90 Backing

Topic 26666 | Page 1

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Smart C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys,

I have a question for trainers and a general question.

For those of you who train, I was wondering the average number of times it takes your students to become "good" at the 90. Due to my trainer having two family deaths, we took quite a lot of time off and my progress regarding backing really suffered. Not to mention my trainer usually just backs it in himself. I've attempted the 90 about four times now and am struggling more than I think I should be.

Do you guys start to chase at 90 degrees? Or slightly before 90? I've gotten contradictory advice on this.

Thanks!!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I've attempted the 90 about four times now and am struggling more than I think I should be.

Do you guys start to chase at 90 degrees? Or slightly before 90? I've gotten contradictory advice on this.

The 90 is the boss to beat to get through CDL school. Each person is different so there's no average number of tries. Struggle away, Smart, just don't get frustrated. It took me over a year as a solo driver before I was comfortable with it.

As for chasing the trailer, don't look for a rule. "Chasing" is just that you don't have to turn the wheel so much and you just watch the trailer go between the cones. It all varies each time. It's possible to start backing, and at the right moment set the steering just so, and the driver just holds the wheel and the trailer just slips in. (I witnessed a first timer do that. He was amazed and couldn't repeat it.

Other times it seems there's no chasing involved and it's a struggle to get back in there.

Moral of the story: Pay attention to the trailer, get the tandems in the right place and a good p trailer angle, and push the trailer into the box. As I said, don't get frustrated, just see if you can see what you did with and try something a bit different next time.

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".

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Are you still in school or doing this OTR? I ask because on the pad, it is about reference points. OTR it is about judgement and space. I thought you were in TNT now, if so, you need to tell the trainer to let you do it. If you have down time in a truck stop, practice backing.

It usually takes 6 months to get backing down For practice on the pad, some students 4 hours, others 12. It varies.

The real world is different, plus you are nervous cause that trainer is over your shoulder and you have distractions of other trucks cars and people.

1) You need to see it as a puzzle. "Now how do i fit this in that hole". Remove the nervousness.

2) GOAL often, even if the trainer complains. You will not understand the movement unless you observe it.

3) Ask when you can practice. If taking a 34, try to prod them to let you practice.

4) understand we all learn differently and at different speeds. I seriously felt behind in backing. At a year i felt better and at 18 mos i thought "wow i have this". At 3 years i didnt even flinch, i knew i would get it i even if i did 100 pull ups and blocked the whole highway.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

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.

Spoonerist 's Comment
member avatar

I feel a touch strange answering this as I have very little experience. I’m currently studying and practicing my 90s.

My reference points are the following (assuming a drivers side 90): my initial turn is hard right. When my passenger side landing gear comes into view I turn hard left. When the landing gear disappears I turn 1 turn to the right. (For timing purposes it’s good to not stop during this and to turn the wheel quickly.)

At this point my tandems are heading into the box. There’s a strange optical illusion that occurs around this time that makes me think my trailer isn’t going in. I’ve found that I have to “force” myself to hold hard left and follow.

I hope this helps!

Cheers,

G

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".

SAP:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Red Beard 's Comment
member avatar

90 degree backing can mess up a 30 yr veteran if he is fatigued. Trust... I've seen it happened more than once. I always tell guys to try and imagine a school cone 3 feet away from the front bumper to the drivers side truck your backing towards. Never let your trailer tire get inside that zone. Once you get that back tandem tire on that spot, shove it in until it looks almost parallel with the other truck and then get straight with your trailer. Easy to say, right?

I get it, but we were all there. When I was first learning I would ALWAYS slide my tandems closer to the 5th wheel regardless of weight totals. I would just remember to place them back before hitting the big road. This allowed me to become comfortable and get used to doing it with my tractor keeping some of the variables the same.

If/when you find yourself with idle time waiting on a load from your favorite dispatcher , practice. Especially during low traffic times in the big named truckstops. This is what I did to help me get used to 90 backing.

Tip though... if it's taking you more than 5 or 10 mins and you can see truckers are waiting in a line, straighten up and allow the traffic to flow by. Regroup and remove the anxiety of having to hurry up to get it in the hole. Good luck out there.

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".

Dispatcher:

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.
Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Rarely, if ever, does one become "good" at backing during training, so don't sweat it. You just need to become able to pass tests and survive.

You'll get better with substantial time, effort, and repetition. For some it takes several months, some a couple of years. Just don't hit anything, and you'll be fine.

