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Nearly every time you see a semi-truck driving on a public road, it will be hauling a trailer. Typically, these vehicles only drive without a trailer while receiving maintenance or switching loads. However, sometimes you will see one of these trucks driving on public roads without a trailer. That is known as bobtailing.
Large commercial trucks are often referred to as “tractor-trailers.” The name refers to the most common configurations these trucks are found in when driving around: The “tractor” is the front portion of the truck, and the “trailer” is the cargo container it is pulling.
Many people who have never driven a truck believe that driving without a trailer (bobtailing) is better than driving with an empty trailer (which is known as “deadheading”). Even some commercial drivers may believe a few of the following myths. This guide will debunk them.
Myth 1: Bobtailing Is Easier Than Pulling a Trailer
Most drivers know better, but some may believe that driving a bobtail truck is easier than driving one with a trailer. However, the exact opposite is the case.
Semi-trucks are designed with a lot of weight over the front tires. This weight in the front is supposed to counter the weight of the trailer. When a truck is carrying cargo, this weight balances almost perfectly. But when the cargo container is missing, the missing weight on the rear tires makes it harder to make a sudden turn or a quick stop.
Myth 2: Bobtailing Is Safer
If bobtailing were safer than driving with a trailer, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wouldn’t require driver training to include hours spent learning specifically how to drive a bobtail truck.
A bobtailing truck requires more time to brake because fast braking pulls the rear wheels off the ground. Similarly, a bobtailing truck needs to take turns at slower speeds than a truck with a trailer.
Even when someone is properly trained to drive a bobtail truck, they need to be more careful while driving. And even small mistakes can cause major accidents. Because drivers need to be more careful, bobtailing magnifies the dangers associated with distracted driving and driving while fatigued.
Myth 3: Bobtailing Saves Money
Due to its lower weight, a bobtail semi-truck is more fuel-efficient than a truck with a full trailer. And driving without a trailer will generally use less fuel than driving with an empty trailer.
But that doesn’t mean that bobtailing is a good way to save money.
The ride will still come with the normal costs of commercial trucking: driver pay, tolls, wear and tear on the truck, and other expenses involved with operating a big rig. Any small savings on fuel are offset by the higher risk of a crash and the resulting financial consequences.
Myth 4: Bobtailing Causes Less Wear and Tear on the Truck
Once again, the weight distribution of a semi-truck comes into play. When a semi-truck is hauling a cargo load, that weight distribution is balanced, causing roughly equal wear and tear on all parts of the truck.
However, when a truck is bobtailing, that distribution is off. The added weight over the front of the truck puts extra wear and tear on the front brakes and tires. When wear and tear is uneven, that forces difficult decisions. The truck may need more frequent maintenance, or some parts may need to be replaced early.
Can I Sue a Truck Driver or Trucking Company Because the Driver Was Bobtailing?
Bobtailing itself isn’t against the law or inherently negligent. However, it increases the hazards of driving a truck, which means that negligent behavior is more likely to result in an accident.
If you were involved in a truck accident with a driver who was bobtailing, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. There is a good chance that the bobtailing contributed to the accident and that you can get compensation for your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Truck Accident in Virginia?
The Virginia statute of limitations gives you two years to file a lawsuit after suffering an injury during a truck accident. If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run out, your lawsuit will be dismissed.
To avoid missing the time limit for lawsuits, you can contact a truck accident attorney soon after getting injured in a truck accident. They will monitor your legal deadlines and make sure you don’t miss any.
Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney After a Truck Accident?
Most people think that truck accidents are no different than car accidents. You contact your insurance company, report the accident, and get compensation after a few weeks of red tape. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case with truck accidents.
Truck accidents tend to involve more serious injuries, which means they involve much larger amounts of money. Insurance companies will typically do anything they can to avoid paying large sums in claims.
If you don’t hire a personal injury lawyer, you might get significantly less money than you need to fully recover from your injuries and pay for your losses after the accident. An experienced attorney understands the value of your claim and will fight to get you every dollar that you deserve.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at Commonwealth Law Group Today
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident involving a bobtailing semi-truck, you may be eligible to receive a life-changing amount of compensation.
However, insurance companies won’t make it easy to get that money. Contact the experienced Virginia truck accident lawyers at Commonwealth Law Group to schedule a free consultation today.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.