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

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MC1371's Comment
member avatar

Didn't mean to cause a ruckus.

In my limited experience it's worked out easier to have them forward when in tight conditions.

Again, my experience/feel for the situation. With the shorter wheel base the back of the trailer swung faster and with less steering input, which at the last time was critical since I had zero room up front to swing the nose.

With the tandems back I couldn't get the trailer pivot started in time to make the push into the hole.

It depends a lot upon the angle you're coming in at. If you have the room to bring the trailer around and get it lined up pretty straight with the hole before you have to enter that narrow opening it doesn't matter where your tandems are. If you're coming in at a shallow angle, say a 45 degree angle, having your tandems slid forward is going to create a lot of swing on the back of that trailer and it's going to make it much more difficult to get it backed in there. It would be easier to have your tandems slid back when approaching from a shallow angle.

That pretty much was the situation. 45 if not less, almost zero room for head swing.

Tandems forward is probably a bane for most of us rookies since we tend to overseer / overcorrect. But once you slow down and relax, it will work.

The back I was doing I had tried 3 different times with slightly different setups. With the tandems back I didn't have enough run out room to get them to start pivoting.

The guys that finally assisted me on my final, after I slid them forward all agreed and said that in that instance it worked best.

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".

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Didn't mean to cause a ruckus.

In my limited experience it's worked out easier to have them forward when in tight conditions.

Again, my experience/feel for the situation. With the shorter wheel base the back of the trailer swung faster and with less steering input, which at the last time was critical since I had zero room up front to swing the nose.

With the tandems back I couldn't get the trailer pivot started in time to make the push into the hole.

double-quotes-start.png

It depends a lot upon the angle you're coming in at. If you have the room to bring the trailer around and get it lined up pretty straight with the hole before you have to enter that narrow opening it doesn't matter where your tandems are. If you're coming in at a shallow angle, say a 45 degree angle, having your tandems slid forward is going to create a lot of swing on the back of that trailer and it's going to make it much more difficult to get it backed in there. It would be easier to have your tandems slid back when approaching from a shallow angle.

double-quotes-end.png

That pretty much was the situation. 45 if not less, almost zero room for head swing.

Tandems forward is probably a bane for most of us rookies since we tend to overseer / overcorrect. But once you slow down and relax, it will work.

The back I was doing I had tried 3 different times with slightly different setups. With the tandems back I didn't have enough run out room to get them to start pivoting.

The guys that finally assisted me on my final, after I slid them forward all agreed and said that in that instance it worked best.

Nothing wrong with that if its what you're more comfortable with. Just really, really watch that tail swing. Its so easy to side swipe the truck on your passenger side with tandems all the way forward. If you have a trailer tail like most Prime trucks, close it before backing.

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".

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Didn't mean to cause a ruckus.

In my limited experience it's worked out easier to have them forward when in tight conditions.

Again, my experience/feel for the situation. With the shorter wheel base the back of the trailer swung faster and with less steering input, which at the last time was critical since I had zero room up front to swing the nose.

With the tandems back I couldn't get the trailer pivot started in time to make the push into the hole.

double-quotes-start.png

It depends a lot upon the angle you're coming in at. If you have the room to bring the trailer around and get it lined up pretty straight with the hole before you have to enter that narrow opening it doesn't matter where your tandems are. If you're coming in at a shallow angle, say a 45 degree angle, having your tandems slid forward is going to create a lot of swing on the back of that trailer and it's going to make it much more difficult to get it backed in there. It would be easier to have your tandems slid back when approaching from a shallow angle.

double-quotes-end.png

That pretty much was the situation. 45 if not less, almost zero room for head swing.

Tandems forward is probably a bane for most of us rookies since we tend to overseer / overcorrect. But once you slow down and relax, it will work.

The back I was doing I had tried 3 different times with slightly different setups. With the tandems back I didn't have enough run out room to get them to start pivoting.

The guys that finally assisted me on my final, after I slid them forward all agreed and said that in that instance it worked best.

No ruckus started.

I'll tell ya, after home time, even now, there are the first couple backs when I can't get it in the hole. Lol

Add in driving 600 miles and being exhausted. It can be tough for anyone.

One day I just laughed and gave the yard dog $10. "I'm sorry. Its just a really bad day. Please let me drop this."

Many of the yard dogs were drivers and get it.

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".

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar
Many of the yard dogs were drivers and get it.

Do they really get it? I'd say anything to get $10!

rofl-3.gif

MC1371's Comment
member avatar

OK, I have one funny, "I am a backing God" ... Um I'm a dumba$$ story to share.

Dropping an empty in the Post lot in MN. When I pulled in, only one slot open. Plenty of room up front to get setup for a straight back, but it was going to be tight. OK, more than a little tight, th and goodness I still had a manual, no lurching allowed on this one, no room for sway. Well get in, Maybe 6inches of clearance on either side. Happy dance! Fear my backing skills!!

