What New Truck Drivers Need To Know About Different Types Of Trailers:
Simply put, the type of trailer a driver pulls will depend on the type of freight being hauled.
The trailer being pulled could affect a driver's pay, as loads that require special attention will generally require specific skills and equipment, and additional time.
Hauling specific types of trailers, such as tankers full of Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT), can require a variety of experience, CDL endorsements, and permits.
You may find better home time opportunities with certain types of freight like dry van , intermodal , LTL , and flatbed
What Effect Will Types Of Trailers Have On Drivers Home Time?
- Some specific types of trailers carry freight that tends to keep drivers away from home longer, while some will get them more home time.
- Hauling dry bulk goods, like sugar, grain, or sand tend to be more localized routes. These types of loads generally won't need to travel far to reach their destination. Often hourly, regional types of jobs.
- Refrigerated temperature-sensitive cargo is often carried from the West Coast to the East Coast. Hauling from the produce capital of California and other points West. The trucking company will then try to work the driver back west to do it all over again. These types of jobs tend to keep drivers on the road for longer stretches of time.
- Hauling boxed trailers will generally give truck drivers more flexibility for getting home more often. Many of the larger trucking companies will operate local, regional and over-the-road divisions, making it easier for drivers to get home time.
- Flatbed jobs also provide many local and regional opportunities to get drivers home more often. If not nightly, then on weekends.
How Does Trailer Type Affect Truck Driver Pay?
Generally, the more complicated, risky, or involved the load is for the driver, the higher the pay rate will be.
Different types of trailers and freight will require different levels of attention, experience, and effort by the driver.
Some types of freight may also tend toward local, hourly, positions, which operate on a different pay scale than over-the-road (OTR)
See Also: Truck Driver Pay.
Generally, trailers will fall into 1 of 5 categories:
The most commonly used trailer in trucking, enclosed to protect its cargo from the elements of weather and the road. Freight is typically loaded on pallets, or stacked on the floor. Easy to load and unload, most loading docks are built to accommodate them. Dry van jobs tend to give drivers, especially new ones, more job opportunities.
With many variations and uses, flatbed trailers are generally box trailers without the top and sides. Often used to carry large, bulky items, as well as construction material and equipment that won't fit in dry vans. Flatbedding is generally a more physically demanding job in the industry, requiring more effort and equipment to secure the load.
Used mainly to carry bulk liquids, dry goods like grain, or gasses. Requires driver interaction for unloading, and typically needs to be washed out when empty. Requires a specific Tanker endorsement, as well as a Hazmat endorsement if carrying hazardous materials.
Used for temperature-sensitive freight, usually food related. An attached cooling unit, running on either diesel fuel or electric, keeps things cool and requires monitoring by the driver. If hauling liquid, may require a tanker endorsement.
Includes car haulers, cattle and other livestock, intermodal containers, and logging trucks. Very specific classes of trailers that will typically be handled by more experienced drivers.
Most of the larger trucking companies will haul loads using varous types of trailers, and some have entire divisions dedicated to one type or the other.
You can read more about the various types of trailers in trucking here: