The number of trailers a semi truck can pull is between is two and three.
We’ll give you the answers to the maximum weights, which states do not allow the combination, and what the regulations say.
We’ll cover if you need a specific route and what the maximum length requirements are.
Here’s a short answer to how many trailers can a semi truck pull:
A typical semi truck can pull up to 2 trailers. However, 3 trailers can also be pulled in certain states and where the road allows for the maneuverability of the trailers. Also, the number of trailers a semi can pull is limited by a gross weight of 80,000 lbs. and a total trailer length of 99 feet.
Table of Contents
How Many Trailers can a Semi Truck Pull?
America has nearly three times the amount of trailers than they have tractors. With this in mind, it may sometimes be necessary to haul more than just one trailer at a time.
Tractors will sometimes have to haul two or three. It will depend on the weight and length of the combinations. But even with that in mind, it is still impressive to know that this is possible.
Many trucking companies across the country use this method where possible to hit targets and increase earnings, reducing the cost of employing more drivers, along with saving a little on fuel.
Do the Number of Trailers a Semi Truck can Pull depend on the Weight?
The maximum number of trailers a semi truck can pull depends on the truck and how many axles it has.
Where the truck will be passing through will also affect the numbers.
Some states do not allow three trailers, and as a result, these routes either have to be avoided, or the trailer count has to go down to two.
Trucks can be modified to carry more weight by adding an axle.
What is the Maximum Weight a Semi can Tow?
The maximum overall weight a semi truck can pull is 80,000 Ibs. 20,000 Ibs on a single axle and 34,000 on a tandem axle, with the combined weight of the tractor, trailer, and load equalling the maximum.
A road train is a combination of trailers and can only be pulled by experienced drivers.
The vehicle can be too heavy for some roads and bridges. All weight restrictions must be checked when you plan your route.
Do the Number of Trailers a Semi Truck can Pull depend on the Length?
Laws from state to state vary. It affects the number of trailers a semi truck can pull. The length is one of the areas in which some states do, and some do not approve.
The combined length of multiple trailers is from 65 feet to 99 feet. Most states are ok with the maximum.
It is the minority that has issues with it. It is because they have weaker bridges and narrower roads.
Their highways are busier than other states and more susceptible to crosswinds that can significantly affect a longer trailer.
Be sure to place heavier trailers at the front and lighter trailers at the back for balance.
What is the Maximum Length for Towing?
The maximum length is 99 feet in some states, and the more common trailer length is 65 feet. There are strict regulations for the weight and trailer length a semi truck should have.
Each state’s trailer length limits vary. The State of Alabama is 57 feet, whereas the State of Alaska and Connecticut is 53 feet. And California is 48 feet.
Louisiana and Oklahoma are 59’6″ feet, and Texas is 59 feet. It is clear to see that you will need to check each state for the correct length.
Do the Number of Trailers a Semi Truck can Pull depend on the Route?
The number will somewhat depend on the route you can take.
Depending on where you need the load to be delivered and the truck’s ability to haul that load, you may have to plan a specific route.
Where possible, you may need to avoid certain states. If this isn’t possible, the load will need to be broken down to avoid fines.
If this still can not be done for some reason, you may have to suffer the long way around.
Do the Number of Trailers a Semi Truck can Pull depend on the Tractor Unit?
The number of trailers a semi truck can pull will somewhat depend on the tractor unit’s ability.
Not every truck can pull two to three trailers. Moreover, the driver is also a key to the success of hauling more than one trailer.
They have to plan the road further ahead than they usually would as it would take a little longer to stop the vehicle, and changing lanes to taking bends and cornering will also have to be carefully planned.
Can a Semi Pull 2 Trailers?
Depending on the load, a semi truck can easily pull two trailers and make light work of it.
Sometimes it isn’t about the weight but the volume of the load that needs to get from A to B.
Hauling a double trailer is a little tricky for some, but an experienced driver will maneuver the truck with ease. The tricky part will be the length when cornering and the overall weight.
Are Double Semi Trailers Legal in All States?
A double semi trailer is only legal in Maryland, but all other states along the Atlantic have banned trucks from using them.
There are many other states, however, that do allow double trailers.
Like Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, Utah, and Nevada. The list goes on. It is a good idea to check the laws for each state before passing through them.
Remember to take extra care when pulling a trailer with more length than you are used to and allow more time for your journey.
If an alternative route is an option, it would probably be best to take it.
Can a Semi Pull 3 Trailers?
Pulling three trailers is going to take some experience and skill.
A semi truck can pull three trailers as long as it meets the requirements for each state it will be passing through.
The trucking companies benefit from their truckers pulling three trailers. It saves them time and money. Sometimes a lack of staff will make it necessary.
It may be that you have just started your new trucking company and have only one driver.
Whatever the reason, it can be done with the right truck.
What States do not allow Triple Trailers?
Pulling a triple trailer will require a lot of room on the roads and can also be a risk from high winds. As a result, many states have ban trucks from entering with a triple trailer.
These states include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregan, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Other states that do allow triple trailers closely monitor them to ensure public and highway safety.
Can you Pull 2 53 Trailers?
Pulling two 53 foot trailers is a skill not to be taken lightly. It requires a strong tractor and is not legal in every state.
Some of the states mentioned above do allow a double trailer.
States also consider the volume of traffic passing through, as the overall stopping distance on a double trailer is, as you can imagine, going to take a little longer and even more with a triple trailer due to weight.
The blind spots on a double and a triple trailer will be widened, making it increasingly difficult to see, not only for the truck driver but for other road users to see the truck driver in the truck’s mirror.
How do you Hitch a Triple Trailer to a Tractor?
So, you are at the yard and faced with three trailers and what is known as dollies. A dolly is a short towing trailer with a fifth wheel and two tires on each side used to connect trailers.
Check all tires and airlines for wear or damage on all trailers and dollies. The dollies will need to be connected to the two lightest trailers. You can move the dolly by hand to get it in place.
Then connect the dolly to the tractor to push it into place properly. Check the fifth wheel has connected, and jaws have locked. Hook safety chains in place and connect airlines.
Raise the landing gear and then check the airlines for noise, check the lights and brakes are working. Check safety chains are in good condition, disconnect the tractor from the first dolly and repeat with the second.
Check each trailer’s surroundings before connecting to make sure it is clear from obstructions.
Connect your first (heavy) trailer to the tractor, do all the usual checks and raise the landing gear.
Make sure the pintle hitch is secured. Use ground markers to judge distance when backing up.
What do the Regulations Say?
The regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are more of a question-and-answer endorsement.
The question: Are drivers of double and triple saddle mount combinations required to have the double/triple trailers endorsement on their CDLs?
The answer: Yes, if the following conditions apply:
- There is more than one point of articulation in the combination.
- The GCWR is 26,001 pounds or more.
- The combined GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
As you can see, the regulations are quite broad to allow each state to add its laws.
Remember to check the laws for each state you will be passing through.