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  1. #1
    Light Load Member msfern29's Avatar
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    failed my cdl test, angry w/myself

    (bit of a vent)
    I'm going to school at one of those CDL mills, you know the ones, 4 weeks of class and you barely know how to drive or what going on. seemed the fastest easiest way for me to get into the career I've thought about for many years.
    I'm doing great on the paperwork / bookwork part. passed my written test, permit test, no problem. aced my pti test. instructors say my log book is great, doing fine on paperwork part.
    I'm having trouble backing. I can strait back fine. finally figured out the 90 degree back last week. I can do the offset blind side ok, isn't pretty, but I can do it. the driver side offset I have trouble with, which doesn't make sense to me, should be easy, but maybe I over do it. parallel I cant do at all, blind or sight side. sight side is worse!
    I went Thursday to take my CDL test, missed two on my pti test (forgot the horn, and said "securely mounted" on fifth wheel, but didn't say mounting bolts), but I passed it. Oklahoma recently changed the test to random choice 3 backing skills. I drew strait back, offset blind side, and sight side parallel. I did strait fine, lost one point on offset for an extra pull-up, and pointed out on the parallel (hit two cones, backed up to far in the box, for 2 points each, and had 7 pull-ups) and still was foot outside the box. since only allowed to lose 12 points total, I failed.
    angry with myself cause I'd told instructors I didn't think I was ready to test, I haven't been able to do diver side parallel in the yard yet, but they said I'd be fine, try it anyway. figures I'd draw the one that is my worst. in a way, kind of glad I didn't make it, I'd like to be better at backing before I go to company, and I get a few more days next week for practice before I go test again. but not happy about the extra money it cost me. I don't have that much money to spare. I really want to be good at this! instructors I've driven with said my shifting is coming along fine, so if I can just figure out backing, I'll be ok.
    I understand the concept, just cant seem to make it work. not sure what I'm doing wrong. seems my biggest problem is judging the distance/size of the trailer. I end up 2 feet outside of the box. only way I can fix is to pull up and retry the whole mess. somehow I'm not getting my set up right, if that makes sense. I dunno. hope to get it figured out next week so I can test and be on my way soon.
    if you have any tips for making parallel easier, or pointers that might be helpful, please let me know.
    thanks for reading


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  3. #2
    Road Train Member sazook's Avatar
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    That test sounds almost exactly like the Missouri CDL test. The best tip I can give you is that if you think you're about to hit a line or a cone, PULL UP! It's better to take the 1 point for a pull up, and to hit the cone for 2 points, and then still have to take 1 point on the pull up making it 3 points.

    As far as the parallel park, the most important part of it is your aim backing into the box. If you come in too shallow you'll hit the inside line of the box before you can start to turn your tractor into the box, if you come in too deep, you'll either hit the back of the box, of leave your trailer hanging out side the box on the side you backed in from.

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  5. #3
    Light Load Member FZ37's Avatar
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    I see why your upset but don't worry because you will get it next time and if your like me you learn by watching and then doing, and doing and even sometimes doing it again. You didn't sound like you got the right amount of practice in the yard so get all you can. Be persistant and picture how you'd do it in your mind and relax like it ain't no thing. You will do so well you won't have a clue how you ever missed your mark the first time.Failed is a bad word because you didn't fail you simply needed to try again. Best of luck, let me know what happens and remember....It ain't no thang. P.S Sounds dumb but if you are still out the box 2 feet then compensate for it before it happens. If that makes sense. Later!!

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  7. #4
    tut
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    Light Load Member tut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msfern29 View Post
    (bit of a vent)
    I'm going to school at one of those CDL mills, you know the ones, 4 weeks of class and you barely know how to drive or what going on.

    ...Anyone else see the primary problem?

  8. #5
    Big Dummy JustSonny's Avatar
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    Number one, don't be angry with yourself. Backing a tractor trailer doesn't come easy to most students, and, quite frankly, it's still a problem for me. I've only been driving for about 3 months and I have to think my way through it each and every time I have to back into a parking slot or back to a dock. Sometimes I can pat myself on the back for a job well done....other times, well, I can kick myself in the butt for forgetting (or not using) everything I've learned.

    Number two, I get the feeling from your post that frustration gets the better of you and you compound that by making unthought out moves with the wheel. Backing, for beginners, is a STEP-BY-STEP process. We are not skilled enough to try to "fix" a screwed up step by overdoing the next step. Veteran drivers can do that but they've been pushing big old boxes backwards for longer. So, take each step very deliberately and DON'T TAKE THE STEP until you are certain about what the trailer is going to do after you move that steering wheel.

    Number three, you MUST come to a complete stop, most of the time at least, before going to the next step. Just because you turn the wheel in the opposite direction doesn't mean the trailer is going to go in that direction immediately. Trailers are sluggish, they take their own sweet time before they respond. If you come to a complete stop, you circumvent their tendency to continue in the way they were headed.

    Calm down, do your thinking WHILE YOU ARE STOPPED because if you make a move before you think it through.....you're probably screwed!!!

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  10. #6
    Heavy Load Member RJ33RD's Avatar
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    Well I guess the best thing to do is take ur time , I was nervous as hell when I took my cdl driving test . But I remembered what I learned in class and also I looked for certain spots like when ur parking try to a line or crack in the ground , something to let u know not to back anymore.

