Alley Dock Parking

Alley Dock parking is a reverse parking maneuver requiring the driver to back up at a 90-degree angle into a warehouse dock from the driver’s side. It is one of the most common backing maneuvers. Learn the steps as well as how this maneuver compares to other parking maneuvers.

How to Complete an Alley Dock Parking

Performing an alley dock backing is key to being a successful professional truck driver. Often the driver is in a situation where they have to dock their truck in between two trucks or barriers to back into the dock door. 

The necessary steps to complete an alley dock parking are:

  1. Set yourself up where the truck creates a right angle to the alley to create a sight-side backing (backing to the left side).
  2. Turn left to get the trailer as close as possible to the alley, then check the mirrors for clearance.
  3. Adjust the angle to the alley. Turn right to increase the angle and left to decrease the angle.
  4. Once the trailer is aligned, turn the wheel all the way to the left to align the truck and the trailer in the parking spot.
  5. If they are not aligned, turn the wheel right and pull forward to align the truck and trailer with the alley.
  6. Check the clearance behind the trailer to see how far to back up
  7. Reverse the truck and finish with a straight-line backing to complete the maneuver.

Other Types of Parking

While it is a common and necessary maneuver to perform, it is not always required in the CDL test. They will only ask you to complete three backing maneuvers:

  • Straight line backing
  • Offset – either to the left or right
  • Parallel Parking or Alley Docking

Even though not every type of backing is on the CDL test, it is still important to know all the types of backing and their differences.

  • Straight Line Backing – this is the simplest and easiest method of backing. The name is pretty self-explanatory. All you need to do is back in a straight line without hitting the boundaries.
  • Offset backing – This is when the spot isn’t directly behind you. On a CDL exam, you will be asked to complete an offset dock to the left or to the right.
  • Parallel Parking – This backing maneuver is considered by many as the most difficult and is used the least. You may be asked to parallel to the right, which would be the conventional side, or to the left, which would be the driver’s side.
  • Jacknife Backing – Sometimes, you won’t be able to finish your maneuver with a straight line back. This will require you to jackknife the trailer to get as close to the dock as possible and not stick out. There are two types: the sight side, which is to the left, and the blind side, which is to the right and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Alley Dock Parking Tips

Alley dock parking can be tricky and sometimes frustrating, so here are some tips to help you master this backing maneuver:

  • Get out and check your surroundings – Don’t be afraid to get out and check how much room there is between the truck and the dock and look out for any obstacles
  • Take your time – Parking a semi-truck into a dock is not a race against time. Slow down and remember all your training, and don’t let other cars or people make you nervous.
  • Use a spotter – Having another person outside of the vehicle can help ensure that you don’t hit anything and that you properly dock the truck. However, you shouldn’t solely depend on a spotter you should still get and check your surroundings.
  • Practice! – Just like any other skill, alley dock parking takes time to perfect. The best thing you can do is attempt an alley dock backing over and over until you are confident with it.

Conclusion

As a truck driver, you must be proficient at all types of backing maneuvers. It is crucial to be skilled in alley dock parking because it occurs so frequently. Regardless of how you are backing, remember to take your time, constantly check your surroundings, and go through the steps you learned in training.