Ok, folks. Need help.
It's the end of my 3rd week in private CDL driving school.
Almost ashamed to admit that the only driving I'm doing is driving my instructor crazy.
I'm overthinking and oversteering.
Haven't been able to get past offset backing.
They say "don't overthink".
So I come to a point where I'm reversing, about to back into a lane of cones and If I don't think/overthink... Do I guess? Done that but I've guessed wrong and end up with jackknife.
I only remember thinking... go right to see the rim... go left to move away from it.
Also told, "go right to get close to the cone, left to move away from it."
Part of my problem is that as I try to back into the cones, I'm not getting the angle right so to prevent hitting a cone I start oversteering to get it right.
As far as oversteering goes... when I do it I think I'm just 'steering' until I end up with spaghetti arms trying to unravel the truck before it jackknifes or hits a cone. Countersteer fast right?
Also told "you have to FEEL it". I'm a newbie. Right now, the only thing I'm feeling is frustrated.
How do I practice 'feeling it?"
Any suggestions on how I can stop overthinking?
Bought a toy tractor and trailer and worked all night trying different angles. But it hasn't helped much.
Downloaded a driving simulation game and doesn't seem to help either.
Sorry about the long post.
Any and all useful suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Big Problems Over Thinking and Oversteering
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The problem that I had when I started was trying to decide which way I wanted to back of the trailer to go. I gave up on that and when I switched to deciding which way I wanted the nose of the trailer to go it was much easier. If the nose needs to go right, the turn the steering wheel to the right and back up. If nose needs to go left then turn the wheel left and back up.
The other problem I had was thinking that you should not do a pull-up because the instructors made it sound like it was a sin but when one of the other students told me to do a pull-up to take the KINK out between the tractor/trailer it seemed to connect with me at that time.
What I do is draw an imaginary line from rear trailer axle into the hole. Never turn your steering wheel more than 1/4 to a 1/2 turn. What length of trailer are you using? A 53' trailer takes about 10' to react to your steering. If you have to use a pull up then make sure the wheels are straight. Pull straight forward. Don't try to go left or right when pulling forward. You're only going to make it tougher on yourself. If you're correcting a truck problem, pull up 5-8 feet. If you're correcting a trailer problem pull up 10-12 feet. Hope that helps.
Put your hand on the bottom of the wheel. The 6 position. If your hand is there left will be left and right will be right.
Another tip would be to put a strip of white tape at the bottom of the wheel. If you do that you will always have a visual aid when it comes to which way the tail of the trailer is steering.
Do they provide any videos demonstrating backing procedures? (wrong and correct) For some, it helps to observe from a distance as one backs. Note what the steering does, note what the front of the tractor does, and how the trailer reacts. Try and get to a point (as you're observing others) where you can tell early on if the driver is doing it well and will succeed, or is in an attempt that is going to fail or be done inefficiently. You will then begin to pick up on proper setup and the initial actions required. You'll begin to notice these initial actions don't need to be precise, but they do need to follow certain guidelines and basics, and the polishing can be done later in the backing maneuver.
Go to youtube and search "truck backing tutorial" or similar and see what comes up. Maybe something there will strike a chord for you.
The only way to learn to back is simply try to do it. Then do it again, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it.
Then take a break and do it, and do it, and do it again. Practice , practice, practice.
It takes practice to learn, and practice to keep your skills up. Some drivers more so than others, but you have to practice until it clicks in your brain ( and it will click ).
None of us were born with the ability to hit the dock every time, we all had to learn. Keep trying.
When I was a CDL instructor I told students that kept turning the steering wheel too much was to put their left hand on the mirror bracket. That will help you steer less. I have been known to duct tape a students hand to the mirror bracket, believe it or not after it was all said and done they thanked me. Also never turn the steering wheel unless you know WHY you are going to turn it, for every action there is an equal reaction.Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
Don't turn the wheel so much...takes time to realize that a 1/4 turn of the wheel while MOVING can have big results. I like to help out other drivers when the are struggling and I always notice them turning the wheel to much and not moving...sorta like my kid playing in the car. You will get it in time.
My instructor in school used to throw his hands up in air, roll his eyes and holler "don't be wrasslin with the sturin wheel" and walk away. It wasn't as insulting as it sounds, he just got tired of repeating himself..lolx1Heavy Thanks this.
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