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SQUEEKY2's avatar

What is the largest vehicle you ever drove?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (20609points) April 14th, 2017

How long was it?
What kind of transmission did it have?
Were you comfortable driving it?

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31 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Gasoline powered 48 passenger front engine rear wheel drive school bus. It was a standard transmission and I only moved it far enough that the bus driver, who left the bus running to go into the high school office, thought the bus had been taken. There were 12 other students on the bus and no one told him who moved.

I have also driven a one ton pick-up with a snow plow.

zenvelo's avatar

I have driven a gasoline engine automatic transmission box truck a few blocks to move furniture.

I was not comfortable driving it because I had a hard time judging where the right side was in relation to the curb and other objects like parked cars.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’ve driven a 50-ton schooner by sail only through Penobscot Bay, Maine, upwind and down, and I’ve also driven a 200-ton (I believe, though I never saw the specs for it) power-only diesel commercial motor vessel, also in Penobscot Bay. I would have brought that to the dock, too – I’m sure that I could have done it safely (if slowly), and I’m sure that I had the right feel for its handling and the seas that day (and the captain seemed to agree) – but Coast Guard regulations even then forbade that an unlicensed teenager should do so.

The schooner is around 70 feet overall, and 50-something feet at the waterline, and the MV was … considerably longer, but that was around fifty years ago, and I don’t even recall its name.

PS: And I loved it. Except for the rain in my face on driving upwind in the schooner, it was comfortable, too. And even in the rain, a joy.

Aster's avatar

My husband was driving our new 32 foot RV then suddenly he pulled over and folded the couch down and said, “I’m going to take a nap; you drive.” I almost fainted . I said, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? I CAN’T DRIVE THIS MONSTROSITY! ARE YOU CRAZY?” and he calmly, as usual, goes, “you’ll be fine.” So onto the freeway I went and I got used to it very quickly.

Brian1946's avatar

I wasted time at the throttle of an 8,700-ton guided missile frigate, for an accumulated distance of about 21,000 miles.

IIRC, it was 533 feet long.

The Yarnell had twin shafts and each one was connected to a set of shiftless reduction gears. Each gear assembly and housing was about as big as an Abrams tank.

I was comfortable “driving” it, because we were usually on the open sea with virtually zero traffic.

Otherwise, I guess the biggest land vehicle I’ve ever driven was my brother’s 1979 Dodge van.


I’ve read that 18-wheelers weigh about 40 tons. What do you think your rig weighs?

I think the biggest land vehicle I’ve ever read about is a 3,000-ton missile mover. I wonder if anyone actually drives that thing, or if it has a multi-personnel crew directing it.

Brian1946's avatar


Do you ever fantasize about driving a tank, locomotive, or Terex Titan?

kritiper's avatar

I drove a log loader (or unloader). This thing was so big the transmission (Allison HT 750CL) drain plug was eye level, and there was a drive shaft that came down from the engine (a 350 HP Cummins diesel) to the transmission. The driver’s seat was about even with where the engines valve covers were, so the seat was about 15’ off the ground. The tires were about 6’ tall, and the length of the thing, without the forklift similar forks. was about 20’. Width 12’. This machine could grab an entire 80,000 lb. load of logs off a logging truck and carry them across the sawmill yard.
I have also driven a M-88 tank recovery vehicle that weighed 55 tons.

ucme's avatar

A train, steam engine with six cargo carriages packed with the staff’s wages…toot fuckin toot!!

Patty_Melt's avatar

and a schoolbus for personnel transport, and a lightrail train in San Jose.

anniereborn's avatar

A van. Not like a minivan. Like the “old fashioned” vans. I drove it when I was working at a summer camp. I can’t tell you any of the particulars, except I was not at ALL comfortable driving it.

It was a crappy situation as I was driving children around.
I told my supervisors about it but they didn’t care. Looking back I should have just quit. I did think about it, but needed the job at the time. Luckily it all went well though.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Brian1946 this was my truck in 2005.

It has 8 axels ,2 trailers , and 30 tires and grosses out at 63,500kgs

Patty_Melt's avatar

My yp, as seen in the above link was twin screws, four diesal engines. Some were modified to be auto tranny, and I piloted some of those. Mine was not modified. There was throttle and clutch for each bank, port and starboard. I could handle the pilothouse alone. Mostly I taught midshipmen how, which included kahn, magnetic compass, helm, and the clutch/throttle pairs.
I also helped out on deck when they needed it with line handling, anchor, man overboard, and stuff.

Incoherency_'s avatar


“I think the biggest land vehicle I’ve ever read about is a 3,000-ton missile mover.”

