Failed My Backing Tests Again! Ugh!

Topic 12951 | Page 1

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Travis H.'s Comment
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I made improvements from last week, and almost finished the backing part of the test. I finished two of the maneuvers (straight-line and off set) but failed on the alley dock.

For Florida's backing test, students have to do three maneuvers. These maneuvers are straight-line, off set, and either parallel or alley dock. The straight-line and off set maneuvers are an absolute certainty. You will have to do both of those. The for last two parallel and alley dock, a student has to do one or the other. The student does not get a choice of which one they would "prefer" to do. The DMV computer randomizes the tests for each student, and whichever three out of the four possible maneuvers the computer selects, the student has to perform.

I knew going into the test that I was going to be in trouble if I was one of the "lucky" students to get alley dock. The reason I knew I was going to be in trouble with this particular maneuver had nothing to do with a lack of confidence or nerves, but because I have never been able to complete the maneuver on my own without help before. This isn't for lack of studying or trying either. But rather because I still haven't figured out how to get the trailer where I need it to be for that maneuver. I do realize that you turn your wheel to the left to make the trailer go right, and you turn your wheel to the right to make the trailer go left. My issue lies more along the lines of knowing how much to turn, and when to turn to make the adjustments I need to get the trailer into the hole (or in this case, between the orange cones).

The off set and parallel were easy for me to pick up on, because I noticed a pattern when I did them. For example, to do a left off set or parallel you need to turn your wheel right, left, left, right. The right off set or parallel is the inverse, that is you turn your wheel left, right, right, left. Granted I didn't pick up on how to do these maneuvers the first two weeks in time for my first test, and it was a few days ago before my second test that I had the pattern epiphany and I've done the maneuvers perfectly ever since. Straight-line backing is the easiest of all for me. All I have to do is sit back, let my tractor do all the work, and make small adjustments (12 to 3, 12 to 9) when my trailer drifts to get it straight again.

I'm glad I am going to a great school who is willing to work with me until I pass. The instructors here at Roadmaster's are very slow and patient and work with me where they see I am having issues. That's what I need. I know there are students who catch on quick and test out their first or second times. But I am not going to give up. I am going to retest early next week, and between now and then I am going to continue what I have been doing. That is, I am going to get out there, listen to the instructors, bust my ass, and try try again until I get it.

The reason I made this post in the first place isn't to bore anyone with a long story or to whine about my backing problems. I am making this post for anyone who might be in a similar situation, to let them know that I am not giving up and neither should you. I want to be a professional truck driver more than anything. I truly believe that I am learning something new everyday, and I am making improvements everyday, and as long as I keep at it and work hard, I will become a professional truck driver. And so can you.

I look forward to the day a year from now, or even a few months from now, when I have finally gotten my own truck and am doing solo OTR runs. I want to be able to go back to this post, remember when I was having trouble, and remember that I never gave up and kept at it. That's how I have accomplished everything I have in life so far, and that is how I will accomplish this. With hard work and tenacity.


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.


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.


Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

>>--HuntinDoug-->'s Comment
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I tried the alley dock & lane shift for the first time today. It definitely looks much easier than it actually is. My instructor told me that it takes longer to "click" for some people. One student in the class that's already finished has failed it twice. He came in today to practice and finally got it.

Stick with it... You'll get it.


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.

James J.'s Comment
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Stick with it and practice, the first time I tested I think I ran over every cone. the second time didn't hit a single one... you will get it...

Dutch's Comment
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Backing in, is something your brain learns to do, the same way it learns to shift. When shifting, the brain "listens" to the rpm's. In backing, the brain "looks" to see where the trailer is pointed, and looks at "the hole," to see if it is pointed properly.

The word "pointed" is key. If your trailer is not pointed properly, you are wasting your time trying to get it in the hole.

Look at your tandems , then look at the hole you are backing into. Get the big picture that includes both of these things. If you are fortunate enough to have lines or cones as a reference, your brain will learn when the trailer is pointed properly, and when the tandems are in the right position.

If the tandems are too far to the left or right, the brain will know when you are wasting your time.

When the brain realizes that things are not exactly right, it is time for a pull up, which repositions the tandems slightly, and allows you to put them right where they need to be, to have the trailer pointed properly.

Then all of a sudden it all comes together, and "boom" you are in the hole. Then all you need to do is "get back under your trailer" and drop it right into the hole.

When you watch an experienced driver do these things, it is obvious that his brain is in automatic mode. He doesn't really think anymore, because he has confidence that his brain will take over, and tell his hands and feet what to do.


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 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".

Chris Z.'s Comment
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Hey Travis, thanks for encouraging me! I LIKE your attitude. Nobody put a time limit on you when you were learning to walk. I'm glad that you don't have a jerk company not willing to train you properly who all they want to do is suck up your money. Road master, you say? Maybe Road master is not a jerk company.

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