Does Backing Scare And Frustrate You? Of Course! Here Are Some Stories To Help Calm The Nerves.

Topic 20192 | Page 1

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Rainy D.'s Comment
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Lucky Life made a great point on another thread, so I hope this thread can encourage new & prospective drivers and calm some fears.

We ALL were nervous about backing in the begining. In tight spots I still am. Figured I could share a story and maybe others will too.

I recently decided to train my friend and after all this time driving, I still don't back as well as I think I should. I told her that up front and she said "you must do it better than me!". True.

The other night we got to a tight customer, I mean tight. Across from the doors was a building and along the building were metal stairs. I had to practically jacknife it, needed two spotters, GOALd a couple times, and it felt like forever.

I felt defeated. I got it in, but so what? I'm incompetent and supposed to be a trainer. I was so embarrassed in front of my friend. Then another driver told me how great I did and my trainee/friend said "you were amazing!" I didn't feel amazing.

Another truck came flying by, tried to back in his door, hit a mirror on the other truck and then pulled forward quickly and hit the stair case.

It was at that moment I realized I'm much better at backing than I thought. But why? Cause I went slow, GOALED and didn't care about the trucks waiting for me. I got it in safely.

I did this and all you newbies can too!!!

Who has some backing stories????

Dan R.'s Comment
member avatar

I had one quite similar myself. One of my second seats, who crashed my truck the first 10 feet he drove it, took a wrong turn and ended up going down the driveway for a hotel that wasn't in the least bit designed for trucks. After the first couple back and forth maneuvers he did, I figured I should hop to the front(keep in mind, I'm not a trainer now, and certainly wasn't then). I tried directing him but it was hopeless. He couldn't take directions, and being still extremely new myself(three months in or so?) I was too, so wasn't the least bit used to figuring out what was needed from that end, especially in my tired state at the time.

Having let several cars go by, I'd had enough, so I hopped in and it was the most beautiful thing in the world. Like nailing a jackknife first try with no pull-ups, because I suppose it kind of was(basically single lane driveway into the correct lane of a single lane in both directions road). No pull-ups, though I did hop out once or twice. Seriously, if it hadn't been dark out and I hadn't been saying expletives at just short of a yell it could have been a training video.

I definitely relate to the whole lack of confidence thing, but I think that's a good thing. I've worked in retail and when we'd get scrapes from trucks it was always the drivers that made a point of saying they've been at it for years and, despite it being what I now know for sure to be a very tight spot, that it would be a breeze. The ones that were the least confident in being able to do it would never hit anything. I think there' s some common ground in there between the ridged fear you have right out of school and before you become the 'super trucker god' that is the best to be in.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar

My very first load solo, I delivered to the McLane Foodservice in Lakewood, WA. Tight. Tighttighttight. And a night delivery to boot. Barely 8 inches of space between trucks in the doors, and a large concrete wall about 80 feet in front of the docks means almost no room for error. It took me almost 20 minutes, and I lost count of how many times I had to GOAL, but I eventually got in my door. When I pulled the break and let out a HUGE sigh of relief, the driver in the truck on my right stuck his head out the window, gave me a 👍 and said "I've been driving for 17 years, and I still have trouble backing in here."

Almost 6 years later, I still get that sinking feeling in my stomach when I see a tight back staring me in the face. And I still approach it the same way: S L O W. Getting in a hurry is the surest way to guarantee you're going to hit something.

Lucky Life's Comment
member avatar

So now I have a question, how many times do you actually come across these super tight or difficult backing situations. 10%, 25% or 50% of the time? I am sure there are tons of buildings and lots built prior to the Sleeper Cab and just were not designed for a longer wheelbase.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

So now I have a question, how many times do you actually come across these super tight or difficult backing situations. 10%, 25% or 50% of the time? I am sure there are tons of buildings and lots built prior to the Sleeper Cab and just were not designed for a longer wheelbase.

It depends on what area of the country you're in and the type of freight you haul. Here are some rough guesses:

Dry Van or Refrigerated:

  • In the Northeast or the West Coast: 30% - 40% of the time
  • In the Midwest: 20% of the time
  • Anywhere else: 10-15% of the time

Flatbed Or Tanker

  • In The Northeast or West Coast: 10% - 15% of the time
  • Anywhere else: Maybe 10% of the time

It's definitely far more difficult circumstances in the Northeast with dry van and refrigerated than anywhere else with any other type of freight.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Agreed with Brett. That is one reason why the Northeast is harder for new drivers. The buildings are much older, the roads too. Not made for the longer trailers.

When I first started i.asked my dispatcher for Walmart runs. The Walmart Distribution centers are wide open spaces with straight line backs into the doors. BUT they take forever to unload so most drivers don't want them. I got a lot of WM in the beginning cause I asked for them. Made my FM happy cause everyone else complained.

Dispatcher:

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.

Fm:

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.
Josh W.'s Comment
member avatar

One of the reasons why I'm so nervous about beginning this career is the backing up. But this thread is calming my nerves a bit. I'd also like to say that I'm very excited. Reading this forum and website has helped tremendously. What does GOAL mean?

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

G.O.A.L. is how we should be abbreviating it - it means Get Out And Look.

Josh W.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok. Thank you for clarifying. I'm trying to soak up as much from you guys as I possibly can.

MC1371's Comment
member avatar

Just my 2c. After learning this the hard way.. Twice.

If you have a really tight spot to get into. Do NOT slide your tandems until you are lined up with the door.

That tail wiggle is your friend when things are tight.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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