I can't drop the landing gear, not enough room to crank the handle.. Dumba$$..

Luckily the yard dog had pulled one out while I was farting around with that one.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

I've only pulled flatbeds and tankers. I never had a tight back in three months of tanker work, and they've been rare with flatbeds.

This was probably the tightest back I've ever done. It's at a drywall place in Acme, Texas. The best part is not in the pictures: it's always sunny there and you can't see into the dark building. Plus the dock is not square to the building, so you are trying to back into a dock that is at about an 80/100 degree angle to the outside of the building, and that the only reference point. Lots of G.O.A.L.s, lots of pull ups. As others have mentioned, the trick is to go slow and not worry what the other drivers or the forklift drivers are thinking.

4dhhFW.jpg4KZxCn.jpg

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

My trainee just landed the trailer in a TIGHT spot. Iean tight. Took a long time a d a bunch of GOALs, but who cares

She's about to unhook from the trailer and...click click click. Truck won't turn over. She thinks she killed my truck lol

Blakowt's Comment
member avatar

Didn't mean to cause a ruckus.

In my limited experience it's worked out easier to have them forward when in tight conditions.

Again, my experience/feel for the situation. With the shorter wheel base the back of the trailer swung faster and with less steering input, which at the last time was critical since I had zero room up front to swing the nose.

With the tandems back I couldn't get the trailer pivot started in time to make the push into the hole.

double-quotes-start.png

It depends a lot upon the angle you're coming in at. If you have the room to bring the trailer around and get it lined up pretty straight with the hole before you have to enter that narrow opening it doesn't matter where your tandems are. If you're coming in at a shallow angle, say a 45 degree angle, having your tandems slid forward is going to create a lot of swing on the back of that trailer and it's going to make it much more difficult to get it backed in there. It would be easier to have your tandems slid back when approaching from a shallow angle.

double-quotes-end.png

That pretty much was the situation. 45 if not less, almost zero room for head swing.

Tandems forward is probably a bane for most of us rookies since we tend to overseer / overcorrect. But once you slow down and relax, it will work.

The back I was doing I had tried 3 different times with slightly different setups. With the tandems back I didn't have enough run out room to get them to start pivoting.

The guys that finally assisted me on my final, after I slid them forward all agreed and said that in that instance it worked best.

GREETINGS MC1371,

I've been running these many Highways, Byways, Back Roads, Side Roads, Goat Roads, Snake Trails, some Alley Ways, a few Dirt Roads from Maine to Florida and across into California (I-8, I-10, I-40) from San Diego (on I-5) through Shaky Town (L.A.) to Sacramento (as well trips along the I-40 extension (RT. 58) from Barstool (Barstow) to Bakersfield and beyond. So MANY wonderful companies and truck stops visited and backed into forgotten amounts of slots, docks, a few 2 lane roads (because of low overpasses) and EVERY TIME I BACK UP IT IS BACKING 101!!

MANY places offered small tight access to docks where I made a walking observation to mentally "set up".

The Northeast offers too many "backup training" locations not just the Pickle Parks (Rest Areas). What does one do other than Just Do It?

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, there are some options available: One may ask a Switcher Driver to place Trailer in dock. One may ask another Driver to place in dock and I've done such a few times for FREE because it's Old School Rules: Helping A Fellow Driver. As has been mentioned, if possible, slide Tandems FORWARD and leave Fifth Wheel ALONE as it usually only helps to eliminate the Bat Wings (Fairings). ALWAYS Turn the C.B. OFF unless you prefer being tormented!! ALWAYS roll Slow and Easy and the horns you hear are usually impatient drivers (yet could be from getting too close to other trucks), so stop as many times as needed (or not needed) to G.O.A.L. There's no prize for fast other than possibly a wrecker and possible Points on Your Sacred License. EVERY BACKING SITUATION IS DIFFERENT even at the same locations.

Women tend to be more secure than men in their driving capabilities, probably from the lack of Testosterone as well the I don't need any help cause I know what I'm doing mentality. You'll hear some (aged) Veterans as well some Newbies saying such, so just look at their equipment for assurance.

I've been locally driving a switcher truck as well other road trucks lately and it'll continue to be: BACKING 101!!

MY Qualifications since late 1998: I learned to drive trucks in a C.O.E. (Cab Over Engine) with a 10-speed Manual AFTER Driver Training School. I've driven mainly Sleeper Condos: Peterbilt 379 Long Nose reverse 9 or standard 10 speed manual, Kenworth t2000 back to W800 with either a 13 speed manual, 10-speed Manual reverse or 9 speed, Ford Sterling 10 speed Manual, International Pro Star ( called Cornbinder from International Harvester) 10 speed Manual, a LOT of Freight Liners with either 10 speed manual or Super 10 or autoshift, Mack 10 speed triple shaft transmission. A few Ford and other make Cement Trucks as well Dump (Bucket) Trucks. I drive ALL EQUIPMENT like I OWN IT because when I'm in it, IT'S MINE.

