dry van trailer truckers wiki everything you need to know

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What is a Dry Van Trailer

Dry van trailer is a type of semi-trailer that is completely enclosed to protect the cargo from outside elements. They are the most common type of freight trailer and are used to transport pallets or boxes of cargo, appliances, electronics, and clothing, among other things.

Here’s what a truck driver should know about dry van trailers:

Dry Van Dimensions 

Standard dry van trailers in the U.S. are typically 53 feet long, 8.6 feet wide, and 8.6 feet tall. However, they can range from 28 to 53 feet in length. The interior width is usually slightly less due to the walls of the trailer. The internal dimensions are important for understanding how much cargo the trailer can carry.

Loading and Unloading

They are typically loaded from the rear, although some have the capability to be loaded from the side. The truck driver is generally responsible for ensuring that the load is properly secured.

Dry Van Weight and Weight Limits

An empty dry van trailer can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 pounds (4,536 to 11,340 kilograms). The weight of the cargo alone should usually not exceed around 45,000 pounds. The maximum legal weight for a dry van trailer is 80,000 pounds gross weight (including the tractor, trailer, and cargo) in most states. Exceeding weight limits can result in fines and be dangerous on the road.

Inspecting the Trailer 

Drivers are responsible for inspecting the trailer before and after use. They should ensure that the trailer is clean and free of damage before loading. They should also check that the doors, locks, and seals are working properly.

Driving a Dry Van

Dry vans are considered easier to drive than many other types of trailers because they don’t require any additional skills like operating a refrigeration unit or managing hazardous materials. However, due to their large size, they can be more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces and require a longer stopping distance.

Cargo Security

Drivers must ensure that the cargo is properly secured inside the trailer to prevent it from shifting during transport. Shifting cargo can cause balance issues and increase the risk of a rollover.


Regular maintenance is important to keep the trailer in good working condition. This includes checking the tires, brakes, and lights, as well as ensuring the structural integrity of the trailer. Keeping it clean is another important aspect of maintenance.
Before loading cargo, sweep out the interior of the trailer to remove any debris, dirt, or dust. This will help prevent dirt from accumulating on the cargo and keep the trailer cleaner.
Consider using cargo mats or liners to protect the interior of the trailer from spills, stains, and damage caused by the cargo.
Clean the tire wells and undercarriage of the trailer to remove mud and debris that can accumulate while driving.
Inspect and clean door seals and gaskets regularly to ensure they are free from debris and damage
Use load bars when needed to secure cargo in place.

Freight Opportunities

As said before dry van is the most popular type of trailer. Very versatile and is used in a wide range of transportation jobs, which can offer many load opportunities for truck drivers.

Remember, always follow best practices for safety and efficiency while hauling a dry van trailer. Also, abide by all relevant regulations and company policies.
Loading tips article by LandStar non forced dispatch. 

To learn more about the types of trailers used in the trucking industry click here. 

Inside of a dry van trailer – video by Never Stop Trucking.

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53' Dry Van Trailer Explained - video by Never Stop Trucking

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