Hey guys,

I have a question for trainers and a general question.

For those of you who train, I was wondering the average number of times it takes your students to become "good" at the 90. Due to my trainer having two family deaths, we took quite a lot of time off and my progress regarding backing really suffered. Not to mention my trainer usually just backs it in himself. I've attempted the 90 about four times now and am struggling more than I think I should be.

Do you guys start to chase at 90 degrees? Or slightly before 90? I've gotten contradictory advice on this.

Thanks!!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks for the helpful advice guys.

Smart C.'s Comment
member avatar

Are you still in school or doing this OTR? I ask because on the pad, it is about reference points. OTR it is about judgement and space. I thought you were in TNT now, if so, you need to tell the trainer to let you do it. If you have down time in a truck stop, practice backing.

It usually takes 6 months to get backing down For practice on the pad, some students 4 hours, others 12. It varies.

The real world is different, plus you are nervous cause that trainer is over your shoulder and you have distractions of other trucks cars and people.

1) You need to see it as a puzzle. "Now how do i fit this in that hole". Remove the nervousness.

2) GOAL often, even if the trainer complains. You will not understand the movement unless you observe it.

3) Ask when you can practice. If taking a 34, try to prod them to let you practice.

4) understand we all learn differently and at different speeds. I seriously felt behind in backing. At a year i felt better and at 18 mos i thought "wow i have this". At 3 years i didnt even flinch, i knew i would get it i even if i did 100 pull ups and blocked the whole highway.

Yes, I'm in TNT. Regarding that practice in a parking lot you mean motioned, I hear you loud and clear. Whenever I back in a lot where there is a lot of space which falls on a day where there is time to kill, I yearn to at least keep backing a couple more times. That's just not my trainer's style. He doesn't have that kind of energy or patience.

After not having me back at a dock for a month, he says "Ok..I'm going to let you back... if you can do it, fine....if not, I'll do it". I thought that was strange. He said this as if I'm supposed to have improved over that last month with no 90 practice. It's frustrating because he has told me I'm just about ready to upgrade with the exception of backing up.

He also mentioned that there is another guy on our fleet who is on a dedicated with a lot of extra time on his hands who happens to be the best trainer at getting students to back. He said if he and I can't get backing, (we probably won't...he still only lets me back every other time) that I should talk to our fleet manager about paring with this guy.

I think it would be a shame to have a second trainer essentially just for one aspect of training. However, if that's what I have to do, I'll do it with supreme effort. I know that all I need is repitetion. I'm simply not getting it with this guy. He'd rather me find an easy spot during my break than take the opportunity to back. So Frustrating

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Fleet Manager:

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Smart C I think you actually answered and confirmed the right approach...

You asked in your OP, "how long" does it take to become proficient at the 90' back? Your current frustration is part of the answer to the original question. Everyone learns at a different pace and requires varying amounts of time to develop the set-up skills and muscle-memory necessary to back a truck with minimal difficulty. Repetition is the correct answer... and then more repetition.

My personal experience was about 6 months of solo driving. Perhaps not a great barometer because I had the benefit of backing 5-6x per day, 6 days per week once on the Walmart Dedicated account. Coupled with roughly 10 weeks of OTR before running Walmart, the magic number for me was about 500 repetitions. Seems like a lot...but most conventional OTR assignments will average 1.5 backs per day over the course of 50 weeks. Which equates to 525. That's consistent with reality, takes about 1 year of OTR driving to become truly proficient at backing. Again results may vary, but there is absolutely no substitute for repetitions, no matter in the form of practice or a real-world application. With backing it's a numbers game, pure and simple.

My suggestion...? Do not go solo if you "flat-out" cannot back. Your current trainer IS NOT DOING their job! Others may disagree, and that's okay, but you risk be miserable if you rush this. Think about a longer term outcome here, not the short-term desire to be done with training.

Good luck!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

Well if you've only attempted 90 backing four times, you are no doubt not going to be good at it. Have to get those attempts up one way or another and you will get better.

I trained at Prime and I practiced for two hours on the pad before taking my test. Aside from that I backed the truck twice through the entirety of my psd/TNT training. I'm in no way condoning that is proper training, but I was fine when I went solo. I for sure got some looks when I was backing those first couple months, but I never hit anything. I might have considered hanging myself in the truck a couple of times out of embarrassment though.

Anyways, good luck and I'm sure you will be fine once you get more experience trying the 90 back.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

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.

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