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Facts You Should Know About Semi Trucks

With so many trucks on the roadway, many individuals may not give them a passing thought as they have become such a common part of transportation.

18 wheeler

However, it is important to understand many components about semi-trucks, both in order to educate and to fully understand what it takes to man these extremely powerful vehicles. As a whole, semi-trucks are used to transfer tons of consumer goods and resources across the country on a day to day basis. As noted by the Truckers Report, compared to compact cars there are many notable differences that should be considered when examining trucks.

The Semi Truck Engine

Semi truck engines

  • The first thing to keep in mind is that the car engine and semi-engine are entirely different. The engine of a semi-truck is up to 6 times larger than that of a car engine in both size and weight.
  • The average semi engine has 400-600 horsepower and around 1-2 thousand FT.LB or torque versus 100-200 horsepower and 100-200 FT.LB of torque.
  • Semi Engines, as opposed to car engines, are designed to run stop. The only time that they should be stopped is to change the oil, service the engine, or as a result of anti-idle laws.

Primary Components

  • Semi Engines can hold approximately 15 or more gallons of oil versus the 4-6 quarts of oil of a compact car.
  • The semi-engine will have around 12 or more gears versus the 4-5 gears present in the car.
  • It is equally standards to have a turbocharger, as well as an air-breaking system, which may be notably vacant in compact cars.

Other Considerations

  • The legal weight of a semi-truck is approximately 80,000lbs or 40 tons. That is without any type of oversized weight permits. This is compared to the average car, which weighs approximately 5,000lbs. As you can see in an 18 wheeler accident, the weight difference can lead to serious injury.
  • Per axle, the weight is steer: 12,000lbs, drives: 34,000lbs, and trailer: 34,000lbs.
  • Typically the dimension for a semi-truck is 70-80ft, measured from the center of the rear wheel to the center of the steer. The standard height is 13’ 6” and the standard wheelbase is 245” -265”.
  • The length of time needed to stop for semi-trucks is 40% greater than the time needed by compact cars. This is largely due to, and further affected by, the load weight, bobtailing, road conditions, and other factors.
  • The average turning radius of a semi-truck is 55 FT and 24 Ft for road width.
  • There is a fifth wheel on a semi-truck, located on a round plate above the drive tire that hooks together the trailer to the truck.
  • When a truck is driving without a trailer, this is known as bobtailing, which will make the truck handle very differently.

As one can see, the difference between cars and large trucks is more than merely visual differences, but their overall components are starkly different. As such, for truckers themselves and the cars they share the road, it is essential to understand and appreciate these differences. While these facts apply to big rigs, even smaller Amazon delivery vans can cause serious injury in an accident.

If you are in an accident with a big truck, look for an attorney in the state where the crash occurred who has substantial experience in trucking accidents. To speak with a top-rated Texas truck accident lawyer call (281) 893-0760!



About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.