If there’s one type of backing situation that new truck drivers dread, it’s the ones where they have to Alley Dock off a busy road. You’ll feel a lot more confident if you have a solid plan of action ahead of time. In this video I show you how I approach one.
Alley Dock video excerpt:
“When you start setting up to back in off of a street, the hope is that any oncoming cars will notice that a truck is getting ready to perform a backing maneuver and stop and give you room.
But unfortunately, that won’t always be the case. People are impatient. They’re in a hurry, they’re driving distracted, and let’s face it. There are some dumb asses out there.
Eventually, someone will be coming along, and all they will see is this opening, and they are going to head straight for it and try to get past you as quickly as possible.
Remember, this whole area will be a blind spot for you in this position.
I prefer a finish position that looks more like this.
This way, I block the whole road. And, I keep my tractor traveling parallel to and away from the danger zone.
Whereas here, my tractor would spend time traveling towards it.
I talked about the Danger Zone in a previous video. It’s everything
down the passenger side of your tractor and a common source of accidents.
I’m going to arrive at this finish position by using a modification of the Z setup route. Unfortunately, I don’t have a wide area to work with, so it will end up being a rough S-shape.
I want the rear of my trailer closer to the dock than the front, so I’ll pass close by the opening of the driveway and then pull away from it.
I’ll use all of my available space by cutting in here with my tractor just so my rear tandems end up that much closer to the dock.
I want the trailer tires on my driver’s side to end up following a curved path like this.
I visualize these curved paths as I pass by my dock space, and I don’t stop pulling forward until I see them arrive on it.
“The Offset Law”
I’ll watch the entire trailer to make sure it stays pointed where I need it.
I’ll focus on how my tractor interacts with the kingpin or the front of the trailer.
When I see that it’s close to pointing where I need it, I’ll start moving my tractor back to the front of the trailer.
Then I’ll finesse the front corners in my mirrors.
Well, there’s not much more to it than that. It’ll get easier after you do it a few times.
Imagine that curved path that your trailer tires will follow. It’s been my experience that most new drivers err on the side of not pulling up far enough and finishing the setup too early.
Hang in there.
You got this!
Thanks for watching, and be safe out there.”
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