The standard tractor trailer dimensions vary per country. Although there are certain restrictions on the size, special permits may be given to trucks that are over the prescribed limits. A tractor trailer is known by many names, including articulated lorry, semi, big rigs or semi trailer.
Tractor Trailers in the United States
The sizes of these trailers depend on what they will be used for and where they are made. The US transportation department has set limitations on their size. For example, the vehicle cannot be over 13.5 ft tall.
The width cannot be more than 102 inches. The total gross weight cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. In many US states, the LCV (long combination vehicles) are permitted, which can make the tractor trailer dimensions bigger.
These units are composed of three trailers reaching 28.5 ft (8.7 m). The maximum allowable weight is 129,000 lbs. The turnpike double is another LCV variant. It is comprised of two trailers. Combined, these usually measure 48 ft or 14.6 m. The maximum permissible weight is 147,000 lbs.
The rocky mountain double is made up of a trailer measuring 40 to 53 ft (12.2 to 16.2 m). There is a second trailer next to it (called the pup). It measures 28.6 ft or 8.7 m. The highest possible weight is 129,000 lbs.
LCVs in Canada and the United Kingdom
The standard tractor trailer dimensions in these countries are determined in a different manner. In Canada, the rocky mountain double is made up of a 50 ft trailer and a 24 ft pup. The turnpike double has different features. It is made up of two hooked trailers. Each one is 53 ft long.
In the UK, the typical length of trailers is 45 ft or 13.5 m. The coupled tractors with trailers needs to measure 50 to 55 ft or 15.25 to 16.75 m. The total allowable gross weight in the UK is 97,000 lbs.
LCV Standards in Other Countries
In Continental Europe, the trailer trucks are not permitted to exceed the 18.75 meter length. The weight limit is set at 40 tons.
However this does not apply to Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. In those countries, the trailers can be as long as 25.25 m. In Sweden, the maximum permissible truck length is 24.24 m.
Trailer Tractors in Australia
By contrast, the maximum limit in Australia is 53.5 ft. The load limit is set at 361,558 lbs. The length may vary in other locations in the country.
The tractor trailer dimensions also depend on the type. Some of the most widely used are 8 ft (2.44 m) wide or 8 ft 6 in (2.6 m) wide. The box or van trailer is used widely in the US. The typical lengths are 53 ft (16.15 m), 48 ft (14.63 m) and 40 ft (12.19 m).
There are other sizes used, such as 36 ft (10.8 m), 34 ft (10.36 m) and 28 ft (8.53 m). Other kinds of trailers are the curtain sider, the bus, reefer, lowboy, flatbed and double decker.