Did you know that in certain states truck drivers can pull two trailers at the same time? Drivers refer to it as doubles or tandems. That’s where Louis Holloway comes in! Louis is a doubles driver based out of Dot Foods New York.
Doubles are a challenge because they can only go in a straight line. Because of this, they’re only permitted in the following states: Indiana, Chicago, New York, and Massachusetts. These states have a thruway that make it safer to use them. Each state has a tandem drop lot exclusively for doubles drivers to use to drop off the trailers.
You might be wondering, “why would Dot use doubles?”
“Using doubles kills two birds with one stone—it’s one driver pulling two trailers instead of two drivers pulling two trailers,” Louis explained. “It’s more cost effective for Dot.”
Louis has been an employee since 1997, including the transition when Dot bought Dresher. He worked in the warehouse for three years before becoming a driver for Dot. Louis has driven over 2 million miles accident-free and will celebrate his 25th anniversary in July 2022. He drives doubles from Dot’s Liverpool distribution center (DC) to a tandem drop lot in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and back. Two other Dot drivers pick up the loaded trailers (now split up) from the tandem lot and continue with their routes.
“I love driving doubles,” he said. “I like the challenge of it and the consistent schedule.”
Drivers must be certified to drive doubles. Louis shared that drivers must have been a driver for a company for five years and complete a written test through the DMV. Dot will send the driver out with an experienced doubles driver to train before traveling solo. The driver also needs to be certified for each state they’ll be traveling in.
In addition to the challenge of driving doubles, the weather can also play a role. In the event of high winds, the New York State Thruway Authority can shut down the use of doubles that are hauling empty. If the trailers are empty, they can be hazardous to travel with in windy conditions. The Thruway Authority can also shut down the use of doubles during snowstorms.
“In Massachusetts there’s a hill that drivers call 6 Mile Hill,” Louis said. “If that hill is snow-covered, then there’s a tandem ban. If that happens then we can still pull doubles, but we split them up in Albany, New York, to only pull one trailer into Massachusetts.”
The next time you’re taking a road trip keep an eye out for doubles!