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Facts about trucks

Trucks are a central part of travel and trade in many countries. In the United States trucks—and the profession of truck driving or “trucking”—is somewhat glorified as being as being an integral working-man portion of the very fabric of culture.

Trucks can carry various kinds of cargo long distances.
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Everyone has seen trucks traveling along the road, especially the large 18-wheelers. Below is a list of a few facts about trucks that you might not know:

• The flaps underneath semi-trucks trailers are there to improve performance. Wind skirts under the trailer reduce wind resistance and airflow around the trailer. This makes the truck run more smoothly and saves fuel.

• According to some studies, adding acetone to the fuel of semi-trucks can improve their performance. Apparently adding acetone at 2 percent of volume may increase the gas mileage by as much as 4 to 7 percent!

• According to the Department of Transportation, freight tonnage (meaning semi-truck delivered goods) is expected to increase 70 percent between 1998 and 2020.

• The average semi-truck trailer is between 28 feet and 57 feet.

• The “kingpin” is the part of a truck that connects the trailer to the truck.

• The average stopping time of an 18-wheeled semi-truck is 40 percent higher than that of a car. Thus, if a truck needs to break quickly it needs 40% more distance than a regular car would!

• The maximum legal weight for an 18-wheeled truck is 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons (compared to 5,000 pounds for a regular car). The huge size and weight of a truck is one reason why they are not allowed on many city roads.

• Despite the long-lasting image of the lonely trucker driving the back roads of America by himself, many truck drivers actually bring their spouses with them on long hauls since the “cabins” of the trucks are quite roomy (not unlike an RV).