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What to Know About Doubles and Triples On The Road

In the world of trucking, there is a great deal of categories of freight that one can haul in their professional trucking job. From produce to electronics to livestock to people themselves, there is seemingly no end to the type of cargo that one might haul.

Of course, the type of freight one hauls is one matter, but just how they haul freight is another matter entirely. There may be times where the amount of items one must ship exceeds the capacity of a regular truck. During the winter holiday season and the spring when the agricultural season is in full swing may be some of the busiest times of the year, requiring a great deal of deliveries to be made.

Instead of dispatching an entire fleet of drivers to handle load requests, many carriers opt for trailers that can handle two or three times what a regular load can, otherwise known as doubles and triples. A well-rounded driver will know about these unique and efficient trailers, and the expert driver may even be able to operate them some day. 

Gas-related products delivered by a triple truck

An Introduction To Hauling Multiple Trailers

The world of doubles and triples is nothing new to the trucking industry, but it may be somewhat of a new concept to those who are considering a trucking career or those who have recently attained a career in driving. These long-combination trucks may even seem somewhat formidable while on the road, imposing what seem likes miles of vehicles upon the highways.

In reality, driving two or three trailers is not markedly different than driving just one, though it takes someone who knows their way behind the wheel to operating it well. As an example, a driver with multiple trailers must constantly consider their presence on the road and give themselves a wide berth of room in order to allow themselves and other drivers to operate safely – and this is only one of the many factors that a driver must consider.

Doubles and triples are truck combinations used when an extraordinary amount of freight needs to be moved simultaneously without the means to dispatch a horde of truckers. In other words, instead of sending out 3 single trucks, a trucking company could send out one triple-combination driver to deliver the same volume of loads. It make this the triple-combination driver slightly longer to get the delivery completed, but ultimately, it will depend on the driving expertise of the individual trucker.

Multiple trailers save time, money, and often help out whoever the shipper is delivering the products to – but they are most effective when operated by a driver who has demonstrated trucking prowess in their truck driving job.

Potential Dangers of Multiple Trailers

Doubles and triples, like any other truck combination, may pose potential hazards if an operator is not familiar with their equipment or if they do not take the time to study the pitfalls that may occur in hauling these vehicles. Knowing about safety in these vehicles is a major part of cdl testing, and therefore many consider it an imperative set of knowledge for any driver to hold on to.

  • Roll overs: Any truck can roll over if driven incorrectly, but the risk with doubles and triples is often magnified due to the sheer size and length of the machinery. A cautious driver understands that taking turns and curves gently is a key element in preventing roll overs as is maintaining a speed that is conducive to safe operation.
  • Weather Conditions: It is not an impossible feat to operate multiple trailers in poor weather conditions, but it takes a great deal of know-how to manage the extra axles that will be rolling along, as they will be considered "dead" rather than active axels towards the front of the truck. Avoiding a loss of traction with a large quantity of wheels is essential, but no easy feat.
  • Looking Ahead On The Road: The ability to look ahead is one that all successful drivers will implement whenever they are on the road, but doing so for doubles and triples can truly be life-saving. A scan of the road ahead can allow a driver to modify their speed, if needed, and avoid a jackknife incident or turning over. Paying close attention and anticipating issues down the line can make an enormous difference in one's driving.

Multiple trailers hauled across the country

Jobs In Doubles and Triples

Many different types of industries and shippers will have a need for doubles and triples to pull various loads, with certain times of the calendar calling for a greater need than other times of the year.

While retail outlets may occasionally have a need for multiple trailers to haul the latest and greatest electronic or popular new toys that season, many doubles and triples are utilized in the agricultural and food-related industries. In fact, many sources project that the need for multiple trailers will grow over the years to come, with several major food retailers and outlets seeing a need to ship food to keep up with the growing population and growing number of shippers.

Considering that multi-trailer combinations can pull a wide variety of freight and work within many different sectors of the economy in the country, it may be difficult to pinpoint an average salary for this particular type of driver. With that in mind, some sources report that a dependable figure to count on is the median annual salary for a trucker in general, at approximately $59,892 per year.

Salary projections aside, it is safe to say that there will likely be no shortage of jobs for those who can drive various combinations of trailers and that much like those who have endorsements, those who can competently handle their equipment will be ideal candidates for many companies in the country.

Knowledge About Regulations

Before one can begin to look into a career hauling doubles and triples, one must pass an exam demonstrating their knowledge of the equipment. At this time of writing, there is no current road test required for this position, but practical knowledge of the road when operating must be exhibited before a state or governmental authority.

Within this test is also knowledge of some of the current regulations imposed upon these trucks. Current regulations deal with issues such as length and width restrictions for trucks as well as any weight restrictions imposed upon the vehicles.

Driving multiple trailers with endorsements is also a concern that individuals in the trucking world must know, as handling Hazmat loads or tankers in multiple verities can pose different challenges than hazmat or tanker loads in a single configuration.

Another large component of looking over doubles and triples is the process of coupling and uncoupling. This is the process in which trailers are attached to one another in a multiple-rig setup, and it is imperative that the attachment process is completed with a great deal of care and attention to detail, as improper coupling may prove to be disastrous in some cases.

There are many technical components related to the coupling/uncoupling process and each situation will be dictated by the specific manufacturer of the trucking equipment involved, but understanding what is entailed with a proper coupling job is of most importance.

Careers In Driving Multiple Trailers

At the time of this writing, many sources believe that freight volume in the United States will see an increase of nearly 50% over the course of the next few years. While that likely means an overall increase in the number of drivers that will need to be hired in the country, it may also mean more opportunities for doubles and triples on the road to deliver a greater volume of freight in one delivery.

Driving these trucks can be very challenging, however, this type of career may also be very rewarding. Some carriers are more than willing to pay drivers well who will drive these trucks, knowing that it often requires a greater level of diligence to safely operate what is sometimes considered an unwieldy truck arrangement.

Like any professional trucker job, it will take a commitment to knowledge and the well-being of all drivers in order to see a career of longevity and success. However, with a keen eye for the important measures and practices associated with trucking, taking doubles and triples down the road will be no problem.

Smart drivers are those who regularly brush up on the information about their industry or those who conduct ample research prior to entering a specific field in trucking. It's simple to join the ranks of these drivers - make a small effort to reach out and you will undoubtedly reap the benefits.

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