It’s called a Crawler-transporter, “Einstein”. Well, at least you got the weight right.

@All you losers

When my dad owned NASA, he let me drive it when I got my learner’s permit. So that gives me the record by a yuge margin!

Zaku's avatar

Moving trucks, all manual transmission. With one fairly large moving truck. I was pretty comfortable and thought I did rather well but I drove all day and into the night and ended up going down a narrowish residential street with parked cars and a stupid safety island in an intersection. I ended up hitting a car that was parked close to the circle as I turned to get around the island, which didn’t seem like something that would happen until OOOPS!. I also once hit a building with one, though no damage was done. So I’d say the trickiest part is about being and staying aware of how big they are in all directions (including up) and what space they sweep out when they turn (rather more than a car). That is, it wasn’t that I was out of control per se – I just wasn’t tracking all the dimensions the truck was moving in accurately all the time. And hitting anything with a giant vehicle can do a lot of damage. Fortunately I wasn’t going very fast at all when I did hit things.

(If water craft count, I’ve also steered boats that were about 40–50 feet long, though mostly just maintaining straight courses, which I apparently did well.)

kritiper's avatar

The 55 ton M-88 was a blast to drive. At Fort Knox it was.
There were 4 units, with me in the lead. None of us drivers had ever driven one before, but I had experience driving all kinds of different stuff. We were set to go, and the sergeant told me to move out, so I did. It was great! Rode as soft as a Cadillac across the dirt . I was motoring along, and the sergeant wasn’t saying anything, so I kept going, peddle to the metal! Finally, he says, “Better slow down, private, and let the others catch up!”

Patty_Melt's avatar

@Incoherancy, when did your dad own NASA?

JLeslie's avatar

Our pick up truck. I think it’s 19 feet, but I’m not sure. It’s a Ford 150 4 door.

Sneki95's avatar

A bicycle.

jca's avatar

A van.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

What kind of van @jca a moving van? a mini van? a large pd van?

dappled_leaves's avatar

I rented a 9-foot U-Haul cargo van to move once. I had it for a couple of days and used the heck out of it. It was less difficult than I expected, though not exactly “comfortable”. I wouldn’t want to do it regularly.

Otherwise, the largest vehicle I drove regularly was a Land Rover. That was definitely comfortable. The seat warmers were particularly welcome in winter.

gorillapaws's avatar

A deicing truck at the airport.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I forgot about when I was 10 it was a 45 foot “Head boat” for day fishing, my father, grandfather and I were on vacation in Ensenada, Mexico. I was 10 and we went fishing each day for week, on the second day we were done for the day and returning to the harbor. The captain came to me and asked if I thought I could use the compass to return to the mouth of the harbor. “Sure”, I said and I climbed to the flying bridge. The captain was down on the deck filleting fish with mate and helper (they all split the tips from the fisherman). The trip back was about 40 minutes, the rest of the week he had me bring the boat back to the buoy at the entrance to the harbor, I got a Hersey’s Almond bar each day for rest of the that week.

filmfann's avatar

I have driven 17 foot moving trucks, but I think the phone company ladder trucks were bigger. They certainly felt bigger.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m was wrong. I have driven our truck while hauling our trailer, but just in my driveway and parking lots, and probably not more than 200 ft. That’s probably a total of 42ft-ish.

jca's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: A regular van – the kind that workmen use to haul their stuff around. It was a long time ago and I don’t think I drove it more than once.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve driven a few moving trucks.

Once, on a job interview with Brinks, I drove a armoured truck. Huge, I think gas powered, automatic transmission. A current employee sat shotgun, whilst I took it around town. We talked a lot, got back to the HQ, and I flawlessly backed it in to a tight garage. The interviewing officer got out, and closed the door. When I took of my seat belt, and went to get out, I realized that there was no door handle. Oops. The vehicle was soundproof, so I tried in vein to yell to the others, but we couldn’t hear each other. After about 10 minutes, someone was able to sign language me how to get out. But I was locked in, and I guess the only keys were in my hand. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I laugh about it now…

SQUEEKY2's avatar

This is the transmission I work with when at work, would you be comfortable shifting this much?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I used to haul around a huge boat for hydrologic studies. I believe it was a surplus patrol boat we outfitted with sensors, computers and data acquisition devices. I don’t remember what it weighed but I had to use a big diesel transport truck to haul that SOB around.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The largest? It was probably a limo that was required at the time to pick up hotel customers at the airport. This wasn’t my normal job, and cruising in it to Washington Reagan Airport to pick up guests was an experience. It’s a miracle that every other vecicle wasn’t side-swiped.

ThePigman's avatar

I rode a tricycle once…

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