You’ve got your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), worked hard, practiced the maneuvers and can recite a pre-trip inspection in your sleep. You’ve put in the hours behind the wheel and are ready for tomorrow’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Road Test. You’ve got this in the bag, right?
It’s natural to feel anxious leading up to your CDL Road Test, so here’s some excellent advice and tips from the CDL Master Instructors at New England Tractor Trailer Training School (NETTTS), who have cumulatively trained thousands of students.
- Think back to your training. Take time the day before to reflect on your training. If you trained at a school that offers a comprehensive training program, then you were taught the skills and were given time to practice until you can do each maneuver right the first time.
- Clear your mind. Spend the night before with your family or those closest to you. Try not to think about the test or worry about your performance. It’s important to approach the next day with a clear head.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Avoid going out and get to bed early, even if your test is in the afternoon. Getting plenty of sleep will help you to stay attentive, refreshed and ready to perform.
- Avoid too much caffeine. Take it easy on coffee, sugar or nicotine the day of your test. This can increase tension and cause your nerves to be high.
- Get there early. This will allow you to get comfortable in your environment and start visualizing how things will go.
- Practice, if your state allows. Rules vary state to state, but if your state permits you to practice, try doing the maneuver you’re least comfortable with once. Don’t dwell on it or let it get to your head, but get in a truck and practice it one more time. If your state does not allow practice time the day of your test, begin to visualize your pre-trip inspection and practice in your head.
- Take your time. Your test is not a race, so relax and remember to breathe. When you’re testing, think back to your training and remember what you learned.
If you went to a school like NETTTS, then you have had the classroom, range and on-the-road training to help prepare you to successfully complete the CDL Road Test and become a licensed driver.
“Remember, you’re only doing what you know how to do,” said Mike Demars, director of safety and training at New England Tractor Trailer Training School in Somers, Conn.
Jim Roddy, director of safety and training at NETTTS in North Andover, Mass., adds, “Slow down. Take your time and remember that most everyone there wants to see you succeed.”
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What are your best CDL Road Test tips to prepare the night before or the day of the test?