What To Expect On CDL Test Day

Taking your commercial driver’s license (CDL) test can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what to expect. Taking time to research and prepare for your CDL test can help you feel more confident and prepared on test day. 

The CDL Test Timeline

Preparing for the CDL Test

Taking the time to prepare can help you feel more confident when the day comes to take the CDL test. This includes studying for the written test or practicing your driving skills. You can also find CDL practice tests online that can help you prepare for the exam.

Before the Test

Before the test date, you’ll need to get all of your paperwork in order. This should include your driver’s license, CDL learner’s permit (for the skills test), medical card, and any other paperwork required by your state. You’ll also want to have a valid form of payment for the test fee.

On the Day of the Test

On the day of your CDL test, you should allow plenty of time to get to the testing facility. Arriving late will put you at risk of rescheduling the test. Once you arrive at the testing facility, you are required to check in and present your paperwork.

The Test Itself

The CDL test is split into two parts: a written test and a driving test. You’ll take these on separate days, as the written test grants you your commercial CDL learner’s permit and allows you to start practicing for the skills test. You’ll be able to come back and take this second exam after you’ve met proficiency on the skills required by all entry level drivers and been certified on the FMCSA’s Training Providers’ Registry (TPR). 

The Written Test

The written test is a multiple-choice exam covering topics from the state CDL manual, such as traffic laws, vehicle operation and safety, and road signs. You will be expected to answer 80% of the questions correctly to pass the exam. 

The Driving Test

The driving test is the second part of the CDL test and lasts around two hours. This part of the exam puts you behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle on a state-approved route in the general area of the testing facility. During the road test, you will be expected to demonstrate your ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely and efficiently. This includes performing basic maneuvers such as backing, turning, and parking.

After the Test

After you have completed your CDL test, you will be given the results. If you pass the test, you will be issued a CDL permit or license, depending on if you took the written or skills test on that day. If you did not pass the test, you will have the opportunity to retake the exam. Depending on the state you are testing in, there may be a minimum waiting period and a limited number of retakes allowed.

Prepare For the CDL Exam at a High-Quality Truck Driving School

Attending truck driving school is the best way to ensure you are prepared on CDL test day. At Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque, our experienced instructors, flexible schedules, and the use of real trucks during training are just a few of the factors that help set our students up for success. Our program offers the resources and tools necessary to begin your journey as a professional truck driver.

Contact one of our advisors today to discover when our next CDL class begins.

Top Benefits Of OTR Trucking

Over-the-road (OTR) trucking is a type of long-haul trucking that involves driving a truck for extended periods of time across the country. OTR trucking is a beneficial job for those looking for a long-term career in the transportation industry. 


Here are the top eight benefits of OTR trucking:

  1. Financial Benefits

One of the main benefits of working as an OTR trucker is the compensation. OTR truck driving jobs can be very rewarding, with many truckers making a solid living by driving long distances. In addition, many trucking companies offer bonuses and incentives for the successful delivery of goods, which can add to your bottom line.

  1. Variety of Routes

OTR trucking also offers the opportunity to see different parts of the country, providing a unique way to explore the United States. You’ll be able to experience different cultures and landscapes, as well as meet new and interesting people.

  1. Opportunity to Learn

Working as an OTR truck driver is a great way to learn new and valuable skills. You’ll be exposed to different types of equipment and driving techniques. You’ll also be able to develop your problem-solving skills, as you may encounter difficult driving conditions while on the road.

  1. Sense of Accomplishment

Driving OTR can be a highly rewarding job, as it allows you to see the results of your work. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when you deliver goods safely and on time. You can also feel confident that you’re making a valuable contribution, as our nation would not be able to keep running without the dedication and hard work of truckers. 

  1. Benefits Packages

In addition to offering competitive pay, trucking companies often compete to offer the best benefits packages. This can include health insurance, dental/vision benefits, retirement plans, and more. 

  1. Career Advancement

Finally, OTR truck driving can provide many opportunities for career advancement. You can move up the ranks and become a team leader or supervisor, which can lead to increased job security and higher salaries.

