Question About Tractor Trailer Angle

Topic 27362 | Page 1

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Moe's Comment
member avatar

I am preparing for my fifth and final CDL opportunity taking place on Thursday and I realized a question I should have been asking all along but failed to do so. I am hoping I can get some help here.

A part of the backing exams require you to be straight in the "dock of cones" meaning tractor and trailer as perfectly parallel as you can get.

How can you tell if you are angled in the cab even though your truck and trailer are straight. That's one thing that I should have focused a bit more on

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.
Donna M.'s Comment
member avatar

Not sure this will help! Equal amount of trailer on each side, you’re straight!

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

They dock you for not being perfectly straight? My instructor was very strict about getting it perfectly straight because he said it looks more professional and if you follow the steps you learned to have it perfect if you goof up a bit during the test it's still in the box. I struggled with my parallel and got a few points on it. When I was done I was in the box but it wasn't pretty. My instructor gave me grief about it after I passed that section but hey, it was in the box. In the real world it's much more important to have it straight so you're not screwing over somebody trying to get in the spot next to u. When you're straight you should be able to see all the way down both sides of the trailer. I know you've struggled with backing primarily, but how is your driving? Are they still giving you practice time with that as well?

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Here's the main point, Moe: don't encroach. Don't let any part of your tractor trailer box or tires be over any part of the target zone.

The test zone is 12 feet wide, your truck is 8 feet. If you are centered between both sides you will see two feet between truck and cones (two feet on the other side make the total four feet) You should get used to seeing something like 2 feet between trailer & cone/line in your left mirror.

Pay attention to this: if the space in your left mirror, especially back with the tandem wheels, is too close, the trouble is that it's too close on the left so you turn to the trouble, to the left in this case. Too wide in the left mirror? Trouble's on the right. Also you don't have or need much room, so as soon as you see the trailer respond, turn the steering wheel the other way to get straight again.

This strategy works on straight line, of course.

If you ever wonder just where your trouble is, here's the Master Key:

Wherever you are in your backing move, look where the trailer is pointing. If the trailer went straight in that direction - no turns, that's the side of your trouble.

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".

Moe's Comment
member avatar

State of Iregon examiners are VERY particular. That is all I can say and have it be simple. Oregon is one of the harder states to get your CDL in. Not impossible, just hard. I cant speak for any company paid options out here, maybe they have a different set up compared to what I have gone through.

As for my drive , yes I have gotten drive time practice and yes I am feeling good about that. I honestly just need to get through the backing.

They dock you for not being perfectly straight? My instructor was very strict about getting it perfectly straight because he said it looks more professional and if you follow the steps you learned to have it perfect if you goof up a bit during the test it's still in the box. I struggled with my parallel and got a few points on it. When I was done I was in the box but it wasn't pretty. My instructor gave me grief about it after I passed that section but hey, it was in the box. In the real world it's much more important to have it straight so you're not screwing over somebody trying to get in the spot next to u. When you're straight you should be able to see all the way down both sides of the trailer. I know you've struggled with backing primarily, but how is your driving? Are they still giving you practice time with that as well?

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Don't overthink it! Get it in the box as best you can. Just have it inside the box.

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