Help With Alley Dock

Topic 15999 | Page 1

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Krungen's Comment
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So I'm in school at CRST and I passed my pti but can't get my alley dock. I failed today. Ran out of time I get my starting point and find my imaginary line but after I hit my first 45 and go to pivot to my 90 to start to back in I seem to lose it and get all twisted. Any advice will be appreciated I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong after my first pivot.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Sorry to hear that, Krungen. The alley dock is a driving student's worst nightmare for several reasons. It certainly was for me!

But rather than write about something that's hard to write about, put "alley dock" in the search box (upper left of this screen).

I hope you've heard that it takes 10 feet of travel for the tandems to start doing what you put into the steering wheel, so focus on where you want the tires to be in ten feet.

Start it making the bend between the tractor and the trailer tighter. The tandems will start turning "in", towards you. Remember that ten feet thing. Before they point straight into the slot, start turning your steering left to straighten out. Adjust the direction/ steering as you slowly back up. Watch ten feet back of the wheels.

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".

toonces's Comment
member avatar

I feel your pain. I recently passed my cdl test after failing 3 times because I timed out on the alley dock every time. I was the same as you. My setup and approach were fine, then I got totally lost. The instructors worked with me and would tell me the same thing Errol said, that the trailer takes 8-10 feet to react, but I was just wasn't getting it. I had to wait 30 days to re-test and when I got back to school I got my own truck to practice in. This is when I finally figured out the alley dock.

When I was sharing a truck, I would always let my partner re-position the truck for a setup after a backing maneuver. I didn't realize it at the time but this handicapped me. It caused me to not have a good feel for how I could control the trailer and how/when it would react to my streering adjustments. When I was on my own and had to do all of my own re-positioning, I started getting a feel for how the truck would react.

Suddenly, I could do the alley dock. And it was all because of my practice re-positioning after *other* backing maneuvers.

I don't know what your training setup is, but if possible, maybe practice backing around cones or into lanes from different angles? It's frustrating at first but it causes you to get a feel for the way the trailer handles. Once you get a good feel, then you'll know how to work the trailer into an alley dock.

For specific tips, here are some things that helped me. Stop every couple of feet and picture where the trailer needs to go and which way you need to turn to get it there. If you get it close but you're too much to the left or too much to the right, stop and think about what that means. You either didn't wait long enough or too long before starting your turn. Also, make small adjustments. A little left, a little right, usually gets it in there.

I hope this helps. I really do understand your frustration.

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.
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