California CDL- Driver Safety Guidelines

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by Joshua on April 28, 2014
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People who wish to drive a commercial vehicle would need a CDL driver’s license . Driving safely is very much essential whether you are a CDL driver or any other class driver. A general knowledge of safe driving along with abiding the traffic rules and regulations is very essential for all CDL drivers. The candidate will have to pass the test (both written as well as behind the wheels test) on the safety information in order to obtain a CDL license. Having appropriate knowledge on hazardous materials and wastes is also necessary for a candidate wishing to become a CDL driver. DMV publishes Safety guidelines here

CDL Rules

These rules are inclusive of both Federal as well as State rules which will directly or indirectly affect the drivers operating CMV’s in any state. Below are some of the essential rules and guidelines which one needs to know of:

  • At any given time the CDL driver cannot have more than one license whether you or not you are applying in 2 different states. In case you violate this rule, you may be penalized with $5,000 or may be jailed or lead to a situation where DMV may cancel your California driver’s license.
  • You should also inform the employer about your violations within 30 days of the incident. This holds true for any kind of vehicle.
  • In case your CDL license is suspended or cancelled or revoked or disqualified, you should be notifying your employer with just 2 business days.
  • The employer should be given all the information on the 10 year history of your driving jobs previously held. This will have to be done when you are applying for the commercial driving job.
  • Without a CDL, no one will be able to drive a commercial vehicle legally. The court is liable to fine you $5,000 or jail you for violating any of these rules.
  • The employer is liable to suspend you from the job if your CDL is expired or do not have CDL or have more than one license. At any time you can be fined $5,000 or jail the violating driver.
  • You must notify and surrender your hazardous materials endorsement to the state issued CDL within 24 hours of being convicted of any accident. The jurisdiction, military or civilian should be notified that you are not found guilty for insanity or mental institution.
  • The motor vehicle licensing agency should be notified within 30 days of convicting of any traffic violation which excludes any parking violations.
  • Since all the states are connected to the centralized system to share information about CDL drivers, the states will check drivers’ collision records.
  • By law safety belts need to be worn at all times for drivers operating the CDL.

Backing with a Trailer

You must turn the steering wheel towards the direction of journey when backing a car, truck or bus. However, when backing trailer it is necessary to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction. After the trailer starts, the steering wheel should be turned in the opposite direction. Using mirrors will help you detect your position and correct the direction you are turning. If the trailer is getting off from the proper path, you can correct the drift immediately. When backing your truck, make sure to use pull ups to reposition the vehicle. If there are blind spots, you must invariably use a helper. However, make sure you work out your own hand signals which are understandable by both the parties.

  1. Shifting Gears

Heavy vehicles with manual transmissions need double clutching for changing gears. Before starting down a hill, one needs to slow and shift down without having to use brakes. This will avoid your brakes getting overheated. The gear should be the lowest when you are climbing the hill. One must slow down to a safe speed before entering a curve. You can slow down to a safe speed and then downshift even before entering a curve. This way you can use some power through the curve and stabilize your vehicle when turning. As soon as you will be out of the curve, you can speed up your vehicle gradually.

  1. Tire problems

Too much or too little air is too dangerous for tires when you drive on the roads. Make sure you use excessive wear with no cuts or damage, thread separation, dual tires, regrooved, retreaded and recapped tires on the front side of your vehicle wheels.

  1. Brakes

Use appropriate brake testing methods whether you have air brakes or hydraulic brakes.

  1. Sight

All drivers need to overlook at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead. You should be alert of any approaching traffic or freeways. Look for hills, curves or anything due to which you may have to slow down or change your lanes. Regularly keep checking your mirrors for traffic, monitor your tires or road conditions.

You also need to check for mirrors when you are changing lanes, turns, maneuvers and merges.

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