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Thread: Backing those 18-wheelers are hard as h*ll!!

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    Douglas is offline Board Regular
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    Default Backing those 18-wheelers are hard as h*ll!!

    :!: Okay, Tuesday of this week was the first time we got to drive. We drove for Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday (Thursday). We get Fridays off. The first thing I ever did to drive an 18-wheeler was back it up. The first day we practiced straight-line backing. After a few tries I picked it up just fine. But then we had to do the lane-change (where you pull up ahead of one lane, then turn while your backing to back in the other lane right beside it), parallel park to the left and to the right, and the 90 (where you alley dock it), and it's hard as hell.

    I can straight-line back fine, but I f@ck up on the lane-change, and I can't even begin to do the 90. I can do the parallel parking but ONLY BECAUSE THE INSTRUCTORS ARE WALKING ME THRU IT; TELLING ME WHICH DIRECTION TO TURN, AND WHEN TO TURN IT Without them, I couldn't do it worth a crap.

    Now, I know it's only the 1st week of driving, but I still don't know that I'll be able to get all this down pat within 3 weeks. It's tough backing one of them motherfudgers. I know it's easy enough to remember to turn the opposite way you want the trailer to go right now, but when in the middle of a sharp turn you tend to get confused.

    Did anyone else here have tons of trouble when they first started learning how to drive?
    Be calm in the face of all common disgraces and know what they're doin' it for - G. Lightfoot

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    mapleleaf_1 is offline Board Regular
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    Douglas some catch onto it right away and others take some time. It's not always easy, I know from experience. When I first started there was a guy who could back into the angled spots with no problems but when it came to backing straight....forget it. As for me, give me all the room in the world and I have problems too. Put me into tight spots or angled spots and I do great. Go figure!! LOL Drive safe everyone.

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    tjv189 is offline Member
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    Douglas, parallel parking is tough, you are right. It might seem at first that you will never get it, but trust me, once you start practicing it more and more you will be able to do it more times than not. We had to do both blind side and sight side parallel parking, and I thought I would never get it. Eventually it just came to me piece by piece. Set up is very important for both of them also, try to start with the rig completely straight if you can.

    Don't lose confidence in it man, if I can do it I'm sure you can. Best of luck.

    Tom

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    Uturn2001 is offline Senior Board Member
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    The hardest back you will ever do is to go into a 21 door warehouse and they tell you to put it in door 10 and you are the only truck there and there are no lines painted on the ground. :wink: :wink:
    Finding the right trucking company is like finding the right person to marry. I really comes down to finding one whose BS you can put up with and who can put up wih yours.

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    Mtc_Is_Hell is offline Board Regular
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    With time you will get the hang of it, then once your in the real world you will use those techniques to do the impossibles, Yesterday in Toledo Oh, going to customer, the road to them had a police road block they were directing traffic to the back roads, You simply dont take a semi into residential streets. Well this was on a two lane road, pretty much impossible to turn around a semi, I jacknifed the trailer till the cab extenders were 1/8 inch from trailer, had to take the curve with steer tire. My trailer was over hanging the sidewalk, good thing there wasn't a pole there. Then today In Alcoa, Tn the dock was so tight you have to over shoot it and jacknife it in then unhook, while employee cars are right in front of your bumper.

    It gives you a pretty good feeling after making in docks like that...

    As far as the 90 degree dock goes, you can simply learn alot just by paying close attention to other drivers and the instructor when they are doing the manuver, then you can learn to do the same when your in the seat, just remember your pushing the trailer.

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    Mtc_Is_Hell is offline Board Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uturn2001
    The hardest back you will ever do is to go into a 21 door warehouse and they tell you to put it in door 10 and you are the only truck there and there are no lines painted on the ground. :wink: :wink:
    I always feel like an idiot doing 5 pull ups trying to get it completely straight with the dock plate, No line makes it pretty annoying.

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    mikey4069 is offline Senior Board Member
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    Anyone been to the caves in KC or Joplin Mo ?

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    Mtc_Is_Hell is offline Board Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikey4069
    Anyone been to the caves in KC or Joplin Mo ?
    I've been to Joplin twice this week, no idea of caves you may be talking about though.

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    Underground food warehouse Ive only been to the one in joplin once . kind a pain to back into the docks because its kinda dark shadows .

