Inside the Rig - CDL School Week #3
by, 07.20.2012 at 10.10 AM (407 Views)
NOTE: I've included tips this week for the benefit of any newbies that may be reading this blog...
This week I passed my Pre Trip Inspection, 100 Foot Straight Backing, and 45 Backing tests. The only requirement left for the NC CDL is the road test.
The straight backing was no problem. The trick is to keep an eye on the rear trailer tires and to immediately steer to the problem (tires getting larger in the mirror), slightly, then quickly cancel the correction so as not to overshoot and then go the other way.
The tricks I learned for the 45 backing was to place my hand at the bottom of the wheel and then steer towards the direction I want to go in. It's a simple thing but for someone who isn't experienced in backing a trailer this helped me avoid any confusion. Also, just as with straight backing, small changes are needed. Setup is everything. It's important to start with the trailer as straight as possible, then get it going in the direction you need it to go by making a small turn, then quickly canceling this direction yet the trailer will continue along the arc/path towards the cones that you just set with the small turn. Next, while watching the front cones, add more turn or take some away, again making small changes only. Once the trailer is positioned to go into the front cones, focus your attention on the back cones and then make a BIG LEFT with the wheel as a final correction to back straight towards the back cones (if backing towards the left).
Monday night I drove for 3 hours straight from 7-10 PM. There was a scheduling mixup last week and when offered the chance to drive for the entire night training I jumped at it. It turned out to be the perfect chance to get ready for my road test which I knew would be coming later in the week.
It's been brutally hot during the days here in Carolina, averaging in the mid 90's to lower 100's. It hasn't been fun riding around in a tractor where the A/C isn't working well, let alone standing in the hot sun out in the Yard. The heat has been wearing me out, not the long hours. But I've managed to stay hydrated by bringing along filtered water and keeping it cold in a Playmate.
To recap: this week has brought much success. Besides passing key tests, I thoroughly prepared for the road test. I nailed down upshifting and downshifting. The only training that I really needed, which still remained, was setting up and choosing the right gear to be in for a green light turn.
Next Up: Week #4: Where the rubber meets the road!