Beginner's Guide for How to Get a CDL License

A CDL license, also commonly referred to as a commercial driver’s license, is an important credential that some motorists need to have. In fact, this license is a requirement for anyone who drives a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Usually, these vehicles are tractor-trailers or large semi-trucks that make use of public roadways. Driving a CMV is different than operating a standard vehicle. As a result, there are certain CDL license requirements that individuals need to meet in order to obtain this driving privilege. Often, individuals need to go to school for this license and pass certain tests. 

If you are wondering, “What is a CDL license?” remember that there are different classes relating to this credential. These classes relate to the types of vehicles you can operate and where you can drive them. Before you decide to take the CDL license test and start working as a driver, make sure you understand which credential you need. Additionally, be sure that you fully understand how to apply for a CDL license in your state. 

Different Types of CDL License

CDL driver license requirements vary and usually depend on the type of license you want to obtain. Additionally, different types of licenses are specific to the type of driving you will be doing. Therefore, it is important that you understand which CDL license you need for the job you are pursuing. The types of licenses are as follows: 

  • CDL License Class A. A Class A CDL allows you to drive vehicles that include tractor-trailers, trucks that carry livestock, flatbed trucks and dump trucks. 
  • CDL License Class B. A CDL B license allows you to operate larger, heavier vehicles. Generally, this means that you can drive a vehicle that has a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds. You can also tow a vehicle that does not weigh more than 10,000 pounds. 
  • CDL License Class C. A CDL C license allows you to drive vehicles carrying hazardous materials. Also, you can use this type of license to operate large-scale passenger vans. 

Do I need to enroll in a CDL license school to get my credential?

Depending on where you live, you may need to take a course at a CDL license school before you apply for your credential. This is because some states require you to provide proof that you took a class before you can obtain your license. Even if you do not need to take a class to get a CDL license, you should still consider furthering your education. These training programs can provide you with valuable information you need for your test and your career on the road. 

How to Prepare for the CDL Test

In addition to enrolling in an accredited school, one of the best ways to prepare for this exam is to take a CDL practice test. There are many preparatory exams available online. Your state handbook may also offer free CDL practice test questions you can answer to help you prepare for this written test. When you believe you are ready for the exam, make sure you take the CDL permit test. You are required to possess a learner’s permit before you can obtain your commercial learner’s permit (CLP). With your permit, you can operate a vehicle with a licensed driver. 

Once you obtain your CLP, you need to know how to get your CDL license. To obtain your official credential, you are required to pass a skills test. This means that you need to prove that you can safely operate a truck. Keep in mind that you cannot take this test unless you have had your CLP for at least 14 days. This exam consists of a: 

  • Skills test. 
  • Basic controls test. 
  • Road test. 

How much does it cost to get a CDL license?

The CDL license cost you can expect to pay varies, based on the credential you are applying for. Additionally, if you are wondering, “How much is a CDL license?” remember that you are also responsible for paying fees associated with your training program. Different courses can include additional fees.

Understanding the DMV Bill of Sale

A DMV bill of sale is the document that proves you legally purchased an automobile. These documents are important if you plan on eventually registering or titling your vehicle in the state you live in. Without a car bill of sale, your local department of motor vehicles (DMV) cannot issue you the proper documentation you need to legally drive your car. Therefore, it is important that you understand how to obtain these documents. Otherwise, you risk encountering complications when you title and register your vehicle in the future. 

However, before you can take these steps, you need to understand how to get your bill of sale form. There are certain procedures you must follow in order to obtain these documents. When you are in the process of buying a car, you may be overwhelmed by the forms you need to complete. As a result, you may forget to obtain your vehicle bill of sale. To avoid difficulties later on, make sure you understand how to get your auto bill of sale before you complete the transaction. 

What is a bill of sale?

A new or used car bill of sale is the document that outlines how and when you purchased an automobile. These items also provide information about the terms of your transaction, as well as basic information about your car. More specifically, a general bill of sale form for a vehicle will contain information relating to: 

  • They buyers and sellers of the vehicle. 
  • The make and model of the automobile. 
  • How much you paid for the car. 
  • Whether you borrowed funds from a lessor to finance your purchase.

How to Get a Bill of Sale for a Car

You will obtain your DMV bill of sale form from the individual who is selling you your vehicle. As a buyer, you keep the vehicle and you also retain the document after the transaction is complete. However, the seller should also keep a copy of this document for his or her own records. Usually, you will obtain this document before you depart from the seller once you purchase the automobile. Otherwise, you will need to contact the seller again so you can obtain this document at a later date. 

How to Get a Notarized Bill of Sale

Depending on the state you live in, you may need to obtain a notarized car bill of sale. This means that a notary needs to sign your document to verify that all the information you provide is accurate. To obtain a notarized bill, you usually need to sign the transfer in front of a notary. However, this does not mean that you need to arrive with a blank bill of sale. To save you time at the notary’s office, arrive with your document filled out with everything besides your and the seller’s signatures. 

How to Write a Bill of Sale

Your state may offer a printable bill of sale document you can use to help you document your own purchase. If available to you, you should take advantage of this option. This free bill of sale template is helpful because if you fill it out properly, you will have all the information you need to verify the transaction. If you need help finding a car bill of sale template you can fill out, contact your local DMV.

Top 5 Places to Visit on Your U.S. Road Trip

Road trips across the United States are a popular pastime for solo travelers and families. No matter your age or budget, there are national forests and landmarks you can easily visit by car. Unlike taking an organized tour to a new city or state, a road trip gives you the freedom you need to plan your own route. You can also make sure to choose stops based on the sites that are most interesting to you.

