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What is “Bobtailing” in Illinois, and Why is It So Dangerous?

— March 30, 2022

A truck without a trailer is actually more dangerous than one carrying a full load of cargo.

If you’re a total outsider to the trucking industry in Illinois, you might have no idea what “bobtailing” actually means. Most people never really need to learn about the ins and outs of the trucking world, as they go through life without ever being affected by semi-trucks. However, those who are injured by semi-trucks begin to take a keener interest in these practices. These individuals often want to know exactly what kind of negligence led to their accident and their injuries. So what exactly is bobtailing, and why is it so dangerous?

If you have been injured in a semi-truck accident, you need to get in touch with a qualified, experienced semi-truck accident attorney in Illinois as soon as possible. The sooner you connect with one of these legal professionals, the better. This is because important evidence has a tendency to vanish over time, and the statute of limitations may prevent you from taking legal action if you wait too long. With help from a qualified attorney, you can pursue a positive legal outcome in a confident, efficient manner. 

What is Bobtailing?

Bobtailing is when a semi-truck drives without a trailer attached. Usually, truckers do this when they are moving between jobs. Perhaps they have just dropped off a load, and they’re heading back to grab more cargo. Or maybe they’re just starting out for the day, and they’re heading to a location to pick up their first load. Note that this is not the same as “deadheading,” which is when truckers carry trailers that are empty.

Yellow three-trailer truck on road; image by Rhys Moult, via
Yellow three-trailer truck on road; image by Rhys Moult, via

Why is Bobtailing Dangerous?

A truck without a trailer is actually more dangerous than one carrying a full load of cargo. Although you might assume that a smaller, lighter vehicle is easier to maneuver and control, this is not the case. In fact, bobtail trucks are more difficult to turn, and they are also very challenging to brake. This is because there is almost no weight on the rear axle, resulting in a massive reduction in braking power. This equates to a much longer braking distance. Since semi-trucks already have poor braking distances, this makes an already-perilous situation even worse. Bobtail trucks are therefore more prone to skidding and sudden turns while being unable to stop in time when a hazard presents itself. This all leads to a much higher risk of accidents. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you’ve been searching the Chicago area for a qualified, experienced semi-truck accident attorney, you have a number of options to choose from. Pick the best attorney you can find, and you can approach this situation in the most efficient way possible. The best accident attorneys can guide you towards a fair, adequate settlement that reflects the true extent of your injuries. With their help, you can pay for your medical expenses, your missed wages, and many other damages. Book your consultation today. 

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