A tractor-trailer truck is said to be “bobtailing” when it’s being operated without a trailer attached to the truck cab. Bobtailing isn’t against the law. There are situations where a truck must drive bobtail, such as when they’re on their way to pick up cargo or have just dropped one off. However, truck drivers need to be extra cautious when driving bobtail to avoid accidents.
A tractor-trailer truck is specifically designed to haul trailers. Without the added weight of an attached trailer, a bobtailing truck can be harder to control in an emergency situation.
Braking Problems Caused by Bobtailing
How can it take longer for a truck to brake when it isn’t hauling a multi-ton trailer? Like the rest of the truck, the brakes are designed to operate under the weight of a fully loaded trailer. Without the load, there’s far less weight placed on the rear tires of the semi-truck than the front ones. Therefore, if a trucker slams on his brakes the rear tires could leave the ground, making it harder to keep the truck under control.
Engine Retarders Can Create Similar Problems
Engine retarders can cause similar problems. Engine retarders help a truck hauling a trailer slow down while going downhill. Without the added weight pressing down on the rear wheels, providing traction, the truck may begin to slide or jackknife.
Clearance Can Be an Issue
A bobtailing truck could experience clearance problems as well. A truck is a few inches taller when it’s not being weighed down by a trailer. This could cause problems when the truck crosses under a bridge, overpass, road sign, traffic signal, or trying to access a parking or garage facility.
Bobtailing on Bad Roads or in Bad Weather
Road and weather conditions can be even more hazardous for a bobtailing truck. Without the weight of the trailer, the friction between the tires and the road decreases significantly on wet or snowy roads. A bobtailing truck is more likely to flip over while taking a sharp curve or driving on an uneven road surface because of the higher center of gravity.
Avoid Bobtail Truck Accidents
Most truck drivers don’t like bobtailing. However, there are times when bobtailing is unavoidable. To avoid mishaps, truck drivers need to take steps to reduce the risks to themselves and others on the road:
- Stay focused on the road; avoid distracted driving
- Observe the posted speed limits
- Increase the following distance between the vehicles in front
- Don’t drive while fatigued
When truck drivers fail to take the necessary precautions while driving bobtail, serious and even fatal accidents can occur. Bobtailing truck accident injuries can include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
In some instances, the victim may never fully recover. These injuries can cost the victim thousands in medical bills and lost wages.
Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Florida Bobtail Truck Accident
If you’ve been injured in a big truck accident in Florida that was caused by the careless actions of a truck driver, you may be able to obtain compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Rivas Law Group is here to protect your rights. Lakeland personal injury attorney Tania Rivas has represented clients injured in truck accidents all over Central Florida, including Lakeland, Lutz, and Winter Haven. Attorney Rivas has obtained millions of dollars in compensation for her clients.
Contact Rivas Law Group through our website or call us at (877) 299-5539 to schedule a free consultation with Tania Rivas. The sooner Tania gets to work on your claim, the sooner you’ll receive the compensation you deserve.