Prepare For OTR Trucking at Phoenix Truck Driving School

If you’re looking for a rewarding career with plenty of opportunities, OTR trucking may be the perfect fit for you. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can provide you with the high-quality training you need to become a professional truck driver. After graduation, our job placement assistance program can answer any questions you may have about the different types of trucking and help you find companies that are hiring OTR drivers.

Contact one of our advisors today to learn more about our commercial driver’s license (CDL) program.


Understanding Company Training After CDL School

Once you’ve obtained your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can begin your professional driving journey. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re done with training though – many OTR trucking companies will require additional on-the-job training before you can go on solo trips. It’s important to understand what to expect during this process so that you can make the most of the experience and set yourself up for success.

The Structure of Motor Carrier Training

At many motor carriers, it is common for Entry Level drivers (those just out of CDL school, or with less than six months to a year of experience) to be paired with a driver trainer. This experienced driver will take the new hire on the road, providing them with the necessary training.

Some companies require an orientation period that covers the same topics you were taught during school, yet with a focus on their own policies. If applicable, this process is usually done before you start driving with your driver trainer.

The structure of the on-the-road training can differ. At times, the mentor driver will be with you while you drive, while other times you may be team driving with the mentor resting or taking a break from duty. Even if the mentor is off-duty, he/she will be available if you need help in a critical situation.

The hours of training and when drivers can go solo varies by company. Some have a predetermined amount of time with a mentor, while others leave the decision to the mentor upon judging the driver’s readiness.

Once your training is complete, you will be given a truck to call your own and be ready to take off – solo driving or with a partner if you opt for team driving.

Common Questions About Trucking Company Training

1. What Should I Take With Me For On-The-Road Training?

Ensure you bring the essential items but bear in mind that you and another driver will be sharing a fairly small area. Pack lightly. Important documents like your CDL must be taken with you, as well as any clothing or other personal belongings.

2. What If My Trainer And I Don’t Get Along?

When it comes to picking a driver mentor, many companies offer the option of specifying basic preferences, such as smoking vs. non-smoking, or if you would like a same-gender mentor. However, besides these traits, you may discover that you have a different personality than your mentor. It’s best to look at this as an opportunity to learn something and keep in mind that it’s only for a limited period of time.

However, if your mentor is abusive or you feel unsafe, you should tell your motor carrier right away and they should provide assistance in seeking a resolution.

3. What Will I Learn During Company Training?

During school, you will be provided with a broad education to provide a strong base for your trucking career. Once you start working, the training becomes less structured, and you’ll be able to gain experience on the job. Each day features different challenges and learning opportunities.

Mentors will take a range of approaches to training. Some are geared towards providing practical skills, while others focus on safety. Rather than going into company training with expectations, it’s best to approach it with an open mind and be ready to learn and adjust.

CDL School In Albuquerque

Before you can hit the road with a company mentor, you’ll need to earn your commercial license. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you accomplish this in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our CDL training program, contact us today.

Tips For CDL Students Who Struggle With Test Taking

Truck driving is a great career choice for many individuals. It gives you the opportunity to earn competitive pay while seeing more of the country, or you can choose a local or regional job if you prefer to stay closer to home. The first step to any truck driving job is to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), which involves passing two exams – a multiple-choice test and a practical skills test. For entry-level drivers who struggle with test taking, this can be a source of anxiety. The tips in this blog can help you overcome your worries and pass your CDL test.

1. Study The Material

First and foremost, it’s important to study the material on the Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) and CDL tests before taking it for the best chance at success. This involves reading the CDL manual and paying attention during trucking school lessons.

Different techniques work better for different students, so you can experiment to find what makes it easier for you to remember the material. Some students prefer flashcards for memorization, whereas others may need to relate the concepts to real-life examples. No matter what technique you use, being confident in your knowledge of the material can help you feel more prepared and ease your test anxiety.

2. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests use the same multiple-choice format and similar questions to the real CLP exam. This helps you get familiar with the format and you can also get an idea of whether you’ve studied enough. If you’re doing well on practice tests, it can reduce your anxiety on exam day because you’ll know you have a good grasp of the material. On the other hand, if you struggle with practice tests, it can help you identify areas where you need to study more so you’ll be fully prepared when it’s time for the real exam.