ALL EQUIPMENT OPERATION REQUIRES: Common Sense, - -Sadly it's not as Common as it used to be but You will Prove this Wrong. PATIENCE, - -PLEASE let the Clutch Brake stop the Clutch before slipping into Gear- -Grinding Gears just clearly alerts others you don't care about Equipment, and PLEASE ARRIVE ALIVE! Determination,- - You WILL SUCCEED!! Perseverance,- -See Determination. Humility.- -Without which nothing can be accomplished. Say Thank You for any or no reason

The Real World SCHOOL demands LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY!

Thanks B-2-U! CHEERS!!

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".

Tim H.'s Comment
member avatar

Got to my receiver on Saturday am and they give me door 130. I had been having trouble with my set-ups so I asked my old man for some advice. Turns out I had been making my hard right too early. So I do what he told me and yippee, just a few small adjustments and looking good. Pull out, walk to the back to open the doors, "are you kiddin' me"? I blurt out. I backed very nicely into door 131. Then I remembered the offset back from school. Pulled straight out and did just like at school. Missed my mark first try but pulled ahead for another and smoothly backed right into 130.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

At first, yes, "he** yes", backing was nerve-racking, something I worried about constantly. But I can assure you all; rookies, students, and soon to be students; it will pass and be nothing more than footnote, a distant memory of the overall learning experience.

The more times you do it, the better you will become. Take advantage of every opportunity to practice setting up and backing. Case in point, when I committed to the Walmart Dedicated account several years back, I had exactly 3 months and a day's worth of OTR experience. Very green, but with what I thought were reasonably good skills. On average I backed once or twice per day while OTR, occasionally, not at all. When I signed on for the Walmart Account, the first question they asked me was; "how are your backing skills?" I responded with the answer; "average, maybe slightly above-average". The interviewer replied, "we'll soon see." No clue of what he meant by that...

embarrassed.gif

Within one week of working on this account, I clearly gave myself far too much credit (should have been a D+), and now felt like I had much to learn. Little did I now when I signed-on, backing efficiency on this account is absolutely mandatory to maximizing earning potential. Instead of backing 5-6 times per week as an OTR drover, I was suddenly thrust into 5-6 times per day. Imagine my surprise, on my third day I was sent to a store where there is no possible way to sight-side back. Impossible. "Ghastly", I thought as my stomach knotted up. So away I went after a quick and superficial G.O.A.L. (more on that later). I approached it all wrong, a total mess and as a result required about 20 minutes just to dock. I thought, wow I must get better at this or I will starve. Yah see, I was lulled into a false sense of serenity because my first two days on the job, I had easy stores, huge setup areas allowing a straight back. Hah...I can do this all day long. Wrong. I remember my DM telling me when I was dispatched to the store in question it would be a good skills test. He asked me the next morning how I did,...I just smiled. He looked at me and said, "well couldn't have been too bad, you didn't hit anything and made it back to the DC with time to spare. You'll go back to that same store a year form now, at everything will look and feel different." He was right about that, oh so right.

Since that time I have backed my truck about 6000 times, part of the job and a skill that is absolutely critical for success. I don't really keep an exact count, but that's probably a conservative guess. So yesterday, on my third stop I visited the same store mentioned above. With this thread in-mind, I smiled, remembering what my DM had said to me 5 years prior, "everything will look and feel different". Soooo dead-nuts right. I had forgotten anxious I was when I first experienced this store. Because of "all" the repetitions, learning the art of the set-up, and intuitively knowing how the trailer will respond based on the slightest input, I was able to complete the same blind-side maneuver in about 2 minutes. So tricks or gimmicks, no wasted time...just getting the job done. That's not great, or anything outrageously fantastic, just something that you will all experience if you give this enough time and patience. As Rainy so accurately indicated, "it" will all look different once you gain some experience. I never make promises I cannot keep, but I promise backing will get easier.

Learn how-to setup and try to get a satellite image of the location you'll be visiting before you arrive, so at least you'll have in inkling of expectation and be able to establish a basic plan of attack. Use the G.O.A.L. to size up the situation before executing the setup, at least until you have more experience. Don't waste the G.O.A.L. and never rush any of it. Try to relax, and focus on slow and steady progress getting into the hole. If in doubt G.O.A.L. again...until you are sure of the approach and the "line". Then proceed with caution.

The nerves,...they will pass. Think positive.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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