Tractor Trailer Facts

March 9, 2020
Tractor Trailer Facts Peel Law Firm

Common Tractor Trailer Facts For You to consider

My most significant cases I’ve been against have been tractor trailer companies for terrible catastrophic crashes. Here are some interesting facts that I’ve picked up over the years:

  • The weight of a loaded eighteen wheeler is usually 80,000 lbs. [40 tons]. That is without any oversize or overweight permits.  In comparison,  the average automobile weighs over somewhere around 4,000 lbs. [2tons]. So, an 18 wheeler weighs 20 times more than your car. A Suburban SUV is around 6,000 [3 tons].  For your 4,000 lbs. automobile to hit with the same force as an 18 wheeler at highway speed, the automobile would have to be traveling at over 240 mph!
  • Length of eighteen wheelers - The trailer alone is usually 53 feet. Sometimes you will notice that number on the back. The average total length of an eighteen wheeler varies greatly depending on the type of cab that is pulling the trailer.  But the overall average is 70-80 ft. long.  The standard height of eighteen wheelers is:  13′ 6″. The width is 102” or 8’6”.
  • 18 wheelers need a lot more room to stop. You will sometimes see emergency “runaway ramps” filled with pea gravel at the bottom of particularly steep hills. The length of time to stop an eighteen wheeler is 66% greater than that of an automobile at 65 mph. Depending on the weight of their load,  road conditions,  and other factors.  To be sure,  it takes a much greater time to stop than an automobile.
  • Trucks only have 10 brakes NOT eighteen as some have told me they thought.  Trucks made now are required to have anti-lock brakes.
  • Tractor trailers are required to have conspicuity tape which is the red and white dashed reflective tape around the trailer. That way even if the trailer is broken down or parked your headlights feel better illuminated.
  • An 18 wheeler also has a fifth wheel. The “fifth wheel” on an 18 wheeler is a round plate behind the cab that is backed under the trailer that couples  [hooks together] the trailer to the truck. It locks the trailer in place with a pin but still allows the trailer to turn freely. you can easily see the fifth wheel when the tractor is bobtailing.  “Bobtailing” is the term used when a truck is driving WITHOUT the trailer attached.
Mr. Peel and his staff are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. The environment was inviting and not intimidating in the least. They make you feel like they truly care about you and your case. Mr. Peel answered any questions I had without making me feel like a burden or a dummy. I would definitely recommend him for your personal injury law needs.
Rachel M.
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More Tractor Trailer Facts

  • The most common amount of gears in an 18 wheeler today is 10 forward and 2 reverse gears.  Although they can range from 9, 10, 13, 15, and even 18 gears! Eighteen wheeler drivers use a “double-clutch” technique for shifting.  It is much different to drive a truck compared to a car with a standard transmission.
  • Tandem sometimes incorrectly refers to a set of TWO tires. The correct definition of Tandem is a set of two axles, with one axle immediately following the other.  By distributing the load over two axles, each axle bears less weight.  Because there are laws limiting the amount of weight that can be carried on each axle, distributing the weight over more axles allows a greater total amount of weight to be carried. The reason for these laws is the damage that is done to the road bed by the heavy loaded wheels. An eighteen wheeler has a total of five (5) axles.
  • A list of tractor trailer facts. would not be complete with out. this one. A jack-knife accident is when the trailer contacts the tractor by the trailer “coming around” on the driver. It is said that once a trailer exceeds a 45 degree angle, compared to the tractor, that a jack-knife is inevitable. This can be caused my many things and happens when the trailer wheels start to skid and actually ends up moving faster than the cab. Usually this happens on icy or wet roads but it can happen on dry roads when the trailer is empty and the driver has to do some very hard braking.

Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in truck, motorcycle, and car crashes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.

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