3. Relax

Many students struggle with test taking not because they don’t know the material, but because they get nervous on the day of the exam. If you relate to this, you are definitely not alone. The best way to combat this is to find ways to help yourself relax. This could involve deep breathing, reminding yourself of practice tests you’ve done well on, or anything else that works for you personally.

It’s also helpful to keep in mind that this test is just the beginning of your truck driving career, and it doesn’t define your ability to succeed in the industry. Even if you don’t pass, you can retake the test. As long as you are committed to your future career, a failed CDL test doesn’t have to be the end of your trucking journey. Remembering this can help you stay calm on test day knowing you have options even if the exam doesn’t go as planned.

4. Get Help

Take advantage of the resources available to you when you’re preparing for your exam. If you’re attending CDL school, your instructors can give you helpful tips and answer questions about any material you’re confused about. You can also form study groups with other students to go over the material together.

CDL School In Albuquerque

If you’re ready to become a truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help. We offer CDL training in Albuquerque and prepare our students for the CDL exam and the rest of their careers. With our accelerated program, you can graduate in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about how to earn your CDL in Albuquerque, contact us today.


Understanding Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency

With diesel prices rising, fuel efficiency is becoming more of a priority than ever, especially in the trucking industry. Commercial motor vehicles are not the most fuel-efficient rigs on the market. The average semi-truck gets about 6.5 miles per gallon (MPG), while a typical automobile receives about 25 MPG. However, minor changes can result in significant fuel savings over time, considering how many miles a long-haul trucker travels, which is often more than 100,000 per year. Read on to learn about semi-truck fuel efficiency and how you can improve yours.

What is Fuel Efficiency?

Fuel efficiency, measured in miles per gallon, describes how far a vehicle can travel with a certain amount of fuel. Motor vehicles with better fuel economy consume less fuel to drive the same distance as vehicles with poor fuel economy, reducing wasted fuel. Driving a fuel-efficient rig saves you money, reduces your carbon footprint, and lowers your vehicle’s dependence on oil. 

Tips For Improving Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency

Truck drivers can take full advantage of a haul by being aware of their fuel mileage. Knowing how many MPG your semi-truck gets will minimize costs and improve travel and delivery time.


Follow these five tips to increase fuel efficiency in your semi-truck:

  1. Regulate Your Speed

Maintaining a consistent speed and avoiding major accelerations or decelerations will result in consistent fuel usage. For every mile per hour (MPH) increase above 55 MPH, semi-truck fuel efficiency reduces by 0.1 MPG. Additionally, accelerating from 0 to 65 MPH can use up to half a gallon of fuel. Keeping your speed consistent will help you avoid these two problems. Driving under 65 MPH will also improve your safety and that of other drivers on the road. 

  1. Use Cruise Control

Taking advantage of cruise control is another way to regulate your speed. Cruise control keeps your vehicle at a steady pace, saving you up to 6% in fuel consumption throughout your route. It is important to note that drivers should only use this function when road conditions are safe.

  1. Stay in a High Gear

Staying in one gear for as long as possible will also help improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Aim to stay in top gear at least 85% of the time while on the highway. Additionally, make as few gear shifts as possible and maintain a revolutions per minute (RPM) range of 1250 to 1350.

  1. Reduce Idle Time

Avoiding idling when possible will help reduce wasted fuel as well. Every hour of idle time can burn a gallon of diesel and decrease your semi-truck fuel efficiency by 1%. It is best practice to shut the engine off if you plan to park for more than five minutes. Many companies have auxiliary power units (APUs) in their vehicles that allow you to maintain a comfortable temperature without idling. 

  1. Check Tire Pressure

Regularly checking your tire pressure is another good practice for not only improving your fuel efficiency, but also improving the safety of your vehicle and the lifespan of your tires. For a 10 pounds per square inch (PSI) drop in tire pressure, your vehicle’s mileage reduces by 1%. Under-inflated tires also generate more heat, causing them to weaken and eventually break. Make tire pressure checks part of your pre-trip inspection routine, and keep a gauge in your vehicle to check pressure while on the road.

