I'm about to be wrapping up my first week at Schneider for dry van and I'm having a little trouble with backing; today I attempted the 45 degree back and it took me several times to get it in, also I had to pull forward and from what I understand that isn't very realistic in a real world scenario. I haven't backed a trailer since trucking school 11 months ago and even then I needed help, but my trainer didn't even show us how to do it first and expects us to basically already know how from trucking school; he helps us set up and then tells us to back. May I get some help with this, possibly even a video? I have to try again Monday and I'm afraid if I can't get it I'll be sent home.
Best regards, John.
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When you use a pipe bender you have to overbend past your angle to account for the tube/pipe springing back some. Same with folding a tractor trailer. When you do a pullup the angle unfolds a little ya know? It springs back. The more you pull forward, the more it straightens and vice versa.
Put your hand on the bottom of the wheel. If you move your hand toward passenger side the trailer bumper will go toward passenger side. This takes some dyslexia out of the equation.
Look in your mirror down the side of the box. That is your rifle sight. If you want to hit a cone behind you with that corner just aim so that you can see half the cone behind the trailer and ease'r back. Go slow and make slight adjustments early. If you do this you wont totally lose target and thus wont get off target and look like a noob. If you do lose target stop.. Pull forward and find your target again.
Most of backing is the setup work.. The aiming that is done when youre still going forward. Need to 90 alley dock? Dont start reversing from a 90 if you can start from a 60.. Or a 45. Put an S bend in the truck, trailer and dock so that you do the minimum folding and the maximum viewing possible. If youre folded beyond 90* at a spot that doesnt require everyone to jackknife that far then your setup was wrong. And if your rear axle is completely perpendicular to that fence or wall or truck right in front of your bumper.. You wont be able to straighten as you get the box deeper in the hole, because your drive axle is not moving away from the fence at all.. its simply moving down the fence sideways. If continuing to reverse does not grow room in front to swing your tractor.. STOP REVERSING and pull out because youre just wasting everyones time. Circle around and setup better.
Dont cave in to pressure. Remember theres only one or two people actually watching. The other 50 are looking at their phones.
Everyone that goes to trucking school should get a lawn mower trailer and put it behind a car/pickup and back that thing like a Mad Man until they can put it anywhere.
Then.. when they get to school... that big 53 will seem like the easiest thing they've ever done.
This is not being critical.
It's CRUCIAL information.
If every recruiter/school signer upper person (idk how it works, I didn't go to one) would recommend this to students, it would take so much pressure off of them.
Backing is simple physics.
Once you get it... you've got it.
It'll click. A DUH MOMENT.
At this juncture the best advice I could give is make small corrections so you don't get too far into your cut that it's too late. Ease it.
Just do it.
All prospective students... use a pickup and a 10ft trailer.
And practice. MASTER IT.
When in doubt, GOAL! Get out and look as many times as you want at any stage of the backup process. A simple GOAL can make backing 100000000 times easier for you!
1) Drive truck close to space with trailer straight as possible.
2) roll down windows put hazards on
3) Put your grill two parking spaces past your target
4) turn steering wheel hard (all the way) right
5) drive forward until your 45 degree from line of other trucks (do not go too far otherwise it will be a 90 degree back)
6) turn steering wheel hard left and drive forward until you can see the back of your trailer looking out window (not mirror)
7) lift seat high and lean out window looking at your tandems
8) while looking at tandems, inch back very slowly to try to get them to pivot around the painted line.
==if its cutting in too Tight... move wheel to Left, if its cutting too Wide... move wheel to Right.
Once your trailer is about 1/4 the way in, focus on keeping the trailer straight in the box, start using your mirrors and you can gently attempt to roll (basically imagine the tractor following the trailer) it in while counter steering (something not working move wheel opposite way) to straighten up your tractor as you back in.
Like one guy mentioned put hand on bottom of steering wheel... when you turn it left, trailer = goes left... when you turn it right, trailer = goes right.
If not, try a pull up to correct it to get it straighter. The straighter your tractor is with your trailer... the better your mirrors will work for you.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! At a relatively empty truck stop in middle of nowhere on your 30 min break? Complete your break then practice backing, use trash or something as cones. Let your DBL know that ya wanna practice backing in empty lots for at least 30 minutes every day. He/She should be cool with it.
Hope this helps! Goodluck and GOAL!Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
90° alley dock is simple.
1, 2, 3: First get your trailer wheels in, then your drive tires, then your steer tires.
Setup 15ish feet out in front of and 20ish feet down the road from the end of the spot.
1) Begin backing. Draw an imaginary dotted line extending out 20’ from the line on the pavement. Position the trailer wheels 8 feet in front of the actual opening of the slot with the wheels on top of or just outside the imaginary dotted line. This is to give yourself room to swing the trailer around parallel to the slot before actually taking up residence. Try not to go much farther out than this 8 feet, because you will have a limiting line in front of your tractor on a test, or in real life, you will likely have some obstacle.
2) Once you have achieved the position in step two, begin cutting your wheel hard to the left to swing the tractor back underneath the trailer. The trailer wheels should glide nicely between the lines, and the trailer itself will continue to move closer to parallel with the parking spot lines as your tractor swings around. Keep an eye on the bottom edge of your trailer. Compare it to the real and imaginary dotted lines on the pavement. You want the bottom edge of your trailer to wind up parallel with that line. If it ever goes past parallel, do a pull up. You don’t want the curbside nose of your trailer to take out the mirror on the guy’s/gal’s truck next to you. Another way to gauge how well you are positioned is your drive tires. When your trailer tires are inside the lines and your drive tires cross the imaginary dotted line, it’s time to quickly get your tractor straight. As you do so, remember to keep the bottom edge of your trailer as close to parallel with the parking spot lines as possible. Do pull ups as necessary.
3) If you have done the first two steps correctly, the last step should be to just continue holding the steering wheel until the steer tires come into alignment with the drives and the trailer tires. Once your whole rig is straight and parallel with the parking spot, it is a simple straight back from there.
Don’t listen to anybody telling you to cut the steering wheel a certain number of turns, bend the trailer until you see a certain spot in the landing gear, position yourself on this dot on the pavement and back up for three seconds before starting to turn the wheel, or any other robotic idiotic BS. You wanna get it right every time with a minimum of pull ups? (I say “a minimum“ because it’s like golf: A hole-in-one is very rare, but for most truckstops, I’d say par is two or three pull-ups.) You need to know what you are looking for and how to create it in every situation. Understand and master the fundamentals, and it will only be too easy!
This is just my opinion, but it either comes naturally or it doesn’t. I’ve seen guys that have been doing it for years that can’t back in a straight line without pulling up, and then again I see guys newer than me crank 90’s like it’s nothing. In my personal experience tho, the “pull-ups” really don’t matter.
At least for me in my experience, it doesn’t matter if I had to pull up 50 different times to get the trailer where it needs to be. That is generally the case I believe. No one is going to stop you and say “woah buddy, you pulled up over three times you’re done” - real world is nothing like driving school.
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