While one might think the road test was the most nerve-wracking part of getting a commercial driver's license, many applicants are nervous in the time leading up to their DOT physical. Drivers must pass this physical exam in order to be awarded their license. Fortunately, DOT physicals are actually pretty simple exams, and unless you have a serious physical ailment that would make it unsafe for you to drive, you are likely to pass the physical exam. To reassure you a little more, take a look at these common misconceptions about DOT physicals.
Misconception: You need to have perfect vision.
Your vision will be tested as a part of the physical exam. However, you do need to have almost perfect vision to be approved. Instead, the vision requirement can be met with glasses or contacts. You might have low vision on your own, but if it can be corrected to 20/40 with glasses or contacts, you should be able to pass. If, for instance, you find out that your glasses or contact are not strong enough during this exam, you'll be given a chance to get stronger ones, and then you can retake the vision part of the exam.
Misconception: You have to have full use of all four limbs.
The doctor who conducts your physical will test the strength and flexibility of all four of your limbs. Certainly, you will need to be able to use your arms and legs in order to drive a commercial truck safely. But there is some leeway here. You won't fail the exam because you have some arthritis in an ankle or because one of your thumbs no longer bends due to an old injury. If your four limbs function well enough to drive a truck—and if you've been driving a car without an issue—then you're likely to pass. Your doctor can provide you with more information regarding this segment of the DOT physical.
Misconception: The exam involves a blood test.
If you hate having blood drawn, then you might be dreading this part. However, a blood test is not typically part of a DOT physical. You will have to provide a urine sample, which will be analyzed for drugs and also screened for various medical conditions. And if you're behind on any vaccines, you may be brought up-to-date during the exam. A blood draw, though, is not something you need to be concerned about.
Now that you have a better idea of what actually happens during a DOT physical, you can approach your upcoming exam with confidence. Contact DOT physical service for more information.