Alley Docking And Impatient Motorists

Topic 32824 | Page 1

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Kal-el T.'s Comment
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I am fairly certain that I was completely in the right here, but wanted to ask some of you Vet Truck Drivers.

First, let me say, I am no Truck Driver. I am a man who gets paid to drive a Truck. I do not feel that I have enough experience to consider myself a Truck Driver. Hell, I just bought a CB Radio and am just now learning the lingo, so that should give you a rough idea of how newbie I am to the industry. Having said that...

My first time Alley Docking.

It was difficult getting there to start. This was in Philly, with double sets of roads side by side going the same direction, requiring cross overs. It was the first time I had even see anything like it. So just getting there was challenging enough.

The setting is a block of road that sets off by itself. There is only a few ways to get in to this road, but for whatever reason, perhaps to bypass traffic, people use this block of road frequently. It just so happens that this block of road is where the warehouse (setting in a downtown area) sits and the only way in to it, is to back your Truck up and take up both lanes to squeeze your trailer in to the slot. Once in the slot, you can back up far enough to clear the lanes, however, getting it in there when you have drivers who won't stop long enough for you to maneuver your trailer proved to be an insane headache.

I went passed the docking area to set my trailer up for a nice backing maneuver. There was a line of cars parked on my right, which made the space available even more difficult to maneuver, but I also had to be careful not to hit the parked cars. In front of me where cars that were trying to use any space they could find to drive around me, the onslaught of cars were relentless, not letting up, so if I moved at all, I risked hitting them as they tried to pass. The cars behind me were doing the same, refusing to stop so that I could begin the backing maneuver.

Finally, after sitting there with my signal on, trying to inch myself back any chance I got between the wave of cars, I inched closer and closer to block off the road so that I could back up and square my trailer in the slot.

As I am doing this, cars are STILL trying to prevent me from backing, even taking the sidewalk to get around my trailer. There was a break in the cars trying to get around, so I took advantage of this to start moving in reverse again. Suddenly, another car tries to beat the clock as the space on the sidewalk is closing, and this guy angrily honks his horn at me as he tries to squeeze through the tight space remaining, even though I was clearly in motion BEFORE he tried to squeeze behind me.

At this point, I became angry and blew my big horn back at him, then continued to finish backing in to the slot. Thankfully, it was a good set up as I only had to use two minor pull ups to get my trailer in straight. It was a complete nightmare for me and had me highly stressed out. It became very clear to me that people don't care that I am trying to get backed in, they only care that I am blocking their way. Had they let me do my job, I could have been out of their way in about 45 seconds to 1 minute's time, but since cars would not let me move without risking hitting them, it ended up taking upwards of 6 to 7 minutes.

So I have to ask, was I in the wrong? What can I do in the future to prevent this type of situation? I drive alone, so I have nobody to direct traffic and there was nobody available at this warehouse either. Did I have the right of way once I started my backing maneuver? Keep in mind, when I started the backing process, the coast was clear, no more cars. The cars started showing up after I had already started backing's just once they started coming, they wouldn't stop which made this process take much longer than it had to.

If I was in the wrong, please explain how and what I can do in the future to not be in the wrong. Thank you in advanced.


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NaeNaeInNC's Comment
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I'm curious to know what the Google images looks like for the area, to get an overhead view of all the options available to see if it was really the only option.

Sometimes on these narrow streets in congested areas, you just have to go for it, and let everyone else be Richards about it.

Stevo Reno's Comment
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Had same type issue in Los Angeles, Calif (am a native) 1 gate in and out of small clothing place. Where I had to use the center lane at first. Looked around for my best option getting a driver side 90 back into their dock. Well, being such a tight fit, I had no other choice but end up blocking a total of 5 lanes to set up and back. In front of me was a long line of cement mixers parked at the curb. 1 driver got a chance to pull up leaving me room to go to that curb to back in. And then also traffic was not as crazy as yours was lol. Still, I just told myself " they're just gunna have to wait on ME" got into the dock within minutes, but the cars waited, unlike those for you sneaking behind your trailer AND using the sidewalk......Where's a cop when ya need em huh lol

So YES you were in the right, people are in too much of a hurry to get 1 car ahead of everyone else. Friggin ridicules nowadays, makes ya winder how many even got a license to start with.....


