If you just started driving a commercial trailer, there is a lot that you have to learn about how to operate it as effectively as possible. Here are four tips that will help you become more effective at backing up your commercial trailer.
#1 Avoid Backing Up
One of the first ways to become better at backing up your commercial trailer is to avoid backing up. Survey where you need to go beforehand and figure out what you can maneuver your commercial trailer into and out of the space without having to back up. Thinking and planning ahead should help eliminate any unnecessary back-up situations. Always try to find a way to pull through or park next to things instead parking in a way where you are going to have to back in or out.
#2 Use A Spotter
When backing up a large trailer, it is smart to use a spotter. A spotter can help provide you with directions on how to move your vehicle. Make sure that you and your spotter are on the same page with hand signals. Traditional hand signals, such as a palm facing forward hand for a stop sign and moving your hand towards your body to signal continued movement, usually work best.
#3 Try To Stay Straight
When you back up, try to stay as straight as possible. Staying straight will make the process easier. If you back up at a strange angle, you risk getting your cab and your trailer misaligned, which will force you to make numerous tiny micro-turns in order to get straightened out with the best case scenario. In the worst case scenario, your trailer can become detached from your cab, which is why it is best to try to go for the straightest angle you can while backing up.
#4 Take Your Time
Finally, take your time. Do not feel pressured by the traffic that may build up as you are backing in or out of a space. They are able to wait, and if necessary, your spotter can direct the traffic around your truck. It is better to take your time backing up then hurry up and cause an accident with another vehicle or damage to surrounding property and buildings.
Incorporate the four tips above into your driving routines and skills in order to improve at backing up your commercial trailer. These tips also work well with backing up a regular trailer as well