What is Deadheading and Why do Truckers Avoid It?

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If you’re a new driver or are interested in becoming a trucker, it’s important to understand what deadhead is. You may feel lost when truckers mention “deadhead,” but don’t worry! We will answer the question “what is deadheading” as well as other factors of deadheading in this blog. Taking a deadhead is when you drive with an empty trailer. Because drivers need to pick up loads from secondary locations, oftentimes it is necessary for a trucker to drive without a load in order to pick one up. There are many factors that make deadheading a nightmare for truckers. We will outline those factors below as well as ways to avoid them below!

what is deadheading

What is Deadheading: Drawbacks

Money

Deadheading is expensive. Most of the time, trucking companies do not pay drivers for deadheading. Sometimes, companies will pay drivers after a certain number of miles. The amount of money you could possibly make deadheading does not come close to the money you would make with a load. On top of receiving little to no payment, you are also blowing through money for gas and tires, not to mention the time that you could have spent doing something else. Luckily, companies try their best to avoid deadheading. This is because it not only wastes money for the drivers but it also costs the companies money.

Unsafe Driving

Empty box trailers, or trailers without loads, are dangerous to drive. As a driver, you are used to driving a heavy rig. So, you have to adjust your driving style to accommodate a lighter rig. The less weight on your rig, the more difficult it is to control it while you’re driving. If you are having difficulty controlling your rig because it is more lightweight than you are used to, do not be embarrassed. Make sure that you account for this when you begin deadheading. You should also pay more attention to weather conditions than you do while you are driving heavier loads. Strong winds can lead to the possibility of a swaying tractor. And in some cases, they can even flip tractors.

Avoiding Deadhead

The best way to avoid a trucking deadhead is to make sure you always have a load. Avoid driving without a load at all costs. It is also important that you do not miss your deadlines. When truckers miss deadlines there is a greater risk that they will miss a pickup and end up having to deadhead. If you consistently meet your deadlines and always make sure you have a load when you’re driving, you will be in the best position to avoid deadheading. However, it is important to remember that sometimes deadheading is not avoidable. If you have an emergency, do not worry about finding a load. Deadhead to get where you need to go as quickly as possible.

There are a few upsides to deadheading. The first is that it saves time. If you do not have a load, you are usually not driving on a tight schedule. You do not have to stop for an oversized load while you are driving. You will also be able to drive without constantly checking your load and adjusting it.


Now that we’ve covered the topic of deadheading, you should also be able to understand why truckers avoid a deadhead whenever it’s possible to. As we stated above, avoiding deadhead is easy if you ensure that you always have a load. You might be worried about constantly having loads to transport. Don’t worry! We have tons of great jobs listed on our website. Be sure to browse our job listings, apply, and avoid deadheading!

Author: Hit The Road Jack

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