Tampa CDL Student Having Trouble With Offset Backing.

Topic 34097 | Page 1

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John P.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m having a hard time with the offset backing maneuver on the CDL test. I’ve now failed the test twice, and feel like if I take it again without additional training I probably won’t pass. The Driving school I attended doesn’t provide any additional training, and has a high re-test fee I’m not going to name the school as the purpose of this post is not to bash them. I just don’t want to get to the point where I end up paying more in re-testing fees than just paying the tuition of another school’s program.

At this point I’m looking for some positive feedback on how I could best proceed. Does anyone know of any private trainers or schools in the Tampa Bay Area that offer individual lessons outside of signing up for an entire new program. Also does anyone know if taking lessons from another school would stop me from getting the certificate from the school I’m with now.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

BK's Comment
member avatar

John, your situation presents itself every once in a while here. And it never seems easy to solve because these private schools already have your money so now they just want you out the door without spending anymore time with you.

And it also is kinda a problem being in Florida. Many companies aren’t interested in new Florida drivers. I wonder if your best option might be to start from scratch and apply to multiple companies that have their own training programs.

Apply For Paid CDL Training

Also, what is it about the offset that you are having so much trouble with? Can you describe the problem in more detail? There are lots of instructional videos about offset backing on YouTube. Those may or may not help you, but have you watched any?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

John, BK points out that we need a bit more information. If you fail the offset so many times, is there something consistent about the problem? Now that you are out of CDL school, do you have any access to a truck so you can hone you skills?

I am a CDL instructor. Get us more details and maybe we can help you improve.

Here's a YT video with the basic Left-to-Right offset: Online CDL Training Lesson Backing Offset Right (Mooney).

Watch especially the point made at 1:25 about lining up the tandems with the center row of cones. This is a good place to Get Out And Look.

Any more advice I can give you depends on the first question: What is consistent in how you mess up?

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.

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".

John P.'s Comment
member avatar

Errol V. The offset backing they are having me do is a little different than in the video you posted. The test has changed down here recently (in Florida anyway) the offset we have to do is more of a parallel park type offset

https://youtube.com/watch?v=J2BAOaTH3FM&si=nInbJ616YFznDs6x

The issue I am having is with the initial pullout and getting the tire within the line. I get the tire within the line but then when I back up for the offset I always end up to close to close to the cone. Both times I’ve ended up grazing the cones square little bottom while getting back in the lane.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

That is called the "Modernized" skills test. I will review the whole nine yards first:

  1. Forward stop (Not as easy as you think!)
  2. Straight line back
  3. Forward offset
  4. Backing offset

Doing the forward offset is really getting set up for the backing. (I trust you can do this part, I'm adding it for completeness)

  • Pull straight forward till the tandems are close to the last cone on the left, then turn left. What you want to do is get your steer tire to go about 1-2 feet out from the forward cone in the box. The head straight until the tandem gets next to that forward cone.
  • Turn right and bring the tandem tire around to the right (a requirement - the tire must pass within three feet of that forward cone), close to the forward cone. Pull around (R) until you can get parallel to the box, out front.
  • Make that full left turn and back up until you have the correct angle - look at the landing gear or other mark that tells you to change to a full right turn. Get the truck and trailer straight.
  • You should see the Front cone (not that forward one, the front of the pocket you will back into). If not make the adjustment as you back until that can happen.
  • Once the right tandems are in line with that left row of cones, begin the full right turn and focus on getting your drive wheels (and the front of the trailer) into the box.
  • Turn the steering wheel full left and align the truck inside the box.

    Here is a very good video, complete with whiteboard briefing and an example:

How to PASS the Class A CDL Backing EXAM (2024 New Standard)

A few hints I pass to my students:

  • The front cone in the box is always exactly 40 feet from the back of the box.
  • There is a tiny notch in the trailer frame just in front of the landing gear. It's a good marker on the trailer. You can see it if you turn the steering wheel 1/2 turn as you make your final back move.
I get the tire within the line but then when I back up for the offset I always end up to close to close to the cone.

On pulling out, watch that distance from the tandem wheel to the forward cone! keep that space (left/right) around 1-1/2 to 2 feet, so it will be that same distance when you back up. Don't start your backing turn until the tandem is next to the cone! You do not want to be right next to, or touching, that forward cone!

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.

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".

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I forgot one step. Just before the "Make that full left turn and back up", you need to back straight until the left tandem wheel is straight out lined up with the front cones.

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".

eksine's Comment
member avatar

The video you showed is what I consider parallel parking , not offset backing. You are mixing the 2 up. You just told us why you failed so you should understand what to do to fix it. When you back up you are starting your maneuver too early that's why you keep hitting it. You're trying to force the maneuver. When you do it too early you restrict your movement and you end up boxing yourself into a tight corner you can't get out of. Delay your point of reference and you will be able to do it with more practice. Otherwise use points of reference , but that's a cheat and doesn't let you understand why the truck does what it does.

Errol V. The offset backing they are having me do is a little different than in the video you posted. The test has changed down here recently (in Florida anyway) the offset we have to do is more of a parallel park type offset

https://youtube.com/watch?v=J2BAOaTH3FM&si=nInbJ616YFznDs6x

The issue I am having is with the initial pullout and getting the tire within the line. I get the tire within the line but then when I back up for the offset I always end up to close to close to the cone. Both times I’ve ended up grazing the cones square little bottom while getting back in the lane.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Eksine suggests:

The video you (Errol) showed is what I consider parallel parking , not offset backing

Offset backing, parallel parking, and the modernized offset backing are all the same moves, only the size of your working area and the "target box" are different sizes.

Your suggestions will work for all three, and I feel the modernized offset back is the easiest.

You have to be most accurate in the old style parallel park.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Errol, thanks for the links, especially the “Backing EXAM 2024 new standard”. I watched it and liked it. I’ve seen a few videos by this guy before and he presents things very clearly. He really puts together some good stuff, like the one you put the link in for. Worth the time to watch.

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