Backing Up
  • Only five commands: “Right, left, straight, and stop.” (the direction of the rear end of the rig). Fith is: "Get out back here and look."
  • Helper on driver's side - can you see driver in the mirror? Watch also up for branches etc. If not sure, stop, get out and look.
  • If backing alone, get out and place cones to guide you in. At night, light strobes.
  • On backup camera, put small pieces of tape on edges of MH. Same for distance.
  • Backing 5W
  • Backing 5W: think of a lever and fulcrum. On a bumper pull the pivot point is sticking out way behind your rear axle so it does not take much movement of the front end to change the point of leverage on the back. With a fifth wheel the fulcrum point is over the rear axle therefore the center of the truck has to move to change the pivot point to the trailer. Most people try to turn the steering wheel too much and end up swinging back and forth cranking on the steering wheel. With a fiver think about the truck following the trailer right into the spot you are trying to hit because that is about how it works. Make small adjustments and if they do not get the desired results pull up and start over, most people try to correct when it is already too late and the seesawing starts. Don't be afraid to pull up and try again it is much easier than trying to catch up to your trailer when you have already gone too far.
  • The above is also the reason a fifth wheel is safer to tow than a bumper pull. The bumper pull has much more leverage on your tow vehicle and can start to push you around when you get into a dangerous situation.
  • pull the rig parallel and as close as possible to the edge. Your first turn of the wheel will get the rear end started into the site every time. I can’t tell you how far to pull past the site because every wheel base is different. That will come after one or two successful attempts. The secret of this maneuver is in being able to see the edge of the road in a mirror from the very start and use it as a guide. That won’t happen if the rig is in the center of the road.
  • Pull forward far enough to make the initial entry without jacknifing a lot. Not pulling forward far enough is the most common parking mistake.
  • To release tension, after backing up pull forward 2-3 feet and back again.
  • Look at steering wheel as if each side had a chain hanging down from it…when you look in your mirror and see too much trailer on the left side, pull down on your left chain…when you see too much on your right side, pull down on your right chain parking procedures
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