Having successfully passed the required Knowledge Tests, the applicant must now demonstrate that they can handle the commercial vehicle on the range and road. The driving tests that must be passed are called the General Skills Tests and they are assessed in three sections, Pre-Trip Inspection, Basic Vehicle Control and On-Road Driving. Each test is designed to assess the applicant’s ability, but also to reinforce the attitude of professionalism and safety that will be essential to them as a Commercial Driver.
Note that these tests cannot be aided by the use of an interpreter and must be completed in English.
The first portion of the CDL skills test is the pre-trip inspection. In order to be a professional driver, it is imperative that a complete pre-trip inspection be performed before each trip. So this test is largely a process that will become routine once the applicant begins a career driving.
The test will be carried out to determine is the applicant is able to tell if the vehicle is safe to drive prior to each trip. This typically takes place with the CDL examiner asking the applicant to perform a complete Pre-trip inspection, explaining each element as they do so.
The pre-trip inspection is one of the most important portions of the CDL skills test and the applicant cannot move on until he or she passes. For this reason, many drivers take advantage of Ohio pre-trip inspection videos and CDL checklists to help them remember all items they must review. Get more information on pre-trip inspection training from eGears.
Basic Vehicle Control Test
This test will assess the applicant’s ability to maneuver the vehicle in situations, such as forward, reverse and turns in defined areas. The examiner will make clear the manner in which each aspect of the control test is to be fulfilled.
While the area set out for the test may be indicated with cones or similar markers, it is worth remembering that they are placed to simulate the distances and features of real-life scenarios. As the last test before the applicant is asked to demonstrate their skills on the public roads, it is imperative that their understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle are as thorough as possible.
On-Road Driving Test
As the final portion of the CDL skills test, the On-Road Driving Test is the applicant’s opportunity to demonstrate their skill to drive safely and efficiently on public roads. The test could include lane changes, left and right turns, general intersection behavior, varying gradients and a variety of road situations. This is not a test to “show off” the applicant’s ability, but more the chance to display the skills of a professional driver, while maintaining a safe and courteous attitude to other drivers on the road. The CDL examiner will direct the applicant on where to drive and on what maneuvers they are required to perform in order to pass this portion of the skills test.
Due to the need for specially designed testing areas, the Skills Tests can only be carried out at properly equipped sites. In Ohio, there are State operated sites at Newark, Seville, Findlay, Jackson and Middletown, as well as privately operated sites at Canton, Willard, Columbus, Perrysburg, Lake Milton, Piketon, Springfield, Gnadenhutten and Liberty Township. Many of the privately operated sites offer rental of vehicles for the Skills Tests, but as costs vary, applicants are best advised to contact their nearest test site for more details.