Alley Docking

Topic 19091 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Chris D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys, I'm currently in school for my CDL and this week we are working on the alley dock. I've seen it screw up a ton of students, so I was curious if you guys had any tips or suggestions for it? I've heard it's one of those things where once you get it, you'll never forget it.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
John M.'s Comment
member avatar

Soon for me as well I'd love to hear some tips from the vets

Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

For me, the key was getting tractor and trailer "bent" in a consistent repeatable way. I used a sticker on the side of the trailer and lined it up in my mirror. Some use the landing gear the same way. I never did go for a full 90 degree bend on the trailer. After doing that consistently, I found eyeballing the tandems into the alley much easier. Then it is just a matter of straightening the tractor back up with the trailer as you back in. You might also check out some Youtube vids that have overhead views. Good luck...

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".

John M.'s Comment
member avatar

thanks. :)

For me, the key was getting tractor and trailer "bent" in a consistent repeatable way. I used a sticker on the side of the trailer and lined it up in my mirror. Some use the landing gear the same way. I never did go for a full 90 degree bend on the trailer. After doing that consistently, I found eyeballing the tandems into the alley much easier. Then it is just a matter of straightening the tractor back up with the trailer as you back in. You might also check out some Youtube vids that have overhead views. Good luck...

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".

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bill's description is about all you can write down. The rest is getting your body to learn how to do it - practice!

First, keep this in mind: everybody goes though this in learning, so it's not just you. You may get frustrated to all get-out. Take a breath or two, and try to learn from your last try.

It seems the tandem wheels take about ten feet of travel to do whatever it is you turned the steering wheel for, so even inches (from 60' away) is important.

If you focus on turning/ pushing from the tractor end to get the tandems and the trailer just right, you've gone too far - the tractor still needs to get straightened out too. So, practice to get about "half way" right, to give you time to straighten the tractor up.

It took me almost a year until I was really comfortable in backing "alley style". And I'll still do a pull through if I have the chance!

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

Like Errol said, once you get the tractor at an angle with the trailer, understand that it is going to take time to get it straightened out again. Until it gets straightened out, that trailer is still turning. So think ahead.

Another tip is to avoid getting your tractor and trailer into a really tight angle with each other. Successful backing is more about the angle of your tractor to your trailer, and less about where your steering wheel is. The reasoning is the same--the tighter the angle between your tractor and trailer, the longer it's going to take to straighten it out. Keeping it at a little less of an angle throughout the back can give you a little more maneuverability.

Along the same lines, once you get your tractor at a decent angle with the trailer, try not to turn that steering wheel too much until you're ready to start straightening out again. Smaller corrections are better.

If you overshoot, don't be afraid to do a pull-up. Often you're way better off just doing a pull-up to straighten out instead of continuing to back. Seriously, remember, your job is not to do the elusive "perfect back," but rather to get it in the hole without hitting anything every time.

Best of luck. It will come... Patience.

Shiva's Comment
member avatar

Hey guys, I'm currently in school for my CDL and this week we are working on the alley dock. I've seen it screw up a ton of students, so I was curious if you guys had any tips or suggestions for it? I've heard it's one of those things where once you get it, you'll never forget it.

Remember to leave enough room in front for the tractor swing

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
ironmike's Comment
member avatar

Do your backing skills as your school instructor has shown you. There are different ways to do the alley dock. Don't do this if your instructor has shown you another way.

Listen to your instructor!

The alley dock for the CDL is backing between cones. In real life it may be backing in between lines and up to a dock.

1. Get set up for the alley dock. The set up is as important as the back up. Usually you will be pulled forward and to the right and at a 90 degree angle to the cones. 2. Set the brakes. Adjust your seat to your liking. Look in your mirrors. Adjust your mirrors to your liking. Take 2 deep breaths. 3. Look out the drivers side window at the cones. For CDL this is always done on the sight side or the drivers side. No blind side. It's your choice if you want to look at the drivers mirror or to stretch a bit and look at the cones and the trailer tandems with your eyes. I prefer my eyes and then switch to the mirror when you get straight and it is easier to see. If you raise your butt off the seat and the examiner sees this then the examiner can say this counts as using one of your "get out and looks". In CALI you are allowed 2 "get out and looks" for the entire skills test. 4. Look out the window at the trailer tail or the trailer tandems. 5. As you look back and forth from the tandems or trailer tail to the cones, you want to establish a point 18 inches inside from the very first cone which is closest to you. This 18 inch mark is your target spot. You want to also establish a mental or imaginary line from the tandems going wide and curving to the 18 inch mark inside of the first cone. Keep this mental image. 6. Start going back slowly. You can stop as often as you wish. You can go as slow as you wish. If you get confused, STOP. Take a deep breath and look at the trailer. Ask yourself, Which way to I want the trailer to go? Then make the correction. Turn the wheel in the opposite way you wish the trailer to go. Take your time. Everyone can wait. Don't be in a rush like the four wheelers are. 7. GO SLOW. YOU CAN GO AS SLOW AS YOU WISH. THE SLOWER THE BETTER. IF YOU GO TOO FAST, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO SEE AND MAKE CORRECTIONS AS NEEDED. 8. Go back and read #7. This ain't Nascar. 9. Start backing slowly, look at the cones and look at the tandems and keep looking back and forth at the cones and the tandems and at the mental or imaginary line you have which takes the trailer right into the 18 inch mark inside the first cone. 10. Make a slight right turn of the wheel and watch the trailer begin to go to the left. Then correct and turn the wheel to the left as needed to keep the angle small and yet you keep the trailer tandems following your mental or imaginary line. Go SLOW. Stop if Necessary. To stop, push the clutch in half way and then gently apply the service brake. Don't just apply the service brake without the clutch killing the motor. That can break the truck. .... You just go backwards and you make a little angle and then you correct that angle which is also called following the trailer. Keep doing this and follow the imaginary line so that the tractor and trailer are nearly straight before the trailer tail enters the first two cones. At this point it is just straight line backing in back usually to within three feet the last back cones. 11. If you get off your imaginary line and mess up, can you continue and correct? If not, you are allowed pull ups to correct but you will be limited as to how many. 12. Learn how the trailer turns and responds to the tractor. A shorter trailer turns quicker than a long 53 footer. 13. Keep the tractor and trailer as straight as possible. Try not to make big angles. Don't jackknife if you can help it. 14. In general backing a tractor and trailer, you should be aware of these three things. 1. The angle of your front wheels. 2. The angle of your tractor to your trailer. 3. The condition of your trailer. Is it straight? Is it where you want it to be? For further learning material, check out "tractor trailer backing skills" part 3 and part 4 by Jimmy Cox.

I hope this helps.

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".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

millionmiler24 (CRSTs Mos's Comment
member avatar

I may be a total dummy for asking this but is an alley dock the same as a 45 or a 90?

confused.gif

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I may be a total dummy for asking this but is an alley dock the same as a 45 or a 90?

confused.gif

"Dumb" (your term!) no more! Yes. The idea is you are driving down an alley to your destination, and need to roll a bit past the dock and then back it in. Most often it's a 90 degree turn.

Actually we answer all questions as sincerely as they are asked. So, bring 'em on!

Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More