Back That Thang Up!

“She can’t back her way out of a wet paper bag.”

Wow, do I remember those words ringing in my ears. It hurt my feelings so badly, I had to hold back the tears. I didn’t want any of those people know I’d heard them, or how they’d made me feel. I was going to be as tough and rough as any of those drivers! But…they were right.

When I first started driving truck, I think backing was the hardest thing to learn. There is a myth that screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-3-24-38-pmwomen have trouble with skills like backing vehicles and trucks up properly. I also knew that I’d seen plenty of wonderful, qualified women drivers. So, with those mentors in my head I began my pursuit of being “the best damn backer” around.

It is said that women use primarily the right side of their brains, but they can use both sides more than men. The right side is the emotional, less logical side. Men, however use primarily the left side, which includes motor skills and logic. Since, women do not activate the left side as often as men, we need to work slightly harder to utilize motor skills, which are essential when backing.

Here’s the way I think of it: when you are backing any kind of a trailer and using your mirrors to do it, you have to remember your steering wheel has to go in the opposite direction of the way you want your trailer to go while still remembering that everything in the mirror is backwards as well. Tough right? Right, and it took me a good chunk of time and embarrassing episodes before it finally registered.

My advice to any person attempting to learn to back up a truck is to train your mind to access the left part of your brain. Just don’t let the process overwhelm you it’s accomplishable if you are as determined as I was. It took my friend Bobby and a whole lot of practice before my brain finally got the message.

Watch me now though, I can back just about any kind of trailer or vehicle up. It’s all a matter of working that left side of your brain. Also, practice makes perfect, and never underestimate the support of a VERY patient friend! Happy trucking!

Read more from author Robyn Mitchell!