Failed My CDL Skills Test Today

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Deb R.'s Comment
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And I'm normally as calm as can be. I guess my jitters started when I left school on Monday after starting to have problems on backing that I had already worked out.

That exact same thing happened to me last week at orientation. HOW has a specific method they want used for backing, and it was different than I had been doing in school. In school, I actually did fairly well with backing. In orientation, I totally sucked. It kicked my confidence level to smitherines and I had to focus on remaining calm. In the end, I passed and was hired.

Maybe we expect more of ourselves as we get older (I'm 57), or maybe we are not used to being at the low end of the learning curve.

Bottom line, I think that what happened to you is totally normal. Lots of folks on this site will say the same thing. Stick with it, and you will do fine!

Michael P.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

And I'm normally as calm as can be. I guess my jitters started when I left school on Monday after starting to have problems on backing that I had already worked out.

double-quotes-end.png

That exact same thing happened to me last week at orientation. HOW has a specific method they want used for backing, and it was different than I had been doing in school. In school, I actually did fairly well with backing. In orientation, I totally sucked. It kicked my confidence level to smitherines and I had to focus on remaining calm. In the end, I passed and was hired.

Maybe we expect more of ourselves as we get older (I'm 57), or maybe we are not used to being at the low end of the learning curve.

Bottom line, I think that what happened to you is totally normal. Lots of folks on this site will say the same thing. Stick with it, and you will do fine!

Yes! Exactly. Last Friday our backing instructor removed the cheater marks from the truck we use solely for backing. I know it shouldn't have been a big deal but that did throw me off, and only 3 days before the test. And then the roadworthy truck we use for driving and testing and the trailer it pulls is a different model, different mirrors, etc. It's a small school and I understand why it has to be that way but the confidence I had built in the prior 3 weeks went right out the window - confidence for doing the backing tests, that is. I understand that in the real world we will be driving any all kind of combinations of tractors and trailers and with experience that shouldn't be an issue. And again, I'm not downing the school or instructor. I blew the test yesterday all on my own when I failed to take my free GOAL and see where I was placed. That is something that will forever replay in my brain, unfortunately. And what you say about age, our self-expectations and being on the low end of the learning curve just sums up so much of what I am feeling right now. A 21 year old started class the same day as I did and he tested with me yesterday - just him and me. He slept for most of the two days of class when we were studying for the written exam. Granted he had come to school with his permit in hand, so it was just a formality for him. But, he had had to previously take his written 3 times to pass it and he nonchalantly took that driving test yesterday and scored only a few points and walked away with his cdl. And I was very happy for him because he really wanted it as well and had his own obstacles to overcome. I know we all do. I have to say that my decision to take this new career path has brought me several highs and lows since starting this process in November and as I have learned from reading so many informative posts on this site that this is pretty much par for the course for trucking. Never a dull moment, for sure. good-luck-2.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.
DeJuan J.'s Comment
member avatar

Don't quit!!!!

The Dude's Comment
member avatar

There's not even any need to GOAL on the straight line. On that manuever there is no box you have to place the truck in, there's just the box you have to completely back through. Just remember that you can park her wherever you want so long as you pass through the box. Back up as far as you need until you can clearly see the last set of cones in front of you. Back it up to Texas before you blow your horn if you wish.

Same thing applies with the offset. You can go as far back as you want, you just have to clear the first set of cones with the nose of the truck. Go back as far as you need until you can clearly see them.

Michael P.'s Comment
member avatar

There's not even any need to GOAL on the straight line. On that manuever there is no box you have to place the truck in, there's just the box you have to completely back through. Just remember that you can park her wherever you want so long as you pass through the box. Back up as far as you need until you can clearly see the last set of cones in front of you. Back it up to Texas before you blow your horn if you wish.

Same thing applies with the offset. You can go as far back as you want, you just have to clear the first set of cones with the nose of the truck. Go back as far as you need until you can clearly see them.

I agree with everything you say. That is why I am so peeved at myself. I knew how that maneuver works. I did it countless times in the 3 weeks previous but when I got to the test site I started getting nervous - for no reason really other than I wanted to get it right and not have to come back. I was so afraid of making a mistake that I made a mistake. That's the only way I can explain it.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
Very nervous now and feeling like a moron . . .

Hey, failing a test does not make you a moron . . . you may well BE a moron, but for other reasons rofl-3.gif . . . in any case, the most important thing is to take your time (each manuver has a time limit but they are very generous overall) and BREATHE . . . you'll nail it next time and you'll wonder why you were so nervous . . .

