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What to Know as a Straight Truck Driver

27 Dec 2022
straight truck
Straight truck –

Driving a straight truck can in some ways be just as tough as operating a tractor-trailer. Certain habits should be adopted by all drivers to better ensure safety and continuous improvement in driving skills. Here are a few helpful tips for such drivers.

The weight of straight truck with sleeper

A driver needs to know the weight that their vehicle is rated and registered for. This will enable you to remain in compliance with legal limits and be aware of what safety regulations apply based on the weight of your vehicle. If you are driving interstate, meaning that you are crossing state lines, then be aware that there are federal regulations to abide by that cover various aspects including driver qualifications, DOT registration, drug and alcohol testing, and hours of service.

Also, note that federal and state laws may limit the weight of your vehicle to a level that is more than the maximum rated value of the vehicle. You will need to confirm the weight limits based on your location and tandem drive axles. A straight truck with sleeper can add as much as 1,500 pounds or more, so if traveling interstate, consider how this may impact how long you can remain on the road before taking breaks.

Intra- or interstate straight truck travel

It is important to establish if you will be driving your straight truck across state lines or not. Keep in mind that going interstate means that federal regulations kick in while remaining intrastate will mean abiding by state rules.

Most straight trucks are used intrastate as they accommodate smaller loads. They are often used for local pickups and deliveries, and by moving companies. This often means that the drivers get to work the same routes and more consistent hours. This is vastly different from tractor-trailer drivers who are more likely to work interstate and must endure longer journeys and extended work hours.

Straight truck with sleeper vehicle maintenance

Always complete your pre-trip safety inspections. Even with smaller straight trucks, you are certainly larger and heavier than most passenger vehicles on the road. Ensuring your vehicle is safe to drive and that your load is properly secured and well-balanced will help limit the risk of an accident happening. Once you park anywhere, also form a habit of looking back to ensure everything is in order.

Plan your straight truck trips in advance

Look up information on any new routes you intend to follow. Check on what weather conditions you can expect on the days of travel, road conditions, and the possibility of detours. A commercial navigation system will help establish if there are any height or weight restrictions along the route you may need to account for.