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Fix On Road: Road Service Blog – Common Trucking Terms Defined


semi-trailer truck

A lowboy refers to a semi-trailer that has two drops in the deck height. One drop is present right after the gooseneck and the other drop comes right before the wheels.

A semi-trailer truck can be also known as a semi or tractor-trailer.  Did you know that a semi-trailer truck is known as an articulated truck or articulated lorry in Ireland and the United Kingdom?  In Australia, it is known as a prime mover.  Do you know what they call it in Canada and New Zealand?  A truck!  You didn’t need to have a passport to know that!

Trailers are what carry the freight.  The difference is that a semi-trailer does not trail completely behind the towing vehicle.  Instead it is attached at a point that is forward of the rear-most axle of the towing unit.  This allows some fraction of the weight of the trailer to be carried by the rear axles of the prime mover.   This configuration requires that both the tractor and semi-trailer are distinct in design from a rigid truck and trailer combination.

Synonyms for semi-trailer trucks  include trucks and trailers, transfer trucks, 18-wheelers, semis, big rigs, and transports.

Freightliner Trucks actually refer to the brand name of a manufacturer of heavy duty trucks, chassis and semi-trailer trucks  in the United States.  Freightliners have become synonymous with trucks that carry cargo.

A lowboy refers to a semi-trailer that has two drops in the deck height.  One drop is present right after the gooseneck and the other drop comes right before the wheels.  This setup allows the deck to be extremely low to the ground as opposed to traditional trailers.   Low boys offer the ability to carry legal taller loads that other trailers cannot.

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