On The Rhoads

A Chronicle of Gabe and Lauren's Journey from Coast to Coast, and beyond...

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Location: Seattle to New York, WA to NY, United States

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Answer to the Biggest Question

Ok. We had spent more than four years in Seattle, and almost weekly would see the classic PNW long style trailer hitches. You know the ones we mean: the hitch between the dump truck and the trailer truck is longer than the truck itself. It makes no sense, from a manufacturing or a turning-radius standpoint. We were stumped. The internet did not provide any answers, leaving us without any options other than walking up to a trucker driving one of these odd vehicles and asking him or her.

So, that is what we did. We caught up to a driver at a South Dakota rest stop.

When I walked up to the driver, he was already talking to another man who was asking the exact same question. Apparently, this is a widely pondered mystery, which gave me an odd sense of community.

The driver’s first, and rather wry, answer was this: “it keeps us ahead of the police.” After a chuckle, he explained the real reason. Are you all ready?

It is, quite simply, to prevent the heavy trailers form maxing out bridge weight restrictions. Genius! The trucks are heavy-duty, and tend to be loaded with significant weight. In addition, they are often operating up in the mountains, where many small bridges span creeks and gullies. So, to prevent exceeding what the bridge can withstand, the long hitch ensures that the main dump truck has already crossed the bridge, and is on the other side, before the trailer is starts to cross. We are impressed.


Anonymous merrick said...

that is soooo cool. i never would of guessed. thanks for answering that one!!!

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:48 PM  

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