What Is a Straight Truck?

Most trucks may appear the same, but they come in different types. For instance, would you know what a straight truck is and how it is different from other trucks?

A straight truck is a vehicle whose axles are all attached to one frame rather than two or more frames attached by couplings. It has a body and a cab joined as a single unit. Straight trucks are often used as dump trucks, buses, or delivery.

Read on to know more about the straight truck, its different types, its features, and more.

What Is a Straight Truck?

A straight truck is one type of truck. Its axles are all attached to one frame instead of two or more frames attached by couplings. It has a body and a cab joined as a single unit. Straight trucks are often used as dump trucks, buses, or delivery.

What Does a Straight Truck Look Like?

The easiest way to tell if a truck is a straight truck is by looking at its build. It is a straight truck if an unremovable cab is attached to the frame. 

Resemble a Boxy Cab

The truck will resemble a boxy cab that is close to the trailer. The boxy shape of these trucks is also why they are referred to as box trucks.

No Hitch Joint Between the Cab and the Trailer

Unlike other trailer trucks, there is no hitch joint between the cab and the trailer of a straight truck. If there is a space between a truck’s cab and trailer, it is not considered a straight truck. Also, a straight truck does not have a fifth wheel that typically attaches the trailer to the cab.

What Are the Types of Straight Trucks?

Straight trucks are characterized by a trailer that is not attached to the cab by a hitch. The most common types of straight truck builds are the following:

  1. Box truck
  2. Cube truck
  3. Cube van

In some cases, dump trucks and heavy-duty pickup trucks with fixed beds can be considered straight trucks. Most straight trucks, however, have closed storage spaces or boxes:

In this video, the driver teaches viewers how to back up and dock a straight truck.

What Are the Dimensions of a Straight Truck?

The dimensions and weight limits of a straight truck can vary. The length of most straight trucks measures between 10 and 26 feet from end to end. Their average height is usually 8-10 feet tall. But some stand at 14 feet.

Straight trucks typically have a maximum weight of up to 33,000 pounds. But again, this could vary depending on the size of the truck. Their maximum weight capacity is normally between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds. But some trucks have an even higher weight capacity.

Is Driving a Straight Truck Difficult?

Driving a straight truck is not that different from driving any other vehicle. However, it does have certain differences, making them harder to drive under specific conditions.

Straight trucks are usually driven as work vehicles. Some of the things you may have to endure are tight spaces and loading areas. Heavy traffic during peak hours of the day is another factor.

Also, having a trailer that moves with the cab makes it harder to maneuver like how you usually do. This is because you can’t bend at the connection like other trailers do.

Because of such difficulties, people who drive straight trucks may need to have some special training. This is to make sure that they can drive them confidently and safely. Some companies do offer extensive training in driving a straight truck.

How to Drive a Straight Truck

Driving a straight truck will take some getting used to. But if you have been driving for a long time, you may find that it’s not as hard as you expected.

That said, there are certain factors that you need to consider when driving a straight truck. These include the following:

  1. Get Used to Driving a Long Vehicle
  2. Make Wider Turns Within the Lanes
  3. Practice Parking and Backing Up
  4. Leave Room When Switching Lanes

1. Get Used to Driving a Long Vehicle

It might be your first time driving a truck, or it’s been a long time since you’ve driven one. In which case, make sure to learn to get used to driving a long vehicle. This will take you some time to practice. Make sure that you can efficiently turn and change lanes with the truck.

2. Make Wider Turns Within the Lanes

Unlike detachable trailers, the trailer of a straight truck will not swing out when you are turning. Instead, the trailer will follow the turn’s curve when you make a right turn. This will cause it to come closer to the curb or other cars.

You need to adjust your drive to adapt to the vehicle’s limitations. Learn to do wider turns while you stay within the lanes. That way, you will avoid hitting the curb or another car when you’re on the road.

3. Practice Parking and Backing Up

You must also practice parking with a straight truck. Backing up and parking backward in a straight line would be fairly easy. But it can be somewhat difficult if you have to maneuver a little to fit into a space.

Remember that your truck is straight and won’t sway like a detached trailer. When you back up and swerve into a space, make sure to do it slowly. Adjust your angle so that you can straighten out when necessary to avoid hitting another car. Use your mirrors so that you can adjust as much as needed.

4. Leave Room When Switching Lanes

When you’re switching lanes, leave more room for your truck. Always remember this whether you’re driving on a city street or the highway. You’ll be moving the entire truck in a straight line as you’re merging. This ensures that you have room for your vehicle in the next lane.

Again, what is a straight truck? A straight truck has all its axles connected to a single frame. Meanwhile, an articulated vehicle has two or more frames attached by couplings.

