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Old 10-09-2013, 03:43 PM   #1
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Horrified by my actions.

I have been RVing now for about 10 years. We first started off with a class c Dutchman and loved it so much that we transitioned three years ago we bought an Allegro RED. I can't even begin to explain how much fun it is. I am 5'2 and was a bit worried at first about driving such a big coach. I spent time watching u tube videos explaining the various techniques and tips to driving. I work hard to improve my skills whenever I can. So far we have put about 30,000 miles on the RV. Last summer we traveled from San Antonio to Key West. Now I have figured out that all of these miles have been done illegally. I just figured out that in Texas I need a class B license to drive. I am horrified at my lack of knowledge when it came to this. So I have decided to fix this problem as quickly as possible. So I was hoping someone out there could give me some advice on some test taking strategies. I am a bit fearful of the air brakes portion of the exam. Do I have to point out the features of the air brakes? I once again watched a few u tube videos over the air brake inspection/ check off prior to driving but these were all done in trucks with trailers and none looked like my setup. My knowledge of mechanical things is limited. I know that I can learn it but I really need some guidance. I understand that there is a written test and I know what to study. What are they going to make me do on the driving part? I have never tried to parallel park my RV and I am not sure why I would ever do this. I can back up like a beast so I am not worried about that. What if I fail and I can't drive my RV home. Will they let me boondock at the DMV? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-09-2013, 03:57 PM   #2
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Get the practice tests online and practice. Look at the Maroons who have passed it and then look in the mirror. Maybe you should'nt be driving one if you're that bad! LOL

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Old 10-09-2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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Find a local school bus company, tell them you would be available
on some occasions to fill-in for them in a pinch if they run
you through their training program for the CDL license
that will make you legal to drive. A lot of class A drivers
don't have the proper license, and they don't worry too
much about it.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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Funny I should run across this today, I just took and passed the Texas class B non-CDL driving test today. It was a piece of cake, and the young lady examiner was super friendly and helpful. She even offered to walk me through the air brake test if I didn't know how to do it. For the non CDL test they mainly want to know your brake system is safe enough for the driving test. I know how to do an air brake test, so that went well. The rest of the driving course was around 3 miles through a light industrial area, lots of right turns, straight line backing about one coach length…and then the dreaded parallel parking…which is not really parallel parking but two cones about 100 feet apart. You start with the back of the coach even with the front cone on the passengers side, back in until you are parallel with the curb, no more than three feet away, without hitting front or back cone…not much different than backing into a campsite.

She told me they were looking for lane positioning, awareness (spend lots of time checking mirrors), ability to handle the coach and make it go where you want it to. She seemed to really enjoy getting out in the coach and mostly wanted to talk about she and her husbands dreams of owning an RV after retirement. She said she does very few motorhome, mostly oilfield CDL tests (this was in Midland, Tx where we are in the midst of a major oil and gas boom)

I was a little nervous too, I hadn't had a DPS driving test since I was 16 years old! Bottom line, if you have that many miles in your coach, you will not have a problem!

Of course, Mr. Murphy had to keep me humble, when I got home and backed into the parking spot, I dinged (actually, i took a pretty good chunk out of it) the lower passenger side of the rear cap…anyone know of a good fiberglass man in Southwest Texas?

Good thing the coach is comfy, I may be sleeping in it for a while
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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And the lesson learned Lee is to always have a ground guide when backing. (At least I do, and she'll tell you I need one.)

Pellerotto, the Texas Driver License Manual is on-line at the TX DOT web site. Study the CDL manual and you will be well prepared for the non-CDL class B test. I'd suggest taking the Class-A test for any future purchases that may put you in that class.

Happy trails.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lee L View Post
For the non CDL test they mainly want to know your brake system is safe enough for the driving test. I know how to do an air brake test, so that went well.

