Struggling with backing, new driver.

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by jc3737, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. jc3737

    jc3737 Light Load Member

    Dec 17, 2017
    Hello veterans,
    I need help with your advice. I'm a new driver, I started training with a small company that has the patience to put up with me,for this im thankful to them. My problem is backing. It seems I can't never figure out the size of the vehicle,tractor and trailer in order to set myself up, to back up. So far I was only able to back up in a large where houses with a lot of space, and what I do I set myself up, in the way I can see the whole trailer in both mirrors, and start to back in to the docks. I will have to do a few pull up maneuvers, in order to complete the process, and finally back in. But I can't never back up when I have limited space, in tight places,and have my trainer backing up for me. I'm worried that I will never be able to learn how to do it right. Can someone help me to understand what I do wrong, not to be able to back up? Same goes with parking at rest areas or truck stops. If I have lot of space is easy for me to do it, but impossible with limited space. Thanks for your help and advices, in advance.
    austinmike Thanks this.
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  3. Wasted Thyme

    Wasted Thyme Road Train Member

    Jan 27, 2020
    Stevens transport DFW TX
    Well I see your first issue. Your trainer should not be backing the truck. You should be every time. He should be guiding and instructing you.
  4. jc3737

    jc3737 Light Load Member

    Dec 17, 2017
    You're right. That's should be the first thing to correct.
  5. tarmadilo

    tarmadilo Heavy Load Member

    Dec 12, 2018
    Practice makes perfect. Lots of practice! Wasted Thyme is right, your trainer should never be behind the wheel.
    LondRanger, Vampire, alds and 2 others Thank this.
  6. nredfor88

    nredfor88 Medium Load Member

    Sep 26, 2019
    Everyone can learn to back if they are determined. Some faster or slower than others. That is natural. You can do it.

    The best way is to have someone showing you that guides you in a clear preside manner that you can understand. The odds of you running into that person is unfortunately slim. I went to a CDL mill and they didn’t teach backing, only a limited set of maneuvers to past the test. And my trainer wouldn’t show me anything.

    So that ets to the second best way to learn. Watch many YouTube videos, all that you can find. Watch every truck you see backing, for as long as it takes. Watch the guys that back well, and those that suck. See what they are doing. Then keep trying over and over.

    It will click sooner or later. Good luck.
    Dennixx and jc3737 Thank this.
  7. jc3737

    jc3737 Light Load Member

    Dec 17, 2017
    I must be one of the slower. In over a month, didn't learn much yet. I have a big problem to position myself and chase,which is basically everything in backing.
  8. Six9GS

    Six9GS Medium Load Member

    Dec 3, 2012
    Yuma, AZ
    Besides backing. In my opinion, the most important thing to do driving a rig with a 53' trailer behind you all the time, verse a regular 4 wheeler, is ingraining the rear of your trailer into ALL your driving. It takes time and constant practice to get to the habit of always instinctively knowing the back of your trailer is there and what it's going to be doing as you maneuver around corners, entrance and exit ramps and setting up to back. When you forget it's there, you're gonna make a turn and the trailer will off track itself right into the ditch beside you. Probably one of the most common mistakes new drivers make, I think.
    So, backing proficiently is gained my practice, practice, practice. Observing and learning how to set yourself up. For me 90% of backing is getting my set up correct to begin with.
    Your dilemma is what we all go through in the beginning. It takes time and practice. I recommend the following.
    1. NEVER EVER be to lazy or proud to get out and look. When you do, you should walk around the whole truck, not just the place you are concerned about. It has happened often to me that by walking completely around my truck that I had less or more clearance in other areas than I thought I did and saved me from hitting something or letting me see I had more clearance than I thought. IGNORE any other drivers who might be waiting for you. Worrying you are taking to long will get you frustrated and hurt things much more than help.
    2. Do not hesitate to ask another drive to help spot you. In my experience truckers will seldom just automatically help. But, when asked, I personally have always been willingly helped. When I was really new and had a tight dock to back into, I literally got out, found another trucker sitting in his truck, knocked on his door and asked (politely) for help. Always willingly got the help. We've all been where you are at some point. The vast majority of us don't mind lending a hand. Much better to ask for help than end up hitting something.
    3. In regards to your trailer tandems and rear of your trailer, always watch it in your mirrors as you corner. I can't stress this enough. As I am turning corners, going around ramps, etc. I am always watching those trailer tandems and practicing controlling where they are going. I try to track the white lane lines so that my trailer tandems stay at the same distance from that white line. It is just an exercise at ingraining the rear of my trailer into my instinctual driving habits. Having that instinctive habit of paying attention to the rear of your trailer, so that you automatically watch and control where the your rear wheels and back of your trailer is at any time is absolutely essential and you have to work at creating that habit. It's a component to driving a rig that doesn't exist with a regular 4 wheeler, unless you've pulled alot of trailers in one.
    Anyway, good luck to you. Know you are experiencing something we all go through and learn to deal with. Just keep practicing, you'll figure it all out as you keep doing it.
    Vampire, alds and jc3737 Thank this.
  9. Brettj3876

    Brettj3876 Road Train Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Canceling cancel culture/CCC
    95% of backing is getting the initial setup correct. A good tip is look at the tire marks in the pavement. Most places you can see the trailer tire tracks and the track they spot getting to the dock. Set up so your tandems to follow the previous tracks in
    InTooDeep, DoubleO7, Vampire and 4 others Thank this.
  10. bryan21384

    bryan21384 Road Train Member

    Sep 18, 2009
    1918 Anywhere, USA 90210
    It takes time to get the feel of it. When you have to back at an angle, you must resist oversteering. Most of the time you only have turn the wheel once. There are times when you have to turn the wheel 1.5 laps around. You're trailer will tell you what is necessary to do. Less is more when turning the wheel to back.
    Badmon, Vampire and jc3737 Thank this.
  11. Dockbumper

    Dockbumper Road Train Member

    Apr 29, 2020
    This is probably one of the best tutorials I have seen on the internet. Watch it more than once. Watch it over and over. It really shows you the fundamentals. Very well done video.

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