cdl skills test cone layout

By big-rig-admin | CDL Licensing

cdl skills test cone layout

CDL Skills Test Cone Layout

So, when taking the CDL skills test, how do you know the layout of the course? That is exactly what we are going to cover in this article.

The CDL skills test consists of the following:

  • Straight Line Backing
  • Offset backing either Left or Right
  • Parallel Parking either Drivers side or Conventional
  • Alley Dock or 90 degree backing

You may not be tested on all these maneuvers, but instead you may be tested on just a few. In addition, Pre-Trip Inspections are also tested. Look for that article to come out soon.

We do have an in depth article on the CDL skills backing tests, with video explanations. To access that page go here

What follows is a layout of the cones and a description taken directly from one State’s CDL handbook. As always download a copy and compare to ensure you are following your State’s testing protocol. Most of the State’s do now have it pretty standardized so it shouldn’t vary greatly.

If you need to obtain a copy of your State CDL handbook we have you covered. Go here to obtain your FREE instantly downloadable copy.

CDL Straight Line Backing – Cone Dimensions

Official guidance from the CDL manual:

You may be asked to back your vehicle in a straight line between two rows of cones without touching or crossing over the exercise boundaries.

straight line backing

So the dimensions of this course are 100 feet long by 12 feet wide.

CDL Offset Backing – Cone Dimensions

From the CDL manual:

Offset Back Right – You may be asked to back into a space that is to the right rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight forward the outer boundary. From that position, you must back the vehicle into the opposite lane until the front of your vehicle has passed the first set of cones without striking boundary lines or cones.

Offset Back Left – You may be asked to back into a space that is to the left rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight forward the outer boundary. From that position, you must back the vehicle into the opposite lane until the front of your vehicle has passed the first set of cones without striking boundary lines or cones

offset backing

Depending on the Class of CDL license you are testing for:

The length of the forward boundary for a Class A license is 140 feet from the rear set of cones. For a Class B license it is 90 feet.

In addition, the two lanes are 12 foot wide, with the lane being backed into 40 feet deep.

CDL Parallel Parking Dimensions

The CDL Manual advises:

Parallel Park (Driver’s Side) - You may be asked to park in a parallel parking space that is on your left. You are to drive past the entrance to the parallel parking space with your vehicle parallel to the parking area; and back into the space without crossing front, side or rear boundaries marked by cones. You are required to get your entire vehicle completely into the space.

Parallel Park (Conventional) - You may be asked to park in a parallel parking space that is on your right. You are to drive past the entrance to the parallel parking space with your vehicle parallel to the parking area; and back into the space without crossing front, side or rear boundaries marked by cones. You are required to get your entire vehicle completely into the space.

parallel parking

As you can see the dimensions of the box required to put the vehicle into are 12 foot wide by a length that is 15 feet longer than the vehicle (Applies to Class A and Class B).

CDL Alley Dock

Guidance from the CDL manual:

You may be asked to sight-side back your vehicle into an alley. You will drive past the alley and position your vehicle parallel to the outer boundary. From that position, back into the alley bringing the rear of your vehicle within three feet of the rear of the alley without touching boundary lines or cones. Your vehicle must be straight within the alley/lane when completed.

alley dock

The ‘Dock’ space where you will end up is measured as 12 foot wide by 40 foot long. There is an additional spacing of 70 feet forward of this boundary to the outer boundary.

Summary

Knowing the placement of the cones will assist you in getting comfortable with the tasks required to complete your CDL skills testing. Don’t forget that we offer a further in depth article with videos that you can check out.

​Want the best resource to pass your CDL exam? Go here:

Also don’t forget to be sure to pick up our FREE guides on:

6 Hacks for boosting pay as a new Truck Driver

Avoiding the 11 biggest mistakes before starting CDL School

And our Cheat sheet checklist of what to ask trucking company recruiters

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