11 CDL Driver Skills: Definition and Examples

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published September 1, 2022

A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required to operate large or heavy vehicles. There are 12 skills that are tested for during the CDL exam. These skills are: backing up, coupling and uncoupling, downshifting, driving in traffic, highway driving, inspecting the vehicle, parallel parking, shifting, stopping, turning, and using mirrors.

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CDL Driver Skills

Safe driving

Safe driving is a skill that all CDL drivers need to have. It is important because it helps to prevent accidents and keep everyone on the road safe.

Time management

Time management is the ability to plan and control how you spend your time in order to achieve your goals. It is important for CDL drivers because they need to be able to plan their route and schedule in order to make deliveries on time.

Customer service

Customer service is the ability to provide excellent customer service to customers. This skill is important for CDL drivers because they need to be able to communicate effectively with customers, understand their needs, and provide them with the best possible service.

The ability to navigate is an important skill for CDL drivers because they need to be able to find their way around unfamiliar territory. This includes being able to read maps and using GPS devices.

Ability to read and follow maps

The ability to read and follow maps is an important skill for CDL drivers because they need to be able to navigate to their destination without getting lost.

Ability to use GPS

The ability to use GPS is important for CDL drivers because it allows them to know their exact location and helps them plan their route.

Ability to stay calm under pressure

The ability to stay calm under pressure is an important skill for CDL drivers because they often have to deal with difficult situations while on the job. For example, they might have to deal with traffic jams, bad weather, or angry customers. If they can't stay calm under pressure, they might make mistakes that could put themselves or others in danger.

Good physical stamina and strength

Good physical stamina and strength are important for CDL drivers because they often have to do a lot of heavy lifting and maneuvering of large vehicles. Drivers need to be able to maintain their focus and concentration while driving for long periods of time, and having good physical stamina helps them to do this.

Flexibility to work long hours, including weekends and holidays

The ability to work long hours is important for a CDL driver because they may have to drive for long periods of time, including overnight and on weekends. This can be a demanding job, so having the flexibility to work long hours is essential.

Clean driving record

A clean driving record is a history of safe and responsible driving. It is important for CDL drivers because it shows that they are capable of operating a vehicle safely and responsibly.

Class A or B commercial driver's license

A Class A or B commercial driver's license (CDL) is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the United States. The CDL is a professional license that requires knowledge and skills testing, as well as a clean driving record.

How to improve cdl driver skills

Commercial drivers play a vital role in the economy, transporting goods and materials across the country. They are responsible for ensuring their loads are delivered safely and on time, and must adhere to strict regulations. While some drivers may have years of experience, others may be new to the industry. Regardless of experience level, there are always opportunities to improve commercial driver skills.

Here are 10 tips on how commercial drivers can improve their skills:

1. Maintain a clean driving record

One of the best ways for commercial drivers to improve their skills is to maintain a clean driving record. This means obeying all traffic laws, including speed limits, and avoiding accidents and traffic violations. A clean driving record not only demonstrates good driving habits, but it can also help keep insurance rates low.

2. Stay up to date on industry news and changes

The trucking industry is constantly changing, so it’s important for drivers to stay up to date on the latest news and developments. This could include changes in regulations, new technologies, or even tips on improving fuel efficiency. Staying informed will help drivers be more successful and avoid potential problems down the road.

3. Get plenty of rest before hitting the road

It’s important for commercial drivers to get plenty of rest before starting a long trip. Driving while tired can lead to accidents, so it’s crucial that drivers are well-rested before getting behind the wheel. Drivers should also plan for regular breaks during long trips to avoid fatigue.

4. Keep your vehicle well-maintained

Another way to improve commercial driver skills is to keep your vehicle well-maintained. This includes regularly checking fluid levels, tire pressure, and brakes. It’s also important to have a mechanic check your vehicle before embarking on a long trip. By keeping your vehicle in good condition, you can avoid breakdowns and other problems while on the road.

5. Know your route before you start driving

Before starting a trip, commercial drivers should take some time to map out their route and become familiar with the area they’ll be driving in. This will help them avoid getting lost and will allow them to plan for any potential problems that could arise along the way. Knowing your route ahead of time can save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

6. Drive defensively

Defensive driving is an important skill for all motorists, but it’s especially important for commercial drivers who share the road with smaller vehicles. Defensive driving involves being aware of your surroundings at all times and anticipating what other motorists might do in order to avoid accidents. By driving defensively, commercial drivers can help keep themselves and others safe on the roadways.

How to highlight cdl driver skills

To highlight your skills as a CDL Driver, you should focus on your experience driving different types of vehicles, your clean driving record, and your ability to follow directions. You should also highlight any customer service or safety training you have received.

On a resume

To highlight your skills as a CDL Driver on a resume, you should include your experience driving various vehicles, your clean driving record, and your ability to follow safety regulations. You should also highlight any training you have received, such as defensive driving courses.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, you will want to highlight your skills as a CDL Driver. You will want to include your experience driving, as well as any training you have received. You will also want to highlight any safety record you have.

During an interview

When you are interviewed for a CDL Driver position, be sure to highlight your skills as a driver. Discuss your experience driving different vehicles and how you have maintained a clean driving record. Describe how you are able to safely transport cargo and passengers. Be sure to emphasize your customer service skills as well, as CDL Drivers often interact with the public.