10 Hidden Details You Didn't Know About 18-Wheelers

Trucks are the backbone of transportation. The 18-wheelers lugging down along the highway are much more nuanced than someone may think.

These massive trucks are the reason you’re able to go to your grocery store and get the foods you’re craving or the pair of jeans you see on the rack at the mall, regardless what it is you’re after, your goods appear from the hard work of all transport truck drivers.

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Find out a little bit about what you’re driving next to daily and discover the trucking truth about the build, ability and surprising details of 18-wheelers.

10 When Turning

It’s noticeable that when a transport truck turns, it takes a while, here’s why. The road is 24 feet wide and the turning radius is about 55 feet. Not only is limited space an issue, but so is the low visibility. When there isn’t enough space or a second lane for a driver to use they can tip over. This would leave a lot of damage and could be threating to those around, especially because of the heavyweight involved. Therefore, taking their time is key.

9 The Dimensions

It is obvious that these vehicles are huge and take over the road with their size, but how big are they? In length, they vary between 70 feet to 80 feet and are about 20 feet to 22 feet in width with a height just under 14 feet. With all that space, they can carry around 80,000 pounds worth of products scattered throughout the container.

8 Cost

These aren’t cheap transportation, unless you have about a quarter of a million dollars to spare. They can be purchased for about $260,000 or more. The container ranges between $30,000 - $80,000 and the truck itself from $130,000 – 180,00. The price of 18-wheelers also depends on the size, fuel efficacy, horsepower and cargo capacity. As well as whether or not it has a room built-in behind the driver’s seat to sleep in.

7 Vroom Vroom

How is the engine different from a cars? First off, it is about six times larger in size and weight and because of that, it will have some extra features. Some of those included in an 18 -wheeler, but not a car is the air-braking system and turbo charges.

In comparison, the engine of an 18-wheeler has 400 – 600 horsepower, designed to drive close to 1,600,000 Kilometres, can hold 15 gallons of oil and has 12 or more gears included. On the other hand, a car engine has 100 -200 horsepower, can drive about 300,000 Kilometres, can hold six quarts of oil and has up to five gears inside.

Usually, they are kept running to keep the engine warm and keep oil circulating. Unless, the oil is being changed, for service engines or to follow the anti-idle laws out there. Also, because they run on diesel, weather conditions need to be thought about since the cold will thicken it, and that’s not desirable.

6 Amount Of Diesel Needed To Operate

They hold about 125 to 300 gallons of fuel, on average. Typically they will get 10 kilometres out of every fuel gallon. And it could cost close to $65.00 an hour in fuel as the truck is on the road.

The amount used will change for a variety of reasons including, the route driven, the age of the truck and needed maintenance.

Neat fact: Fuel is distributed between two tanks to distribute weight. They can be filled up from each side of the cab.

5 Speed

Seeing an 18-wheeler usually brings up a desire to pass them and get in front of them for a more comfortable drive. Not only do they suppress your vision ahead, but they drive respectfully on the road, following the speed limit. At any stop light or sign, they take their time to get up to the speed limit. This is based on the interest of fuel economy and they need to stay within a certain gas mileage by the end of their trek.

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Drivers also can’t be sure what might pop out of nowhere, so keeping within the speed range to stop for anything is needed, especially since it takes longer to stop as well. Also because they can roll over easier than a car, safety first.

4 Stopping

The amount of time and the complexity of stopping depends whether these trucks are loaded, meaning there is more weight on board, if they are bobtailing, and/or the conditions of the road. Generally, 40% more time is needed to stop compared to the average car.

3 Bobtailing

This term refers to a truck driving without the trailer attached. As it turns out, they are more difficult to drive and dangerous when driven this way because the handling is a lot different. It is twice as bad when it’s been rainy since they can slip easier and the tires aren’t as firmly placed on the ground.

This term came forward for two different reasons. The description of a Bobtail cat, which is a cat that has a short tail. And Bobtail is also referred to as a tractor driving without any attachments. The 18-wheeler gained this term because it also drives with two parts.

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2 Most Dangerous Type Of Accident

Any sort of collision is a horrible one. A common misfortune is a jackknife. This happens when the rear wheel of the truck locks up causing the trailer to swing around at an acute angle. Another major concern is for a transport truck to tip over on the road, otherwise referred to as a rollover. This is done when a truck travels over a loose surface, such as dirt or mud, followed by the driver over correcting their steering in the process of trying to get back on the asphalt.

1 Being Your Own Boss

There are numerous trucking companies out there, each with their own rules. Sometimes, a driver won’t like those rules and will quit, only to start a business of their own. When this occurs you might notice some odd features on their trucks. This could range from a weird paint job to stuffed animals on the roof. Typically, you won’t see decorated trucks around the holidays either, unless they are privately owned. This is their way of saying, “ I am the owner, and no one can tell me what to do, or what not to do.”

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