Tag Archives: truck driver training

Backing Up Badly and Driving Guardedly: Weeks 2 & 3 of Truck Driver Training

Truck driver training school, tractor-trailer, big rig

Erich gives backing up his best shot.

You’d Better Back Up While I Try Backing Up

In my experience of regular – non-truck – driving, there’s two things people don’t do very well: parallel parking and backing up. Then there’s all the stuff they simply fail to do, like looking both ways at an intersection and always signalling before a turn or lane chance. But I’m not here to rant.

In the business of operating a tractor-trailer, parallel parking is something you’ll do once in a while, I’m told. But backing up is a daily occurrence. You have to reverse into a loading dock every time you deliver goods to your destination. Being proficient at it isn’t just a good thing; it’s essential.

And it’s hard to do. Consider how long a tractor-trailer is: a combined @ 65-71 feet. Bear in mind that you have two separate units joined only by a steel pin and a coupling device. Obviously, you’ll never master this on your first day of trying. I definitely didn’t.

I don’t think I was horrible at backing up, although my more experienced co-trainee Eric might disagree. As might the two instructors who were looking on. The purpose of training is to work together to make everyone a good driver. So, they may have decided to encourage me and not tell the truth: ‘You suck at backing up.’

They didn’t have to tell me anything. I did suck at it. But it was day one of reversing for me. I’d never backed up anything bigger than a small U-Haul truck and that was many years ago. Continue reading

Circle and Check: My First Week of Truck Driver Training

truck driver training, AZ truck driver

Me and the red truck I have been training with.

Secure and damage-free.

Working (in proper working order).

Free of obstructions.

These are key measuring points in the circle check, the round-the-truck pre-trip inspection that every driver needs to complete each day before hitting the road. This is what I have spent the majority of my first week of truck driver training on, trying to memorize.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time walking around their car or truck and carefully examining it for possible defects – namely that everything in view or under the hood is secure and damage free, working properly, and free of obstructions. In the trucking industry, it’s a whole different story. You spend a lot of time doing exactly that, in the name of safety. Safety matters most in this business. Nothing else is even close. Continue reading