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Tips for Backing Up the Big Rig

July 10, 2016
By Jeffery White

Driving a big rig is a big responsibility. You are behind the wheel of a massive, heavy vehicle, and you have to be very careful. You need to be confident when you are driving, and that can be a challenge, even for veteran drivers. Those who are fresh out of school and who are just getting started in the field will often have the most trouble backing the vehicle up to a loading dock. It requires skill and care to do properly, as well as confidence. By remembering a couple of easy tips, you can increase your success so you do not have to keep repositioning the vehicle.

Keep Calm When Driving Your Big Rig

Take a breath and think about what you are doing. Look at the angles and think about the size of your vehicle. Picture backing up in your mind, and think about all of the actions you will have to take, before you actually do it in the real world. Visualization can help more than you might realize, and it can help to increase your confidence when you actually start to move the truck.

Remove Distractions

Being distracted when you are driving a big rig, and especially when you are trying to perform a tricky maneuver such as backing into a loading dock, is very dangerous. It is essential that you eliminate all of the distractions in the truck. This means you should turn off the radio, turn the ringer off of your phone, and only focus on the task at hand.

Check Your Mirrors

Always take the time to check your big rig mirrors to make sure they are in the right position before you begin backing up. Doing this before you start backing up means that you won’t have to fiddle with the mirrors when you are trying to park.

Position the Truck in the Right Spot

The biggest key to success is to get your truck into the right position before you have to start backing up. Depending on the loading dock, this means different things. Sometimes, you will be able to drive straight ahead and then you will simply be able to back up to the dock. Other times, you might have to go around a curve to get to the dock. In those cases, you will want to use the jack maneuver, which you should have covered in your big rig driving school.

Get Some Help on the Ground

Sometimes, it is difficult to see what’s happening because there could be vehicles, or the dock, that is in your blind spot. Whether this is the case or not, it’s generally a good idea to have some help from people on the ground, who can guide you into the spot. If there is no one available, you should get out and look to get a picture of what’s in the area.

Take your time and stay calm. If you don’t get it the first try, it’s okay. Take another breath and do it again.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it and is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual professional advice. If you’d like to establish a relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official.