Written By: Daniel Ford | Nussbaum Driver
This is important no matter how much you may not want to admit it. No matter how long you’ve been driving G.O.A.L. is always a good idea. Before you start to park, in the middle of the maneuver, or just before you bump the dock, I can’t stress how important G.O.A.L. is.
So what is G.O.A.L.?
GET OUT AND LOOK!
When backing at any time, in any scenario, you should get out and look at your surroundings. Look at the area behind your truck; is it clear or is there something in the way that you need to move or avoid? Obstacles aren’t always stationary and you need to see what is there. A plastic trash bin could have been blown into your path, or a forklift cutting behind you that wasn’t there before is now in the way. Your mirrors are helpful but not foolproof, the only way to know for sure is to get out and look.
Before bumping the dock is another good time as well. Stopping about 10 feet from the dock will allow you to get out and look to see if anything, or anyone, has fallen off the dock and is behind you. You certainly wouldn’t want someone to have been goofing off on the dock, fallen behind your truck and you didn’t see him before finishing backing up.
Don’t let the pressure get to you when you are backing, this is the single most important skill (in my opinion) you can develop as a professional driver. Turn off the CB radio so you don’t hear the other drivers talking about you if you don’t get it right the first time. Ignore the trucks who creep up on you as you back in, when you have enough clearance, stop, wave them by, and create a peaceful area to work in. We all have to do it and no matter what you may hear no one does it right the first time every time.
You’ll be challenged by tight spaces and docks that were designed well before the 53’ trailer was standard, not to mention the increased size of some cabs. Just because you are told another driver did it before you, doesn’t mean it won’t be a challenge. That other driver may have had a 40’ trailer and a day cab. Take your time, get out, look, visualize, and don’t rush above all else.
Get out and look before you leave a truck stop or parking area you’ve been sitting at overnight. Look at your exit path before leaving; you never know who might be parked in a spot that wasn’t designed into the lot and is partially blocking a path.
G.O.A.L. isn’t about doing what your company tells you to do or for compliance sake. G.O.A.L. is about potentially saving lives. We have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country for both us and those around us. G.O.A.L. is about preventing accidents that should never happen in the first place.
Get Out And Look!