To take your own trip, the only things you need are a driver’s license and a car. If you don’t have your own automobile, you can easily rent one to help you see the United States. If you only have your learner’s permit, there will probably be some restrictions about whether you can drive outside of your state. However, once you have your own unrestricted license, you can easily drive to the following destinations on your U.S. road trip.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

When you’re driving cross-country, there’s a good chance you’ll need to pass by St. Louis at some point during your trip. Instead of  driving through this riverside city, take a day or two and explore. This will give you more than enough time to see the city’s famous Gateway Arch. If you have even more time, St. Louis is also large enough that you could make a trip to see this city on its own. Other highlights in St. Louis include:

  • The Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Busch Stadium.
  • Forest Park.
  • City Museum.

If you’re entering St. Louis from the southwestern part of Missouri, you can spend part of your time driving on Route 66. This historic roadway extends into St. Louis, and it also passes through notable cities, like Amarillo, Texas, before ending in Southern California. If you’re heading toward the northeast, Route 66 also extends into Chicago, Illinois.  

Key West in Florida

You can reach Key West, Florida’s southernmost key, by driving on US 1. This is the longest road in the United States that extends from north to south. In fact, you can take this road all the way to Maine’s Canadian border. Once you arrive in Key West, you’ll have the opportunity to explore local restaurants, the Southernmost Point of the Continental US and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

If you want a scenic trip and warm weather, consider driving to Key West. US 1 is the only road you can take to visit this island, so you’re guaranteed to pass through these other keys on your way down:

  • Key Largo
  • Islamorada
  • Marathon

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the United States. This massive canyon is located in northern Arizona, and you can easily visit this national park if you’re traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada, or different parts of Utah.

If you plan on visiting the Grand Canyon, remember that this natural wonder is located over an hour outside of Flagstaff. This shouldn’t deter from visiting, though. In fact, you can use this road trip as a time to enjoy nature by camping in the Grand Canyon National Park and enjoying the scenery. If you’re interested in hiking, the following trails are examples of the ones you can follow on your trip:

  • Bright Angel Trail
  • Rim Trail
  • Arizona Trail
  • Roosevelt Point Trail

Redwood National and State Parks in California

The Redwood National and State Parks are in Northern California. This forest is right next to the Pacific Coast, which means you can easily add this destination to your trip if you are traveling along the California coast. If you want to add other forests to your itinerary, the Redwood National and State Parks are also located near:

  • Six Rivers National Park.
  • Klamath National Forest.
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota

If you like history, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a must-see on your cross-country road trip. These monuments are located in South Dakota’s Black Hills, and they depict former U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Mount Rushmore is an easy stop on your road trip if you’re coming from Sioux Falls or Milwaukee. You can also easily add a trip to Mount Rushmore to your itinerary if you already have plans to visit:

  • Badlands National Park.
  • Thunder Basin National Grassland.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre Monument.

How to Pass Time While You're Waiting at the DMV

Going to the department of motor vehicles (DMV) can be a time-consuming process. Depending on the services you need and the time of day you go, you can spend anywhere from a few minutes to several hours waiting to get what you need. If you’re on a tight schedule, waiting at the DMV may feel like you’re wasting your time. However, there are many ways you can be productive and even enjoy the time you spend there.

In order to make the most of your wait time at the DMV, you need to create a plan before you go. If you want to pass time while you’re at the DMV, you need to make sure you bring enough distractions with you. In fact, you should plan to bring at least two or three activities with you. This will help in case you get bored with one and need to move on to another.

Listen to a Podcast

One of the easiest ways you can pass time at the DMV is by listening to a podcast. This is a simple distraction method you can use because you only need a smartphone and headphones. You can easily find podcasts to fit any time constraints. Podcasts are also available in a variety of topics, so you should have no problem finding one that interests you.

Keep in mind, though, that you may need to download episodes before you leave for the DMV. However, this depends on your device. Sometimes, you may not be able to stream episodes without a wifi connection, and your local DMV is not guaranteed to have one.

Read a Book

Reading a book is a tested and true way to pass time. While bringing a full-sized novel may be bulky to carry, you’re not likely to finish a whole book while you’re waiting at the DMV. This means that you’re guaranteed to be entertained throughout the length of your wait, so long as you like what you are reading.

Stream Videos on Your Phone

Some video streaming services like Netflix allow you to download apps on your phone, which you can use to watch movies and shows from anywhere. If you have an account with one of these providers, download the app and a couple programs before you leave for the DMV. This way, you can catch up on your favorite shows while you wait for your turn to speak with an agent.

If you’re not sure what you want to watch and have data on your smartphone, you can also use YouTube to watch videos or stream music. However, if possible, you may want to download your programs beforehand. This will help ensure the videos are available when you want them.

Catch Up on Work

Waiting at the DMV gives you a perfect opportunity to catch up on work or school assignments you have been putting off. If you have any emails you need to send or budgeting proposals you need to review, you can use your phone or a tablet to help you complete these tasks. If you have a quick call you need to make to schedule an appointment, this is also a good time to check that item off your to-do list.

Pay Your Bills

If you have a bill you can pay online or by phone, you can do it at the DMV. However, if you need to call your service provider, make sure to step outside and get some privacy before you give your credit card number to the representative. This will help make sure your information stays private.