Backing Help Needed: Turning Front Vs. Back Of Trailer

Topic 27081 | Page 3

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Marc,

The advice you received here is real-world, spot-on,...everything suggested applies to backing with "live loads", as you put it. We all know you have your CDL. Most everyone responding to you on this thread has been in your shoes...and are well beyond road training. So the advice IMO is totally relevant.

It's perhaps the underlying issue here that is exacerbating the problem; you are feeling pressured (either real, imagined or somewhere in-between) by your trainer to back with authority and efficiency. Because in your initial post, there was no mention of your trainer. I agree with everything Old School wrote in his reply. Backing proficiency takes months for most, a year for some...others, a year plus. All things considered, any time you back at this point in your career, and you don't hit anything on your way into the hole or intended target? It's a success! If anyone is getting impatient with you (especially your trainer)...that is there problem, not yours to own. Please park that thought in the back of your mind for future reference.

I'll repeat parts of my initial reply, with the most important piece emphasized with an exclamation point ...

Again, repetition is the absolute best teacher, better than any advice we could possibly offer. At this point in time you haven't had enough reps...they will occur. Learn from every attempt: G.O.A.L. for "a purpose", take your time, and do not rush !!!

...and do not allow yourself to feel pressured.

Laser focus "only" on what you are doing and why you are doing it. Try like he** not to focus on negative energy being thrown at you by your trainer. You'll get through this.

Good luck.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I agree with the others and I'll add one quick thought. Focusing on a few clear, attainable goals is helpful in complex, stressful circumstances. Eliminate all the things that don't matter, and don't think about anything you can't control. Focus on the things that matter and that you can control.

Your goal is to get the truck backed in without putting a scratch on anything. That's it. If the truck winds up where it belongs without putting a scratch on anything then you've had 100% success. Nothing else matters. When you think about it that way, the job is pretty easy.

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

I agree with the others and I'll add one quick thought. Focusing on a few clear, attainable goals is helpful in complex, stressful circumstances. Eliminate all the things that don't matter, and don't think about anything you can't control. Focus on the things that matter and that you can control.

Your goal is to get the truck backed in without putting a scratch on anything. That's it. If the truck winds up where it belongs without putting a scratch on anything then you've had 100% success. Nothing else matters. When you think about it that way, the job is pretty easy.

Thanks Brett (and everyone)!

Reminds me a bit of the general aviation saying: "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing!"

smile.gif

But my instructor always added: "where you can reuse the aircraft!"

shocked.png

Seabee-J's Comment
member avatar

I second that thought , being a GA pilot myself. As long as nothing gets broken or someone gets hurts your good , like all the vet drivers here say GOAL and take time . I too struggle with frustration wanting to excel quickly .

Cwc's Comment
member avatar

I would also add that you don't need to feel like you have backing down 100%.

I say that because awhile back I made a comment to another here about the way I "passed backing skills" and they took that as I was given my CDL.

But I really feel like as long as you have a decent grasp and your good with GOAL. You should be good to go. Learn different ways/angles cause they will come in handy. Different ways of setting up. And each time you get a new tractor... Guess what you get to learn even more caise they are all different.

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.
Rubber Duck's Comment
member avatar

I got better at backing when I gave up on trying to get good at it. I look at every back like I’ll get it in there eventually and don’t care at all about looking dumb or holding anyone up. I actually kind of get off on it when I’m holding up 5 drivers while I’m doing a complicated back. I look at it like, they see me struggling if they was in a real hurry they would come spot me. So don’t be hard on yourself. Understand it’s not easy to back a trailer and it doesn’t get easier anytime soon. If you don’t hit anything your a winner!

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

Thanks again everyone!

So here's another problem I had with my understanding of backing...

(Again not positive this makes sense but I think my trainer sort of confirmed it does)...

It seems to me (with my limited understanding and experience) that there are sort of two parts or components to this)... again... please stay with me here...

It seems like getting the back of the trailer into the hole takes one major effort. But my "big revelation" or major struggle seemed to center around the fact that pushing the nose of the trailer in line with the hole and the tail of the trailer is sort of a different thing. I know it can be done smoothly and in one continuous motion by a pro... but to me it seems like they are different or that the later is sort of taken for granted. I hear things like "chase it", "get under it", "follow it", etc.. But it seems there is a point where "push it over so it lines up" is more to the point.

Using Brett's analogy (slightly modified as I think "couch" is closer to reality than "chair"...) there is a point when trying to push a couch through a doorway, for example, you aren't just pushing it from the end but you must push it from the side to get the front in line with the tail. This is done with the tractor close to jacknife and before getting the tractor under the trailer.

So that is where I think I am at with this. We are mostly doing 90's as my trainer and another trainer feel if students can do that we can do any other.

I also think my issue with "steer towards the problem" may be / have been that I was looking at the leading edge of the trailer (seeing more in one side's West Coast Plane mirror meant turn to that side but if more of the (total) trailer was on the other side, it meant the correct move was to turn the other way. I have think that may have been what bit me @ Schneider backing test fail.

Thanks as always!

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Let me hop in again to tell you that once again you are on the right track:

But my "big revelation" or major struggle seemed to center around the fact that pushing the nose of the trailer in line with the hole and the tail of the trailer is sort of a different thing.

Yes it is. And the change over is when you get the back of the trailer safely past the first cones, or in the entrance to your chosen slot. Yes you still have been working to get that trailer angle right, but in steering to move the rest of the trailer towards and between the two first cones.

Once you see that the back end is in that sweet spot, you switch and focus on the nose of the trailer. But I teach rather to specifically focus on that "twist" to push the nose over and get lined up to push the trailer home.

In school I was so frustrated with the 90 I thought of quitting, but if course I really didn't.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

As far as one smooth motion, forget it. Maybe someday, but I constantly pull up to either increase or decrease my angle.

I’m no expert, but;

It’s hard to explain, but I try to pull up with my truck at a 30 to 45 degree angle to the line of trucks/trailers I am backing into (driver side). Then steer to the right while leaning out and looking back at your tandems.

My goal is to end up with the center of my tandems about a foot to the right and a foot in front of the corner of whatever I am backing into and my truck at a 90 degree angle to the trailer. At that point the tandems will simply pivot when you back up, and you push the nose of the trailer toward an imaginary line extending out from the spot you are trying to get into, while turning the wheel to the left to also get the truck in line with the trailer.

I bet that is clear as mud. Lol

Go to an empty lot somewhere and turn your wheel hard right and back while watching your tandems. At some point the tires will stop turning, and the trailer will be pivoting on the tandems. That point is when the truck is at a 90 to the trailer. Stop. Turn the wheel all the way left and back up and watch your trailer. You will spin the truck in front of the trailer while backing into an imaginary space.

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".

Michael W.'s Comment
member avatar

When you are backing, use the rear tires on the trailer to guide you. Best bet is to slide the tandems to the rear, best to take the swing out. Pick your lines with the tires, ignore the back of the trailer, when I say ignore, not to the point of ripping mirrors off of the guy in the hole next to you. Use the tires, put them where you want the trailer to go and it will go to that spot.

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".

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