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Blindside Backing – Tips and Dangers

Blindside backing is a difficult and sometimes dangerous maneuver. Learn some tips to help you when this is your only parking option!

Blindside backing requires the parking of a truck into a space-constrained on the passenger’s side. In this article, you will learn the process of blindside backing, as well as tips and alternatives to this challenging method.

Image Courtesy of Georgia Driving Academy

Process of Blindside Backing

Blindside backing is when a driver has to park with an impediment to the passenger side of the vehicle. Drivers should avoid this type of backing if possible because of the complexity and lack of visibility inherent in the task. 

Blindside backing can be dangerous and result in damage to the truck, its surroundings, and even driver injury. Some truck lots now provide only sight-side only parking spots, which is the safest and most convenient for drivers. However, if it is the only option, follow these steps in order to ensure safe parking.

  • Check the area around and behind the truck. Make sure there is nothing in the way.
  • Determine where the truck needs to be positioned before backing into the spot
  • Pull forward past the spot(about two-thirds the length of the rig)
  • Turn the steering wheel to the left to make the trailer move to the right.
  • If needed, pull forward and reposition
  • Slowly reverse until the back of the trailer is aligned with the dock
  • Once aligned, turn the wheel to the right. S
  • Straighten the truck out and back into the dock

Image Courtesy of SGI

Tips for Blindside Backing

Blindside backing can be stressful and difficult due to poor visibility, close proximity to other trucks, curbs, and other challenging factors. Here are a few helpful tips that make the process a little smoother.

  • Use a spotter: Having a second set of eyes is always helpful when making complicated backing maneuvers. When using a spotter, it is important that both parties agree on a set of hand signals to determine when to stop, go, or turn left/right. Also, be sure the spotter is visible to the driver at all times. This ensures that miscommunication does not result in accidents.
  • Remove distractions: Blindside backing can be pretty stressful; removing distractions can help you remain calm under pressure. Things like the radio and other noises or anything that obstructs your view can hinder your ability to park safely.
  • Get out of the vehicle often to check your surroundings. There is limited visibility when blindside backing, so it is important to get out of the truck and check to see how much room there is to complete the backing. Additionally, check for anything that could get in the way and cause problems while backing.
  • Go slowly and avoid jack-knifing: Jack-knifing occurs whenever the trailer is moving faster than the cab of the truck and creates a 90-degree angle or “V,” causing damage at the point of separation. To avoid this mistake, make sure to go slow and steady and straighten out when possible.

Alternatives for Blindside Backing

Blindside backing should be a last resort method of backing. Avoid it whenever possible! The first thing to check prior to blindside backing is the opportunity to change positioning and approach to a more optimal method of parking.

Familiarizing yourself with your surroundings and analyzing the best course of action sometimes means avoiding blindside backing by simply adjusting your truck.

If possible, check to see if any of these methods of backing are feasible before continuing on with blindside backing.

  • Straight-line backing: This is the easiest way of backing up a truck. Position the truck so that it can reverse in a straight line into the parking spot.
  • Alley dock backing: This is the most common method of backing. In this case, the dock is on the sight side(left) of the driver. After moving the trailer toward the left and pulling forward a few times, straighten the truck and back in a straight line into the spot.
  • Sight-side jack-knife backing: This maneuver occurs when the dock is on the sight side of the driver but doesn’t end in a straight line back. This method of backing requires patience and skill to be completed but is still preferable to blindside backing.

Conclusion

Blindside parking is a difficult method of backing a truck into a space that is on the right side, or blindside, of the driver. This maneuver requires patience, and experience, and should be avoided if there are simpler and easier ways of backing available. If blindside backing is your only option, carefully follow exact instructions and take advantage of useful tips and always take your time in order to complete a safe backing.