Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Abraxas, Sep 23, 2022.

  1. Allow Me.

    Allow Me. Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    May 28, 2009
    Rancho Mirage, Ca.
    OP, you answered your own question in your first sentence of the original post...."I'm a new driver, probably 3rd week on the road". So you went from parking your Honda Civic on your local errands to parking that beast (your shiny new Pete) which is, obviously, mucho bigger in tight spots at the truck stop. And you do have to be careful, no nudging another truck AND you want to look so cool doing it and not give any clues that you came on board less than 30 days ago, right ? BTW, have you picked up the truck driver swagger yet ? You climb out looking so cool, swagger in to the fuel desk with your straw cowboy hat, shiny boots, big belt buckle, toothpick and of course hold the door open for the ladies with that truck driver smile.

    I lost my train of thought for a minute. Parking, it will get easier in due time. My advice for today, never be afraid to help another driver get backed in. Have fun out there.:hello2:
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  3. W923

    W923 Medium Load Member

    Feb 28, 2022
    Yes those heavy spec trucks and long wheel base trailers make things harder. I always get jealous when another truck turns inside of me leaving the fuel island.
  4. 4wayflashers

    4wayflashers Heavy Load Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    Parking is easily the most stressful thing about trucking once you get comfortable driving. Dealing with lumpers might be worse but theres not much you can do about that.

    You will need time behind the wheel to get good at backing regularly. The important thing is to not hit anything. Right around the 2 year mark I realized I was grabbing that last spot at the truck stop that nobody else wanted. That being said, I still miss my set-up at times and it’ll take me a few tries to get her backed in.

    Your set-up is the key. Recognizing your trailer reacts differently depending where your tandems are set. Err on backing in too tight because you can see that side AND its a simple 10 foot pull up to fix. Most importantly is get out and look. 8 years and I still climb down and walk back to check my blind side cause I dont want to smash anything.

    As you approach an open spot you should pause and take a good hard look at it. Is the truck on either side crowding your spot? Is either truck too far forward. Is there a light pole etc…

    It’s a process. Develop your process and it will become less stressful.

    There’s a lot of grumpy drivers and they dont like waiting for a rookie to back into a spot. That is their problem, not yours.

    Help other drivers when you get a chance. It will help you understand exactly what needs to be done.
    Opus Thanks this.
  5. bryan21384

    bryan21384 Road Train Member

    Sep 18, 2009
    1918 Anywhere, USA 90210
    When you back, take a few seconds and assess the area. You let all the inpatient truckers pass, then take your time. I prefer to back with my tandems to the front. That shortens the vehicle in my mind. You must pay close attention to your trailer. You trailer will tell you everything. Let it speak to you. Also as you gain more experience, you'll have to be more discerning about where you decide to sleep. You'll want to pick places that are adequately designed for trucks. These ultra tight Pilots and Flying Js aren't always the best choices. You avoid those types of truck stops because it doesn't need to be so hard to park, and you don't want to run the risk of hitting someone or getting hit.
    Munch75, Abraxas and 4wayflashers Thank this.
  6. 4wayflashers

    4wayflashers Heavy Load Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    I should add that truck stop/rest area/hidey hole selection as well as being pre-showered and having din din pre-purchased and your truck pre-fueled up will go a long way to give you more options.

    Not wanting to get your hood and bumper ripped off while you sleep will come next.
    PacoTaco and Opus Thank this.
  7. Lennythedriver

    Lennythedriver Road Train Member

    Feb 14, 2020
    Just remember one thing I’ve lived by out here and it’s paid off. “The truck doesn’t move if I’m not 100% sure” it’s really that simple. Can’t bang anything up that way. Just take your time, be safe. The impatient ones will get over it. The more you back the better you’ll get. I can drive truck backwards as well as forward now and get it anywhere.

    I rarely have to get out and look anymore but I’m not too prideful to when it’s called for. In the caves in Missouri a few months ago was a super tight blind side back in, I got and looked about ten times. No other choice and I didn’t care. I’ve still yet to even touch anything as my “don’t move if I’m not sure” policy has paid off.
    Opus Thanks this.
  8. God prefers Diesels

    God prefers Diesels Road Train Member

    Jun 26, 2020
    South Texas
    I pulled a dry van once. It was power only, and they had a place on site I could park my flatbed. Just pulled a loaded trailer a couple hundred miles, and hauled an empty one back. I couldn't believe how easy it was to back that trailer compared to my spread, and I even have a dump valve. A literal blind person could put a dry van in a hole. Talk about trucking on easy mode. They got no room to talk ####. And I'm no expert either. Back when I pulled that trailer, I was so green I didn't even know you could slide tandems.

    Funny thing is, this "flatbedders can't back" isn't exclusive to just truckers. When I got to the supermarket with the loaded trailer, I told the lady I was a flatbedder, and I had no idea what was going on, so can you tell me exactly what you need me to do with this trailer? She said: "Oh God you're a flatbedder? Are you even going to be able to back that trailer up?" And then laughed. So yeah, we've got a reputation, lol.
  9. Opus

    Opus Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    South GA
    Stand by. Let me call my dad
    W923 and God prefers Diesels Thank this.
  10. welldigger00

    welldigger00 Light Load Member

    Jan 18, 2022
    That’s funny!
    God prefers Diesels Thanks this.
  11. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    3-4 minutes to park?

    OMG dude, slow down.

    I've seen people take 10 minutes, to get into a tight spot, they get out and look and move and get back out and look again.

    If this is an emotional thing, maybe driving a truck isn't for you.

    **oh I've got a dash cam video from one of my trucks where the guy and his trainer both could not park a truck in a corner spot (it was a straight shot in after a really easy setup with 500 feet of distance in front of them), they took 40 minutes trying and gave up just to park near the fuel isle and almost got towed - should have.
    W923 Thanks this.
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