How Much Does a Semi Truck Weigh?

Have you ever put your arm out the window of your car and signaled a truck to blow its horn? Almost everyone has. It’s a fun way to interact with the driver of a big rig.

These beastly vehicles are awe-inspiring but also a bit intimidating. They take up as much road space as multiple average-sized cars. And not surprisingly, they are quite a bit heavier than an average car.

Comparing the Weight of Trucks to Cars

The average weight of a semi truck with an attached trailer is 33,000 pounds. This makes it roughly six to eight times as heavy as most cars. Even without a trailer attached, most semi trucks are at least twice as heavy as the average car, and some are five times as heavy.

All that weight is distributed throughout the truck. For example, the average car has a roughly 20-pound tire. The average semi has a 110-pound tire. And with a trailer attached, the semi has 18 tires.

This massive difference in weight is what makes a truck accident so frightening. As any physicist will tell you, force equals mass times acceleration. Thus, the greater the mass of the vehicle, the greater its force in an accident.

What Is the Maximum Weight of Trucks?

Federal law puts limits on the maximum weight of a semi truck. As of 1974, the single-axle limit is 20,000 pounds, and the tandem-axle limit is 34,000 pounds.

However, once you start adding trailers, that limit increases significantly. A semi truck can tow multiple trailers, with a maximum weight (including the weight of cargo) of 80,000 pounds. That’s roughly the weight of 16 average-sized cars.

What Does All This Weight Mean?

This weight means that a semi truck is dangerous if not driven carefully. There’s a reason why all semi truck drivers are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which has more stringent requirements than a standard driver’s license. A semi-truck is inherently more dangerous than a traditional car and requires better-trained drivers.

High weight decreases the mobility of a truck and increases the stopping time. On a flat road, traveling 65 miles per hour, most cars require approximately 300 feet to stop. Most semi trucks require at least twice that distance to come to a stop. Similarly, trucks require more space to make turns because of their weight and size.

Combine these factors with the poor visibility of semi-trucks, and the average driver should be wary when driving near a truck. Despite a truck driver’s skill level, they will have difficulty reacting quickly if something unexpected happens, and their truck is a much bigger danger to you than you are to it.

Why Are Semi Trucks So Heavy?

For most big rigs, the majority of the weight comes from the cargo they’re carrying. Sometimes it’s obvious, like when a semi-truck is carrying cars as cargo. If a truck is towing eight cars, for example, it makes sense that those cars are adding roughly 40,000 pounds to the total weight.

However, when a truck is towing a trailer, the weight is less apparent. If you were to open the truck, you would probably see it filled to the brim with boxes. 

Those boxes can carry goods like:

  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Building materials
  • Dry goods
  • Hazardous liquids

If you have ever packed for a move, you know how a tightly packed box can be extremely heavy. A loaded semi truck follows the same principle.

Contact a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer if You’ve Been in a Truck Accident 

Unsurprisingly, an accident with a big rig can cause devastating, catastrophic injuries due to its size and weight. If you were injured in a truck accident, contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney to review your case and discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to significant compensation to cover your economic damages, including medical expenses and lost wages. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages for your pain and suffering, PTSD, and disfigurement or scarring.

Contact the Pinellas County Truck Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg truck accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
727-796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
727-344-4242