Dry Van, Reefer, Flatbed

Topic 25827 | Page 1

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Cecelia 's Comment
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I would just like more information on the difference in Dry van , Reefer , and Flatbed. I understand what they are but how does that effect the trucking in general? What advice does everyone have that does each of these? Do you recommend any of these for a rookie driver to start out their first year? Many blessings? Thank you.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Chris M's Comment
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I've done all three personally. I prefer flatbed, over dry van , over reefer. But that's just personal opinion.

Reefer: Longer average haul, more time waiting at customer, less drop and hook. You have a lot more nighttime appointments, so that lends you to driving at night more often.

Dry van: Lower average haul, more drop and hook , on average broader pickup and delivery windows.

Flatbed: Closer to dry van in terms of average length of haul. Lower drop and hook percentage, more daytime/Monday-Friday appointments. More opportunity for accessory pay.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Old School's Comment
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Hey Cecelia, those are good questions. I like the way you're thinking about all the options and how they affect your ability to get off to a good start.

I think the most prudent way to get started is by pulling dry-van loads. There's going to be less live loads, and less physical work. Many dry-van jobs are considered "no-touch freight" and will include a lot of "drop and hook" situations. That simply means you go to the customer, (drop) your current loaded trailer off with them, and pick up (hook) to another trailer that's ready and you're back on the road. It's not always like that, but much more often than it is with reefer or flatbed.

Reefer has additional responsibilities like making sure the trailer has sufficient fuel to run the refrigeration equipment, and making sure the temperature is correct for the product. The trailers often need to be taken to a truck wash to be washed out, and you'll often be waiting at a customer to be loaded or unloaded. It's critical that your refrigerated freight doesn't spoil, and if it's not at the proper temperature when you arrive at your customer they might reject it. There's just a lot of additional responsibilities for a new driver who is just trying to get their career underway.

Flatbed has the additional requirements of the driver being responsible for the load being secured to the trailer. We use math and calculations to know how many straps or chains we need to properly secure our freight on our open deck. There are no walls on these trailers so the driver is responsible to make sure it's loaded properly and that it's not going to fall off while in transit.

There's a lot more physical work involved in flatbed since many of the loads must be covered with tarps to protect them from the weather or other elements such as road salts in the winter. Flatbed drivers often have to climb up on top of their loads to secure or tarp them, and they also sometimes give instruction to the loaders how they want the load positioned on their trailer so that their axle weights will be legal. We have a lengthy thread showing the great Variety In Flatbed Freight. You may enjoy looking at that for a better feel for what flatbed drivers deal with.

I also reccomend you spend some time in chapter six of our career guide. Here's a link to it. Scroll down that page and you'll find links to click on for the various forms of Trucking Jobs.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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