The Texas CDL Manual

Those who want to operate a commercial motor vehicle, must have a Class A, Class B or a Class C commercial driver’s license (CDL). This applies to almost all commercial vehicles, with a couple of exemptions. So, if you are a farmer and you have to drive a certain type of farm vehicle, you are not required to have a CDL. Also, a CDL is not mandatory for people who operate firefighting vehicles, as well as for military personnel driving military vehicles. In order to get a CDL, drivers have to pass written and skills tests, demonstrating their knowledge of traffic rules and regulations, and the ability to operate a commercial vehicle in various traffic situations. You can prepare for these tests by reading the Texas CDL Manual.

The manual focuses mainly on driving safety, transporting cargo safely and transporting passengers safely.

Driving Safely

This section covers the following topics:

  • Vehicle control
  • Vehicle inspection
  • Shifting gears
  • Mountain driving
  • Communicating
  • Emergencies
  • Winter driving

Transporting Cargo Safely

This is a section that focuses on haling cargo safely. There are several basic rules regarding cargo safety that every commercial driver needs to understand.

  • Inspecting cargo
  • Cargo weight and balance
  • Securing cargo
  • Liquids in bulk

Transporting Passengers

If you want to work as a bus driver, you have to read this section, where you can find information about the passenger endorsement that you need to obtain.

  • Definition of a bus
  • Pre-trip inspection
  • Loading
  • Safe driving with buses

Air Brakes

  • Air brake system parts
  • Dual air brake systems
  • Inspecting air brakes
  • Using air brakes

This is a section that is important to all of those who want to drive a vehicle that has air brakes.

Combination Vehicles

  • Driving combinations
  • Combination vehicle air brakes
  • Inspecting combinations

There are tests that have to be taken by those who want to drive a tractor-trailer, a double, a triple or a straight truck. You can prepare for these tests by reading the combination vehicles section of this manual.

Doubles and Triples

If you want to be able to drive a vehicle that has more than one trailer, you will need to read this section.

  • Pulling double/triple trailers
  • Coupling and uncoupling
  • Inspecting doubles and triples
  • Checking air brakes

Tank Vehicles

  • Inspecting tank vehicles
  • Driving tank vehicles

A tank vehicle is a vehicle that is used for transportation of liquid and gaseous materials in a tank that is attached to the vehicle.

Hazardous Materials

  • Driver responsibilities
  • Communications rules
  • Loading and unloading
  • Bulk tank loading, unloading and marking
  • Driving and parking rules
  • Emergencies

Since hazardous materials pose a huge safety risk, there is a special section dedicated to those who want to operate vehicles designed to transport hazardous materials.

Driving School Buses
This section covers the following topics:

  • Danger zones and use of mirrors
  • Loading and unloading
  • Emergency exit and evacuation
  • Railroad-highway grade crossings
  • Student management
  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Special safety situations

The last part of the manual provides information about the pre-trip vehicle inspection test, the basic vehicle control skills test, and the on-road driving test. You’ll be able to see what these tests look like and what type of driving techniques you are going to have to demonstrate in order to pass them. For help with the written test, we recommend considering practice cdl written tests for Colorado.

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