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  12. #7
    Road Train Member ChromeDome's Avatar
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    It does not matter how long you have been driving.
    Everyone has trouble now and then.
    When you start into that hole and you see that you are off, reset then.
    Do not wait till you are too far in and then try and make it work.

    If you are going to have to pull up make it count.
    You will loose that point if you pull up 4 feet or 20. So pull to where it will make a real difference.

    Do not over steer the truck. It is a huge mistake I see in truck stops and at shippers all the time. Take your time and slowly work it into the hole. To the best of my knowledge it is not a timed task.

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  14. #8
    Medium Load Member RobertSmith's Avatar
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    I am also in school in oklahoma, I test monday. I had the same exact backing problems as you. Finally i figured the parelel

    When you start backing towards teh box, make a got cut towards the back of the box, then straighten out, so you can see your trailer in your mirrors, then softly aim the trailer to the very back of the box, right before you get it there, crank your wheel hard. This should put your trailer totally against the side back cornor where it needs to be, but your tractor is hanging out, Now cut your wheels all the way in and let out of the clutch slowly, it will bring you forward enought to get straight wiht your trailer and be in the hole.

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  16. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    When you start backing towards teh box, make a got cut towards the back of the box, then straighten out, so you can see your trailer in your mirrors, then softly aim the trailer to the very back of the box, right before you get it there, crank your wheel hard. This should put your trailer totally against the side back cornor where it needs to be, but your tractor is hanging out, Now cut your wheels all the way in and let out of the clutch slowly, it will bring you forward enought to get straight wiht your trailer and be in the hole.
    Just a thought, but since you know aiming at the back of the box will put you out the back of the box, why keep doing it.

    Another thought. If the rear of the trailer is close to the outside of the box, and the tractor is not far enough in the box, shouldn't some thought be given to pulling ahead as far as possible without crossing the front cone barrier, getting straight and then backing the tractor closer to the cone line and straightening up?

    Best regards

  17. #10
    Light Load Member msfern29's Avatar
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    personally I don't feel I've had near enough practice. I had not been tested on my backing skills for the school when I went to CDL test, and had been road tested for driving and my pti test just the day before. (failed driving test for hitting a curb, btw). personally I think the school should have at least tested me before sending me down, and would have known I not ready and needed more practice on some of the skills. but as they say "they are the instructors, (I) need to trust them".

    sazook: "if you come in too deep, you'll either hit the back of the box, of leave your trailer hanging out side the box on the side you backed in from."

    exactly. the cone I hit was at the back of the box, and my trailer was hanging out, whole set up is not inside the box. I am misjudging it I think. second attempt, same cone, tractor was in the box, but trailer back was outside the box.

    Oldnewbiegonnabe: "Number two, I get the feeling from your post that frustration gets the better of you and you compound that by making unthought out moves with the wheel. Backing, for beginners, is a STEP-BY-STEP process. We are not skilled enough to try to "fix" a screwed up step by overdoing the next step. Veteran drivers can do that but they've been pushing big old boxes backwards for longer. So, take each step very deliberately and DON'T TAKE THE STEP until you are certain about what the trailer is going to do after you move that steering wheel.
    Number three, you MUST come to a complete stop, most of the time at least, before going to the next step. Just because you turn the wheel in the opposite direction doesn't mean the trailer is going to go in that direction immediately. Trailers are sluggish, they take their own sweet time before they respond. If you come to a complete stop, you circumvent their tendency to continue in the way they were headed.

    Calm down, do your thinking WHILE YOU ARE STOPPED because if you make a move before you think it through.....you're probably screwed!!!"

    I don't know "step by step process". it isn't being taught to me that way. is just do it, often "don't think, just do it". they day before I went for the test, when I messed it up, instructor said "how you gonna fix it?", I replied, "I don't know, I don't see how to fix it without starting over", I pulled up to the front of the box, and the next student got in the truck.
    going slow isn't really an option on the pad at school. constantly told, "keep your foot off the break! why are you stopped? keep it moving!" when I say, I trying to see or figure out, I get told how to turn the wheel and backed into the slot without being explained sight points or why done the way it was. I am not catching on to what or how they are fixing my mistake, or totally sure what the mistake was. if truck comes to a complete stop, instructor will tell me how to turn the wheel, back into the slot, and is next students turn. sometimes what I am told, is not what I'm seeing in mirrors, so I am confused. is totally my fault for not catching on, I blame no one but myself, and I admit I am slow learner imo. I am being allowed to 'feather the clutch' to slow it down now, but stopping is frowned on greatly. I understand is a matter of keeping the line moving, so all students get a chance to try, but I just not catching on fast enough.

    Bigron33rd: Well I guess the best thing to do is take ur time , I was nervous as hell when I took my cdl driving test . But I remembered what I learned in class and also I looked for certain spots like when ur parking try to a line or crack in the ground , something to let u know not to back anymore.

    nervous is an understatement for how I was feeling morning of the test. instructors said "if anyone doesn't feel you are ready to test, say so now". I said I not ready, but got told "you'll do fine, don't worry about it".
    I don't know 'certain spots'. isn't being taught to me that way. since they want to keep the line moving, 'get out and look' actually gets an instructor talking you thru it, how much and when to turn the wheel, instead of figuring it out for yourself, is faster for them and rotates the students thru each station on the pad quicker. I just not catching on I think.

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