We share our roads with all different kinds of vehicles, from MINI Coopers, Smart Cars, Motorcycles, Honda Civics, Ford F150s to gigantic, massive semi-trailer trucks, or more simply, semis. Semis are basically the biggest thing we will ever see out on the road. They are dangerous, intimidating, but also extremely important. They form the backbone of our shipping industry. Without them, everything would fall apart.
Semis themselves come in all different shapes and sizes, and are called by all kinds of names like, tractor-trailer, eighteen-wheeler, or big rigs. So what makes a Semi a Semi? Well, Semis are made of two different pieces, the trailer and the truck. The truck is the important part, the part that makes the whole thing go. This is the front, the part that actually counts as a vehicle. The engine is here, the driver is here, and ten of the eighteen wheels are up here. Behind the truck is the trailer. This is where everything is stored. It is basically a giant empty space on wheels. It attaches to the truck by a trailer hitch and gets towed behind. Some trailers can haul as much as 20,000-34,000 lbs. That’s a lot of weight!
This is quite a bit of power to be putting out on the roads, but don’t worry with great power comes great responsibility. Semi-truck drivers are required to get a specialized driver’s license knows as a Class A commercial driver’s license or (CDL). This ensures that only the most highly trained drivers are permitted to operate semi-trucks. The CDL was introduced in 1986 with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act as a way to improve highway safety. Various endorsements can be added to the CDL for the transportation of things such as hazardous materials.