Logistics Term

Deadhead Definition

Deadhead is driving a semi-truck that has an empty trailer. That happens when the driver has dropped off a load and has to pick up another one. Truck deadheading can be dangerous because high winds quickly flip empty trailers, which can be fatal.

Deadhead miles usually cost the driver money because they still burn fuel and require maintenance. However, some companies pay drivers for deadheading to pick up their load. Many drivers check if a broker will offer them deadhead mileage compensation before they accept a job.

Deadhead - In The Field

Drivers face all sorts of challenges along the way while deadheading. That includes high winds and black ice. High winds are strong enough to cause large empty trailers to sway or flip over. In 2020 alone, about 45 trucks flipped over on Utah highways because of high winds. Driving a deadhead truck comes with more risks than a weighted trailer with freight.

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