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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I've had this in many major downtown areas, including Philadelphia. Tune out the cars and their attitudes, just don't hit any of them. If they need to wait for you to do your job correctly and safely, too bad for them.

Kal-el T.'s Comment
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I'm curious to know what the Google images looks like for the area, to get an overhead view of all the options available to see if it was really the only option.

Sometimes on these narrow streets in congested areas, you just have to go for it, and let everyone else be Richards about it.

The Address was 5550 Whitaker Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19124.

They own a good portion of that corner. They have a weight station that you have to pull in to (not much room at all, you have to turn as wide as possible to get your tractor/trailer in there) coming from towards the corner of Whitaker Ave, just before Goodfrey Ave. You go in on the Whitaker side, exit through the Goodfrey side. When you come out on Goodfrey, you take a left turn on to Goodfrey, the entrance to the alley dock is about half way between Tabor and Whitaker. If you google it, you will see a what looks to be a Flat Bed with a red tarp over top of it backed in to that dock.

On this particular day, there was some type of construction going on, which was forcing cars to park all along the right side of Goodfrey Ave, I believe because they had that yard along side Whitaker fenced off. If memory serves, there was construction on Tabor Ave as well. Can't be 100% positive on that one though.

BK's Comment
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Kal-el, sounds to me you made the best of a difficult situation. I’ve delivered to the Philly area a number of times. One place near Lincoln Financial Stadium requires backing from the street all the way to the dock. It’s like a U-turn in reverse. But the street traffic situation there is not as bad as what you had to deal with, so kudos to you, man.

As far as the air horn thing, you have to use it on a regular basis to make sure it is still operational, lol.

Chief Brody's Comment
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I think the most important thing in situations like this is maintaining your composure. Despite the frustrations of others around you, in my experience, they will eventually realize your predicament and understand that it benefits everyone if you're able to extract yourself from the predicament.

I got stuck in an intersection in Brooklyn one time for about 10 to 15 minutes. I had trip planned and took the path I intended, but the problem with New York City is that people park on the corners. I was unable to make a right turn, and had to end up backing up, blind side, back on the street I had turn from. Some people helped me back up. Other people were yelling at me that I needed to move my truck. My response was very calmly say "I'm working on it." I was able to get out without hitting anything and, in my assessment, that was a win.

In situations like this, whoever has the right of way and the reason why you end up in the predicament becomes irrelevant. The most important thing, for everyone is for you to extract yourself from the predicament without hitting something.

Ryan B.'s Comment
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I had to deal with an issue of blocking a street while backing into a food bank dock in Cincinnati. I had 3 pallets of rejected product that were being donated. The way the dock is positioned in orientation to the street and because of the length of truck and trailer, blocking lanes of traffic is inevitable. Let people do what they do. Don't hit anything and be patient. Once in a while, someone will offer to help control traffic. When you are not so fortunate, just be cautious and patient. It really requires taking all emotion out of the equation. You have a job to do and they have somewhere they need to be. We are the professionals, so it falls on us to be the last line of defense in preventing a momentary disruption in the flow of traffic from becoming an escalated situation.

If you ever feel like there is a 4-wheel driver who is being more than just a pain when reacting to you simply doing your job, you can call the police for assistance. That would be where someone is doing something extremely dangerous to try to get around you or someone getting out of their vehicle to confront you in a threatening way.

RealDiehl's Comment
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As soon as I read "double sets of road...side by side with crossovers" I was thinking Roosevelt Blvd/US1. I just delivered to a place off Roosevelt yesterday. A little further North where it is not quite as bad. I still don't like it. Luckily I go there often, so I know what to expect. Philadelphia is infamous for cars parked wherever and however they want. In the median, on the sidewalk...everything is fair game. Turning down some streets with a truck is simply impossible bc you can't swing wide enough to clear the curb bc of the parked cars.


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.

Dean R.'s Comment
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Tight areas can be stressful. I delivered to Walmart stores and their smaller Neighborhood Markets in Chicagoland, including Cook and Lake counties.

If it was the first load of the day and took a day cab sometimes it wasn't so bad. Getting in there with a full-size sleeper was often strenuous. I was often honked at, threatened and yelled at. I often had cars try to beat me to an intersection so I couldn't make the right turn.

The worst was a Neighborhood Market downtown. Had to blindside off a very busy street with cars parked on both sides. I had to ignore any angry motorists and concentrate on my back. A few of those neighborhood markets were known as safety record and career enders.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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