What Are Straight Trucks Used For?

For Jobs in Urban Areas

Straight trucks are used mostly for jobs in urban areas, namely:

  • Fire trucks,
  • Garbage trucks,
  • Mail trucks,
  • Delivery trucks, and
  • Other kinds of services. 

Smaller Straight Trucks for Mail Carriers

Local mail carriers use smaller straight trucks open at the right side. Then, they have their steering wheel positioned on the left side. Businesses or delivery services will usually employ all-white straight trucks. These enable them to navigate through residential areas easily.

Larger Straight Trucks for Small Deliveries

There are larger straight trucks used to make smaller deliveries for grocery stores. They often carry just one or two products in bulk to be delivered to various stores.

The largest type of straight truck may even resemble a semi-truck. But the cab and body would have a typical look. These trucks are often used for fast food or grocery store deliveries. This is because they are capable of holding more items.

What Are the Benefits of Driving a Straight Truck?

Straight trucks are usually shorter than a typical delivery truck. That’s why they come with certain benefits. Some of the main benefits of driving a straight truck are the following:

  1. No Need for a Class A CDL
  2. Not as Large as Other Trucks
  3. Loads Are Usually Local

1. No Need for a Class A CDL

For most drivers, it is necessary to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for work. The bigger the size of the vehicle, the higher the required license will be.

If you’re driving a straight truck for work, you don’t need to get a Class A license. This means that if you’re taking a job as a delivery driver, you can start work immediately. There’s no need to take a driver’s test. This is a big advantage if you start working right away without paying for a driving test.

2. Not as Large as Other Trucks

Are you not used to driving a long and large truck? If so, driving a shorter straight truck might be more suited for you.

Driving a straight truck isn’t the same as a regular one. But it won’t take you too long to get used to it. It is a vehicle that is easy to learn how to drive quickly. This makes it beneficial for drivers who want to start a new job or business as soon as possible.

3. Loads Are Usually Local

Semi-trucks sometimes go on hauls that can take several days or up to even a week. With straight trucks, they are not usually driven on long trips. This is a bonus for truck drivers who want to spend more time with their families. This is because they will normally be home at night.

Is a Semi-Truck a Straight Truck?

There are straight trucks that look like semi-trucks. But the latter is very different from the former.

Tractor Trailer

A semi-truck is also known as a tractor-trailer, big rig, or 18-wheeler. It is a tractor truck that comes with a trailer. But unlike a straight truck, the semi-trailer is not attached to its frame. The trailer does not have a front axle. Most of its weight is held up with a tractor or dolly, a detachable front axle.

Semi-trucks’ Maximum Weight

Semi-trucks have a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds and a maximum height of 13 feet 6 inches. The average length of their trailers ranges from 48-53 feet. Their average width is between 96-102 inches.

Semi-trucks Have a Fifth Wheel

Unlike straight trucks, semi-trucks have a fifth wheel. It is one of two connecting devices the trailer can be attached to the tractor. The second connecting device is called the kingpin. Also, a semi usually has bunk space for long-haul drivers to live in.

Is a Pickup Truck a Straight Truck?

The answer to this question is both a yes and a no. Like straight trucks, pickup trucks range in length from 26 feet or less. However, unlike straight trucks, pickup truck beds do not usually have box enclosures. But it depends on your type of pickup.

Also, while straight trucks are commonly commercial vehicles, pickup trucks aren’t always. For a pickup truck to be considered a commercial vehicle, it should have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 10,001 pounds. Any lower than that cannot be qualified as a commercial vehicle.

Is a Dump Truck a Straight Truck?

Again, the answer is yes and no. A dump truck can sometimes be considered a straight truck since its cargo area can be enclosed. Also, its rear is where the cargo is unloaded. However, straight truck trailers cannot be removed from their frame. At the same time, some dump trucks have removable containers.

To be considered a straight truck, the cab and body of the dump truck must be combined as one unit. Then, it must have a length of 26 feet or less. Also, a dump truck’s GVWR is usually 26,001 pounds or more. This requires you to have a Class B CDL to drive it.

Conclusion – What Is a Straight Truck?

A straight truck refers to a vehicle whose axles are all attached to one frame. It does not feature two or more frames attached by couplings. This truck has a body, and a cab joined as a single unit. Straight trucks are often used as dump trucks, buses, or delivery.

The straight truck has a design distinct from other trucks on the road. If you’re more accustomed to conventional trucks, it may take some practice to get used to driving one.

But it should be straightforward to learn. There are various job options that straight truck drivers can choose from since owners can utilize them for various services.