How Were You Trained For Backing Maneuvers?

Topic 21334 | Page 1

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RealDiehl's Comment
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I'm wondering if all schools teach the backing maneuvers the same way. At my school we use a formulaic method:

ATsTA this stands for Away, Towards, Straight, Towards, Away

Here's an example (in case you don't already know) of how this formula works on a driver's side parallel park.

First you set up by pulling forward of the box you're trying to park in. You want to make sure your bumper is two feet forward and two feet outside the cone that marks the outer, front edge of the box.

Here's where the formula comes into play. ATsTA

You begin by turning the steering wheel - all the way - AWAY from the box you're trying to get into. Then you back up, looking in your driver side mirror, until your rear drive tire lines up with the landing gear cross frame slightly beyond the center of the landing gear.

Then you stop and turn the steering wheel - all the way - TOWARDS the box. You back up until truck and trailer are straight. Stop. Straighten the wheel. At this point your trailer is angling into the box.

Next you back up STRAIGHT and look in the passenger side mirror until your rear, outside trailer tire is in line with the outermost cone in the rear of the box. Stop.

Now you turn the steering wheel - all the way - TOWARDS the box. Again, you line up the drive tires with the landing gear slightly beyond center (looking in the passenger side mirror this time). Stop.

Turn the steering wheel - all the way - AWAY from the box and back up until your tractor and trailer are straight. If you executed the steps perfectly, you are now in the box and the maneuver is complete.

The offset maneuver, aside from the set up, is taught the same way.

Is this the way all schools teach backing maneuvers? What are some other methods?

Big Scott's Comment
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Very similar. It's always important to do what the school says. They teach you to pass the test you will take. Don't confuse yourself with other methods. Are you having any problems? If so, we can help.

Once you get out here solo you will use some of that. However, newbies like me, sometimes have trouble getting into the easiest spots. Backing is a skill not to fear learning. Out here you are not limited in your GOALS. Take your time, go slow and drive the trailer. Good luck. You can do this.

G-Town's Comment
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Practice, practice,...practice. There is no substitute.

Over time, the whole left is right and right is left will become intuitive. Once removed from the controlled environment of school, you'll quickly realize; how-to setup correctly is the key factor to enabling more efficient backing.

PackRat's Comment
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Agree with G-Town 100%! No substitute for actually doing it. Any driving maneuvers, for that matter.

RealDiehl's Comment
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Very similar. It's always important to do what the school says. They teach you to pass the test you will take. Don't confuse yourself with other methods. Are you having any problems? If so, we can help

No worries there, Scott. I don't plan on going off script with anything that's being taught. I was just curious to know if other schools used these methods. Thanks for your offer of help/advice. I've seen you replying to A LOT of other people on here and helping them out. I know it's greatly appreciated. Same goes for G-Town and the other moderators/contributors.

JuiceBox's Comment
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Have to agree with everybody else. Do as the instructors say, they are teaching you only how to pass the test to obtain your CDL. Once you are out there with your trainer at whatever company you go with, you'll learn how to actually perform backing maneuvers in the environment you will be operating in. They will most likely teach you a different way of backing also.

For example... I caught on pretty quick at my CDL school with backing on the range, with cones, in a controlled environment that never changes, and 48' box trailers. I knew exactly what I had to do and where I had to be for each maneuver by about the third day of backing. Now I am out with my company trainer and backing 53' spread axles which react different than tandems. I am almost completely learning backing again but now I have different environments, no cones, tighter spots, dark warehouses, all kinds of objects to hit including other trucks, and impatient truck drivers waiting on me to finish.

Just take your time and learn your instructors way, they will not let you down if you can execute what you are being taught.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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".

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar
I am almost completely learning backing again but now I have different environments, no cones, tighter spots, dark warehouses, all kinds of objects to hit including other trucks, and impatient truck drivers waiting on me to finish.

Oh, is that all..? lol

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