Why do UPS trucks have white roofs?

Learn other interesting facts about delivery vehicles

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - MARCH 15: A United Parcel Service (UPS) hybrid electric truck is seen ourside a UPS facility that is delivering vaccines to Washington, DC, and Maryland areas March 15, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg met with UPS employees for a tour and heard about how UPS is transporting vaccines and how the supply chain works. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong, 2021 Getty Images/Alex Wong)

Most people could probably recognize the signature dirt-brown color of the United Parcel Service trucks that deliver packages everyday in the U.S.

But if you got a birds-eye view, you’d likely realize that the brown color doesn’t cover the entire vehicle. The top of a UPS delivery truck is actually a translucent white, according to digg.com.

The translucent material helps to keep the cargo dry, according to digg, and it also also allows light into the back of the truck so that it doesn’t need to be lit up during the day.

Of course, that’s not where the interesting tidbits end. According to Mental Floss, the vehicles also have a strange device called a “Flettner ventilator” on their roofs.

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Why do they keep the doors open?

In order to save time on constantly opening and closing doors during delivery routes, UPS truck drivers are instructed to keep their right-side door open at all times, even when they’re behind the wheel, Mental Floss says.

What about the AC?

Constantly-open doors mean that the trucks don’t have air conditioning, so to keep delivery drivers from overheating, the Flettner ventilator helps circulate air to keep the cabin cool.

Mental Floss states that the ventilator is wind-powered, so when the vehicle is in motion or it’s a particularly windy day, it’ll spin and move the air around, preventing the cabin from getting too hot. The devices can also be found on plenty of other delivery vehicles, too, so they’re not exclusive to UPS.

No left turns!

According to Mental Floss, UPS instructs its fleets of delivery drivers to avoid left turns whenever possible. As it turns out, it’s a cost-effective way of handling deliveries.

Mental Floss says that UPS began the mandate in the 1970s, as when drivers turn left, they’re operating against the flow of traffic, which can create greater risk of crashes.

However, it also means that the delivery trucks are going to sit idle as they wait for cross-traffic to pass, which wastes more time and fuel.

Instead, UPS uses a navigation system dubbed “ORION” (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) to help drivers find the best route using primarily right turns, Mental Floss explains.

Can I buy a UPS truck?

Not exactly sure why you’d want one, but no, you can’t.

According to Jalopnik, the delivery company has an express policy against the resale of their package trucks.

In fact, Jalopnik states that once the trucks reach the end of their lifespan, they get scrapped or repainted white to help make sure that they aren’t able to pass for an official UPS vehicle any longer.

The newly painted white trucks may be used for internal purposes, Jalopnik says, such as moving things around UPS facilities or transporting workers, though they’re all fated to be scrapped, as well.

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About the Author:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.