Backing Delimma

Topic 28124 | Page 1

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Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

So I am done with training took my final road test with no backing test. My trainer was green at training and didn't know how to teach me to back i was told I would be able to take a backing class when I got back to the terminal so im kinda on my own. Some of you may be thinking how did he go to cdl and not know how to back. Well I got my CDL five years ago and this is the first trucking job in 5 years. Any suggestions on how I can teach myself how to back properly?

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Mike, welcome to the club! Here's the dirty little secret - none of us knew how to go backwards when we started. The trucking schools teach a backing formula that enables you to pass the test. In the real world it's worthless.

Any suggestions on how I can teach myself how to back properly?

You're going to learn this by the seat of your pants. Trucking is best learned by doing. Repetition is the key. You need to practice in a truck parking area like a company terminal or a truck stop. Find an area where you've got about three open spaces together and work on putting your truck in the center spot. Watch carefully so you don't hit anything with the front of your truck while swinging it around. Do everything slowly and methodically. Stop at times and G.O.A.L - get out and look. Make mental assessments of the angles and what you need to do next to correct what you're doing.

Backing will be one of your biggest challenges for the next six months or so. Relax, you can figure it out, but somedays it's going to make you wonder why you ever thought this was such a great idea in the first place. Always back slowly. Always G.O.A.L. Always have your windows down when backing. Always have your flashers on. Always pay attention to every area around you - the rear of the trailer, the sides of the trailer, the front of the tractor, and the sides of the tractor. Each of them can hit something in a tight situation.

It's not important how pretty you make it look. It's equally unimportant how quickly you accomplish the task. The highest priority is that you don't bump into anything. That's what defines success when backing.

Practice. Practice. Practice. That's the only way to learn it.

The Backing Range - It's Like Clown Soup For The Soul

Many people find that purchasing a scale model tractor/trailer rig and pushing it around on a table helps them comprehend the angles better. Think about it. A lot of people here can testify that it helped them get the basics in their head.

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.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Left kicks your trailer right and right kicks your trailer left. I always stop and ask myself "which way do I want the trailer to go?" Before moving.

Use reference points. If backing into a spot get your tractor in front of your trailer when the trailer wall is parallel to the line.

When doing a pull up turn towards the problem. If your trailer is to close to the left turn, pull up to the left. It'll kick your trailer to the right.

Always get out and look. Those few seconds or minutes are worth the trade off of possibly hitting something. Never assume because you can't see everything around you.

Other than that, it's all practice. I struggled with backing when I first started a few months ago. I've gotten a lot better, but I still struggle some days. Don't let your frustration get the better of you because you will get frustrated. It's all patience and practice.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Your trainer is new and cannot show you the fundamentals of backing, at the very least? No backing during the driving test?

Sounds to me like that guy should never have been given the title of, "Trainer". Good grief! Really scraping the bottom of the barrel there, aren't they?

Brandon Kitts's Comment
member avatar

The big thing is take your time. If you have a CB in your truck turn it off when backing at a truck stop. You will receive far more negative feedback than positive.

Watch where your tractor is going when backing. It is easy to swing your tractor into something because you are concentrating on your trailer.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

My trainer told me "i cannot teach you to back" and i didnt understand tgat until i began training. The truth is that you need to learn the angles and setup in a way that is best and easiest for you. You need to practice at truck stops when you have time.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago...

There is Hope for a Lousy Backer

I also did a video for backing tips when going into doors. i hope this helps

Backing Tips From.an OTR Traimer

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Don't forget these two things:

1.) Watch other drivers when they are backing. Take mental notes on what they did right or wrong.

2.) Get a toy truck and practice with it. This works!

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Packrat is beong mean and teasing me over my typos. He is mean to me and im a GIRL! πŸ˜œπŸ˜πŸ˜›

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Packrat is beong mean and teasing me over my typos. He is mean to me and im a GIRL! πŸ˜œπŸ˜πŸ˜›

I rest my case.

Rubber Duck's Comment
member avatar

If the trailer is pointed at the hole but your tractor isn’t set up to push the trailer in the right direction fix it when you can. When your setting up to back always be thinking about the back of the trailer as your setting up. Drive the trailer into the spot that puts you and the tractor in a position to push the trailer into the hole. Don’t worry about not being trained to back. You passed your cdl test. You got all the tools you need now to back a trailer up it’s just going to take time to get good at 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.
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