Backing Up!!!

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by ajb1972, May 18, 2007.

  1. ajb1972

    ajb1972 Bobtail Member

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    Oct 27, 2006
    Springdale, AR
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    In the truck for the first time to learn to back up and put the rear end of the trailer in between some barrels. Start out 50 yards away then back straight up to them.

    barrels lined up like this:
    O..... O
    O..... O
    OOOOO


    All my classmates did just that. I did it just fine the first time with the instructor walking me through it, the second and subsequent times I couldn't do it to save my life. The truck is lined up, I put it in reverse and go just fine but as we get closer to the barrels the trailer starts going to the right and won't go back to the left. I'm trying to hold the wheel steady while backing yet every time that trailer will pull to the right, so I turn the wheel to the right to send the trailer to the left but LO it won't move but maybe an inch.

    So the next time it does that crap I turn to the right hard to send it to the left but now my tractor is not lined up and the trailer is still hugging the right.

    Instructor is telling me to line it up so I start turning back to the left to line the tractor up but before I can get the tractor in line the instructor says to park it and get out.

    Is there anything I can think to myself to get this right?
     
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  3. rockee

    rockee Road Train Member

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Pacific Northwest
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    When you say the trailer "wont go back to the left" that cant be correct, if you turn your steers while backing up, your trailer will move one way or the other, unless its off tracking real bad which I doubt is the case because your classmates and you got it right before. The more you turn your wheel the more your trailer will react and thus, the more you will have to correct your problem if you oversteer, I am not a teacher and cant explain stuff very well but the best thing in learning backing is to go slow, and then go slow, and go slower still. Think about what you are going to do to make your trailer go where you want it to go and if you think its going wrong, correct it before it gets out of hand, meaning oversteering or understeering, because if you dont fix it before it gets too out of whack, you still have to fix it, it just might be more. Tell your instructor that you would like more practice backing up. Thats the key, practice, practice and more practice and think about your set up. Good luck, you will get there and ten years from now you will still be learning little things about backing and saying "why didnt I do that the first time?"
     
  4. notarps4me

    notarps4me Road Train Member

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    Jan 1, 2007
    NASA HQ
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    Buy a toy semi and back it up on the table. I am not cracking on you. It might help you to learn how to control the trailer. You can practice all your backs with this. It will help you learn how to set up for your back. When you do this try not to make shifting sounds when you are working the truck. OK, now I am cracking on you!:biggrin_25523: When your trailer starts to drift (real trailer) you need to make slight adjustments before it gets away from you. Always think opposite when making these adjustments. Or I have heard that some guys hold the bottom of the wheel and turn the wheel in the direction their thumb is pointing to make the trailer go in that direction. To me that is just a bad habit that you would have to break later. A shorter trailer will get away from you quicker than a long one. It takes practice. Hang in there!:mcool:
     
  5. heyns57

    heyns57 Road Train Member

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    Dec 30, 2006
    near Kalamazoo Speedway
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    Adjust the mirrors to your satisfaction before starting to practice. I prefer each mirror to show the trailer in only about an inch of the mirror. Try to watch the trailer in only the left mirror while backing. Brief checks of the right mirror are necessary, but do not look right, left, right, left... It will cause you to think the trailer is straying off line, and causes "snake track" backing.

    When I was a trailer wash-boy in the 1950s, my employer would test driver applicants by having them back in a straight line on the gravel road in front of the garage and office. There was very little traffic on this dead end road. Several new owner-operators could not back in a straight line for a distance of 100 yards.
     
  6. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Medium Load Member

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    Jun 11, 2006
    Texas
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    This works great!

    When my mother decided to start driving, backing up made her all kinds of nervous. This is exactly what we did to help her out. Being able to look at the situation and see what was happening on a smaller scale made all the difference in the world.
     
  7. Brickman

    Brickman Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    Sep 17, 2006
    WY
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    I learned how to back up at a very young age on the living room floor with a toy. My dad saw to it that I learned where I couldn't hurt any thing.


