GOODS DELIVERED OVERNIGHT
THOUSANDS OF MILES
ON INTERSTATE AND U.S. HIGHWAYS
I travel about 14,000 miles every year in my trusty Ford Probe on all types of surfaces in the U.S. highway system. There have been many changes in transportation vehicles. The one that I contemplate on every trip is the change in trucks carrying our goods especially since the trucking industry was deregulated. Was that in the 1980's?
Truck cabs got bigger and elaborate enough for multiple drivers to go nonstop because they could live on board. Loads could go coast to coast with stops required only to refuel huge diesel tanks. I don't know exactly when trailers got longer but I marvel every time I pass such a freighter. As I pull alongside the modern trailers I can see the distance between the axles we used to call sixteen wheelers is greater than the length of my car - 18 feet - which means the entire trailer must be at least 40 feet.
That wasn't always the case. I tried to verify measurements on the Internet but was frustrated by the thousands of websites expounding on the wonders of the giants, their need of drivers, and various training and sales outlets. Leave specifications to the manufacturers.
Markets demanded and economy dictated a faster unloading and distribution method and the second trailer was added. That trailer could be dropped off and different one connected for another client in the next city. Pretty neat, huh? That wasn't enough for some wholesalers and another trailer was added. Added in some states, that is. Washington said "NO" to such a long train of tonnage freewheeling on our public highways alongside of tourists and local commuters. I suppose it was then that the longer first trailer was designed and, of course, approved by the Department of Transportation. Putting a trailer behind that adds more freight. And it also adds tons of goods for a driver to control. The large trailers are capable of carrying up to 6 tons of goods. Pretty formidable companion in the next lane, isn't it?
I hold such convoys in great respect - 3 separate units is a convoy regardless of connecting links. I either move up and pass the convoy and get out of its way or drop behind. Coming upon a convoy that didn't quite make it around the icy curve on a mountain pass means added danger of pileups by passenger vehicles and injuries as well. My safety rule is to stay off highways at peak travel times.
Some smart people ought to find a better way. Lotsa Luck!
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