*The average semi truck and trailer is 70 to 80 feet long – 4 end-to-end make a football field.
*Depending on road conditions, the weight of the load, and several other factors, the length of time to stop an eighteen-wheeler is 40% greater than that of an automobile. To be sure, it takes much more time to stop than an automobile… period.
*Trucks only have ten brakes, NOT eighteen, as some have told me they thought. Trucks made now are required to have anti-lock brakes.
*The most common amount of gears in an 18-wheeler today is ten forward and two reverse gears. However, they can range from 9, 10, 13, 15, and 18 gears!
*The flaps underneath the semi-truck trailer are there to improve performance. Wind skirts under the trailer significantly reduce wind resistance and reduce airflow around the trailer. This is a big fuel economy benefit.
*According to the Department of Transportation, freight tonnage is expected to increase 70 percent between 1998 and 2020.
*In 1919, C.L. Cummins invented the first semi-truck diesel engine. In the 1930s, Peterbilt designed the semi-truck body.
*While the cost of semi-truck insurance will vary by the insurance provider, drivers can expect the monthly cost of insurance for a semi-truck to be an average of 10 to 30 times higher than the monthly cost of insurance for a personal vehicle (due to the increased injury potential of a truck accident).
*Most semi-tractors have powerful engines and a manual transmission with 12 and 18 gears. These rigs are typically configured with three axles and 10 wheels–two on the front axle and dual tires on both sides of the rear axles.
*Many semi-tractors feature sleeping quarters behind the cab. These accommodations may range from a sleeping bunk to miniature efficiencies decked with microwave ovens, refrigerators, and even TVs. CB radios and thunderously loud air horns are other common semi-tractor accessories.
*Since fuel economy has become a crucial factor in freight transportation, Freightliner’s new Cascadia semi-tractor designers used the results from 2,500 hours of aerodynamic tests in a wind tunnel to improve its mileage capabilities.
In addition to a lightweight aluminum cab that is both wider and quieter than other semi-tractors, the Cascadia features ergonomic controls designed specifically for driver comfort. But these innovations are not cheap–the Cascadia is priced at more than $120,000.
Manufacturers are making great strides in technology for truckers, including more efficient motors and some outstanding safety features such as blind side monitors for semi trucks.