Top Questions: Deadheading vs. Backhauling

backhauling deadheading image

In an effort to help those within the trucking industry better understand trucking insurance, Truck Writers publishes its Top Questions posts. These posts are inspired by real questions submitted through our Ask the Expert portal. This post will cover the difference between deadheading and backhauling.

Deadheading vs. Backhauling

Typically in trucking, the driver is hauling a load from the originating point (Point A) to a destination (Point B). When a truck is deadheading, it is driving back to Point A with an empty trailer. Backhauling is an alternative to driving back with an empty load.

Backhauling is hauling a load from Point B back to (or near) Point A, once the original load has been delivered. For example, a driver may deliver a load of corn from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Orlando, Florida. The driver would drop the corn in Orlando, and then drive to nearby Kissimmee to pick up a load of oranges from another shipper. The oranges would then be backhauled to Minnesota.

In addition to the extra cash flow, there are other benefits that come along with choosing to backhaul instead of deadhead.

Benefits of Backhauling

  • Financial – After delivering a load from Point A to Point B, the driver most likely has to return to Point A. Choosing to backhaul can offset the cost of fuel needed to make the return trip.
  • Safety – Truck drivers are trained to haul loads, not drive around empty trailers. Deadheading increases the likelihood of a rollover, especially in windy and adverse weather conditions.
  • Fuel/Transport Mileage – Fuel is no longer being wasted on deadhead miles. Instead, it is being put toward delivering loads.
  • Environment – People have compared backhauling to recycling, and they’re not wrong. Backhauling reduces the amount of emissions released driving deadhead miles.

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3 comments on “Top Questions: Deadheading vs. Backhauling

  1. Whenever possible, backhauling should be practiced. Naturally, it is not always feasible, but trucking companies must plan accordingly so that less dead hauling is wasting company time, gas, money, and putting a strain on the environment.

  2. It’s interesting that deadheading would increase the chances of rolling over a semi-truck. I think it would be pretty important to ensure that truck drivers have the license and training in order to ensure that they can handle situations like this that are outside of the normal ones. That would help increase the chances of the safety of your drivers and the vehicles.

  3. My brother is looking for a hauling company to help him with a project he is doing. I think he would really like knowing that backhauling has the added benefit of being safer for all parties involved. This would give him a lot of peace of mind.

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