Backing up a semi-trailer tips

backing up

Backing up a semi-trailer is among the most challenging tasks a driver can acquire, and much more challenging to master.

Many inexperienced drivers, as well as some more seasoned drivers, struggle with this issue. That, however, does not have to be the case. Here are six of the most effective strategies for backing up a semi-trailer safely.


This is self-evident, but with good cause. The most effective technique to feel more confident backing up a semi-trailer is to practice.

If you have the opportunity, practice at an empty lot or rest area. It’s simpler to master your skills in an empty area than when you’re trying to back into a tight dock with shippers and receivers gazing at you.


G.O.A.L stands for “Get Out and Look” and is the best strategy to protect your gear and environment. Although it may appear to be basic sense, some drivers avoid using this technique because they believe it makes them appear inexperienced. However, the consequences of not doing so can be severe.

Get out and look no matter how many times you have to! It’s preferable to be safe than to be the one who drove into something or someone because they were too busy to go out and look.

Pay Attention to Your Wheel

This is a tip that drivers learn during CDL training and one that many seasoned drivers still use.

Simply place your left hand on the bottom of the turning wheel. The trailer will move in the same direction as you turn the steering wheel. If you turn the wheel left, the trailer will go left, and right if you turn the wheel right. Then it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on your rear view mirror and not over-steering.

It appears too easy to be true, but it is a tried and true method.

It can also be handled the other way around, with the driver placing his or her hand on the top of the steering wheel and turning it in the opposite direction of where the trailer should travel, but it’s all a question of personal preference.

Avoid blind siding

It will, without a doubt, lower the chance of an accident.

However, you’ll most likely be backing up behind another car or a parked trailer.

Take a mental image of your target location first if blind side in is absolutely essential.

Then, as you approach the spot, arrange your rig such that the trailer is in the finest position possible for backing in with the least amount of angle and turning.



If you’re attempting to parallel park a car on a city street, anybody can spot you.

That can’t apply to backing a semi-trailer into a loading dock, which is not an easy task. While they may be attempting to assist, spotters without truck driving expertise might cause more harm than good since they are unfamiliar with the technicalities of managing such a large vehicle.

The G.O.A.L strategy is your best option unless you know they’re an experienced driver.

Learn When to Say No

In many aspects of life, if your intuition tells you that something is a horrible idea, it most likely is.

This is also true for backing up a semi-trailer. If you honestly believe your trailer won’t make it in, there’s no shame in saying “No.”

You are far more skilled regarding your trailer than they are. Don’t be hesitant to ask for rubbish or a stack of pallets to be moved out of the way so you can securely back in. It is vital for you and your truck to be safe.

Practice and experience are the keys to backing up a tractor-trailer successfully. Nobody comes from CDL school as an expert. You’ll be an expert at backing up in no time if you trust your skills as a competent driver.