Step-By-Step Instructional on 90 Degree Semi Backing in to a Dock

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as my grandfather used to say. Likewise, there are numerous ways to back a trailer in to a dock. This is one method I use frequently. Where I normally move trailers there are two docks that have limited space in front of them. There simply isn’t much room to maneuver in front of these two docks. A 90 degree back-up is perfect, and this is how I do it. First, I position my cab directly across from the dock I intend to hit. For the sake of this video and showing newbies, I actually count the paces that I walk, indicating the distance I move forward. Beginning at the yellow line of the dock I intend to hit, I pace ahead 35 paces, and place a marker (in this case a used up roll of tape). Then I pull ahead until I am directly across from the marker. Back up, turning the wheel clear to the right, until the truck is jack-knifed at about a 90 degree angle to the trailer. Then I begin to turn the steering wheel to the left to straighten it out again. Normally I can hit a dock door on the first try. Here, in this video, I do a pull up to get it perfect. Using this method should get you close enough to the dock door to make some pull-ups to fine tune it to get it just right. Obviously I don’t get out and count 35 paces every time. In fact, I never do. I just did for this video to give newbies a rough idea of one method to back in a trailer. Someone commented that the dummy (me) should have just blind-sided the trailer in. For those who don’t know, blind-side backing is when the dock door you intend to hit is on your right. You ONLY BLIND-SIDE BACK IN TO A DOCK IF THERE SIMPLY IS NO OTHER WAY TO DO IT. Why would you risk scraping up your company’s trucks and trailers (which will likely get you caught, considering how prevalent cameras are, all over the place, recording your every more)? Find the easiest way to back in, period. Blind-side as a last resort, and generally only attempt it if you are more experienced. This video wasn’t geared to the experienced driver. It was geared to the newbies, and advice to the newbies should ALWAYS BE: do what is easiest, what you are most comfortable with, until you gain the experience and confidence to attempt a more difficult backing challenge, such as blind-siding. Keep in mind that there are MANY factors that will affect your backing technique, and no one single video could possibly cover all the different parameters: the length of the trailer (the one in this video is 53′. Some are 45′ and 48′); how far back your trailer tandems are (some people swear that backing is easier with the axles as far back as possible. Others swear it’s easier with them all the way forward.); the cab you are driving (the one in this video is a day cab, with twin drive axles. Other cabs are day cabs with a single drive axle, and yet others are full-length sleeper cabs….. all of which have different lengths which must be taken in to consideration.). Another important consideration is how much room you have to work with, and any obstacles around your truck. As a final thought, I know there will always be smart asses who will have to comment on how lame the video is, or how I didn’t drop the trailer in perfectly. These are the same asshole truck drivers that will mock you newbies as you are struggling to drop a trailer in a dock or trying to back in to a hole in a truck stop. Just get used to them, as there is always one or two smart asses who know it all and have to announce it to the world.

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