Picture this …
You’re driving on that long and desolate road. At first you’re all alone—you’ve been alone for the last few dozen miles—and you’re getting sleepy. You turn on the radio, but there isn’t any music that you like … just advertisement after advertisement, and no matter how many times you’ve heard it, you refuse to watch the new Channing Tatum movie based on principle alone.
You’re about to doze off when suddenly headlights loom over at you on that dark highway from somewhere behind. The low and powerful rumbling you feel beneath you alerts you to the fact that it’s a semi-truck coming your way.
An excitement, much like the excitement of when you were a child comes over you, and you slow to await its approach. Semi-trucks have always fascinated you … the power, their style, and yet there’s not much you know about them, until now. So join us on that dark and desolate highway and learn something about these bestial monstrosities.
20 They Travel 140 Billion Miles A Year
That's right. They sure do cover a lot of ground. 140 Billion miles sure is a lot though, but just think of all the goods transported all over the States and Canada alone. And by the way, that number we mentioned—the 140 billion—is only in the States alone! So just imagine how many miles are traveled all over the world in a given year.
19 Agricultural and Building Materials Are The Most Frequent Goods Transported
That makes total sense, seeing that those are the goods that would have the greatest volume overall. In layman's terms: houses are big, and so are buildings, and we can't carry huge amounts of bricks on our backs or in cars, so trucks like these are totally necessary for the facilitation of construction. Just imagine all of the agricultural goods reaped every year! It would sure take a lot of trips in the family station wagon.
18 A Trailer’s Bakes Automatically Lock When Standing Disconnected From Rigs
This is true, and the brakes are only unlocked when the trailer is connected to the rig. The mechanism is interesting, and the trailer's breaks are then controlled by the truck's air pump, which releases the breaks automatically. Should a disconnection occur, the brakes on the trailer lock once again. This was designed for safety and efficiency.
17 Anti-lock Brakes - A Definite Must
And speaking of brakes, it was in 1997 that laws were passed in North America forcing all companies to build and provide anti-lock breaks for their big rig trucks. Too many disasters had occurred in the past up until that point, so this rule not only made sense, it was pretty much welcomed by one and all in the industry.
16 1,200 To 2,050 LBS Per Foot of Torque
So yeah, that's definitely a lot of power, we'd say. Makes sense, as they interestingly haul quite a few heavy loads, which we'll get into in just a little bit. The above fraction, however, is quite staggering when you think about it. Depending on size and age, that could be the equivalent of carrying 13 elephants! That sure is a lot of weight!
15 Just How Much Weight Can They Haul, Exactly?
And it goes beyond that. If we stop with the fractions and comparisons and give you the precise numbers, they can actually haul a whopping 300,000 pounds! These numbers come from Australia, where up to three trailers can be attached to a single rig. Now that can add up to three or four times the number of elephants we mentioned earlier!
14 Freightliner Is The Top-Selling Brand In The Industry
Freightliner was founded in 1942 and has been producing quality trucks ever since. This message has obviously gotten around, as they are the top dog in the industry; many companies trust their trucks for their strength, power and reliability. And in an industry where dependability and meeting deadlines is a key factor, there's no doubt in our minds why they do so well.
13 Just How Much Does Society Really Rely On Them?
Quite a bit it would seem. If it weren't for the farming industry and the construction industry, we'd wager that the big rig companies around the world would suffer considerably. But there are other industries that rely heavily on big rig trucks, specifically the fast food industry and the transport industry, but that list definitely can be quite longer. We can go on forever: computers, furniture delivery, moving companies and more.
12 Tesla Semi, Anyone?
Either you hate Tesla, or you love it. Perhaps there are those that can float somewhere in the middle of both opinions, but we'd say that people are rarely on the fence when it comes to this company. The company has been promising an official release for these trucks, stating that production will start as late or early as 2020. Prototypes have been spotted, and there are those that claim to have them officially out there on the roads would benefit our environment.
11 Some Epic Movies Have Been Made About And Involving Semi Trucks
You didn't live through the ‘80s if you didn't see Big Trouble In Little China starring the incomparable Kurt Russell. Ditto for Stallone's Over The Top! The ‘90s also brought some great films involving semi-trucks, specifically Black Dog with Patrick Swayze and Breakdown starring, well what do you know ...? Kurt Russell was also in that one! The big rig in all of these films was not only a prop, but practically a character that was just as important as the cast.
