One of the skills new drivers will need to develop is setting up for a dock….. getting proper truck position, in order to be able to back into a loading dock.
Backing up a big rig is probably the hardest part in learning to drive well. Fortunately, there are a few ways to aid in the learning process.
Always have a good look at the dock and surrounding obstacles before setting up your position to back in.
If the dock can’t be seen from the street, park the truck on the street and walk in to survey the area. It’s easier than having to back out after nosing in and finding your truck won’t fit.
If the area you need to use to back in is riddled with objects like stacks of skids or parked cars, ask the shipper to clear the area for you. Many shippers are either ignorant or don’t care if you’ve got enough room. Their standard line is ‘We get trucks in here all the time. Go ahead and back in’” .
Remember, to most shippers, a UPS van is the same as on over-the-road truck with a 53′ trailer. They’re all just trucks to most of them.
If you hit something like a parked car while backing in, it’s money out of your pocket and damage to your driving record, not his.
Don’t let anyone ridicule you or embarrass you into trying to back into an ugly spot. It’s still money out of your pocket, or it could cost you your job. It’s your fault, no one else’s, if you cause damage.
Tips For Setting Up For a Dock (Backing up to a Target)
- When positioning to back up, maneuver in such a way that the rear of the trailer will track as straight into the dock as possible.
- Then, when reversing, simply follow the track of the rear of the trailer into the dock, straightening the cab and trailer as soon as possible.
- There’s nothing wrong at all with hanging out the driver window and looking back at the rear of your trailer as you are backing up. Direct sight line is better than relying totally on a mirror.
- Pull forward to straighten up as often as needed.
- Don’t forget a truck has 2 sides. Watch both of them.
- Stop, get out and look as many times as it takes to get into the dock without hitting anything. Potential for damage is much greater when backing up. It’s worth the time to stop, get out and check. Before contacting the dock, get out and check that dock guards on the building are not going to contact the back of your trailer.
- Those guards are really good at knocking trailer doors right off the trailer. Check at the same time to ensure dock locks on the building are in the open position and will not hit your ICC bar.
- Don’t be in a hurry. Take all the time you need to do it safely.
- Don’t trust a spotter. They can’t see the entire truck and trailer at the same time anymore than you can. Get out and look for yourself.
- Ease gently into the dock, while feathering the clutch. When you feel your vehicle against the dock, set all brakes and get out again to check the area where the trailer is contacting the door.
- Ensure that your trailer is in the door straight, so the dock plate can match up to the trailer floor all the way across.
- Backing up a big rig when you’re setting up for a dock, is much like riding a bike. It takes some time to get the hang of it. Go slowly, carefully and don’t get discouraged. It does take practice to get it right.
More Pages You May Like
- How to Shift an 18 Speed in a Big Rig
- Double Clutching Method
- Chaining Up a Big Truck
- Setting Axle Weights on a Big Rig