18-Wheeler Fact List
- The average trailer length is 53 feet and they can haul up to 80,000 lbs of cargo. 18-wheelers can haul longer trailers and carry heavier loads, however, drivers will have to get special permits and have escorts. The type of permit and amount of escorts can vary depending on the state, total weight, height of the cargo, and length.
- Typical 18-wheelers weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 times more than the average passenger vehicle.
- A fully loaded semi can take the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. However, because of the physics of resistance, it can take a longer distance if the roads are smooth, creating less resistance.
- The typical lifespan of an 18-wheeler engine is 800,000 miles or more than a passenger vehicle. If you have ever wondered why truck drivers don't turn off their rigs even when they sleep, its because they are designed for continuous use. They never have to shut their engine off unless it needs some work done to it.
- 18-wheeler engines have 300-400 more horsepower than the average engine of a car and they also have 900-1,800 feet/pound of torque to carry such heavy loads. With that being said, the engines are roughly 6 times larger than the one in your car. Because of the sheer size difference, a big-rig can create a massive amount of force when it hits an object.
- A tractor-trailer needs a minimum of 55 feet to perform a successful u-turn.
- A jackknife occurs when the cab of an 18-wheeler is at 45 degrees in comparison to the trailer.
- The most common cause of a jackknife accident is sudden braking. The tractor slows at one speed and, depending on how loaded the trailer is, it will travel faster and cause a jackknife.
Consider the oil and gas industry in West Texas, as well. Not only is working in refineries or in the extraction and drilling process dangerous but driving all those distances to and from job sites can be as well. Sometimes we forget that those drilling rigs and other huge commercial trucks have to move from site to site bringing supplies and moving products. As such, it's natural to see an increase in 18-wheeler accidents if there is a rise in the number of rigs on the roads. One factor to consider is that if the oil industry is booming, then more and more drivers are needed to transport things. Chances may be that there are more inexperienced truckers on the road than usual during a boom. Everyone has to start a new profession somewhere, but inexperience may lead to more deadly wrecks.