    That being said............AJB it takes a lot of practice just like was mentioned. Also here is a very important idea. See if you can get some truck time, even if its only 30 mins, BY YOURSELF. I promise the pressure of trying to do it right while others are watching will make you mess up. Until you become confident in the size of your equipment you'll be nervous while others are watching.
     
  8. munrkr

    munrkr Medium Load Member

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    Dec 14, 2006
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    I'm not exactly sure what backing test you're describing. Perhaps "Off-set backing..? Where you're centered in front of a perfectly good parking spot maybe 100 ft. in front of it, but are required to park in a spot NEXT TO IT! Then, after you accomplish that, asked to pull straight up, then park it in the ORIGINAL SPOT, which is now "off-set"? If this is the case... Try this: If the spot you're trying to hit is to the LEFT... Crank the wheel to the RIGHT as far as it'll go while backing SLOWLY until the left side of your trailer is pointing at the MIDDLE of the slot you're aiming for. Then STOP, and crank the wheel back to the left as far as it'll go (Getting under it), and direct your gaze to your RIGHT mirror. At this point, you mind as well give it a little juice while holding the wheel all the way to the left until you pick up the slot in your mirror, just trust me (and your truck). then, it's essencially an alley-dock (Trailor set up at app. 45-degree angle to the dock). If everything was done just right, and luck was on your side, it'll just be a matter of timing before you once again, steer to the right, to once again, "get under it". Then, even if you screwed it up, you get one big pull-up before attempting to hit it again. Just try to pull up as far as you need to to aquire the front of the dock in BOTH of your mirrors, then just slide that puppy in there. THEN, after sucessfully completing the first half, pull straight up to the cone, and reverse the whole process.

    One last tip... It really doesn't take much on that ORIGINAL crank to get the middle of the dock in your mirror. In fact the trailer only moves maybe 15-20 ft. before it's time to countersteer to "get under it".

    I hope i described everything correctly. It's hard thing for me to put it in text.

    Good luck! :biggrin_25520:
     
  9. dieselcow

    dieselcow Bobtail Member

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    Apr 5, 2007
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    Don't think about the the truck just steer the trailer. Try to extend imaginary lines out from what you are aiming at then keep the tralier on track with these imaginary lines, just back it up like its on rails.
     
  10. buck and a half

    buck and a half Mr. Miles & Miles with Many Smiles

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    Aug 11, 2006
    madison,me
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    While pulling ahead,look into your mirrors and just try to imagine and judge right where you want that rear of the trailer to go,whether to park,in between cones etc,get that angle while pulling ahead,then back up and just follow your trailer until you are straight,if you can't see both sides ,just pull up again the same way,with practice it will become a simple operation to you and you will learn alot faster using this method,you will already have that trailer headed into the direction you want,especially while backing between two trailers or grocery warehouses that have fences close to your front end,you waste alot less room this way. try it and you will see what i mean,every week i try to pick a driver or two to show them this at truck stops and warehouses when they have trouble doing their backing,they ussually say wow that was easy,why didn't the school show me that,I sad I dunno.
     
  11. Toby

    Toby Light Load Member

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    Aug 25, 2006
    Indiana
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    You just have to keep practicing. I had a hard time with backing and basically I think like most new drivers we have a tendency to oversteer. Sometime we don't wait long enough or wait too long to correct because we don't believe what we are actually seeing the back of the trailer do in the mirrors.
    I think most drivers will agree some days you can get her in there on the first shot and some time you can't get a trailer in a dock to save your life.
    When I took my CDL test I arrived at the early and went out to the range to practice my backing as I was to take my CDL test later that morning. I tried with great difficulty to get it into the coned out "dock". I couldn't really get straight or not at all.
    When the State CDL tester was there, I hit it first time perfectly straight.
    It will all come in time.
    Take care.
     
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