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Fuel for Thought

Sliding Tandem Trailer Axles

By Greg Huggins
Posted Jul 11th 2020 9:37AM

Sliding tandems can be a regular occurrence for many tractor trailer drivers. Straight truck expediters may have a liftable axle, but there is not any sliding of axles.

Where and when you slide tandem trailer axles is important. While you might not think much of it, please consider your surroundings before sliding that trailer to adjust your weight. 

I have seen drivers at truck stops pull through the fuel island, as if they had just fueled, stop and slide their trailer tandem axles. This might seem like no big deal, but it actually can be quite dangerous. Some drivers will slide trailer axles slowly, but I have seen others rocket that trailer backwards towards the truck behind them fueling. There are also drivers that walk along the front of the trucks on the fuel islands to go inside or return to their trucks. Closing that little gap by sliding your trailer, without warning, in that spot can injure another driver passing by or even pin him or her between your trailer and the truck behind you. Please do not slide your trailer tandems on the fuel island.

Another place drivers slide their trailer tandems is in a truck stop parking spot, surrounded by trucks on all sides but the front. I have seen drivers slide their trailers into trash cans, light poles, trees, bushes and other trucks or trailers. Again, drivers walk between trucks to go to and from the building, or just walk around their own truck to pre or post trip inspect their vehicle. No one expects a trailer to come flying at them from a parked position.

If you must slide your tandems at a truck stop, please be mindful of your surroundings. Use your flashers. Pull alongside the curb, alongside the scale, or anywhere away from pedestrians and other vehicles or objects. Sliding axles on the fuel island should not be an option. There are more pedestrians in the area as well as other trucks moving around.

See you down the road,