Get Started With a Truck Driving Career Today

The demand for truck drivers is growing. There is no better time to join the industry than now, and Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you get started. Our commercial driver’s license (CDL) program in Albuquerque combines classroom, range, and on-the-road training from experienced instructors to help our students graduate in as little as four weeks.

Contact us to start earning your CDL today.


Benefits Of Customizing Your Semi-Truck

Your semi-truck is your home away from home when you’re a truck driver, so you want it to be as safe and comfortable as possible. One of the advantages of being an owner-operator is having the freedom to set up your rig however you like. Even if you are a company driver, there are ways you can personalize your vehicle without making permanent changes. Customizing your semi-truck can be very beneficial, and we will discuss a few of the benefits in the blog below.


Five benefits of customizing your semi-truck include:

1. Feeling Comfortable in Your Rig

You will spend a lot of time in your vehicle as a trucker, especially if you are an over-the-road (OTR) driver. Truck customization can help you fight homesickness and make the long routes more comfortable. Bring along mementos like pictures of family members, friends, and events you cherish to remind yourself of home and motivate yourself while you’re on the road. Making cosmetic changes to your vehicle’s interior will also boost your comfort level. Consider replacing high-contact points, such as the steering wheel or shifter knob, with more ergonomic designs.

2. Improving Safety

Customizing your semi-truck can not only improve your comfort level, but it can also improve your safety. Changes like installing a light bar, custom LED lights, or a new navigation system make driving at night or in a new area a breeze. Another safety improvement you can make is tinting your windows. Tinted windows reduce sun glare and keep the interior of your vehicle cool during the hot summer months, all while upgrading your look.

3. Expressing Your Style

Another benefit of personalizing your rig is expressing your unique style. A new paint job or decals is one of the most popular ways to customize your semi-truck. When you turn your rig into a canvas, you will catch people’s eyes on and off the highway. Keep it simple with stripe detailing, or go all out with a custom paint job. Additionally, an added advantage of customization is that certain additions, such as a grille cover and chrome accents, can protect the exterior of your vehicle while also fitting your new paint style.

4. Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle

Life on the road doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Installing interior electronics can make all the difference in staying healthy during long hauls. Customizing your cab with small kitchen appliances like a fridge or freezer, slow cooker, electric skillet, and two-burner stove allows you to enjoy home cooking while driving. These appliances can also decrease your stopping time, which in turn will improve your efficiency.

5. Getting Better Sleep

Healthy eating isn’t the only aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep each night is also crucial to your well-being and safety while driving OTR. Upgrading your semi-truck with a personalized sleeping area can improve your sleep quality. Include items like a mattress pad, comfortable sheets and bedding, and a supportive pillow to help ensure you get high-quality sleep during long hauls. 

Your Road to A Professional Truck Driving Career

On the road to becoming a professional truck driver, the first stop is earning your commercial driver’s license, and attending a high-quality truck driving school will help you do so. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we make obtaining your CDL manageable. Our programs have flexible schedules to accommodate every lifestyle, and we also offer an accelerated program that can get you on the road in as little as four weeks.

Contact one of our advisors today to start earning your CDL.

Understanding Semi-Truck Tire Maintenance

Maintaining semi-truck tires is an essential part of a commercial truck driver’s job. Not only does it ensure your safety, but it also boosts fuel economy and improves the lifespan of your vehicle. A little maintenance goes a long way and can save you from tire failure while on your route. 


Follow these five tips for semi-truck tire maintenance:

1. Perform Thorough Pre-Trip Inspections

Pre-trip inspections are one of a trucker’s best tools for preventing problems before they occur, including tire failure. This inspection is a thorough check of your truck, trailer, and load to ensure everything is in the correct working order before departure. In addition to pre-trip inspections, you should look over your rig at least once a day while on the road. Taking a few extra minutes before and during every trip to inspect your vehicle thoroughly could save you hours of downtime due to a flat tire or worse.

2. Rotate Tires & Align Wheels Regularly

Checking tire tread and wheel alignment should be part of your commercial truck maintenance routine. Poor alignment and uneven tire tread are two huge factors in premature tire wear, so it is crucial to regularly check these two aspects of your vehicle. As a general rule, rotate your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles to distribute tread evenly, and perform a wheel alignment every 80,000-100,000 miles, or whenever you feel the steering wheel pull to one side or the other when you’re driving. 

