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The reverse curse: 6 truck driver tips to master slow maneuvering

Schneider Truck Backing Up
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February 7, 2017

Before driving an 18-wheeler, I had the neck of an aged Floridian driving a large Buick, and my accident involvement in a car was primarily when in reverse! I didn’t know how important that skill was then.

But things got better after training with Schneider. I have had only one problem while parking and got written up for it. Ultimately, after 11 years of driving, I have determined that slow maneuvers are the easiest way to ruin a good, safe driving record. The key word is slow.

6 tips to safely perform slow maneuvers

1. Take your time.

Sometimes we get pressured and try to get out of others' way only to cause our own troubles. Don't let others pressure you to work hastily. Take your time.

2. Be courteous and professional.

For the most part, all professional drivers will oblige you as they understand what you are dealing with — 70 feet of truck and trailer without the benefit of a lot of real estate underneath.

3. Maintain idle speed.

I try to move at idle speed when setting up to back into a spot. And to maintain that idle speed throughout the process, only applying the pedal when necessary. It only took about eight years for me to realize that! I kept giving in to pressure and would have to set up two times.

4. Don't let others' attitudes intimidate you.

I see drivers who are speeding through truck stops, making it a hectic experience for everyone. I also see a lot of drivers who sneer at the slower ones. Don't let that affect you. When you drive with Schneider, it's safety first and always.

5. Use your tools.

Using the horn, flashers and G.O.A.L. (get out and look) are all important steps, albeit backward ones, to the goal of 1 million safe miles.

6. Be proud of your company.

Schneider has over 5,000 drivers who have driven over 1 million consecutive miles safely. That speaks volumes for not just the drivers, but the company standards.


I am hopeful I can join that 1-million-mile safe driving club soon. I also think that on a personal level, I can be a much better driver. I am hopeful that my reverse curse has ended. Just in case, I will maintain my diligence.

Last summer, I had the privilege of teaching my 15-year old grandson to drive. He drove me everywhere and I found that I always had a tip to share with him. His mom stated to him that he was driving like a pro. Well, he was taught by one, I suppose.

I have finally graduated from training with my husband Joe and can share it with others. Maybe, just maybe, I can change the driving habits of the motoring public. One never knows.

Be safe!

Are you up for the challenge?

Apply for a job at Schneider and put your truck driving skills to the test.
About the author
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Sharon lives in southwest Alabama. She and her husband, Joe have driven team for 10 years with Schneider. A featured All-Star, Sharon also contributes to Extra Mile, the Schneider newsletter. When she isn’t on the road, she enjoys spending time with their grandkids, sewing, playing piano and photography.

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