Have you ever been driving down a highway and seen a piece missing from an overpass? Usually, when this happens, a truck has been carrying cargo that is too tall for highway standards. To help allow truckers to haul tall machinery, lowboy trailers were created.

What is a lowboy trailer? A lowboy trailer sits as low to the ground as possible. It is very strong and durable and can hold very heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and excavators. A lowboy trailer will often have a ramp at the back so you can drive any equipment onto the flatbed in an easy manner.

The low center of gravity makes transporting heavy equipment a lot more stable. As heavy equipment is too slow to travel great distances on highways, a lowboy trailer is needed to transport them to different job sites.

Why is it called a lowboy trailer?

As you will start to be aware, there are quite a few nicknames in the world of trucking. A lowboy trailer is no different.

The term lowboy comes from the fact the trailer is very low to the ground. In fact, at first glance, you may wonder if there is any clearance at all between the trailer and the road.

What is a lowboy trailer used for?

The main purpose of a lowboy trailer is to transport tall and oversized vehicles. There are many bulky construction vehicles that are much taller than most trailers can accommodate.

Each state will have its own semi-truck height standards, but all are between 13.5 feet and 14 feet for a maximum height restriction.

This is because overpasses can only be built so high. Thus, a standard is needed so that drivers don’t crash into every low overpass they meet.

As truck cargo has increased in size, overpass height has also tried to adjust. Newer highways will have more clearance but there are still plenty of older roads and overpasses that have a very short clearance.

Even if you are using a lowboy to transport tall cargo, you still need to be aware of your route. If there is a road that can’t accommodate newer clearance standards, there should be plenty of notice so that truck drivers can alter their route.

Heavy equipment is the most common cargo transported on a lowboy trailer. Bulldozers and excavators are quite large and need every extra inch of space to accommodate them.

Advantages of a lowboy trailer

There are many advantages of a lowboy trailer. They are designed for a reason and allow the transportation of large equipment that is too slow to travel on its own.


The center of a lowboy trailer is much lower than a regular semi-truck trailer, as the construction is lower to the ground. Any time there is a lower center of gravity, it makes driving and turning in a truck much more stable.

The cargo is also wider and lower to the ground, so you won’t have an off-kilter drive.


There are many ways to use a lowboy trailer. Even though they are primarily designed for very tall equipment, in a pinch, you can use the trailer for many other things.

Lowboy trailers are very adaptable and you can take on a myriad of different equipment.

Easy to load

The design of a lowboy trailer will often have a slight lifting capability. You can lower the back of the trailer to the ground so that the piece of equipment you are transporting can then drive right up it.

Depending on the type of lowboy trailer, you may be able to load your cargo from the front or the back. While backloading is still easy, having the front capability increases your loading options.

Types of Lowboy trailers

Even though lowboy trailers have the same general purpose, there are different types of designs. Some have ramps to help load cargo while others can be removed easily so you can load from the front or the back.

Fixed gooseneck

This type of lowboy trailer has the lightest weight of the other types. It has a long deck length and will have a drip ramp at the back to allow cargo to drive right up onto the bed.

Often, low-profile tires are used to help with the structural balance.


With this model, the gooseneck is fixed right to the trailer. While it is more lightweight, you do have to sacrifice a few things.

You are not able to detach and load your cargo over the front of the trailer.

Hydraulic detachable gooseneck

Also known as a hydraulic RGN, this is a very efficient model. You can easily and quickly attach the trailer.

However, you have to sacrifice the length of the deck as well as the weight. Still, a hydraulic RGN is very versatile and one of the most common models.

A hydraulic RGN uses hydraulic cylinders which can lower and raise the trailer. The design allows for larger pieces of equipment to drive right on the front of the trailer.

Mechanically-detachable gooseneck

Often categorized as a mechanical RGN, this type of lowboy trailer is lighter than other options but is not as easy or quick to use. It is primarily used for long hauls with specialty cargo.

Mechanical folding gooseneck

Abbreviated to MFGN, this type of lowboy trailer has a deck that folds all the way to ground level. Thus, you have a built-in ramp that helps to ease any loading and unloading.

What is another name for a lowboy trailer?

There are many different terms for a lowboy trailer, depending on where you live in the world. For example, in Western Canada, it is often called a low-bed trailer.

In England, they are often called low-loaders and in Australia and Eastern Canada, they are called floats.

While most truckers will be aware of the different terminology, the average person may only be aware of the specific term in their own country or region.


A lowboy trailer is specially designed to be as low to the ground as possible. Then, you can transport tall cargo, usually in the form of mechanical or farming equipment.