Jopa

smile.gif

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Michael, I just wanted to say I've been hanging back on this thread because I was quite enjoying the comments from your peers. They have all given you some great advice, and I just wanted to add a little something to it. I've seen people who failed their driving test as many as three times, and to be quite honest with you it really doesn't matter if you fail it ten times. I once helped a young lady who was on her fourth attempt at it and she finally got it right. There are lots of professionals out there on the highways who failed their skills test multiple times. All that really matters is that you eventually pass it. In the end, none of us are very proficient at maneuvering an eighteen wheeler when we first pass that driving skills test, in fact if the truth were known we are like little toddlers just taking their first tottering steps.

The time that a person learns to be proficient as the captain of one of these gentle giants is during their first year of running solo. So, my friend just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and act like it never happened. Driving a big rig will humble you many times again, and even long time professionals find themselves, on occasion, unable to get it backed in the way they intended. You know you can do this, be confident in your ability and let those butterflies in your stomach just do their dance while you act like you know exactly what you are doing.

I have every confidence in you, and you have just got to have that same confidence. Get in that truck and show them how it's done - all your new friends here at Trucking Truth are pulling for you, because we have all gone through the same thing. We know the frustrations you feel and many of us also know the thrill you will feel when you pass that test. Don't sweat it one little bit, even if you fail again... there is always another chance at acing those maneuvers. Keep at it and you will succeed - just remember that this is just one little step in a long line of learning steps that you will be taking for many years to come. I learn something everyday as far as driving a rig is concerned, and you will too. Hang in there, and keep us informed on how it's going - we are looking forward to celebrating with you when you get that shiny new CDL!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Hi, well it's all been said already, first off believe it or not it was still a good day. You didn't hit anything!!!!! That always makes it a good day, and come back tomorrow and knock it out of the park. I'm 54 and I fully agree with the comments we tend to put more on ourselves than others do. I just hit 1 yr solo. Some days I can backup just perfect, others I wonder how I ever passed school. It happens, some days are just better than others. Relax and nail it next time. Best wishes

Michael P.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello to everyone here. I'm back again with an update on trying to get my CDL. I took it again yesterday after failing the skills portion the week before on Christmas Eve. I so hate to have to tell everyone this because everyone's responses to my first post were so generous and uplifting, but I failed it again. I still couldn't get the parallel parking done in time. I had all available points to use and set myself up fine(or so I thought) but I made a mess of it. By the time I blew my horn because the clock was running down, I still had about a quarter of the trailer encroaching on the line. I just couldn't get it fixed in time. I can't believe I've got myself in this situation. I know all hope is not lost and I will not quit but it does shake one's confidence. I went into this test yesterday morning feeling so much more ready than I felt the first time - a lot less anxiety, believe it or not. That was mostly due to having a different instructor work with me on Monday and Tuesday. He got through to me in a way I guess the other instructor couldn't. I'm not knocking the other instructor at all. By Tuesday evening when I left school we had gone over all the backing maneuvers several times and I did them all without acquiring any points. If that had just been my examination I would have a CDL in hand right now. Not to seem ****y or too confident, I feel I can get through the road portion just fine(not wanting to jinx myself either). These butterflies that have had my stomach in knots since Christmas Eve day have not really subsided much and probably won't until I get through this. I retest next Thursday, will spend a day at school on Wednesday practicing some more, even though the instructor says there really isn't anything more they can teach me - I know how to do it. A big concern I have right now is that the truck I test in is not the truck I get to practice in. The testing truck is an 04 Columbia, the practice truck is a 98 FLD, both pulling 48 footers but different makes of trailer - same tandem spacing but different style landing gear(was taught to use the landing gear to position the rig). I don't know, everything just looks different to me sitting up there in that Columbia. Should I even be worrying about the truck? All of the other students have taken their test the same way. But I am their first student who didn't pass it on the second attempt.

