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  • Writer's pictureFront Range Compliance

Pre-Trip Checklist

Before drivers can even get their CDL, they are tested in their ability to conduct a proper pre-trip inspection. Unfortunately, as time goes on many drivers get complacent when conducting their pre-trip inspection and even stop checking everything as thoroughly. One of the best ways to stay efficient in your pre-trip inspection is to follow a guide or a checklist.

Man conducting a pre trip inspection of a tractor trailer

A thorough pre-trip inspection should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Here is a checklist for you to follow in your next pre-trip inspection:

1. Tire Pressure

Low tire pressure can cause your tires to wear unevenly and over inflated tires can result in tire blowouts. Your tires have a huge impact on your stopping ability as well.

2. Tread Depth

Low tire treads increase the likelihood of losing control from hydroplaning or sliding on standing water, snow or ice. Not only does it increase your chances of losing control when road conditions are poor because of weather, but also on dry roads.

3. Lights

Your lighting devices make you visible to others on the road and show them what your intentions on the road is. Check headlights, brake lights and turn signals.

4. Load Securement

Make sure the cargo you're hauling is properly secured for travel. Ensure that your securement devices are free of defects and everything is connected properly.

5. Windshield

Check your windshield for cracks and rock chips, if present report that to your maintenance techs. Your windshield wipers help your visibility when transiting the road, especially during rain or snow, so make sure they're working properly. Be sure to also check your windshield wiper fluid while you are inspecting the wipers.

DOT University

Enroll in Pre Trip Inspection Training!

Refresh your knowledge with conducting a proper pre/post trip inspection with online training through DOT University! Includes a virtual walk around, proper DVIR completion and a certificate. Use code FRCS10 for $10 off the purchase of the class.

6. Cabin of Vehicle

In the cab of the vehicle you will want to check the horn, defroster, A/C and heating unit, and steering components.

7. Trailer

Inspect the trailer for any damages to welds, conspicuity treatment, tires, trailer decking, anchor points, loose or exposed wires, and lights. Ensure that the trailer has proper connection to the vehicle and the brakes are working.

8. Emergency Kit

Road flares, triangles and a fire extinguisher are the required emergency equipment drivers must have in their vehicle. The fire extinguisher must be easily accessible, with a current inspection and maintain the appropriate PSI.

9. Wheels and Rims

Your wheels and rims should be free of cracks, bends, or missing/loose fasteners. Check for any leaks in the hubs as well.

10. Mirrors with Swivel Mounts

Mirrors allow drivers to see their blind spots, and if the mirrors are too loose or stiff the driver will not be able to adjust to see the blind spots.


According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), at least one inspection must be logged in your hours of service each day. If defects are present, drivers must fill out the Drivers Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) however if no defects are found then no DVIR needs to be completed.


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Make sure to check also out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We currently are offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Periodic Annual Inspection Qualification Training (Appendix A).

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