Help With BACKING

Topic 26171 | Page 2

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Noob_Driver's Comment
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It is just going to take time. Practice coordinating your steering movements with the trailer response in a big open area where you do not have to worry about hitting anything. Soon you will wonder what "was the big deal?". I took it as a personal challenge when backing into docks, etc., and it motivated me. I still do.

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The key word Don used is "PRACTICE". I used to practice at delivery locations if I had some time to kill. There was no pressure and I could get out and step off distances, measure distances and set-ups. Anybody watching me probably wondered what that crazy old man was doing. If somebody was super focused and did this, they could even keep a notebook of backing data, recording distances and other information that would make successful backing "repeatable". Backing is almost a scientific thing. Good backers keep track of what works and what doesn't. At first, they experiment in their free time and hone in on the skills they need. Then they refine their skills by "one back at a time". Pretty soon they have their master's degree in backing.

A big open area would be amazing. I somehow managed to pass my backing test but my real world backing was terrible and continued to be so as i went through training it seemed i was getting worse as i documented in my training documentary. We finally got around to a terminal and by accident found myself doing the serpentine exercise. I was just trying to get setup for another 90 and was backing around aome cones rather than driving forward and around the whole yard and riak going over 5 miles an hour to kick me on the drive line. So we figured let's setup some cones and maneuver around these cones to get a feel for the trailer. And i cant explain enough how much this helped. Just in learning how much steering wheel spin moves the trailer one way or the other. It sounds simple but we didnt do this in class and I havent heard if any other classes do this but I think they all should. If not in class than every trainer should find the time for it.

I assume its lack of a big open space because you do need a ton of it for this. Has anyone else done this exercise during training?

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Joseph I.'s Comment
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Backing was always easy for me, but I came from 30 years of farming. So actually 30 years of backing all kinds of equipment much harder than a semi. The best I can tell you if you are on the road it may look silly but during your 30 minute break or when you take your 10 try to do it at times when the truck stop is less busy and practice all types of backing. I see a lot of guys who have driven a long time out here who can not back worth a darn. So take your time and use your mirrors. I find especially on blind side backs the mirror button so you can reposition the mirror helps a lot, swing it out so you can see the back of the trailer. If you are unsure always get out and look. Before backing in look things over usually one way is better and easier than the other. Good luck.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Backing was always easy for me, but I came from 30 years of farming. So actually 30 years of backing all kinds of equipment much harder than a semi. The best I can tell you if you are on the road it may look silly but during your 30 minute break or when you take your 10 try to do it at times when the truck stop is less busy and practice all types of backing. I see a lot of guys who have driven a long time out here who can not back worth a darn. So take your time and use your mirrors. I find especially on blind side backs the mirror button so you can reposition the mirror helps a lot, swing it out so you can see the back of the trailer. If you are unsure always get out and look. Before backing in look things over usually one way is better and easier than the other. Good luck.

Joseph, good comment from a farm boy. I've always thought farm boys had an advantage over us city boys. When I was 15 my older sister married a dairy farmer. I then got to spend a lot of time on the farm. I remember that during haying season, my brother-in-law would pull up to the hayloft ramp and do a 90 degree back up the 10' wide ramp into the unloading area. The thing that was truly amazing is that he did this with his tractor hooked to the square bailer AND the hay wagon. Like backing double trailers through the eye of a needle.

Best backing advice I ever received:

1) If it's a difficult backing situation, get out and look.

2) If it's an easy backing situation, get out and look.

Craig L.'s Comment
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So test is tomorrow. I took the school over a week ago and came for some practice on Saturday. Terrible at backing once It was starting to click on that Friday my last day. It seems I oversteer, maybe over think it and I have trouble turning for the direction I want it to go. This is primarily with the alley dock and offset. Hope this will click on test day.

Army 's Comment
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Good Luck!!

Turtle's Comment
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Best of luck to ya, Craig. Keep your nerves in check for the test. Before you make any moves, stop and take a second to think about which way you need your trailer to go. Then simply turn the wheel the opposite way. Do that for every maneuver and you'll be fine. Mistakes happen when you rush without thinking.

Go get em

Stevo Reno's Comment
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Yeah Craig the parallels were giving me some hard grief....Then I figured it out, with my starting set ups. Went thru 12 good in the box lol (on both sides) Even jumped in the cab, to help a female gets hers figured out that day..... She was having really hard time not jack knifing the trailer lol Was easier helping her in the cab that outside over engine noise Now to do it Friday @ DMV (getting past air brake test 1st !!)

Dm:

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.

DMV:

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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For my first year I asked "which way does the back of my trailer need to go?" turn the opposite "which way does the front of my trailer need to go?" turn the same way.

When backing at an angle, i imagine the white line extending forward and when my tandems hit that white line i turn.

All students over steer... i still do at times. Pop your head out the window and see if your tires are straight if you need to but don't lift off the seat ir it will count as a GOAL.

Realize that even if you fail, it isnt the end of the world. it will take pressure off. Calm down and see it as a puzzle. Try to fit the piece in the correct way.

good luck

Failed the CDL Exam? Dont Sweat 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.

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".

Craig L.'s Comment
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Well everything was going good Pre trip, in cab LABs all passed. Straight back was solid nipped a cone coming back. Offset, i think jesus took the wheel because I didn't mess that up at all. Not sure how I pulled that off.... Alley dock killed me and used all of my points.

The timing of turning the wheel is what nailed me too cause I'm either too early or late.

Turtle's Comment
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Oh well, don't sweat it Craig. If it was easy, everyone would do it. I'm sorry this happened, but now you can go in there without all the first time nerves. You'll get it, just settle in and focus.

If you get in another jam, stop and think about what you need to do to put the trailer where you need it to be. Good luck, man.

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