3. Maintain a Consistent Tire Pressure

Maintaining consistent air pressure will also expand the lifespan of your tires. Overinflated tires wear excessively on the center tire treads, while an underinflated tire will wear the outside treads, both of which can lead to internal structural damage. Make sure to check your tire pressure before you hit the road, especially if you are driving in below-freezing conditions. 

4. Keep Tires and Wheels Clean

Washing your tires and wheels is another best practice to add to your maintenance checklist. Not only does it make your rig look nice, but it is also good for the health of the tires and wheels themselves. Make it a habit to wash away road salt, grease, and grime once you return home from each route. 

5. Practice Safe Driving Habits

Lastly, one of the major contributors to poor tire performance is how a trucker drives. Forming and practicing safe driving habits will help you avoid flats and blowouts over time. A few tips for safe driving are maintaining a consistent speed on the road, avoiding potholes, braking slowly, avoiding accelerating too quickly, and using caution when driving around curbs.

Learn Safe Driving Habits in Albuquerque

At Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque, our experienced instructors teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in the trucking industry. This includes pertinent safety information and key maintenance topics, such as how to perform pre-trip inspections and care for commercial truck tires properly.

To learn how we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks, contact us today.


Weigh Station 101

To keep themselves and others safe on the road, commercial truck drivers must follow all state and federal regulations, including truck weight limits. Most commercial vehicles need to stop at weigh stations, known to truckers as “chicken coops,” to ensure compliance. If you’re a rookie truck driver ready to encounter your first chicken coop, this blog outlines the basics of weigh stations. 

The Purpose of Weigh Stations

Most states require all trucks and commercial vehicles with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds to stop at every open weigh station located along their route. The purpose of these stations is safety. Heavy semi-trucks are harder to control and more dangerous on the roads, both for the trucker and other drivers around them. Safety is especially a concern in the winter when road conditions are less than favorable. Weight stations also help prevent damage to roadways due to overweight trucks. 

Weigh Station Process

Once you are familiar with the process, navigating weigh stations will easily become part of your routine as a trucker. The process can be broken up into three main phases: approaching the weight station, weighing your rig, and inspecting the vehicle.

Phase One: Entering the Weigh Station

As you drive along the highway on your route, you will see roadside signs indicating that a weigh station is approaching. If the station is closed, you do not have to stop but if the station is open, you are required to exit. After pulling off the highway, follow the posted weigh station signs or instructions from officials that lead you to the scale. 

Phase Two: Weighing the Truck

As you drive toward the scale, follow the posted speed limit and instructional signs. Some scales require you to bring your vehicle to a complete stop, while others can function if your truck is moving slowly. Once on the scale, it will check your total weight and how much weight is on each axle. 

Phase Three: Inspecting the Truck

After you weigh your vehicle, your Department of Transportation (DOT) number is entered into a computer system to ensure your log is accurate. Your safety rating, equipment, and log book will also be verified. If you pass over the scale at the correct speed with an underweight load and pass the inspection, you will be sent to the bypass lane and can continue your route.

What Happens If Your Truck is Overweight?

If the scale indicates that your truck is overweight, you must pull over to the side until a solution is determined. Federally, this is over 80,000 pounds, although some states have lower gross limits. Your motor carrier can either purchase an overweight permit or send a relief driver to take the excess weight. You will not be allowed back on the road until the issue is resolved. An overweight assessment comes with a citation, fine, and points against your Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score. 

How to Avoid an Overweight Citation

The best way to ensure that your semi-truck is within the weight limit is to be prepared. Completing a thorough pre-trip inspection before you head out on each route is the best way to do so. You should also weigh your truck after loading. Many truck stops have scales, and if weight is an issue, you can adjust your axles or go back to the shipper to avoid an overweight citation at a weigh station.

Start Your Commercial Trucking Career Today

The demand for truck drivers is growing. If you are interested in starting your career in commercial truck driving, let our experienced instructors at Phoenix Truck Driving School teach you everything you need to know. When you earn your commercial driver’s license at our Albuquerque location, we can get you on the road in as little as four weeks

To learn more about our available CDL programs, contact us today.