Flatbed Trucks: Basic Uses and General Dimension Ranges

flatbed trucks uses dimension ranges

Within the world of freight transportation and related needs, flatbed trucking is one of the single most common and useful methods available. The single most frequent form of fleet operation out there, flatbed trucks are found across the globe and utilized for a huge range of different purposes. 

At Tim Savage Trucking, we’re happy to provide the very best in flatbed trucking services for any need you may have, with wide-ranging flatbed transport solutions across the nation in addition to services like petroleum transport, hazmat trucking and others. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over everything you should know if you’re looking for a general primer on flatbed trucking: What defines flatbed trucks, how their measurements and dimensions work, and some of their most common uses.

What is a Flatbed Truck?

A flatbed truck is a type of heavy vehicle that hauls goods on a large, flat and uncovered platform. These types of trucks are frequently used to transport materials on a shipping platform behind the truck or on the bed of the truck. The flatbed truck is sometimes known by other terms, including utility truck, open-backed lorry or tipper lorry.

What’s the Difference Between an OTR Truck and a Flatbed Truck?

The most primary difference between an OTR (over-the-road) truck and a flatbed truck is that one has an open-topped trailer while the other has a fully enclosed trailer. This means that OTR trucks typically carry bulkier loads than flatbeds, while flatbed trucks are better suited for transporting loads that need to be protected from the elements, such as oversized items.

General Flatbed Truck Dimensions

Size and weight limitations vary from one industry or region to another, but there are some general standards that apply across the board. Truck lengths are commonly between 8.5 feet and 14 feet long, with a gross combined weight of 26,000 pounds for the shorter trucks and 33,500 pounds for the longer ones. Flatbeds have a width limit of 11 feet 6 inches, while gondolas can be up to 20 feet long without worrying about exceeding weight restrictions.

In terms of width, flatbeds are usually between 7 and 9 feet wide in order to accommodate most loads — unless you’re transporting piping, at which point you’ll need more room. For both height and length, flatbeds typically have an upper limit of 14 feet if the truck is at a “normal” height, while taller trucks may go up to 20 or even 22 feet. However, these specific limits will vary by state or even by the types of materials being hauled, so you should check these details with your flatbed hauling partner.

For more on the basics on flatbed trucks and their dimensions, or to learn about any of our flatbed hauling services, speak to the staff at Tim Savage Trucking today.

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