Be familiar with the laws in the states you drive in. You should look at your cargo covers in the mirrors from time to time while driving. A flapping cover can tear loose, uncovering the cargo and possibly block your view or someone else's.

Cargo Needing Special Attention

Certain types of cargo need special attention and knowledge to handle properly. You will learn more about these special types if you work for a company that hauls them.

  • Dry Bulk
  • Hanging Meat
  • Livestock
  • Oversized Loads

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