What Is Deadheading?

A deadhead truck has a trailer attached but carries no freight. Deadheading means driving a cargo carrying truck (semi-truck) pulling an empty trailer. Deadheading often happens when a trucker returns or backhauls the empty cargo container to the point of origin. Be careful not to confuse “deadheading” with “bobtailing,” which happens when driving a cargo carrying truck without a trailer attached.

Deadheading Truck

Deadheading in trucking is sometimes confused with bobtailing

Bobtailing Truck


Forms also used:

  • Deadhead
  • Deadhead Load

Examples of use:

– Carol just dropped her cargo in Phoenix and will be deadheading it back to Miami.
– Terrance will have to quickly dump his load and deadhead it back to Richmond.

Deadheading Trucker Slang Phrases:

  • “Hauling sailboat fuel”
  • “Carrying a dream load”

Other Meanings of “Deadhead”:

Deadhead: Huge fans of the band, The Grateful Dead


Grateful Deadhead


Deadhead:A person traveling without a ticket on a plane,
like this scene from “Catch Me If You Can”

Deadhead: In gardening, the cutting back and removal of dead flowers or blooms to allow for new growth.

Deadhead Plant

More Trucker Glossary Terms:

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