Six Tips for Completing Your CDL Training at a Tampa Truck Driving School
You’re on the cusp of starting your new career. You’re attending a Tampa truck driving school with the goal of earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). With that, you’ll be able to start a new career as a trucker, which opens all sorts of possibilities.
It should be easy enough, right? All you need to do is brush up on the rules of the road and prove that you can drive a large commercial vehicle.
That’s not the case at all. You must know all the laws that apply to your driving and understand that they vary from state to state.
A good Tampa truck driving school can help with that, but you need to put the effort in yourself as well.
This article provides six useful tips that will help you to succeed while taking CDL training at a Tampa truck driving school.
Tip #1 – Understand That It’s Different to a Standard Driving Test
CDL training aims to improve your driving skills. But it’s not the same as a regular driving test. You must learn about all the different laws and regulations that relate to the safe driving of a commercial vehicle. Simply put, knowing the rules of the road is only the first step.
As a result, thinking that you can pass based on your pre-existing knowledge alone is a sure route to failure. It’s not just your driving ability that’s being tested here. You also need to know the ins and outs of your vehicle and the laws that apply to the work you’ll do once you have your CDL license. If you don’t, no organization will trust you to handle their commercial vehicles.
You’re learning a new set of skills, so approach the course with the proper respect. Attend all your sessions and ensure you have all the study materials needed.
Tip #2 – Study Every Night
Your CDL course will usually involve scheduled sessions of classroom time as well as some practical driving sessions. These show you everything that you need to know to pass the course. However, you can’t rely on your ability to remember everything in one shot. The classroom study sessions move quite fast and will go from topic to topic with very little rehashing.
That’s why you need to dedicate a certain amount of time each night to study. Here are some basic tips that will help you to maximize your study time.
- Organize all your notes into sections covering different aspects of the course
- Create a dedicated study area that offers plenty of light and enough space for you to work properly
- Break information up into smaller chunks. This prevents fatigue from affecting your studies
- Take regular breaks. A 15-minute break every hour should be enough to help you absorb the information you’ve studied and refocus your mind on the next subject
- Work with others wherever possible. This allows you to check each other’s knowledge and fill any gaps in your learning
- Try to dedicate at least an hour of your day to studying outside of the classroom setting
Tip #3 – Leave Plenty of Time for Coursework
It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re studying as an adult. You may have work and a family to take care of, as well as all your CDL training classroom sessions. This can result in your leaving any coursework that you’re assigned until closer to the due date.
That’s usually a mistake. The longer you leave it, the less time you have to truly understand the material. Waiting until the last minute means you’ll struggle to get help if there’s anything within the coursework that trips you up. Moreover, you may end up underestimating the amount of time it will take to finish the work.
If you get coursework, get to work on it straight away. A little work every night makes the whole process run smoother than trying to rush through it all in a day or two. You’ll be able to ask questions if you run into any tricky sections, plus you’ll develop a greater understanding of the coursework material.
Tip #4 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Pride has no place in your efforts to complete your CDL training. There may be times when you get stuck, but you don’t have to figure things out on your own. There are plenty of people you can ask for help.
Your teachers and fellow classmates are a good start. Discuss any issues you have with the material with them. This has the added benefit of bringing you closer to people who may later become a part of your professional network once you’ve earned your CDL.
The web also offers an excellent resource. Seek online forums where you can discuss the intricacies of your CDL training with people who are either studying or have already completed the course.
Tip #5 – Take Practical Instruction Seriously
You already know how to drive. But you don’t know how to drive a large commercial vehicle. It takes an entirely new skill set as you’re dealing with a much more powerful engine as well as dramatically different handling.
Your practical sessions equip you with the skills to handle large vehicles that are very difficult to correctly maneuver on the road. Do not gloss over them.
Listen closely to your instructor and ask questions whenever you’re not sure. It’s much better to ask than to assume you’ll figure it out. After all, you only have limited time for practicing in the vehicle and it’s not something that you can do at home. Make it a point to get the most out of your practical sessions.
Tip #6 – Make Sure You Have the Right Qualifications
The state of Florida requires you to have several qualifications before you can start your CDL training at a Tampa truck driving school.
You must be at least 18 years old and must already carry an operator’s license. Moreover, you have to pass a vision test before you can start your training. If you wear glasses, get a check-up to ensure you have the right lenses before you take the test.
Moreover, those under the age of 21 may only drive intrastate. This restriction gets lifted once you turn 21. Thankfully, you don’t have to retrain for your CDL.
Each license class also requires you to pass different tests. Make sure that you’re studying the appropriate class for your intended career. You can find more information about what each license class permits you to do at http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/cdl.html.
The Final Word
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your CDL training just involves learning about how to drive a new vehicle. There are different classes of license that you can attain and a whole new set of rules and regulations you must learn before you can legally drive a commercial vehicle.
The tips in this article should help you to organize your study time, as well as ensuring that you choose the correct license class for you. However, you can’t put these tips into practice if you’re not willing to make the effort. Dedicate yourself to the course and you’ll come away with the CDL that you need to start a new career.