But imagine finding yourself behind one of these enormous beasts. This is an Australia road train comprising a very powerful truck, or tractor, pulling three and sometimes even four trailers at a time.
In Australia, they transport everything from livestock to consumer goods to fuel. The road trains pictured here are loading cattle at Helen Springs in Northern Territory, from where they will make the 1,125km /700-mile, 14-hour, non-stop journey to the port of Darwin for live export to Japan, south-east Asia and the US.
Time for a bit of maths to appreciate the enormity of what’s going on in these photos: There are 17 trucks loading cattle here, each with three two-deck trailers, making 102 decks. With roughly 28 cattle per deck (they load by volume, not weight as scales aren’t used in the outback) that totals 2,856 head of cattle.
Looking at it from less of a livestock perspective and more of a vehicular one, each trailer has 12 tyres plus a dolly with eight tyres making a total of 20, except for the truck and first trailer, which has 24. So each road train has 62 tyres (not including spares) meaning there are 1,054 tyres on the road here.
While most road trains run at night, some do operate during the day and rub shoulders with ‘regular’ road traffic.
Although a road train might start out a dot on the horizon in a rear view mirror, it rapidly fills the entire viewing area as it approaches, most definitely asserting its presence.
And if you have one in front of you and you’re thinking of overtaking it, well, you had better have a fast car and a long wide straight stretch of road: Road trains in the Northern Territory can be up to 53.5 meters in length (about 175 ft) and there are road signs warning that the driver doing the overtaking must allow more than one and a half kilometres (one mile) – to pass!
Keep on truckin’!