You might not realize it, but you have probably seen bobtail trucks on the roadway numerous times. A bobtail truck is a tractor-trailer without the trailer part attached.
Driving a bobtail truck is dangerous because tractor-trailers are not designed to be driven without being connected to a trailer. Bobtailed trucks are harder to maneuver and have a greater breaking distance, which makes it difficult for truck drivers to avoid potential accidents, especially in emergency situations.
Truck accidents are serious and often cause catastrophic injuries, fatalities, and expensive property damage. Statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that over 4,000 people were killed in accidents involving commercial trucks in 2020.
If you were injured in a collision involving a bobtailing truck in Virginia, contact the Virginia commercial truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free consultation. Our experienced lawyers will examine the details of your case and determine the most effective legal strategy for bringing the negligent driver to account.
How Does Bobtailing Change the Way a Truck Operates?
Commercial trucks are comprised of two parts, the front cab where the driver sits, and the rear trailer which is used to haul freight. Since commercial trucks are meant to pull these extremely heavy trailers, the majority of the truck’s braking power is in the back wheels underneath the trailer, while the front wheels are used primarily for steering.
When a trailer is not attached, however, the front tires hold most of the truck’s weight. When a truck is bobtailing, the back wheels have a lot less traction which reduces the vehicle’s braking power. Commercial trucks already require a significant braking distance and a bobtail truck requires even more.
Also, truck operators might have a difficult time controlling the truck because the weight is distributed unevenly across the tires. Overall, a bobtail truck does not handle the same as one with a trailer attached. They are more prone to skidding or overturning on slippery roads and sharp turns.
Why Are Emergency Maneuvers Harder to Execute?
Truck operators have to try very hard to avoid any swerving or sudden braking when they are bobtailing. The vehicle’s braking system will always function as though the weight distribution between the cab and the trailer is even. It has no way to take into account the weight differential caused by bobtailing. It is for this reason that emergency driving maneuvers that would be perfectly sufficient in a fully loaded tractor-trailer might cause one that is bobtailed to lose control and run off the roadway or swerve into an oncoming lane and cause a head-on collision.
Understanding How Bobtailing is Dangerous Can Help Prevent Accidents
When truck operators understand the dangers of bobtailing, they are better prepared for potentially dangerous driving conditions. Truck drivers should always obey all traffic lights and signs, maintain an adequate following distance from the vehicle in front of them, and be prepared to bring the truck to a full and complete stop.
It is also important for the drivers of standard passenger vehicles to be mindful of the hazards associated with bobtailing. Defensive driving is important when you are near a bobtail truck, as is leaving an ample amount of following distance.
Get Help With Your Bobtailing Accident, Today!
If you were injured in an accident involving a bobtailed commercial truck in Virginia, contact the law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free consultation. We have been protecting our clients’ rights since 1985 and know what it takes to achieve a favorable outcome to your injury claim. You can count on our skilled and capable Virginia truck accident lawyers to secure the financial compensation the law entitles you to. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (833) 997-1774.