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18-Wheel vs. 4-Wheel Traffic: It’s a Big Difference

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There’s no denying the trucking industry is America’s economic backbone. According to the American Trucker Association, “nearly 70% of freight tonnage” is moved by a heavy-duty truck. Before you shake your fist, feel a little heat, or hastily swerve lanes, consider the differences of 18-wheel and 4-wheel traffic.

A Comparison Analysis

Just how big of a difference is there between these two distinct types of transportation? Check out these interesting facts for yourself:

  18-wheel 4-wheel
Average Miles per Gallon:   6.5 mpg      25.5 mpg 
Average Mileage per Year:   100,000 miles   12,000 miles
Average Weight:    80,000 pounds 4,000 pounds 
Top Selling Brand:     Freightliner   Ford  
Number of Axles:    5 2
Average Length:    70-80 feet   12-18 feet

And there’s more. Aside from the obvious visual representation, there are still factors that set apart the difference in these wheels.


On the RoadHighway-Traffic.jpg

When you’re on the road, there’s a certain mentality about being in the “zone”. Driving on the highway can be interpreted differently, depending on:

  • Length of trip
  • Passengers
  • Weather conditions
  • Vehicle

It’s just as important to have a clear mind whether you are in a car/truck/SUV or a semi-truck. We’re both out to accomplish the same thing: getting from point A to point B. What’s different, though? A professional driver spends hours in an 18-wheeler. Naturally, that creates stress and possibly fatigue. DOT regulates the amount of hours on the road, which isn’t a requirement for 4-wheel traffic.  And, don’t forget about the sheer amount of differences driving a semi entails:

  • Turn radius
  • Parking
  • Stop time
  • Accessibility

It might not seem like there’s a difference, but there’s skill, patience, and experience involved with driving a big rig. Not to mention time management, being away from home, and an irregular sleep schedule. These are just a few of the things a professional driver endures. These are not usually discussion points, although they do make an impact. A big one.


Regardless of the number of wheels on the rig you are driving, there's one thing we demand at Clearwater Travel Plaza. Respect. From every access point into our facility, no matter how busy the wheels on the pavement are moving

The CWTP Difference

Traffic is not created equal. At Clearwater Travel Plaza, we value our professional drivers. So much that we’ve designed our entire facility to accommodate them. A separate fuel area to keep 18-wheel traffic separate from 4-wheel. Private showers, a professional drivers’ lounge, and amenities up the wazoo. Experience the difference you deserve. You won’t be disappointed.

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Topics: Truck Driver

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