What are the steps that you followed on the air brake test?
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:18 AM   #7
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I have downloaded the handbook and have begun my preparation for the written test. As for the driving I think I am going to do the same thing I did with my son who just turned 16. We went to the DMV early Sunday morning and just got a feel for the parking and driving around the streets around their office. I was also wondering about the steps for the air brake test. Can I have a cheat sheet? I am a school teacher so we have lots of coaches that must get their CDL to drive the bus for their various sports. I have asked about their experiences during the driving portion. The only thing that I can figure is that it really depends on where and with whom you take the test as to what it will look like. None of them said it was anything terrible. I just want to be as prepared as possible. I will keep everyone posted. Thanks for the advice and encouragement.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:29 AM   #8
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what is that parallel park test?

thanks much for explaining the parallel parking test, but i'm still a bit confused...

when i was a kid, parallel parking meant that you had to place your auto up against a curb on the passenger side of the auto, with cones simulating cars in front and behind the spot that you were sliding into.

but the description in this thread (above) seems a little different.. though i'm still not entirely clear on this.

is there a graphic somewhere that we could look at to understand what exactly the RV parallel parking is??
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:47 AM   #9
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You said CDL so I assume you mean California. If not, read no further. I took the CA test 2years ago, They did not have a Class B test booklet so I read the Commercial booklet while I waited for the written. Good thing because there were some questions that were related to things I read. I think they mainly had to do with air brakes but I don't remember many specifics. I do remember quite a few senseless questions about things like passenger car baby seats and things having nothing to do with an RV. Then they hand you your permit and you schedule your driving test for a future day. IMPORTANT: You have to show up for the driving test with someone who has at least a class B license or they won't let you take the test because you drove to the office illegally. A permit requires you have a licensed driver with you. Luckily, I found a guy with a class B license in the parking lot and paid him to introduce himself as my driver and it all worked out. The only air brake stuff I remember inside the coach was the examiner checked the gauges while having me set the brake and push on the pedal to make sure we had pressure. Before we left the parking lot there was a simple backing test and then a docking test that was a lot like backing into an RV spot. You could back up and pull forward 5 times in order to successfully complete the maneuver. The driving test took 45 minutes and included left and right turns, lane changes, freeway, city, residential, you name it. The only things I got dinged for we're not driving "fast" enough on a narrow 45 mph residential street and not turning my head enough to make it obvious I was looking in the mirrors. Overall it wasn't difficult, just long.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:53 AM   #10
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I wouldn't be horrified. In NY where we spend half the year you can get an endorsement on your license for MHs over 24,000lbs. I went to the DMV and asked about it. After a 20 min huddle of DMV employees they came up with a 30 year old temporary license form, hand written with no date and a phone number to call. I thought I was confused. In Florida where we spend the other half your regular auto license is good for MHs used only for recreational use. So what to do? Go crazy trying to get the endorsement on my NY license or just change my license to Florida.

I drove not quite that big trucks for years at work so piloting the MH is not a problem. I will take a look at some of the air brake videos just for my own knowledge though.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:54 AM   #11
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I have learned that every DMV office is different. I took my test in Lewisville, Tx. I hade to take the test for a Class A (Non-commercial) license because I have Air Brakes. I was also very nervous as I had just spent a lot of money on my Coach and I just knew I was going to fail the test. I first recommend that you go to the DMV office and watch someone else taking the test. This will let you know in advance what is asked of you and what route they take. I then practiced on this route to make sure I knew all the turns. As for Parallel Parking, I was told to watch my drivers side mirror (of coarse check all mirrors frequently) for the drivers side rear tire to cross over the center line when backing up. At that point cut your wheel back to the left and this will bring your rig to within inches of the curb. Back slow and you may have to pull forward once to adjust, but that is allowed by most examiners.

Good luck
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:57 AM   #12
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To the OP:
This might make you feel better to Know If you had traveled though Ohio I'd wouldn't written you ticket for No valid operators License because Ohio doesn't require a class B of any kind for a Motorhome.
So I wouldn't think all your miles were driven illegally.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:08 AM   #13
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This video is directed at the TX CDL air brake test. Since I had just bought my DSDP and was rather ignorant about air brakes I found it a great overview of how the test might look if I had to take it and a good primer on what is "normal" for air brakes.

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Old 10-10-2013, 10:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
This video is directed at the TX CDL air brake test. Since I had just bought my DSDP and was rather ignorant about air brakes I found it a great overview of how the test might look if I had to take it and a good primer on what is "normal" for air brakes.
Oddly enough Don before I saw this post I just watched that video. Good info even for us not in Texas.

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