Having problems with backing

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by JR328, May 22, 2021.

  1. John E.

    John E. Light Load Member

    Apr 4, 2021
    New Brunswick
    Back in the day learning this gig, I watched other drivers doing it, I still do everyday. I watch the angle they place there rig at when they are getting ready to back up, I notice there speed they use to back up. I use concentration if I'm in tight spots and sometimes I still get the help of another Driver to watch my blind side if the tolerances are getting really close. Other than those things I still enjoy a challenge when backing, keeps me sharp. Just don't enjoy them every load.
    Sometimes , I can swear an awful oath. Happened to me this past Winter in the dark, early in the AM, backing in a tight blind side turnaround. Ripped the mud flap off. Practice, Practice, Practice, it will get easier.
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    DARKNIGHTRUCKER Light Load Member

    May 3, 2020
    I just recently made it through my first year driving . I'm still quite nervous when I go to shippers receivers but nowhere near as bad as I used to be.

    Backing is mostly about how you set yourself up imo. I usually go about 2 spaces ahead of the end of the space I need to get in, or 1.5, or I get out and look to see if the trailer mid section is about in the middle of the space I want to get into . When I pull next to the space I leave at least a bobtail length of space between the space and my trailer (gives you more room to angle it in but this isn't always possible in yards with limited space you'll have to jacknife it in).

    Then I crank the wheel right all the way , hold for about 3-4 seconds , all the way left , till you get a good angle but don't completely jacknife.

    From there it's pretty much all about feel. Hard to describe but it's just a dance between getting your trailer angled into the space and a series of corrections . If you set it up right you will already see it angling correctly towards the space which helps alot. Usually start by correcting towards the trailer to the left , then correcting the other direction , back left a decent bit, then smaller corrections until it's in there. A good set up will also let you pull up bit easier and make it more of a straight back if you're mostly in the space already.

    DARKNIGHTRUCKER Light Load Member

    May 3, 2020
    Best thing you can do is GOAL (get out and look). It's easy to get yourself in trouble when you're not sure where the trailer is exactly, but getting out you'll know exactly where you are and most likely not going to hit something because you know the distance.

    Alot of times when I'm doing some really difficult backs other drivers or associates will help me out even without me asking for it. If not then don't be afraid to ask for help . Most businesses would rather send half their staff out to help you get it in safely then have to deal with an backing accident. Just forget your pride and whatever else and just think of it as teamwork.

    Never force it in! Come back to it, take a little break, reset the back , get out and do a 360 look around . Sometimes other drivers will be low on their clock and want you to hurry up but ignore them your safety is more important while backing.

    I know you said you are reefer so that's bit different. But at least a couple times I've been told to back into some spaces I looked at that had millimeters of margin of error and I straight up just asked for another drop location or just drop it elsewhere. Use your common sense and don't force it in ever if you're in a really dicey situation . Communicate with the facility and dispatch if you have to to get into and out of there safely.
  5. Jenn72

    Jenn72 Medium Load Member

    Jun 7, 2019
    What you are feeling is perfectly normal. I am sure a lot of us thought about quitting during our 1st yr.

    What helped me is watching other drivers at truck stops & shippers. I also got a toy semi truck and practiced with that. Get out and look as many times as needed & go slow. DON'T LET OTHER DRIVERS RUSH YOU!!

    Practice whenever possible. It does help.

    DARKNIGHTRUCKER Light Load Member

    May 3, 2020
    Also important, do not forget about your tractor while backing!! Especially if it's a tight one, your tractor might get close to other objects while you're correcting your trailer and your bobtail pivots up to the right.

    Adjusting your tandems can help with the really tight backs particularly.
  7. Happily Retired

    Happily Retired Road Train Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
    Depends on the job, I delivered to grocery stores, sometimes 10 or more stops/day, each with obstacles all their own. You get good in a hurry, but may not be your situation. Of all the topics for new drivers, since automatics have arrived, backing seems to be the biggest problem. It is the biggest source of anxiety for new drivers, and it's probably the hardest thing they will encounter. However, unless you pull a flatbed or work for Buster Brown, backing up is an integral part of trucking, and you simply have to master it, it won't go away. A month is hardly enough time, and you'll get it, eventually. Best of luck, and by all means, take your time.
    Lumper Humper Thanks this.
  8. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2017
    Might take 6 months before you can accidentally look like a pro once in a while, and another 6 months until you start to feel like one. And that's when a new level of danger really starts to crop up, because when you start to feel that way is when you start to get complacent and psychologically cut corners, such as the part about getting out to look.
  9. Brettj3876

    Brettj3876 Road Train Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Canceling cancel culture/CCC
    If your not at least a little bit nervous that's when bad things tend to happen. You'll pick up on it, it won't happen over night. Go to the back row of the truck stop when it's not crowded and practice getting in the hole from all diff angles. Watch your trailer tandems not the back of the trailer. Watching the back of the trailer will go in a different path, it can be deceiving.

    When i came out of the oilfield back to the road pulling 53s i looked like a rookie all over again. The truck im in now doesn't turn nearly as sharp as these new trucks
  10. CaliRider619

    CaliRider619 Bobtail Member

    May 22, 2021
    A lot of GOAL and always set up your trailer tandems in the hole first. The farther back the better so the trailer doesn't scrape anything on the blindside. You don't want to adjust when you're already in that's how most collisions happen.

    And buy a drone to be a camera on your blindside if needed. Land it on top of your trailer.
    Lumper Humper and natedogg323 Thank this.
  11. natedogg323

    natedogg323 Light Load Member

    May 4, 2007
    Detroit, Mi
    that is low key genius! Also, can be doubled as amazing B footage for a your YouTube channel if your into that sort of thing!
    John E. and Lumper Humper Thank this.
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