FreightViking is reader-supported. We may earn commissions if you buy through our links. Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

How Fast Is A Semi Truck Without A Trailer? (9 Speedy Facts)

Semi-trucks are often used to transport cargo. Many people believe that their size naturally makes them slow vehicles.

However, this is not necessarily the case. Thanks to their powerful engines, semi-trucks are capable of reaching the same speeds as your average car.

If you’re interested in how fast a semi-truck really is, we are going to explore the topic in greater detail below.

Here’s the rundown on how Fast is a Semi Truck Without a Trailer:

Semi-trucks can reach speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour without a trailer. Some drivers have reported reaching speeds of 125 miles per hour. Semi-trucks are capable of accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour in 15 seconds if there is no trailer attached to them.

How Fast is a Semi-Truck Without a Trailer?

Without a trailer, semi-trucks will be much faster. There is a significantly lower weight that the engine needs to pull.

Most semi-trucks can comfortably surpass the 100 MPH range thanks to their powerful engines.

However, another problem arises when it comes to speed. Most semi-trucks are governed. This means that their speed is electronically limited.

These limits are normally imposed by the company, which will ultimately decide on how fast their semi-truck can go.

There are reports, however, of drivers who have driven semi-trucks that are ungoverned. According to semi-truck drivers, these have been able to go up to 115 MPH, depending on how brave the driver is.

However, at this kind of speed, the risks become too high. Due to the weight of the semi-truck and its engine, the tires will begin to shred.

If the tires can hold up, a semi-truck with no trailer can go up to 125 MPH or even faster.

What Does the Speed of a Semi-Truck Depend on?

There are a couple of factors that can affect the speed of a semi-truck.

The first, and most influential of these factors is the weight that it’s carrying. With or without a trailer, a semi-truck is heavy.

Typically, a fully loaded semi-truck weighs around 80,000 pounds. An unloaded semi-truck on the other hand weighs around 25,000 pounds. A semi-truck without a trailer can weigh as little as 10,000 pounds.

Another factor that will determine how fast a semi-truck can go is the amount of horsepower that its engine can produce. Typically, a semi-truck has between 400 and 600 horsepower.

More powerful engines will mean that the semi-truck can go faster. The horsepower of the engine divided with the weight of the truck will give you the power to weight ratio.

Power to weight ratio is often used to calculate the performance of a vehicle. The average semi-truck has a good power to weight ratio if it does not have a trailer.

Aerodynamics is also important when it comes to the speed of a semi-truck. Aerodynamics can refer to the semi-truck itself or the trailer it is pulling.

For example, if a semi-truck is pulling a box trailer it will have poor aerodynamics, which will slow it down significantly.

On the other hand, if a semi-truck is pulling a tanker which is a round trailer, it is much more aerodynamically efficient. This will give it an overall speed advantage.

How Fast can Semi-Truck Accelerate Without a Trailer?

Semi-trucks were not necessarily built to be incredibly fast. They were designed to have pulling power.

As such, their acceleration can be good. Most semi-truck engines are capable of producing around 1000-2000 lb of torque.

A semi-truck without a trailer has a 0-60 time of around 15 seconds. This is a respectable time considering how much they weigh.

The acceleration of semi-trucks depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers build more powerful engines.

Although some engines may have more horsepower, they are not necessarily built to maximize acceleration.

Manufacturers build bigger and stronger engines to increase the pulling power of the semi-truck. This means that they will be able to transport heavier loads of cargo.

What is the Top Speed of a Semi-Truck?

The top speed of a semi-truck depends on several different factors. These are all variables that can be controlled.

The first is whether the semi-truck is carrying a trailer or not. On top of that, it depends on whether the trailer is loaded with cargo or not.

Without a trailer, a semi-truck can comfortably reach over 100 MPH. Some drivers have reported to reaching as much as 125 MPH without a trailer.

With a trailer, the top speed of a semi-truck is slightly lower. Although it can still hit 100 MPH, it will begin to struggle. The trailer will make the semi-truck unstable at high speeds.

A fully loaded semi-truck will struggle to reach 100 MPH. Its top speed, while fully loaded is around 80 MPH. The extra weight has a significant effect on the top speed of the semi-truck.

How Fast can an Ungoverned Semi-Truck go?

Modern semi-trucks have governs built into them. These are used to limit the speed of the truck.

Normally these are out in place by the company that owns the truck. It is done as a safety measure that will prevent the driver from speeding in the truck and putting themselves, and their cargo in danger.

In turn, this helps to keep insurance costs low. The company will be able to ensure that the truck will not go over a certain speed, which is beneficial to the insurance company.

The most common form of governor used in semi-trucks is speed limiting. This is an electronic limit that is set in order to prevent the truck from going over it.

The second type of governor that is used is a range governor. This type limits the revolutions per minute, or the speed of the engine.

When the RPM of an engine goes too high, the internals of the engine begins to take damage. The range governor prevents that.

With a range governor, the driver can apply 100% throttle in any gear, but the RPM will be limited by the governor.

The top speed of a semi-truck without governing is around 100 MPH with an unloaded trailer. Without a trailer, an ungoverned semi-truck can reach around 125 MPH.

How Fast is a Tesla Semi-Truck

The Tesla semi-truck was first announced in 2017. The electric vehicle manufacturer aimed to revolutionize cargo transportation.

Unfortunately, the production of the Tesla semi-truck has been pushed back several times. Currently, its launch is planned for 2022.

Those who have seen the Tesla semi-truck in action have claimed that it is remarkable. It is significantly faster than standard diesel engine trucks.

The battery-powered Tesla truck can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in a miraculous 5 seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a diesel engine truck.

This is thanks to the instant power delivery from the batteries. These times were also recorded without a trailer. With a fully loaded trailer, the Tesla truck is just as impressive.

It can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in just 20 seconds. Compared to a standard Diesel engine truck that could easily take up to 60 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 MPH.

Tesla has not disclosed the top speed of their semi-truck. However, thanks to the aerodynamic shape of the vehicle, we can expect it to be over 100 MPH.

What is the Fastest Semi-Truck

Technically, the fastest semi-truck in the world is the Shockwave. It can reach up to 376 MPH. The Shockwave is faster than most supercars and bikes, however, it is powered by three jet engines.

You can check this really cool video on the Shockwave Jet Truck here…

In terms of standard production trucks you may see on public roads, the Volvo Iron Knight is the fastest.

The Iron Knight has an incredible 6000 N.M of torque. It has an eyewatering 2400 horsepower available to use, and a top speed of 171 MPH.

With a 0-60 MPH time of 4.6 seconds, the Iron Knight can win a drag race against many supercars.

How Fast can a Semi-Truck Stop?

In perfect conditions, a semi-truck can stop in about 4 seconds, or 400 feet from 60 MPH. However, in more adverse conditions such as rain, this time and distance will increase significantly.

Semi-trucks use air brakes that utilize compressed air to increase the stopping power of the truck. There are a few factors that affect the braking power of a semi-truck.

If semi-trucks are loaded with cargo they have increased stopping distances. Extra weight means extra momentum which will want to keep going when you need it to stop.

Rain and slick roads can also affect the braking distance of a semi-truck. Tires will struggle to find grip in slippery conditions which means they will need extra distance to slow down.

How Fast can you Drive a Semi-Truck Without Getting into Trouble?

If you are driving a semi-truck it is important to follow the speed limits. If you are speeding you can find yourself in a lot of trouble with authorities.

It’s also important to follow the company’s regulations as to what speeds you need to drive. Your cargo might be important or fragile, and speeding could cause damage to it.