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Top Questions: Deadheading vs. Backhauling

By April 19, 2017April 26th, 2019No Comments

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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