What is bobtailing and can it be dangerous? Bobtailing is when a semi-truck is driving on the road without a trailer. This is something that happens whenever drivers are on the way to pick up a load and they don’t have anything that they can transport to that location with them.
Is bobtailing dangerous? It can be. And, because it creates driving conditions that are very different from what a loaded semi-truck experiences, it can cause drivers to make errors that lead to accidents. Since semi-trucks are larger and heavier than passenger cars, anytime they’re involved in an accident, the potential for serious injuries or worse is very high.
Fortunately, bobtailing is the exception and not the rule for truck drivers. Since driving a semi-truck without a load is a waste of time and money, it only happens when absolutely necessary.
The other good news is that drivers have training on how to drive when bobtailing. Plus, they learn how to expect their truck to handle differently. Does this stop all accidents? No, but it does make an impact and any impact that reduces semi-truck accidents is a good thing.
What Is Bobtailing And How Does It Change The Way A Sem-Truck Handles?
When a semi-truck doesn’t have a trailer, most of its weight is on its front wheels. Trucks are designed specifically in this manner. Primarily, so that when they have a heavy trailer on, the weight is counterbalanced.
The problem is that when a truck has no trailer, there’s a lot of weight on the front tires without much on the rear tires. That makes handling the truck challenging. Plus, it handles very differently from how it would if it were loaded with a trailer.
The main issue when bobtailing is that a truck cannot brake as hard since the rear wheels will not have as much traction. That means that a bobtailing truck will require more distance to come to a stop which increases the chance of an accident if a driver isn’t careful.
Emergency Maneuvers In A Bobtailing Truck Are More Difficult To Perform
When a truck is bobtailing, hard braking and swerving should be avoided. This is because doing either of these things can cause a truck to swerve and lose control. The problem is that swerving and hard braking are exactly what truck drivers have to perform if they are in an emergency situation.
For example, if a truck is cut off in traffic by a car and that car hits its brakes, then the truck driver has to hit his brakes hard as well. But, if that truck is bobtailing, then the very act of hard braking could result in an accident.
Being Aware Of The Dangers Of Bobtailing Can Help Prevent Accidents
Truck drivers already understand the dangers involved in bobtailing. If more car drivers were aware of the dangers, then they could drive more defensively around trucks that are bobtailing. This would make the roads safer for everyone.