My name is Ali. I came to Florida to get a CDL license and start my professional truck driving career. I couldn’t understand English at that time. I didn’t have any driving licenses at all, and I didn’t even know how to drive a car!
I found a company that offered rapid CDL study and is an FMCSA-approved ELDT training provider. I was thrilled to find a truck driving school with instructors for different languages.
“Do not worry, ” said my Russian-speaking instructor at Leonardo CDL, located in Miami, “you will have your CDL license in a month!
I was given detailed questions and answers in Russian for a regular driver’s license. The next day I quickly passed the computer test.
Still, the most challenging thing remained – learning how to drive a car. I took six driving lessons in two days, and on the third day, I passed my driving and got my license.
“How long do I have to wait now so that I have the right to apply for the CDL?” – I asked my instructor at Leonardo CDL.
“You do not have to wait at all,” – he answered, – “in Florida, you can take a test the very next day!”
“But my English is very poor,” I complained.
“Not a problem,” – the instructor answered, – “you only need to remember the correct answers, or rather the main “key” words.
The first part that I had to memorize was called Air Brakes, which had 57 such keywords. I learned them, and I passed the first exam the next day, making only 3 mistakes (5 could have been made).
The second part – Combination Vehicles also passed like clockwork – only 2 mistakes (it was allowed to make 4).
The third test – General Knowledge – turned out to be a tough nut to crack – almost three hundred questions, but also full of keywords. I was preparing for 3 days but made 11 mistakes. After that, I studied day and night and successfully passed it, receiving the coveted PERMIT class A, which opened the doors to surrendering to the CDL. One man, watching my progress, complained: “I have been living in this country for 47 years, and I can’t pass, but this one barely speaks English and passes the first time!”
After receiving the permit, I had to pass three exams Pretrip Inspection, Parking Test, and Road Test. In the beginning, there was a four-day computer training. I memorized all the sections. It took two days to polish the LAB test – this is a check of the brakes, permissible air leakage, and alarms. Now I was allowed to go to the training ground and conduct Pretrip there on a live track. I was 100% ready and even surprised the instructor with my knowledge.
Needless to say, I passed the Pretrip test with an excellent score.
But how can I pass the parking test if I learned to drive a regular car only three weeks ago?
“Here, we will focus on training on our simulator,” the instructor reassured me.
Apparently, they had the only simulator in the world, precisely the same as a real truck, only 14 times smaller. As always, I obeyed the instructors and did not “get off” the simulator for 4 days. The result exceeded all expectations. The instructor at the training ground, looking at my ride on a real truck, noticed that, apparently, it felt like I had a lot of experience riding a truck. I said nothing! I was very worried, but I still successfully passed the parking test, scoring 9 demerit points (allowed 12).
Most of all, I feared a road test because I had only recently learned to drive a regular car. So to pass the road test, I took two extra lessons and drove the route myself a few times. During the final test, I did everything as I had been taught. The right turns were hard to push, but everything worked out – I passed the test precisely 30 days after the start of my journey. Since then, I have been proud to be a professional truck driver!