Another concern for me is that I was scheduled to travel to Gary Indiana on Monday to start orientation with May Trucking Co. My recruiter has been out of the office since Dec. 24 and is supposed to e-mail all my info on the trip tomorrow(Friday) when she is back to work. She doesn't know anything about my testing woes yet(unless she happens to read this forum). If I had succeeded yesterday this would be a non-issue. But now I will have to call as soon as possible tomorrow morning Pacific time(I'm in Missouri)and tell what I have been up to. How sympathetic will this company be that I'm going on try number three to get my license - will they retract their offer? I know if they decide to refuse me that it's not the end of the world - there are other companies I can apply to. And frankly right now all of my thoughts are consumed with passing this test. This remains something I want for myself more than anything but those pesky little voices we all have in our heads are toying with me. My dad's wisdom and advice is on par with everyone's that commented on my post(or vice versa lol). My dad told me a year from now I will look back on this time as just another experience of many that I'm in for, but I'll be sitting in the cab of truck and driving down the road while thinking back on this. That's the attitude I'm trying to maintain, I just wish I could see into that future. I hope everyone's new year ahead brings them all the best. Thank you all.

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.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jopa's Comment
member avatar

Hello to everyone here. I'm back again with an update on trying to get my CDL. I took it again yesterday after failing the skills portion the week before on Christmas Eve. I so hate to have to tell everyone this because everyone's responses to my first post were so generous and uplifting, but I failed it again. I still couldn't get the parallel parking done in time. I had all available points to use and set myself up fine(or so I thought) but I made a mess of it. By the time I blew my horn because the clock was running down, I still had about a quarter of the trailer encroaching on the line. I just couldn't get it fixed in time. I can't believe I've got myself in this situation. I know all hope is not lost and I will not quit but it does shake one's confidence. I went into this test yesterday morning feeling so much more ready than I felt the first time - a lot less anxiety, believe it or not. That was mostly due to having a different instructor work with me on Monday and Tuesday. He got through to me in a way I guess the other instructor couldn't. I'm not knocking the other instructor at all. By Tuesday evening when I left school we had gone over all the backing maneuvers several times and I did them all without acquiring any points. If that had just been my examination I would have a CDL in hand right now. Not to seem ****y or too confident, I feel I can get through the road portion just fine(not wanting to jinx myself either). These butterflies that have had my stomach in knots since Christmas Eve day have not really subsided much and probably won't until I get through this. I retest next Thursday, will spend a day at school on Wednesday practicing some more, even though the instructor says there really isn't anything more they can teach me - I know how to do it. A big concern I have right now is that the truck I test in is not the truck I get to practice in. The testing truck is an 04 Columbia, the practice truck is a 98 FLD, both pulling 48 footers but different makes of trailer - same tandem spacing but different style landing gear(was taught to use the landing gear to position the rig). I don't know, everything just looks different to me sitting up there in that Columbia. Should I even be worrying about the truck? All of the other students have taken their test the same way. But I am their first student who didn't pass it on the second attempt.

Another concern for me is that I was scheduled to travel to Gary Indiana on Monday to start orientation with May Trucking Co. My recruiter has been out of the office since Dec. 24 and is supposed to e-mail all my info on the trip tomorrow(Friday) when she is back to work. She doesn't know anything about my testing woes yet(unless she happens to read this forum). If I had succeeded yesterday this would be a non-issue. But now I will have to call as soon as possible tomorrow morning Pacific time(I'm in Missouri)and tell what I have been up to. How sympathetic will this company be that I'm going on try number three to get my license - will they retract their offer? I know if they decide to refuse me that it's not the end of the world - there are other companies I can apply to. And frankly right now all of my thoughts are consumed with passing this test. This remains something I want for myself more than anything but those pesky little voices we all have in our heads are toying with me. My dad's wisdom and advice is on par with everyone's that commented on my post(or vice versa lol). My dad told me a year from now I will look back on this time as just another experience of many that I'm in for, but I'll be sitting in the cab of truck and driving down the road while thinking back on this. That's the attitude I'm trying to maintain, I just wish I could see into that future. I hope everyone's new year ahead brings them all the best. Thank you all.

You are definitely letting your imagination run wild with you . . . when you are practicing, really OBSERVE what the trailer does in response to your handling of the steering wheel . . . make the connection in your mind by saying something like, "Turn the wheel LEFT to get the front of the trailer to go left (in the mirror) or what ever works for you . . . once you make that connection, it will be easier . . . my trainer told me (seems like years ago) that you can always tell the rookies trying to park because they make RADICAL adjustments as they try to maneuver . . . they WAY OVERKILL what is necessary . . . that's what gets you into trouble . . . make your corrections and them WATCH the trailer react to it . . . you usually have lots of time AND room to re-correct for any error you are committing . . . again BREATH and let the trailer do what it is going to do, reacting in a much more subtle way so you don't lose the overall picture of what's happening back there . . . you'll get it and then you'll be mystified why it seemed so hard a task . . .

Jopa

smile.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.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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