Month: February 2022

How to Handle Toll Roads

Whether you are a seasoned truck driver or new to the career, you are probably aware of the many expenses that go along with this profession, including tolls. Toll roads are currently in 34 US states and can pose major costs to freight carriers. As a truck driver, it is important to understand how different tolling systems across the US operate so you can avoid costly mistakes when transporting freight. 

Different Methods of Determining Toll Charges

There are three main methods of determining how much you will be charged for tolls.

  • Toll by Axle Count

Toll by axle count is the most common way of figuring out toll charges, with 5-axle, single trailer trucks being the most common configuration. Other stipulations such as single versus double tires, number of trailers, and axles-per-trailer will help determine the toll charges. 

  • Toll by Size

The dimensions of the truck is another common method used in determining toll charges. These dimensions include width, height, and length of the truck. 

  • Toll by Weight

Some tolling stations charge truck tolls by weight, which might be surprising to some. You may not realize it, but when you pull up to the pay booth you are driving onto a scale that is weighing the truck and applying the appropriate fee. 

How Do Truck Drivers Pay for Tolls?

Truck drivers pay for tolls two ways: cash or all-electronic tolling. 


Although paying with cash is still an option, there are an increasing number of toll stations that no longer accept cash. If you pass through a toll booth that is being managed by an attendant, you will be able to use cash. However, this can slow you down some. 

All-Electronic Tolling (AET)

AET is a cashless service that enables toll collection through transponders or license plate readers. It also gets rid of the need to stop to pay a toll. More and more toll stations are installing transponder readers and video cameras to capture the license plates of vehicles that do not have transponders. Drivers will then receive a bill by mail to the address registered to the plate. Two examples of common AET transponders are EZ Pass and NationalPass. The EZ Pass is a battery-operated machine that is mounted on the windshield and can be used in 17 states. It is activated by prepaying and allows drivers to pass through a toll booth without stopping. The NationalPass does cost more than the EZ Pass, but it provides access to all toll roads in the US without having to transport more than one transponder. As a truck driver your driving will involve much use of the interstate, therefore, you will want to invest in an option that covers all the locations you visit often. 

How to Save Money on Tolls

Besides using a transponder, another way to save money and decrease the difficulties related to tolling is to use the Tollsmart Toll Calculator for trucks. This tool allows you to easily calculate toll costs for a route and find a different route with fewer tolls. As a result, you could save a large amount of money in some areas. The app also informs you of which transponders and method of payments are accepted at each toll station on your route. 

Toll roads and toll stations can be a frustrating part of anyone’s journey, especially for truck drivers who are expected to keep to a schedule and arrive at their destination by a certain time. Knowing ahead of time what to expect at toll stations, how your toll will be determined, and the options for payment will help ease any anxiety or problems that could potentially happen. If you have questions regarding toll stations, contact Direct Freight at (888) 894-4198. Any one of our staff members would be happy to answer your questions!

The History of the Semi-Truck

Have you ever wondered who invented the semi-truck, when it was invented, and why? At the beginning of the 20th century transportation was going through a period of change, including the affordability of producing cars and their availability. Due to automobiles cornering the market, other automotive-based inventions were introduced, such as the semi-truck. The different types of semi-trucks you see traveling the highways nowadays is from the development of a semi-trailer created to transport one single car. Two inventors are credited for the creation of the semi-truck, with each design serving a similar purpose. 

Alexander Winton

Winton invented the semi-truck in 1898 and sold his first manufactured semi-truck in 1899. He went into the car making business in 1896, and in 1898, his company, The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland sold their first 22 manufactured cars causing a need for the cars to be delivered to their buyers, especially since they lived all over the country. This presented a major dilemma. If the cars were driven to their new owners, miles plus wear and tear would occur on the car, as well as an expensive delivery. This dilemma led Winton to invent the idea of the semi-truck to handle delivery of the cars. Winton presented this problem with a new idea that he described as an automobile hauler that could transport the vehicle on a trailer. 

August Charles Fruehauf

Fruehauf was a blacksmith from Detroit who constructed a carriage for an individual who needed to transport his boat in 1914. Fruehauf officially called this carriage a “semi-trailer”. This carriage semi-trailer was attached to a Ford and became a hit. Fruehauf then went on to develop the carriage semi-trailer for other uses, such as transporting lumber. In 1918 he merged his businesses into the Fruehauf Trailer Company, which continues to be a leading maker of semi-trailers today. 

Semi-Tractor Trailer Invention Description

The first semi-trailer used a revised short-wheeled touring automobile (the tractor) with a cart (the trailer) attached to the rear of it. The platform sat on the top of the engine part and rested on a set of wheels on the other end. Although most vehicles have engines on the front, this one had an engine at the back. 

The platform was able to carry only one vehicle. Prior to the cart being set onto the pulling car, the vehicle that was being transported was wheeled onto the ramp of the cart and secured to the platform. The edge of the platform that was sitting on the ground was then raised and secured to the top of the trunk of the pulling vehicle. Today a flatbed trailer, known as a removable gooseneck, uses the same idea of being driven onto the tractor and then fastened. 

Development of the Semi-Truck

Although Winton is one of two individuals who is credited for the creation of the semi-truck, he did not pursue the design of his first semi-truck but instead concentrated on improving engine designs. However, other industries had a demand for semi-trailers and continued to expand on the semi-trailer concept. 

John C. Endebrock had experience in constructing horse carriages and used what he knew to create the “trailmobile”. This was an iron chassis that was set on wheels and springs that could be trailed behind a Ford Model T. This 1918 design allowed a single operator to easily attach the trailer to a car, whereas earlier trailers required three men to hook up the chassis to a car. 

In the 1920’s, George Cassens took the business of hauling vehicles to the next level. Cassens was a car salesman who depended on car haulers to deliver the cars he sold. In the early 1930’s, he tried to ship new cars straight to the buyers but soon realized that the cost to ship them was excessive for the car manufacturers. Cassens created a $1,850, four-car auto trailer that was pulled by a two-ton Dodge truck to help haul the cars from the manufacturing site to the car owners. 

Over the next 100 years, the two-wheel semi-truck that Winton invented has developed into an eighteen wheeled semi-truck with three axles. Without the invention of the semi-truck, the transportation of goods would be exhausting and difficult. However, thanks to those who invented and developed it, semi-trucks today haul hundreds of thousands of goods each year by way of 3 million truck drivers.