Best Practices – How to Backup and Park a Tractor-Trailer Safely in a Truck Stop

Written by Mesilla Valley Transportation

Jun 5, 2019


Being one of the leading truckload carriers in the country, Mesilla Valley Transportation sees to it that every driver puts safety first. We want all our drivers to return home to their families in one piece, so we train them in all aspects of safety. Our training strategy ensures that all drivers are fully prepared to get behind the wheel.

Every truck driver needs to master the skill of backing up. Below are ten safety tips on how to back a trailer into a parking space without injuring yourself, others or the equipment you’re in.

1. First things first, when in a parking lot or crowded area, never exceed 5 M.P.H. This gives you enough time to react to any hazardous situations.

2. Once you’ve found a safe parking space, pull up to a 45-degree angle from the targeted spot. Alternatively, as Gary “Oz” Ozenbaugh likes to call it, the 11 o’clock position. When doing this, always check your surroundings.

3. Next, apply your brakes and put your truck in neutral to complete G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Look). Do a brief walk around to make sure there aren’t any possible hazards present. Make sure your tires are full, and your skirt isn’t loose.

4. After that, make sure to secure your wings (also called trailer tails). It is essential to latch both wings together. If not done correctly, it could damage your trailer, as well as someone else’s.

5. Once back inside the truck, prepare to back up! Make sure to put your seatbelt on first. Then, turn on your hazard lights and honk your horn a few times. This alerts everyone in the area that you’re beginning to back up.

6. Always have your windows rolled down. This helps you become vigilant of the area you’re in. You’ll be able to hear horns and possible warning shouts. It also enables you to stick your head out of the window to get a better visual while backing in.

7. Make sure to use your mirrors to scan the perimeters.

8. If at an angle, pull forward to straighten out your trailer. Once you see your tail in your mirror, begin to slowly back up.

9. Once half-way into the designated spot, double check your perimeter by completing G.O.A.L. one last time.

10. Lastly, once you feel comfortable in the spot, place your truck in neutral and apply your brakes. You can then turn off your vehicle.

If you follow these steps correctly, you should be able to safely back into a parking spot. As a driver, you must always put safety first! If you have any questions or concerns regarding safety, contact our safety department at (915) 791-8700.


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