Straight Line Backing

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by wheretogo, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. wheretogo

    wheretogo Bobtail Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    passaic, nj
    I just started tractor training, but I'm having trouble with my straight line backing. I just read up on it and from what I gather I have to make sure to follow the trailer to go completely straight, right? My instructor wasn't too bad, but he didn't tell me how to back in a straight line. He just kept correcting me... that didn't help. Next time I'm going to make sure both sides are straight (cannot see the sides of either side of the trailer) hope that strategy works for me.

    Double clutch is annoying, but I guess I need to do it for the DMV...
  2. Rugerfan

    Rugerfan Road Train Member

    May 3, 2011
    make sure truck and trailer are straight then put your hand at 12 o clock on the steering wheel adn only move as far as 3 and 9 to correct the trailer and you will get the straight back no problem
  3. tirednaz

    tirednaz Heavy Load Member

    Oct 4, 2011
    Pick a point beyond the rear of the trailer (drivers Side) as an aiming point. Then guild your trailer back using the two hand position on the wheel. as soon as the trailer starts to move in the direction you want it to go bring the wheel back to center and adjust accordingly. Use small movements of the wheel left and right and just follow your trailer back into the spot. During practice or real life get out and look as often as you feel necessary.
  4. flc120

    flc120 Heavy Load Member

    Jul 11, 2012
    Miami,FL (yeah i know :( )
    small movements like said and slow speed.
  5. Wooly Rhino

    Wooly Rhino Road Train Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Liberty, Missouri
    Like I have pointed out before, the trailer will either go to the left or go to the right. It will not go both ways. If your hand is at the top of the wheel and you are using your mirrors, then move your hand towards the offending rear end of the trailer. The trailer will go away from your hand. As soon as you put the correction in, take it out again or you will oversteer. It is easier to do then it is to write about. You will get it.

    Remember you are driving the trailer back, you are not just holding on and praying the trailer goes where you want it to go.
  6. Truckinchic

    Truckinchic Medium Load Member

    Apr 8, 2012
    Do not touch the gas pedal when doing maneuvers. Back only as fast as idle allows, don't play with the wheel to much and try to watch both sides of your trailer..drivers side mostly. If you see your trailer tracking off, just a little turn of the wheel to straighten out the trailer. Find what works best for you. Everyone has their own method. Good luck.
  7. turnanburn

    turnanburn Medium Load Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    central Vermont
    In straight line backing, get both truck and trailer in a straight line. Then proceed in reverse with no throttle or clutch riding. As soon as the trailer drifts one way or the other, correct with small steering wheel movements in the direction of the drift, followed by small moments in the opposite direction to follow with the truck. In other words, "steer towards trouble." If your trailer is drifting to the left, turn the wheel to the left gently and this will set up a movement of the trailer to the right. Once you set up that movement you have to "follow" with the truck by turning the wheel back the other way. Backing a truck/semi is always 2 maneuvers: jack and follow. Everything is done slowly with dainty moves. If you straight line back on a gravel surface, you will see the curvy line of the steers crossing over the marks of the tandems when you look out the winshield. If those steer tire marks are within the tandem prints, you are doing it right. If they swing way outside those marks you are OVERSTEERING. Time and practice will let you build intuitive skills when backing. Just don't build in bad habits (no throttle, no clutch riding, don't oversteer, don't forget to follow with the tractor, easy does it). Hope this helps.
  8. wheretogo

    wheretogo Bobtail Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    passaic, nj
    Thanks everyone. It seems to me that I should start backing pretty much 180 degrees from where I want to go. Then I hold my hand on the 12 position and never go over 9 or 3. I just follow the trailer...if I see more of sides on my driver side, steer left...then readjust to long as I don't see the sides and I'm going in the right direction, right?
  9. chompi

    chompi Road Train Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Deland, FL
    Watch your wheels/tandems instead of the trailer itself. Also try and give yourself a guide such as a line in the pavement or any kind of marker that can give you an idea of where you are in the space time continuum. Also another thing that is throwing you off is actually an allusion. When you look in your driver side mirror everything looks on target. When you glance at your other mirror though it appears as if you are crooked or not straight. I would recommend that you aim with your driver side mirror and just use your other mirror for looking out for obstacles. Try giving that a shot....

    Leave the wheel alone! Try not to make so many adjustments while backing. Correcting for no reason will just cause you to get off track. Also if you do have to correct use very small adjustments and give it some time for it to register in the back. While you are learning this back extra slow and that will give you time to correct your mistakes.
  10. Tenspeed70

    Tenspeed70 Light Load Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Chittenden, VT
    Little movements with the wheel equal big movements with the trailer. I had often told my trainees this back when I trained. Also, as "chompi" said, watch you trailer tires. These are the actual pivot point of the trailer and not the very rear. Be mindful of the trailer but, use the tires to guide with.

    Another trick I used to help newer drivers was to have them envision the idea of not steering the truck. You are actually steering the trailer. Use your imagination and picture how it looks from the sky when you're backing in. Keeping in mind the obstacles around you when you're backing, you will see in your minds eye how it would look from the perspective of a bird. Once you have this firmly in your mind, you then make it happen. It's sort of like your position in the cab is reverse from driving down the road and you're trying to push the trailer into the slot and not backing it in. Always, always, always be mindful of over-swing and clearances to objects around your vehicle.

    This was just once instance how I helped a trainee. You will have to find your own method and go with it. Good luck!
    Diab33tus Thanks this.
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