Also I see some newer drivers trying to "over adjust" both in their backing and pull-ups. Sometimes less really is better, contrary to what some of you women seem to think.
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Go to a toy section of a store that sells small 18 wheelers. Buy one for a few dollars take it home. It may or may not have turning front steers. (That's a big plus) sit at the table and imagine yourself in the tractor trailer toy.
Wherever direction that front bumper goes will fold the trailer's rear end in the same direction. Like a book.
Another thought. When sitting in the cab of a actual truck 90 degrees from the assigned dock to back into (Assuming old style 90 degrees to back trailer into dock itself from a white line provided for you about 100 feet past it)
Turn your wheel all the way to the right. What is going to happen is your tractor will back up and swing left. Your trailer will respond by turning itself going backwards towards your left. Start UNWINDING YOUR WHEEL until you begin to follow your trailer back at a certain angle. When she is halfway into the dock unwind the wheel the rest of the way to straighten everything up BEFORE your trailer touches that dock.
You might have to pull up a time or two. But that is literally all there is to backing when there is only the dock next to you to back to.
A third way to help mentally with this is to consider your trailer like your car. The drive axles of your tractor is the front wheels of your car. Thus the entire tractor itself could be treated just like the front wheels of your car when you are backing into something.
The problem with that for some, is you have to eyeball everything as you dock. All of your corners. All of them. To be sure you don't hit anything.
The best drivers stop about halfway into the dock, GET OUT and walk around the front to the right side of trailer and looks to be sure they are not getting too close to anyone, anything and have room to get into that dock straight. Getting out and look is a very very common behavior that is expected of you.
There is absolutely no room for pride or ego thinking you will back her in there in one move and not hit anything. Trust me you will hit something. And that something will be ruled preventable and you are out of a job in actual trucking.
When you are following your trailer around you notice you can loosen up or tighten the wheel to ask your trailer to turn tighter or looser to get her into that spot the way you need to. Eventually your tractor will be straight after she is backed in. (That's a good thing)
Practice practice and more practice. Never get upset. Never get flustered. And most importantly NEVER BE RUSHED. The moment you feel rushed you hit something and break it then you have the rest of your life to stand in the unemployment line.
DO NOT ever make the mistake of getting into a docked truck. Pulling straight ahead 100 feet. Stopping, put her into reverse and back straight to the dock. THAT IS NOT LEARNING HOW TO DOCK. I have witnessed some schools doing this. It's a waste effort teaches you nothing at all.
At some point it will click for you.
Some people put hands on the BOTTOM of the STEERING wheel. Thus where the hands turn this way or that way, the trailer responds perfectly the way you think it ought to. That's another little trick.
Learn to back the same way every time. With your door shut and using your mirrors. Watch everything, your front end, your drives and the corners of the trailers. Watch it all. Even stop half way in and get out and do a walk around to look at your work progress. You might do that several times while backing into a tight hole. Especially when backing into a tight hole.
Remember you can get out and look a thousand times and no one will bother you. But if you do NOT get out and look and hit something, it's your fault. You will either pay for it from the lost pay or you will be dismissed for preventable damage.
Never get into stress mode when backing. Learning is a form of stress by itself. Eventually you learn this behavior or skill that is new to you. And you will be happy you master it.
I totally agree that no two parking areas are the same. I just said this is what worked for me. I also totally agree that practice practice and more practice is the way to go.
I see women all the time out there ; again, it was just what was said to me by one of my teachers. I was the only gal in the class at the time.Dumdriver Thanks this.
It's all in practice, I have seen newer drivers get it pretty quick and i have seen drivers who have been driving a long time and still suck at it.
As for being a women thing...i have known plenty of lady drivers who were great at it. My parents both drove in the 80s and my mother out drove my father who had years experience on her .
My biggest advice is to practice and just take it slow, get out and look if your unsure. One more advice if your out on the road and have a cb then turn it off once you get into the truck stop especially if your driving for a mega. Plenty of pathetic drivers out there who will start bashing as soon as you pull in thinking they weren't ever new either...
Also dont hesitate to ask other drivers for help or accept if they offer. There are some places out there a truck does not belong. I have been in some very tight places where even older drivers worked together. I still remember one place in Texas where you had to back in from the street and the docks were behind stacks of pallets and a fence where you could not see them or the other trucks. Every driver helped each other there.
If I want to move to the right, it's RIGHT LEFT RIGHT.
Sometimes it takes several times to get it where I want it.
It's all in the setup though. Approaching the space and angling the truck properly so you can back in without having to pull forward is the highest form of truck stop art: poetry in motion.Last edited: May 21, 2018
When I was younger and boating, backing it to the ramp was a thrill due to the short wheelbase. A friend gave me great advice. Just put a little cut in and start backing, then adjust. Too many try hard and overdrive the truck. You end up chasing your tail. Put a small cut in and back slow. If you realize you are off , stop then, not later. Small correction, small mistakes.
Another thing that would help you learn quick is to get a job as a yard driver where you back in a lot. The goats are smaller and easier to move around but you get the basics down. Seen new drivers get into these positions and within a couple months they got pretty good.
Another way is getting into a dedicated account but that could be tough sometimes and at the same time sometimes you need to already be good.
I wasnt a very good backer, I could get it done but slow then after a few months I got in with target where I was doing at least 2 backs per store plus backs at the DC, you better believe I learnt to back quick. Example 1 store where you had to do a tight blind it took me over a hour in the beginning, in the end only minutes. It's just all in the practice like I said.
Take your time, nothing in a big truck is done quickly. As your backing and you see the trailer move too far to right, slowly crank the wheel towards right and wait till you see a response.......too far to the left crank the wheel towards the left slowly as you back. Make slow methodic moves and do not react until you see the trailer reacting. Do not use extreme moves of the steering wheel, just take little bites. It will click someday..... and then you will spend the rest of your career working to master your skills.x1Heavy Thanks this.
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