10 About 70% Of All Goods Are Delivered By Big Rig Trucks
A wee bit more math here, so pay attention. That means you, way at the back with her feet up on the desk! Wake up! Okay, now that I have your undivided attention ... this fraction is actually pretty important, the fraction here being 70 out of 100. Essentially, that percentage of goods transported at all in the States is transported by big rig trucks. Pretty simple, until our next point, that is.
9 However, Out Of All Commercial Trucks, Semi Trucks Only Make Up 15% Of Them
Which shows just how much a single one can carry. And not to confuse you, but this means that notwithstanding our earlier statement and mathematical percentage, out of all commercial trucks in general (that means the smaller trucks like cubes as well), big rigs only add up to 15 out of 100 trucks out there handling deliveries in the States, and yet they still hit that 70% mark of goods delivered at all. Confused? We were too at first. Feel free to read it again a few times, then you can impress your friends with these two statistics.
8 A Very Popular Author Once Worked As A Semi Truck Mechanic
You may not know the name at first, but if we tell you what he wrote, you'll be slapping your forehead and kicking yourself in shame. Chuck Palahniuk, who brought the world the novels Choke, Lullaby and Beautiful You also brought the world Fight Club at the very start of his publishing career. And yes, we're talking about the novel that inspired the hit film. Shortly after graduating from university, he did top work as a diesel mechanic at Freightliner while working on his writing.
7 Many Of Them Are Pretty Luxurious These Days
Back in the day, these trucks sure weren't this comfortable. Look at that thing! Many would sell house and home to get a trip in one of those things. Just look at that bed ... and that sink! Now talk about the comforts of home. It's great that men and women that spend all their time on the road can finally have some comforts from home.
6 Semi Engines Have To Be Extremely Powerful ... Just How Powerful?
And with all this weight being hauled and all those hours traveling to and fro, it's no wonder that these bad boys have got to be pretty powerful at the end of the day. These engines are far more complex than the motors you're likely to find in a smaller more average vehicle and the complexities as well go way beyond. They are pretty impressive, and simply awesome to look at as well. Get a load of that thing!
5 The First Semi ... 1898
The very first Big rig truck was fabricated in Cleveland, Ohio way back in 1898 by Alexander Winton. He had previously worked in the business then known as the "horseless carriage" business, as odd as that sounds. They built cars at first and the trucks we know as big rigs were invented out of necessity by Winton, as he needed to deliver all of the 22 cars he built over a two year period, thus giving the world the very first big rig semi-truck.
4 They Don’t All Have The Same Number Of Gears
As is the case in many vehicles, not one of them is similar to the next one. Unless of course they are the same make, model and year. But all of these big rigs are as diverse as you would expect, which is what makes choosing one to purchase all the more interesting. Case in point, the number of gears available in certain models.
3 So Much Of Their Weight Is Made Up Of Fuel
And a lot of their weight is taken up by the fuel. Not many people know that either, but it's true. Some of these trucks can hold from anywhere between 95 to 400 gallons of fuel at a time! Some of these trucks have dual 120 gallon tanks, thus making the total carrying capacity a whopping 240 gallons! Now that's a lot of fuel. These numbers were specifically so for the 2011 Kenworth T660.
2 Why Do They Use Diesel?
Diesel fuel is better for vehicles that require a lot of power and energy. The more powerful an engine is, the better it works on diesel fuel. This is why so many people convert their muscle cars to take diesel instead of regular. The more energy output a vehicle has, the better equipped it would be with Diesel in the tanks. And we can all agree that these bad boys take a lot of energy.
1 Who Drives Big Rigs?
Pretty much anybody! Men, women—not children (just checking to see if you were paying attention). After all that math earlier, we're proud of you, you're still here learning about big rig trucks! Kudos! As far as the men and women that drive these trucks, well, they're hard working and can take being out on the road all the time better than most. And they are handsomely paid for it, as well.
Sources: Pnglc.com, PopularMechanics.com, Wikipedia.org, Quora.com, BusinessInsider.com, GwTrans.com