How to Back Up a Truck & Trailer

by Gregory Crews

Backing up a truck with a 53-foot trailer attached can be tricky, but once learned, it can be a very important asset to driving a tractor trailer. There will be times when you will have to navigate through tricky turns and obstacles to place your trailer in the right place for loading or unloading of cargo. Mastering the art of backing up will take practice, but once you have done it successfully a few times, you will always remember it.

Adjust your mirrors to ensure you have a clear view to the back of the trailer. You will rely solely on your mirrors to navigate your trailer to the loading or unloading zone.

Inspect the area where you are backing up for any obstructions. Ensure your path is clear.

Place the truck in reverse and slowly engage the reverse gear. Ensure the parking brake and the trailer brake are off.

Position your hands at the six o-clock position on your steering wheel. This will keep turning the trailer less tricky: When you want to go left you will turn the wheel to the left, and when you want to go right you will turn the wheel to the right.

Accelerate slowly while keeping your truck straight. Use your driver side mirror as a guide. Using your driver side mirror will assist in navigating the trailer. Make sure your target stays lined up with the center of the rear of your trailer.

Stop the vehicle when you are close. Practice will help you to determine where the perfect stopping point is and how to judge it from your mirrors.

Tips

  • check Be sure to utilize both mirrors when backing. Constant focus on both sides of the tractor will aid you in preventing accidents and damages.
  • check If you get into a jam backing up, you can pull forward to straighten out and try again.

About the Author

Gregory Crews has been in the film industry for three years and has appeared in more than 38 major motion pictures and 16 television shows. He also writes detailed automotive tutorials. His expertise in the automotive industry has given him the skills to write detailed technical instructional articles.