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Donna M.'s Comment
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What do u look for in a setup backing?

Banks's Comment
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What do u look for in a setup backing?

I always ask myself do I see everything I have to see at setup. It'll disappear as I move, but I have an idea of where I'm going. If it's impossible to see everything I have to see due to limited space, I have a reference point. It can be another trailer, a wall or a line on the ground.


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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.

Turtle's Comment
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A good setup is not really something that can be easily described. It will all depend on the particular backing situation you're facing. It's truly something you have to "feel" before you can really become proficient at it.

My favorite setup is to have my truck at an angle to my trailer, with my trailer pointed towards the hole I'm aiming for. For me that's usually accomplished by pulling roughly 3 truck widths past my parking spot before cranking hard to the right for a distance, then cranking hard to the left until I reach the angle I'm shooting for. Other times I have to make it up on the fly.

Of course I'm in a spread axle flatbed, so I often have other factors to consider when backing.

RealDiehl's Comment
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Similar to Turtle. Once my sleeper is even with the truck parked to the left of the space I want to back into I cut hard right. If there is enough room, I will wait until my truck is pointed in the opposite direction of the parking spaces and then I'll turn hard left. Once the truck and trailer are aligned, I'll keep moving forward a few feet. Then I stop, put it in reverse, and ease on in. Those are the easy ones.

I use a similar technique even if I dont have as much room. I just start turning left a lot sooner and move forward a little more and turn the wheel slightly to the left for the last few feet once truck and trailer are aligned.

Take note of where you are when you begin to back up in tighter situations. If you are coming in too close to the truck on the far side of your space, go back to where you began backing and just pull forward a little more, then start backing up again. If you are too close to the truck on the near side, go back to where you began backing, straighten your wheel, back up a couple feet, then begin turning your trailer into the space.

Hope that's not too confusing. I confuse myself sometimes.


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Spaceman Spiff's Comment
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A trailer smile.gif

Donna M.'s Comment
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Thanks guys! I’ve been learning to back from whatever position and now I want to work on my setups for easier backing. Actually I want to get more accurate with the setups.

G-Town's Comment
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Hey Donna, Great subject, one that I enjoy discussing. A great setup can make a difficult back much easier. So it's smart that you begin to focus more attention on placing your truck in a position to the dock that enables efficiency and greater safety.

My first approach to the setup is to have an idea of what to expect before you arrive at your destination. Google Maps overhead satellite and street view is an effective trip planning tool to prepare your mind for the correct setup. The other piece of advice, when you arrive at your stop, if at all possible G.O.A.L. before you begin executing your setup and back. Figuring out the best setup once you begin moving "into it", is perhaps too late.

Here are a couple of example photos providing a visual on how I approach taken at the Walmart SuperCenter located at 5900 Perkiomen Ave, Reading PA. (Use Google Maps and enter the address to get a birds eye view of the dock)

0693971001569595336.jpg I am on the left waiting for the Milk Delivery to complete. I am parked exactly where I want to be in order to setup for a 45' angle back from the site-side.

0162186001569595507.jpg Here is the view from the cab facing the dock. My eventual target is the door occupied by the Milk Truck.

My approach from here is to move forward and take a clockwise arced path as far into the dock area as possible (avoiding the obvious obstructions) and then turning hard right, beginning to straighten the truck out stopping when the end of the trailer is pointed towards the open door, and when the truck and trailer is pivoted like a boom-a-rang. From that spot, its basically reversing and allowing the trailer to arc back towards the hole and making only minor adjustments. If you look at the photos, it's obvious why it's advisable to G.O.A.L., look at all the stuff you can potentially hit.

I have watched many, many driver approach this dock in the opposite direction, setting-up in a counter-clockwise direction (I was one of them). If you look at Google maps satellite view, there isn't enough space to straighten out the truck once circling the dock counter-clockwise and will force a blindside back. This is actually the dock that changed my focus to the setup...looks like an easy spot, but it's not.

Like Turtle said, it's really difficult how-to describe everything else in driving a semi, practice and repetition. But the absolute best advice I can offer is to prepare for the setup using Google Maps (or something similar) and G.O.A.L. before committing to a particular setup. Have a rough idea, plan before you arrive. I can all but guarantee your backing efficiency will improve dramatically as you begin to master setup skills.

Here is an overhead view providing the "visual" to compliment the text. Just as an FYI...I have a notebook full of screen shots of the more difficult Walmart docks.



Operating While Intoxicated

Bird-one's Comment
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For me I always try to remember two things. Primarily, is not to hit anything. Second is to take my time. Everything else is secondary. I'll G.O.A.L the dock or where I need to back if I'm not comfortable. Looking for any tire tracks can be another one. Seeing how other trucks are approaching it. I may even talk to the spotter if he is near by.

For the setup part, Schneider taught the following. And worked well. Drive along side the spot or dock you are wanting to back into. As soon as your sleeper is essentially in the empty spot. Or your shoulder is even with that trailer to the right or left you do an immediate hard right. As soon as your tractor has completed a right hand turn essentially, follow with a hard left. As soon as you completed a hard left. You are canted on a 45 degree angle It's all about adjustments from there. Worked well for me anyways.


Operating While Intoxicated

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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In the winter, look at previous drivers tracks in the snow.

Noob_Driver's Comment
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All great ideas.

I usually start with a satelite view then get angry when i realize they recently put a dumpster or something else in the way i wasnt expecting. Then while stomping to the shipping office angry i take my time and plan everything out in my head looking at the space available. Then get angrier when shipping tells me im in a dock on the other side of the building i didnt notice on satelite view and repeat that process.

Just another quick hint while stalking angry look at lines if your blessed enough to have them. Sometimes they are lined up with the bumper on the dock and sometimes not. Its good to know where your tires should be and helpful knowing beforehand.


Operating While Intoxicated

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