What is Bobtailing

 Hidden Dangers of Trucks Without Trailers


What is bobtailing?

Bobtailing is a semi-truck that is driving on the road without a trailer, not to be confused with deadheading which is a truck hauling an empty trailer. This typically happens when drivers are on the way to pick up a load or after a load has been dropped off and there is nothing else to transport. While it may not sound dangerous, it can be. While drivers do receive training on how to drive when bobtailing, the trucks do handle differently.


Semi TruckWhy is bobtailing dangerous? 

Trucks are designed with most of the weight on the front wheels to provide a counterbalance for when the trailer is attached and the braking system is on the rear wheels and designed primarily for when the truck is hauling a loaded trailer. Because most of the weight is on the front wheels and the braking system is on the back wheels, drivers are not able to brake as hard because the back wheels have less traction and will seize. This will cause the truck to pivot around the front wheels. If drivers can’t brake as hard, they need more distance to stop than a typical passenger car. It also makes swerving more difficult and the ability to lose control greater.

Passenger vehicle drivers often assume that a bobtailing truck doesn’t need as much time and space because they aren’t hauling a trailer, often cutting them off in traffic or pulling out in front of them. Bobtailing in hazardous weather such as rain and snow also increases the likelihood of an accident. If more passenger vehicle drivers were aware of the dangers, then they could drive more defensively around bobtailing trucks. Thankfully a bobtailing truck is not as common as a semi hauling a trailer.


What to do after an accident with a bobtailing truck?

The first thing to do after an accident with a bobtailing truck is to seek medical care even if there were no major injuries. The assumption by the insurance company is that you would have sought immediate medical treatment and an insurer will attempt to take advantage of the delay in seeking treatment as grounds for a low settlement. Our blog article, “Tractor Trailer Accidents: What You Should Do After (https://www.vlaw.com/tractor-trailer-accidents/),” goes into more detail on the steps you should take after a trucking accident.


Have an Attorney Evaluate Your Case

 A car accident attorney from VanDerGinst Law can help you fight for the compensation you are entitled to. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for accident victims over the past 30 years, and we would be honored to help you as well. Contact us as soon as possible after your car accident.

We can advise you about seeking medical treatment, documenting your injuries, and negotiating with the insurance company to maximize your chances of a favorable result. Don’t stress—we’re here to help.



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