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    Mtc_Is_Hell is offline Board Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikey4069
    Underground food warehouse Ive only been to the one in joplin once . kind a pain to back into the docks because its kinda dark shadows .
    My first dock that was in building was a major pain from me, you got the walls on both sides, you have to get it straight in, it was a tight one to had to know what you were doing. Took me at least 10 pull ups, after 3 or 4 pull ups a driver walked up and offered help he kept telling me to turn the wheel the wrong way, then when he went to back in next to me it took him close to half an hour to get in..

    Thing is you cant see anything in the building theres a line on the ground but near impossible to see.

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    mapleleaf_1 is offline Board Regular
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    The hardest places to put a truck into are the places built in the 20's and 30's that were meant for small panel trucks from that era. Companies move into the buildings and expect you to park a 53ft. trailer attached to a tractor with sleeper. Thick cement posts on either side, entrance on a single laneway into a dark area. Cleveland Ohio is famous for these places. Drive safe everyone.

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    Douglas, everyone has given you good advice here, just keep a positive attitude and you will do fine. If you did so well with the parallel parking, it wont take long to learn the rest! Keep up the good work.

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    kc0iv is offline Senior Board Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikey4069
    Anyone been to the caves in KC or Joplin Mo ?
    Yip. Been in Joplin once and been in all the caves in KC hundreds of times. Some of these are tight while others are no big deal.

    kc0iv

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    Douglas is offline Board Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssoutlaw
    Douglas, everyone has given you good advice here, just keep a positive attitude and you will do fine. If you did so well with the parallel parking, it wont take long to learn the rest! Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll try harder! But I only did well because the instructor was there to guide me the whole time. He pretty much drove the truck for me.
    Be calm in the face of all common disgraces and know what they're doin' it for - G. Lightfoot

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    Douglas,

    I know when I was in school the instructions (for parallel backups) did not work for me. Everybody has different approaches. Like another poster, I do better in tight situations, and my instructor was insisting that I use all of the space with slight adjustments. Worked for 90 percent of the class -- but not me. No matter how you approach it, I would suggest that you GOAL incremently (every 20 feet or so), so you know why you are positioned where you are. It beats guessing with the mirrorS and getting frustrated. Eventually the need to GOAL will taper and you can JUST use your mirrors and trust your instincts (especially while in a blind spot) with confidence.

    It will come. Probably a non issue in a weeks time (at least the basics).
    ~ Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect, it just means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections ~

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    JoeyB is offline Member
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    You are using the back of the tractor to push the trailer where you want it. Remember that and it might make it a little more intuitive.
    Trucking is the worst #@%?>&# business you ever saw. I just wish I didn't like it so much...

  18. #17
    Useless is offline Senior Board Member
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    Backing???? Parralell Parking???

    It's so easy, even a CAVEMAN could do it!!

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    practice practice practice. I had a hard time learning how to back up. I was over thinking it. just take the time now to cut the wheel and learn what the truck and trailer will do. do not over turn the wheel and get back under the trailer before you think you need to. after a few months you'll notice that it just becomes second nature and then you'll have to think about how to back up bobtail.
    work harder, millions on welfare are counting on you !

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    Useless is offline Senior Board Member
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    In all seriousness, Douglass, hard as it may be to imagine, your are right where a student should expect to be. I was right where you are when I started to learn to parallel park, and I could do it as long as my instructor talked me through it. You'll be fine, and you'll get better at it, I promise you!! I struggled at first, and regardless of what other people may try to tell you, most everyone else struggled as well!!

    Thinking in terms of "backing" is a concept that I wish driving schools, instructors, and trainers would abandon; it makes for a confused perspective.

    Forget about "backing", and start thinking in terms of using the tractor to PUSH the trailer into its desired position. Focus upon the rear trailer tandems, and mentally work your way from the back tires up to the steering tires on the tractor.

    Then you'll feel more like you are guiding the trailer into place instead of doing battle with it.

    Also remember that with the tandems slid all the way to the rear of a 53ft. trailer, the trailer is going to have to roll about fifteen feet before the trailer tires begin to respond to corrections from the steering tires. I was just stubborn as hell about accepting that reality, and so were my class mates!! And as stubborn as I was, the tires just could not have given a damm less; in the end, when I just accepted that reality, things started to get a whole lot better!!

    Good Luck,
    Useless

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    Oakdancer is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Useless
    Backing???? Parralell Parking???

    It's so easy, even a CAVEMAN could do it!!
    Yeah, but I have a college degree so I took FOREVER to figure it out! LOL
    "Build a man a fire and you keep him warm for an evening, but SET a man on fire and you keep him warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett

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