Does Spotter Backing Translate?

Topic 17695 | Page 1

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Remy E.'s Comment
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So I've been a straight truck driver for quite a while now for my company. I also drive the spotter often at our warehouse. My question is this: Will my ability to maneuver and back a trailer in the spotter translate to moving it with a full tractor with a sleeper?

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'd say the backing principles translate, but the actual physical maneuvering will be slightly different. A tractor with a sleeper will not have the tight turning radius you are accustomed to and not near as much glass to see out of.

Your experience certainly won't hurt you. In fact it should help you quite a bit.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

You also have to get out a manually mess with the landing gear. No hydraulic lift on your 5th wheel. Makes me jealous every time I see them use it.

Remy E.'s Comment
member avatar

I'd say the backing principles translate, but the actual physical maneuvering will be slightly different. A tractor with a sleeper will not have the tight turning radius you are accustomed to and not near as much glass to see out of.

Your experience certainly won't hurt you. In fact it should help you quite a bit.

That's pretty much what I expected but it brings up another question! Those tractors with the extra long wheel base and large gap between the back of the sleeper and the 5th wheel. They seem like they would be better for backing. Is there a downside to trucks set up like that?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tractor Man's Comment
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Is there a downside to trucks set up like that?

It takes more "room" for your set-up. Harder to back into tight spaces with limited room in front of the space.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Spotter Trucks (Mules or Yard Hostlers) are a lot easier to maneuver with.

But it does "translate over" - once you get used to the differences.

I did the reverse. I learned/drove spotters on the port moving container carts. Doing the training on one of those was SIMPLE, after having driven a full sized sleeper and trailer.

Things just move a little slower (with the shorter wheelbase). Don't worry - you'll get the hang of it quickly.

Rick

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Remy E.'s Comment
member avatar

You also have to get out a manually mess with the landing gear. No hydraulic lift on your 5th wheel. Makes me jealous every time I see them use it.

Ha! Yeah I'll admit that is a nice little perk. But in my company's case it only serves to get our semi drivers in and out ASAP. Pull it out, bring it around so the drivers don't have to go on a scavenger hunt around the lot, set it down, document the load, (with the driver present of course) close it up and send the drivers on their way. All in the service of keeping things moving! But I understand not all companies utilize spotters the way we do. Also I don't think you'd wanna hit the highway with a trailer tilted up the way we do when we pull it around the lot.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Remy E.'s Comment
member avatar

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Is there a downside to trucks set up like that?

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It takes more "room" for your set-up. Harder to back into tight spaces with limited room in front of the space.

Ah, yeah, that makes sense. Thanks.

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