Everything You Need To Know About Bobtailing

Logistics is a progressive industry linking producers and consumers through supply chain networks that use multiple transportation modes, especially trucks. Using trucks sometimes requires drivers to drive trucks without a load from one place to another, which generally doesn’t generate revenue. This is known as bobtailing. So what is a bobtail truck, and why is it dangerous? This article will help you learn everything you need to know about bobtailing to help you make profitable and informed supply chain decisions.

What Is Bobtailing?

Bobtailing simply means driving a truck without a trailer attached. Truck drivers may drive bobtail trucks when they’re on their way to pick up the cargo at the beginning of the shift or after dropping off.

Difference Between Bobtailing and Deadheading

Bobtailing and deadheading involve driving cargo-free trucks at a specific time. However, there is a minor difference. Bobtailing is driving a freight-carrying truck without an attached trailer, while deadheading is driving a truck attached to an empty trailer.

Types of Bobtail Trucks

There are three popular types of bobtail trucks. They include:

1. Small Bobtail Truck

It can be a small or medium-sized truck with its axles connected to the same chassis. When driven without attached trailers, they can be called small bobtail trucks. These trucks often carry light or medium-lighted loads such as bakery products, eggs and other light loads.

2. Semi-Truck or Running Bobtail Truck

A running bobtail truck is a smaller semi-truck without a trailer. It consists of two main parts; a trailer and a tractor unit. A fifth-wheel type hitch can attach the trailer to the tractor unit.

3. Straight Propane Truck

Companies can convert small trucks to propane trucks when they fix a unique tank on the truck’s rear bed. The round-shaped tanks help maintain enough temperature and pressure when driving. They can hold about 5000 gallons. These unique trucks are major contributors to supplying propane or gasoline to auto dealers and fuel stations.

Why Are Bobtail Trucks Dangerous While Moving?

Bobtailing can be dangerous because it creates different driving conditions from what a loaded semi-truck expects, leading to errors that can cause accidents. While many people believe that a loaded truck is more dangerous, a bobtail truck can also generate risks for the following reasons:

  • The front wheels are the steering wheels, and they usually are less load-bearing, hence offering enough control over the vehicle. The configurations are reversed when it comes to bobtailing, making it difficult for drivers to control the vehicle.
  • The braking system is on the rear wheels as the truck is designed to work in loaded conditions. A bobtail configuration alters the braking power due to the limited weight on the rear wheels.
  • Bobtail trucks pick up speed faster than loaded trucks as they’re lighter, which increases the risk of an accident.

Get Quality Trucking Services From Experts Today!

At Energy Trucking, we are dedicated to providing professional assistance in the freight brokerage processes and reliable support to all our drivers and clients. As a leading trucking company, we focus on working with excellent qualified drivers to make your work easier and provide peace of mind. Feel free to reach out to us today and speak to our dispatchers.