Commercial Driver's License Basic Skills Test

The basic skills test tells how well you can maneuver your commercial vehicle. The basic skills test consists of several maneuvers including straight line backing, off set backing left, off set backing right, parallel parking conventional, parallel parking driver's side, and alley docking. The instructor will randomly choose which exercises you have to complete. The straight line backing is mandatory for all applicants. Then the applicant will have to perform either the off set backing left or the off set backing right. Then the applicant will have to perform one of the following three parallel parking conventional, parallel parking driver's side, or alley docking.

If you are getting a class b license and plan to drive a straight truck or bus the basic skills test is fairly easy. You just have to account for the added vehicle length. If you are getting a class a license and plan to drive a combination vehicle the basic skills test can be difficult. When maneuvering a combination vehicle you have to account for the added length and the reversed steering when backing.

When backing a combination vehicle to turn the trailer to the left you have to turn the steering wheel to the right. If you want the trailer to go to the right you must turn the wheel to the left. It takes some work to get used to, but if you pause for a second and think it out in your head you will be fine. After a few hours of practice it will become second nature. The biggest problem that plagues new drivers is over correction when backing. Make subtle steering movements. For example, when you are straight backing and your trailer starts moving to the right make a minor input and turn the wheel to the right to get your trailer going left.