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How to back up a tractor-trailer: Video and step-by-step guide
Whether you're a new driver still learning the basics or an experienced driver wanting to brush up on your skills, watch Schneider's video on how to back up a tractor-trailer.
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August 14, 2020

Learning how to back up a tractor-trailer can be one of the most challenging things to do as a truck driver. The various steps to remember in addition to staying patient can be tricky for both inexperienced and veteran drivers.

In the below video, two previous Schneider drivers, who are now part of Schneider’s Curriculum and Development team, demonstrate how they complete a basic 45-degree back. They also explain how to modify the back if you have less forward room.

How to back up a tractor-trailer video

Please note that the list and video below are just examples. It is important to remember the type of driver you are, the company you work for and the type of truck you drive can impact how you back up a tractor-trailer. Be sure to consult your company guidelines or speak with your leader for more information about backing a semi-truck.

How to back up a tractor-trailer step-by-step guide

1. Move down parallel to the hole, staying close to it.

2. Stop at the halfway point of the hole.

3. Observe the hole – make sure there are no obstacles that could interfere with the back.

4. Drive forward until left shoulder is halfway down the next trailer.

5. Turn wheel hard right and hold until the tractor comes to the noon position.

6. Cut back hard left, to nine o’clock.

7. When tractor gets to nine o’clock position, straighten out wheels and stop.

8. Get out of tractor and walk around trailer. Check for obstacles on all sides.

9. Get back into truck, put seat belt back on, honk the horn.

10. Begin backing at idle speed, do not start turning wheel.

11. Start coming left with steer tire.

12. Pull forward with wheels at a hard right to straighten out.

13. Look behind you and begin backing at idle speed to angle in.

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    About the author
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    Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."