Feel Like Such A Disappointment When Backing

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Reaper's Comment
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So i think ive finally hit the wall entering the tough part of tnt. 5000 miles left and finally hit it.

I feel like such a dissappointment for backing. I can get it in the hole, sometimes it takes longer than other times. But never ever can when my trainer is guiding me or watching me. Ive tried asking if i can be left to doing it alone like he walks to the bathroom and i do it alone but it doesnt seem to time well or just doesnt happen.

What happens is when he is there i freeze up and forget everything possible. I get so stressed and screw everything up. Then he gets mad and that just makes things so much worse.

This doesnt happen however if other drivers get out and help and watch me. If other drivers aid me i am still fully ok and i work the trailer fine.

Staying out a little late for tnt until june 1st my choice because i feel like i need the backing practice and learning. Also i can make some decent money before my week without a paycheck.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.



Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Pianoman's Comment
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Nerves man, they'll get you every time! It's totally normal to have a hard time backing with someone watching you. There's one guy in the yard here who kinda makes me nervous sometimes--have no idea why, but when he is watching me I usually end up having to do a couple pullups. You'll outgrow it--just don't hit anything. It may not feel like it, but even a 30 minute backing maneuver is a success if done without an accident.

Rick S.'s Comment
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Comes with experience, and some find it more difficult than others.

As long as you ACTUALLY DO NOT HIT THE WALL - you're doing fine.

You're not going to have a "spotter", every time you back solo - and keep in mind, if the spotter RUNS YOU INTO SOMETHING IT'S STILL YOUR FAULT.

Pretty sure your trainer is not going to be all too upset at you running miles for his wallet. If you guys get along with each other, might even be more comfortable for him, than getting used to trusting a new newbie.

It's a fine line though, between knowing your limitations and PSYCHING YOURSELF OUT. Good that your lack of ego allows you to recognize you might need more driving with a mentor, many people will solo out before they're truly ready.

GO SLOW - GOAL - Take as many pullups/GOALs as you need to get in the hole without hitting anything. Ignore the "audience". Your truck, your dock, YOUR CAREER.

I have a place near me that has THE WORST DOCKS. I go watch "veteran drivers" take 20 pullups (or more) to bump one of these docks.



Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Reaper, if possible don't let it bother you.

Backing is every rookies biggest challenge.

I know you're feeling really bad about it, but don't single yourself out as some sort of loser. Everybody struggles with it. I was more than two years into my career until it finally started to click, and I actually became confident in my backing skills.

To this day I don't appreciate a spotter. I would much rather G.O.A.L. and have my own visual of what is happening. If I can personally see what needs to be done to accomplish a successful back, then I can make it happen. I sure don't need some random person telling me when and how to turn my wheel.

Never worry yourself about the length of time it takes you to get it where you want it. Concern yourself with making sure you don't hit anything - that is the critical factor when backing.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Listen, no one is good at backing when they first go solo. Some people may think they are, but trust me, they're not. It takes quite a long time to really get the hang of it because every single time you back in somewhere it's a little different somehow. So you can't just get in consistent repetition like you would throwing a baseball or kicking field goals where you're doing the same thing time and time again. Each backing maneuver is a little different so you're learning on the fly.

It's going to be more like the 6 - 12 month mark before you start seeing yourself getting significantly better. Until then it's not going to be steady progress. It never is. You'll feel like you've plateaued for a while and then suddenly you'll realize something new and you'll instantly be better. Then you'll plateau again for a while. It goes in fits and starts.

Ive tried asking if i can be left to doing it alone like he walks to the bathroom and i do it alone but it doesnt seem to time well or just doesnt happen.

Hey, don't get timid about it, ya know what I mean? Stand tall, take the challenge head on, give it all you've got, and own the results, whatever they may be. If you nail it, feel great about it and go over it in your mind to figure out what worked and why. When you make a mess of things, own it, and just accept that it's a totally normal part of the learning process. Again, analyze what worked and what didn't for the next time.

But don't shy away from the challenge. Don't get timid about it. That's going to make it worse. Accept the fact that every new rookie looks like a clown trying to figure out how to get those things backed in and that's perfectly fine. We all went through it. Right now it's your turn, but soon enough you'll be solid at backing and you'll look back on all of this and think, "I don't know what I was so worked up about. It's just trucking and I was just learning. Who cares, really? No big deal."

You'll be fine.

And as far as running with your trainer for longer, there's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it's going to help your backing skills any. You'll learn a lot faster on your own when you get all kinds of practice and no one is there critiquing you. If you're more comfortable extending your training then do so. No problem. But if it's only because you don't think your backing is up to par I don't think that's really a good reason for extending your training.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Reaper's Comment
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Ill address a few things you guys commented on.

I really appreciate the help of spotters but back in psd i learrned quickly you cant truly rely on anyone but yourself (when he jist kept phone calling, or hitting other trailers) i was kinda left on my own. So with spotters, appreciated, very kind of them, but will never replace my mirrors and turning my head to wTch the trailer.

I think i really is my nerves because i can recite how a trailer works (turn left go right, turn right go left) but when i go to do it with my trainer watching i forget everything. Especially now its starting to affect my acceleration yesturday. I guess i was fairly rough accellerating.

I was wanting to continue training because i was hoping to get more training eith driving in the winds. Ive been very jerky and quick on the wheel but im gdtting better now. Also the extra couple pay checks to help me through the first week of no pay.

Im taking extra time to make triple sure i dont hit anything. Especially when i am required to get close to objects (parking in stops and rough docks). I refuse to touch the accellerator and release the brakes until i get a good look at anything near me or possibly near my path of travel.


Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Brian M.'s Comment
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Reaper you sound like every single one of us as we were transitioning from driving a 4 wheeler to a semi. You haven't thrown in the towel you are percervering threw the most difficult part of your training. Your nerves.

I'll be the first to admit I was most likely the worst backer at your stage. Sometimes I just felt I was willing in the hole. Even as I transitioned to becoming a solo driver I still didn't feel prepared for backing into docks. It's hard and anyone who tells you it's easy are blowing smoke up your behind.

Some days are better than others, once you think you figured it out along comes a day you can't hit dock to save your life. Even today with a few hundred thousand miles under my belt I still have bad backing days. Of course over time they happen fewer and your confidence builds.

Let me say some of my worst backing happens when I have the room of a football field. The very next dock I may have a few inches clearance on either side and nail it like a sharp shooter.

We all have are days good and bad. Yes even season veterans like Old School. They just get fewer and fewer over 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.


Operating While Intoxicated

Cwc's Comment
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Everyone needs a little comedy relief when learning to back. My suggestion for this... when your in a position for this.

Go to a huge empty truck stop and park sideways or take up two spots so that nobody will wanna park next to you.

Now watch as people trickle in and try to park in an empty lot.

People with lots of time under their belt have problems backing without something beside them...

And don't get me wrong people can pull through just fine normally but backing is easier to do if you have something to maneuver around.

Even parking a 53ft next to a pup trailer gets me a little off kilter.

And as everyone else has said... relax.. you aren't the first to look funny while learning to back.. you won't be the last.

Rainy 's Comment
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If it makes you feel any better....I couldn't get the trailer in the hole the other day. Set up three times...but drove 600 mikes and was just too darn tired. I gave the yard dog five bucks to drop it and he said "we all have those kinda days".

There's a thread I started after I went solo where I felt exactly as Brett just said...I had been doing really good, then had a big problem and it deflated me. Then I felt proud again..then deflated. It's ups and downs.

And me and miss myoshi both planned on staying on the trainers truck longer just to practice backing. But.. You will get more practice on your own...and be in control of how.much you practice at truck stops...and will not be nervous cause no one is around.

Still...I'm really proud of you!!!!


Hours Of Service

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

Reaper I'll give you a little piece of advise that I give all my students when learning to back. In my trip planning lessons after we figured out our best route and fuel stops I always have them google map the shipper and receiver. It's important to plan how you are going to set up your backing maneuver before your there. Study the overhead and visualize how your going to dock beforehand and it somehow becomes easier when you get there. Look for obstacles that are potential hazards and how you'll avoid them. Also pay attention to landmarks that may tell you the size of the area.

Give yourself a few scenios in that space, make it as easy as I can. My students will tell you my favorite saying is "keep it simple stupid". If I can turn my trailer safely around and not make it a blind side you bet I will.


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


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.
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