How Long Did It Take You To Get Good At Backing?

Topic 22700 | Page 1

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Jim S.'s Comment
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I'm sitting at a truck stop in Maryland right now, been here for several hours. Watching the trucks park and try to. Got lucky and found a pull-through spot when I got here, as I'm not that good at backing yet. How long did it take you, and what tips or tricks can you share to help out a new guy?

Gladhand's Comment
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Took me a good 1.5 years. Driving for 2 years now and I still have trouble. It comes with experience. All i can say is to always GOAL no matter what and do not rush. You will get better, just be patient.

Old School's Comment
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How long did it take you, and what tips or tricks can you share to help out a new guy?

Jim, one thing I did as a rookie is push myself to excel at every aspect of this career. I forced myself to push beyond my limitations. Whether that be understanding how to best manage my time for maximum productivity, or maneuvering the truck in tight situations. If there were some available spots for me to back into along with others that I could pull through, I always went for the ones that required me to go backwards. The only way you will improve is to expose yourself to it more. In short, you've got to practice it continually.

There are tens of thousands of instructional videos online, but they can't even come close to helping you like actually repeating the effort over and over every time the opportunity arises. We could give you all kinds of tips and none of it would benefit you like practicing it repeatedly. Look upon it as a challenge that must be overcome.

Take it seriously and allow yourself to look like an idiot every now and then. Learning how your input at the wheel affects what the trailer will do while backing, comes only from repeatedly making the effort at putting that beast where you want it. Most weeks the score may look like...

Tractor Trailer 15

Uncoordinated Driver 3

Eventually you're gonna start coming out on top. Be patient and persistent - it takes both of those virtues.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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It is a learning process everyday. I have had days, where everything is smooth as butter, and days where I couldn't back into a spot 12 trucks wide. As long as I learn from each experience, whether easy, or hard, I leave a better driver than when I pulled in. Even if, like Old School said... Tractor Trailer 15, Driver 3.

Big Scott's Comment
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At around 6 months backing started to click. I am no expert. I always watched other people to try to see what they did. Be patient. Even the most experienced backers have days where they just can't get in. Every time you can park where there are 3 or more empty spots next to each other, try to hit one of the middle spots. That helps me practice.

Cwc's Comment
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I did the same as Old School, when I started I always opted to back vs pull through. I did that for at least 6-9 months and one day my codriver was sitting up front and asked me why we're backing in an empty truckstop.

That codriver had a year or more experience on me. And a couple places we either picked up or delivered to I got us backed into on his driving shift.

And in the same breath. I still have problems backing in wide open spaces. And love when I find one of those "impossible" places to back.

No magic wax on wax off. Just do it enough and you get good.

Search on the trucking truth "backing practice" several have been posted.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steve L.'s Comment
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I back in 99% of the time. I don’t consider myself “good” at backing, but I find it easier than trying to find the perfect pull thru spot.

Back into enough tight spots and trailer yards and you’ll get better. I believe that, as long as you’re not scared of backing AND you’re humble enough to take your time (along with a few stares), you’re probably better than a lot of people.

I have days I can put it anywhere and days I have difficulty doing a straight line back.

Keep working on it.

LDRSHIP's Comment
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Just reiterate what everyone else has said. With experience and practice the number of good backing days will outnumber the bad. But, no matter what we all have THEM days. Those days you couldn't back straight to an alley with bumper pads guiding you the whole way.

The best example of this was while I was in CDL school. There was a spot cadey corner across from us. I viewed as a fairly simple back. There was a driver with a 2 million mile sticker on his truck. He made what was 6 or 7 attempts to get it backed straight in the spot. Finally he shrugged his shoulders and called it good enough. He was fairly crooked in the spot.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Villain's Comment
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Choosing to back in at the truck stops instead of pulling through is good advice. 2 1/2 months in and the only time I pull through is when I'm making a bee line to the bathroom. Funny thing is that I have more problems at the docks when it's wide open! One thing that really helped me understand steer/counter steer : until I'm straight, I'm not counter steering I'm just steering less and less. Example, I'm 45° to the trailer, that's how much turn I still have left until I'm straight. Don't know if I did a terrible job of explaining what I mean. Also try not to stop, you'll get a better feel of how the trailer reacts to your steering and it makes it easier to project its path.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

G-Town's Comment
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6 months is about right. "Right" in that you can back into most spots with reasonable efficiency. "Getting good", really good, although somewhat subjective might require a couple of years.

Everyone is different, learning at a different pace. It's all about repetition and at times getting comfortable with that which is uncomfortable. In the beginning, take full advantage of every opportunity to back the truck.

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