Deadheading, or “riding deadhead,” is a commercial trucking term that describes driving a semi-truck with an attached, but empty, trailer. Often confused with “bobtailing” or “backhauling,” deadheading occurs when a truck driver has delivered their cargo and must travel back to their point of origin without carrying any goods in their trailer.
What is a Deadhead Truck
A deadhead truck is a commercial vehicle or semi-truck driven with an empty cargo trailer attached. Riding deadhead is not preferred by commercial truck drivers since an empty cargo trailer translates to miles typically unpaid by trucking companies. This is because trucking companies are not required to pay for these empty miles, often referred to as “dead miles.”
Deadheading is often confused with the similar act of “bobtailing.” Bobtailing is the act of driving a commercial transport vehicle without hauling an attached trailer. Though both include traveling distances without cargo, riding deadhead implies that the freight trailer, though an empty load, is still attached. Both deadheading and bobtailing are typically not preferred by drivers and trucking companies due to lost costs from return travel.
Riding deadhead is often confused with its opposite act of “backhauling.” Backhauling refers to post-delivery travel, in which the driver hauls some cargo back to their point of origin. When backhauling, the cargo trailer is not empty.
What is Deadheading in Trucking, Anyway? Origin of Trucker Slang
The term “deadhead” originated in the transportation industry, specifically in the railroad sector, to describe the transportation of passengers or crew on a train’s return trip without generating any revenue. It also referred to a train car that was empty or carrying non-revenue-producing goods. In the trucking industry, deadheading refers to the same concept of traveling with an empty trailer.
Deadheading is a practice that drivers and companies do not prefer, as it translates to unpaid miles, making it a less profitable option.
However, deadheading can sometimes be necessary to position a truck or trailer in a specific location for a future load. In these cases, trucking companies may offer partial compensation for the deadhead miles, but it is not required by law.
How to Define Deadheading for Non-Trucker Uses
The term “deadheading” is commonly used in the transportation industry, including commercial aviation and commercial trucking. It can also be used in other industries that involve moving people or goods from one location to another, such as shipping and rail transportation.
Deadheading is a term that has different meanings across various industries. In all cases, deadheading is a practice that serves a specific purpose and is an essential part of the industry’s operations.
What Is Deadheading in Gardening?
Deadheading in gardening refers to removing wilted or faded flowers from a plant to encourage new growth and prolong the blooming period. Flower Deadheading can be done manually or with garden shears. The process involves cutting the stem of the spent flower just above the nearest set of leaves or buds.
By removing the dead flowers, the plant can focus its energy on producing new buds and blooms, rather than producing seeds. Deadheading can also improve the plant’s overall appearance by promoting a fuller and more vibrant display of flowers.
What Is Deadheading Flying in Air Travel?
In air travel, deadheading refers to the transportation of airline crew members or other personnel who are not working on the flight, much in the same way as rail travel. This can include pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, or other staff members who need to be transported to a different location for a future flight or to meet up with their crew.
Deadheading can occur on a commercial flight, where the non-working staff members occupy empty seats on the plane, or on a dedicated deadhead flight, where the crew is transported on a separate flight.
The practice of deadheading is essential for airlines to ensure that their crew members are in the right location for their scheduled flights and to maintain efficient operations.
Deadheads in Music
In the music world, a “deadhead” is the coined name for a traveling fan of the band, The Grateful Dead. However, the term “deadhead” has taken on a broader meaning in the music industry to refer to fans of jam bands in general.
These fans are known for their dedication to the music and often travel long distances to attend concerts and festivals. The term “deadhead” originated from The Grateful Dead’s use of the term to describe fans who followed them from concert to concert in the 1960s and 1970s.
Is Deadhead Trucking Dangerous?
Despite the lack of cargo, driving a deadhead truck is not necessarily dangerous. Some drivers may prefer to drive with an empty trailer as it can provide better fuel efficiency and handling. However, there are some potential risks to be aware of.
For example, an empty trailer can be more susceptible to high winds, which can cause the truck to sway or even tip over in extreme cases. Additionally, without the added cargo weight, braking can be less effective, making it more difficult to stop in emergencies.
Overall, deadheading is a common practice in the trucking industry that can help drivers get to their next pick-up location quickly and efficiently. Though not the most lucrative part of the job, it is a necessary aspect of commercial trucking that requires careful attention to detail and safety.
As with any aspect of trucking, drivers need to stay focused and alert to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road to avoid an accident.