Trucks hauling three trailers: is this a new thing, or am I really unobservant?

The superhero and I just completed a two-week road trip to California and back, during which time we got hitched. Hooray!

Anyhow, we took I-80 out to the Bay Area and drove down 5 to LA, took 15 through Vegas, and up to I-70 to get home. Both of us noticed many, many commercial trucks hauling three trailers. I don’t recall ever seeing trucks hauling more than two before. Is this a new phenomenon (perhaps because of rising fuel prices?) or is it something that’s been going on for quite some time, and I just never noticed until we were surrounded by big trucks for days?


They’ve been around for many years.

As noted, they are banned in many parts of the country, so if you’re not used to driving where they are legal, it’s easy to be surprised by them.

Especially when you’re on a two lane road with steep shoulders, out on the bare face of the Earth in Nevada somewhere, and you see what you think is one oncoming truck trying to pass another in your lane, then realize it’s actually just a single truck whose third trailer being pushed over into your lane by a stiff crosswind.

They’ve been around Australia for a long time.

Of course we don’t stop at just three trailers.

They are quite legal in Nevada and Utah, however not in California. Lots of traffic on these between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

There is a very large sorting dock built in Lenwood, CA (just outside of Barstow) that was going to be used as a hub for triple trailers coming west, built on the assumption California would allow triples. No such luck, and now there’s a huge concrete warehouse in the middle of the desert that serves no good purpose.

I’ve only seen them between Reno and Salt Lake City. There were bunches of them, but they were ALL FedEx.

I searched them out in Alice Springs, and saw a couple. There was a photo there of one with something like 6 trailers.

Australian road train slideshow Some normal three or four trailer ones, but also some freakish exhibition ones (country music warning)

Going through the gears in a smaller road train - tunr your speakers up if you like trucks.

I feel for those road train drivers trying to stay awake across the Nullarbor Plain

How to freak out some American tourists :smiley:

When I drove from Maryland to Seattle back in '91, the sight of triple loaders surprised me.

I was passed by a road train once on my bicycle. Unfortunately it was a single lane road with the lane defined by a traffic island on one side and a curb on the other. There was no shoulder area and by the time the third trailer was passing me I ran out of room, collided with the curb and got thrown over the handlebars onto the footpath. I was very lucky not to have fallen under the wheels. Live and learn as they say.

I see them fairly often on I-15 going through town. They kick up a lot of turbulence when they pass.

I saw a triple trailer on the Grape-Vine portion of I-5 in California in 1973. Perhaps it was an experiment to see how they would impact the transportation system. I guess it was not so good.

:eek: :eek: That totally scares the crap outta me!!

It caused me no small amount of concern, but I was a bit distracted trying to work out the cycle of the trailer’s weaving and regulate my speed so we passed at the right time. (Totally useless, but it gave me something to do while waiting to see what would really happen.)

The one I encountered was on the road up to Tonopah. The road might be bigger now, that was a while ago.

I seem to recall them being illegal in Michigan, due to the lack of control drivers have over the third section. No cite, just memories from drivers training back in the early 90’s.

thanks for sharing the stories … reminds me of yesteryear … surprised when i saw my first triple-loader … moved to the outback and saw 'em even longer. whew!

(i found this archived topic while foraging in google … “triple-trailers”).

I think they are dangerous.

I do not remember which state I was driving in when one almost wiped out my family. I was driving an 67 VW bus camper. The triple was passing me. I don’t know if the drive nodded off or what. But the tractor swerved and then pulled pack straight. The whip saw effect was wild. And I had no where to go. stomping on the brakes would not have helped because of the distance between where I was at and the length of the trailers. And while the truck was slowing It would have taken too much time for me to try and get in front of it. I now do not trust triple wides.

Back in the 1990’s, working for a wholesale grocer, I recall that triple trailers were legal in Iowa, but only doubles were allowed in Minnesota. So there was a location just on the Iowa side of the Minnesota-Iowa boder where truckers would drop the 3rd trailer, and another driver & tractor would be sent to pick iit up and bring it the rest of the way.

If the dispatchers could schedule them right, there would be 2 triples each dropping the 3rd trailer at about the same time, so the extra driver could pick up both, and pull a double rather than a small single the rest of the way.

In MA you can run double ‘pups’(28ft trailers) anywhere in the state. You can run double 48’s only on the Mass Pike. Triples aren’t allowed anywhere in the state.