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I did it for my CDL and never again. Not saying the skill is not good to have. If anything it helps teach you about where your trailer is when backing and understanding how your steering inputs can put the trailer nearly anywhere you want it.
In the real world backing is everything. The more you know the better. Always challenge your self and learn more and more tricks. Watch other drivers in tight truck stops, you can learn a lot from watching others.
If you end up driving a day cab DO NOT USE THE BACK WINDOW. You will not get any skills that way. I drive a day cab now and I can't believe how bad my co workers are at backing up. I had been out of a truck for 3.5 years and my first day out I hit several backs on the first shot that my "trainer" told me where not possible.Shardrk Thanks this.
I just saw your reply to a driver about blind side parallel parking and the advice seemed good. Maybe you can help me, I have been in school for 5 weeks but only on weekends, we have to do a drivers side parallel park, right side offset back and alley dock. So far we have not attempted the alley dock, but I am having tons of trouble drive side parallel parking and a little less trouble right side offset backing. Here are my instructions pull up till your back bumper is even with the cones at the front of the parking area, turn your steering wheel all the way to the left back until the front cone is at the front of the front tandem of your trailer then turn the steering wheel all the way to the right, then line up with your trailer until your passenger side landing gear crosses the line then turn hard left to get your tractor in the box then straighten up. I just can't seem to put this all together, thought maybe you could tell from this if I am doing something wrong? My instructor is new and is not a lot of help.
February 15 2012
Hello Kay1driver and the Group:
I have definitely seen that the need for Parallel parking a Class A Vehicle is really coming back within the past Year or two. I have seen that a lot of Roadside rest areas really filled up early as do the Truck Stops from what I have heard, but I have not ever had to leave one of these places if I was capable of parallel parking. We just always manage to park on the ends of existing parking lanes or else off to the side someplace. It was never a problem.
My Partners and I have always "made our own parking spots" in between other parallel parked tractor trailers on the ramps into or beside the curbs in these kinds of places. We have never found a rest area or a Truck stop that was too filled to park inside of by utilizing our parallel parking skills.
We don't park on ramps, but a lot of people do and You're not supposed to park beside any road or in illegal spots in Truckstops or anywhere else but It is just a wonderfull skill to learn so that You will have the opportunity to park wherever You would like to. I guess the worst that we ever did with the parallel parking technique was parking in Hotel parking lots, but they have allowed us to do It after we paid them a small fee.
Parallel Parking is a usefull skill to have and It's not very difficult if You can do the straightline backing well enough. First, make sure no one is in Your way and then apply the "International backing up signal" Toot the horn twice and turn on the Hazard lights then pull out to a 45 deg angle and then straightline back the rig (in one piece), far back into the "deep end" of the box and almost to the curb, then cut the wheel all the way to the Left in order to push the trailer into the box and then cut the wheel all the way to the right in order to get the Tractor to swing in at the last possible minute.
The Set up for the 45 degree angle should be with the Trailer landing gear if You can see them in Your rear view mirror. I have usually used the document box on the head board of the trailer or the line of rivets as a guideline.
You will need a different length of landing gear or a reference point on the trailer for each type of a trailer. Just go back towards the "deep end of the box" Blindside parallel parking is done by turning the wheel all the way to the left, once You are parallel to the parking box and then cutting the wheel all the way to the Right while You are rolling SLOW and then making adjustments to the Left and the Right of the Center of the back of the trailer in order to adjust the exact depth of the cut into the box. Go as far back as possible.
There is no reason to over steer the Trailer once It is completely aligned with the Tractor, make just little adjustments about 22 degrees and get It lined up.
Good Luck to You Kaydriver1 and let us know how It works out for You!
February 15 2012
I think that the Instructor's Instructions were basically Good ones as long as You pull far enough out away from the parking box. You have to be a little bit away from the other parking box on the parallel measurement, something like 4 to 6 Ft. In any case, You'll find out what works for You with the type of Tractor that You are working with, just remember the forward serpentine in order to get It perfectly parallel to begin or It will be much harder to work It.
I have been taught that once You're far enough out, start turning all the way to the Left and then immediately start cutting It all the way to the right and then make sure at that point that the Tractor and the Trailer are perfectly aligned. It's Good to not roll too far between the Left and the Right steering and then to make sure that You do It slowly. Steer to the back of the box.
The rest of the maneuver is just straight line backing with a little bit of offset to the right or the left of the centerpoint or the DOT bar on the Trailer.
If You are far enough out away from the box on a Good 45 deg angle It will be a piece of Cake! Just remember Your distances away from the box, angles and the back of the box as a target spot. I would'nt be shy myself about doing a few pull ups for points since they seem to be the least points that You can accumulate in the whole test. I would rather stop well before the "artificial dock" than to overshoot It and to blow the test.
I know that You will get It. Just Keep trying and see if You can get someone to stand out beside Your cab window and give You some precise instructions a couple of times. It's a lot of fun and It is very helpfull to learn how to do. You will be able to easily impress Your company Trainer if You offer to do this and the Alley Dock for him. Keep working at It Man. It's the easiest move there is and if You can do this one It won't be very hard to do the 45 and the 90 deg's.
Some people teach It by "the fast side (Left) vs. the slow side (Right) or the trouble side vs. the easy side. You have to find a way that works for You.
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