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6.1.6 – Turn Wide

When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear wheels follow a different path than the front wheels. This is called off-tracking or “cheating.” Figure 6.3 shows how off-tracking causes the path followed by a tractor to be wider than the rig itself. Longer vehicles will off-track more. The rear wheels of the powered unit (truck or tractor) will off-track some, and the rear wheels of the trailer will off-track even more.

If there is more than one trailer, the rear wheels of the last trailer will off-track the most. Steer the front end wide enough around a corner so the rear end does not run over the curb, pedestrians, etc. However, keep the rear of your vehicle close to the curb. This will stop other drivers from passing you on the right.

If you cannot complete your turn without entering another traffic lane, turn wide as you complete the turn. This is better than swinging wide to the left before starting the turn because it will keep other drivers from passing you on the right. (See Figure 6.4.)

6.1.7 – Backing with a Trailer

When backing a car, straight truck or bus, you turn the top of the steering wheel in the direction you want to go. When backing a trailer, you turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction. Once the trailer starts to turn, you must turn the wheel the other way to follow the trailer.

Whenever you back up with a trailer, try to position your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If you must back on a curved path, back to the driver's side so you can see.

Look at Your Path. Look at your line of travel before you begin. Get out and walk around the vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and overhead, in and near the path of your vehicle.

Use Mirrors on Both Sides. Check the outside mirrors on both sides frequently. Get out of the vehicle and re-inspect your path if you are unsure.

Back Slowly. This will let you make corrections before you get too far off course.

Correct Drift Immediately. As soon as you see the trailer getting off the proper path, correct it by turning the top of the steering wheel in the direction of the drift.

Pull Forward. When backing a trailer, make pull-ups to reposition your vehicle as needed.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #320 (1 of 3)

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When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear wheels follow a different path than the front wheels. This is called:

  • Inner-tracking
  • Off-tracking
  • Rolling over
  • Turn scraping
When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear wheels follow a different path than the front wheels. This is called off-tracking or "cheating."
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Question #322 (2 of 3)

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Which of the following are best practices for backing a trailer?

  • Try to position your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If you must back on a curved path, back to the driver's side so you can see.
  • Try to position your vehicle so you can along a gentle curve. If you must back on a curved path, back to the passenger's side so you can see.
  • Primarily use the passenger's side mirror so you know what's on that side of the vehicle. Back in a curve toward the passenger's side whenever possible
  • Back with the driver's side mirror pointing toward the parking spot you're aiming for and keep it there until you're fully backed in
Whenever you back up with a trailer, try to position your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If you must back on a curved path, back to the driver's side so you can see.
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Question #321 (3 of 3)

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When making a right-hand turn, why is it important to keep the rear of your vehicle close to the curb?

  • All these are correct
  • To prevent the tractor from going through a wider turn than the trailer
  • It is illegal for the trailer tires to be more than 8 feet from the curb in a turn
  • To stop other drivers from passing you on the right
If there is more than one trailer, the rear wheels of the last trailer will off-track the most. Steer the front end wide enough around a corner so the rear end does not run over the curb, pedestrians, etc. However, keep the rear of your vehicle close to the curb. This will stop other drivers from passing you on the right.
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