The Hangman setup is another route to add to your repertoire.

Warning: This setup route should only be attempted under the close supervision of your trainer.

The space for this set up needs to be wide enough to accommodate your tractor and trailer’s length. You are responsible for determining whether or not the area is wide enough. If you are uncertain, you should find a way to approach the target space so that it is on your driver’s side.

Blindside maneuvers are risky. Although you will encounter situations where you will have no choice but to perform them, I suggest you avoid them whenever possible.

Here is a way to turn a potential Blindside into a natural Sight-side.

I call it the Hangman because the shape resembles the paper and pencil word guessing game by the same name.

I find it quickly becomes a favorite of many students.

the Hangman route traced by the tractor
Tractor path in red

The Hangman and the Z set up routes have entirely different shapes, yet everything else in common.

Both have three legs with the same objectives.

Leg A: get the trailer’s tires as close to the target space as possible by driving the tractor as close to it as you can.

Leg B: change the angle of the trailer by pulling away from the target space. It needs to be pointing at the hole eventually.

Leg C: change the angle of your tractor so that you maximize your view of the whole trailer and the target space from your driver’s side window. Stop when your tandems reach a Departure Path, and the trailer is pointed just past the target space.

With this set up you will usually attempt to get the tractor back to the front of the trailer immediately after putting the tractor into reverse. In the following image notice that the steering wheel is turned fully counterclockwise.

the Hangman position after Leg C
Position after Leg C.

Note: To help you understand why you should stop when the trailer is pointing past the target space and not at it, I should tell you about the axis of rotation. The axis of rotation is the spot that the trailer rotates around. It is at the center of the rear tandems.

I like to imagine my trailer as a rearward-facing arrow. Imagine the little plastic arrow like in the board game Twister, except the axis of rotation is not in the center, but in the rear at the center of the tandems.

Twister Arrow with pivot point in the center
Arrow with axis of rotation in the center
Arrow with pivot point in the rear
How I like to envision my trailer

Understand that when there is an angle between tractor and trailer while traveling in reverse, there will be sideways pressure on the kingpin. This will cause the trailer to rotate and point somewhere else.

I explain these in upcoming blog posts about ‘Arrow Awareness,’ and ‘Kingpin Pressure.’ Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Once you understand these concepts, you will have no trouble making a trailer go wherever you want it to.

Stay safe! Use all of that available space!

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