“Getting Good” At Backing Vs Playing It Safe - Finding The Balance

Topic 29532 | Page 1

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Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi everyone! I’m only a week into my C seat phase at Wilson for 30,000 miles of team training, so I’ll have plenty of time to work on my backing before I hit the road solo. Just last night at a DC in north platte NE, I successfully backed myself in, uncoupled, and dropped the trailer with no assistance or chiming in from my trainer whatsoever, so I already feel great about how I’m improving.

That said, I have a question about two hypothetical scenarios, if one feels uncomfortable about their backing skills while a rookie solo driver. Is it better to:

- “get good” at backing by safely and carefully practicing difficult maneuvers, such as tight 90 degree backs between other trucks at truck stops, whenever one can? This presumes one can more rapidly gain the skill set and motor skills this way through practice, therefore being a “safer” backer “sooner” due to repetition. OR:

- avoid difficult backs whenever possible out of prudence, which would conversely afford one less opportunity to practice difficult maneuvers and thereby “get good” at backing?

Example: parking in rest areas with plenty of space for the night instead of backing in between two trucks at a truck stop. The former is obviously playing it safe and smart, but affords one less opportunity to improve at backing. The latter affords one more opportunity to improve at backing, while running the risk of a crash in the short term.

Where is the balance here? Thanks!

James R.'s Comment
member avatar

The most important skill, by far that you should be mastering is learning how to deal with new and difficult situations safely, independently, and without hitting anything. Being good at backing is certainly helpful, but more importantly you need to be prepared to recognize the difficulty of a situation and handle it with safety as the top priority.

If you use that methodoly, you'll realize that it doesn't actually matter how good you are at backing, because you'll never hit anything anyway. You'll just be a little slower on occasional backs while developing long term skills that will eventually pay off with more speed.

James R.'s Comment
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If you use that Methodology* embarrassed.gif

Don's Comment
member avatar

The way I look at things, the best practice for "difficult backs" is doing those backs that seem daunting. You can only learn so much by backing into a space at a truck stop.. practicing set up is always a good thing. Sure, you are less likely tonot hit anything, but what does it accomplish when you come to a difficult tight backing situation? The best thing to do is when you are at these locations that seem difficult, take your time (as much as needed) to get to the dock safely. When I firstvstsrted, I loved the challenge of getting inti vfc a spot. G.O.A.L as many times as possible/needed. Again, this is my perspective. Others may disagree.

Hi everyone! I’m only a week into my C seat phase at Wilson for 30,000 miles of team training, so I’ll have plenty of time to work on my backing before I hit the road solo. Just last night at a DC in north platte NE, I successfully backed myself in, uncoupled, and dropped the trailer with no assistance or chiming in from my trainer whatsoever, so I already feel great about how I’m improving.

That said, I have a question about two hypothetical scenarios, if one feels uncomfortable about their backing skills while a rookie solo driver. Is it better to:

- “get good” at backing by safely and carefully practicing difficult maneuvers, such as tight 90 degree backs between other trucks at truck stops, whenever one can? This presumes one can more rapidly gain the skill set and motor skills this way through practice, therefore being a “safer” backer “sooner” due to repetition. OR:

- avoid difficult backs whenever possible out of prudence, which would conversely afford one less opportunity to practice difficult maneuvers and thereby “get good” at backing?

Example: parking in rest areas with plenty of space for the night instead of backing in between two trucks at a truck stop. The former is obviously playing it safe and smart, but affords one less opportunity to improve at backing. The latter affords one more opportunity to improve at backing, while running the risk of a crash in the short term.

Where is the balance here? Thanks!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The way I look at things, the best practice for "difficult backs" is doing those backs that seem daunting. You can only learn so much by backing into a space at a truck stop.. practicing set up is always a good thing. Sure, you are less likely tonot hit anything, but what does it accomplish when you come to a difficult tight backing situation? The best thing to do is when you are at these locations that seem difficult, take your time (as much as needed) to get to the dock safely. When I firstvstsrted, I loved the challenge of getting inti vfc a spot. G.O.A.L as many times as possible/needed. Again, this is my perspective. Others may disagree.

double-quotes-start.png

Hi everyone! I’m only a week into my C seat phase at Wilson for 30,000 miles of team training, so I’ll have plenty of time to work on my backing before I hit the road solo. Just last night at a DC in north platte NE, I successfully backed myself in, uncoupled, and dropped the trailer with no assistance or chiming in from my trainer whatsoever, so I already feel great about how I’m improving.

That said, I have a question about two hypothetical scenarios, if one feels uncomfortable about their backing skills while a rookie solo driver. Is it better to:

- “get good” at backing by safely and carefully practicing difficult maneuvers, such as tight 90 degree backs between other trucks at truck stops, whenever one can? This presumes one can more rapidly gain the skill set and motor skills this way through practice, therefore being a “safer” backer “sooner” due to repetition. OR:

- avoid difficult backs whenever possible out of prudence, which would conversely afford one less opportunity to practice difficult maneuvers and thereby “get good” at backing?

Example: parking in rest areas with plenty of space for the night instead of backing in between two trucks at a truck stop. The former is obviously playing it safe and smart, but affords one less opportunity to improve at backing. The latter affords one more opportunity to improve at backing, while running the risk of a crash in the short term.

Where is the balance here? Thanks!

double-quotes-end.png

+1 for Don's reply.

Being brand new, that's great you did it all with no problems at that DC. Everyone starts somewhere, and at some point. Keep practicing on difficult backing situations before you encounter one in the real world. There's no "time out" when you're the next truck in line to back into a dock that makes you start sweating just watching the previous half a dozen trucks back in.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Practice is always good but when you are out on your own your aren’t gonna have as much time as you would think to do it , most of it is going to be on the fly.

It seems that I back all day every day and then back up some more. When I get to a truck stop I go for an easy one. Why take the chance of hitting something if you don’t have to. You can still learn plenty with an easy back. Keeping it in the lines etc.

I will go for more difficult backs at my dc when doing drop n hooks and extra time is available (usually it’s not)

People ask me all the time if I prefer 45s, or 90s and I say I do whatever it takes to get me into a straight line as quickly as possible and if I can pull through without backing ..even better

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

My take on backing, as consistently has been stated on the this forum, is it takes time and practice. I am almost 6 months solo now and my backing has already gotten better.

To your point of playing it safe vs. choosing difficult backs, I try to get as much practice in "safe" backing scenarios as possible to generally get better at backing.

First, I always back into a spot when I'm taking a 30 minute break at a truck stop. Before I got more comfortable with backing next to other trucks, I would use the reserved spots a the Pilots. Set the reserved signs up as if they were trucks in the adjacent spots. If you bump the sign, no harm, no foul. I would also pick difficult backs when I'm dropping a trailer at some of our shippers. I'm backing into next to an empty Prime flatbed trailer, which has been banged up by many forklifts. If I bump it, no harm no foul. When you come to a rest area that has the parallel parking spaces, parallel park even if you don't have to. There are lots of opportunities to practice backing just as part of the OTR driving. The more you take advantage of these opportunities, the more prepared when you can't avoid a difficult back.

I agree with Papa Pig as far not taking unnecessary risks. Don't unnecessarily attempt difficult backs at truck stops that our outside of your comfort zone. If you tempt fate enough, it will bite you in the ass.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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