You may be awfully proud of what your big truck can haul around, but you’ll be less proud when that load is making a mess (and creating hazardous conditions) along the freeway.
Improperly secured cargo can be unsightly at best and life-threatening at worst. So if it’s time to make a trip to Goodwill or the dump, or you’re helping a friend move into a new home, be sure you’re properly securing that load. Here are six ways to do it.
Use cargo nets to secure light materials
Sure, grass clippings, sand, dirt and gravel may be small and light, but they can still pose a threat — or a nuisance — to other drivers. A cargo net is an easy and inexpensive way to transport light materials from one place to another. Alternately, covering the material with a secured tarp will also help keep your load contained. Hit your local hardware store and start driving your dirt a little more safely.
Invest in good straps and ties
When it comes to keeping your family — and everyone else’s — safe, quality matters. High-quality ratchet straps and tie-downs can help you secure a very heavy load and keep it tightly in place. This not only keeps the roads safe, but also protects the goods you’re hauling. That’s why you should never use cheap, flimsy or insufficient rope, bungee cords, tie-downs or straps for your haul. Invest in quality materials that will safely last through many, many trips (because once you help one person move…).
Use anti-slip mats
Have you ever tried to stand still in the bed of a pickup truck at 70 mph? Well, hopefully not. But you can imagine the slipping and sliding that can happen at those kinds of speeds. Anti-slip mats, when used in conjunction with tie-downs and ratchet straps, can help keep your haul from moving around.
Remember the “X”
When you’re securing straps over your haul, just remember the “X.” Using an X-shape to secure the load from one corner of the truck bed to another will help eliminate the possibility of movement (thus keeping your goods and the roadway safe).
Know your vehicle’s cargo capacity
You may think your truck can do anything, but pickup trucks actually have limitations on how much they can carry. For example, the Dodge Ram 1500, a Motor Trends Truck of the Year, has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 6,700 pounds. You can find the GVWR of your truck on the factory sticker located on the driver’s door panel.
For especially large or long loads, make your vehicle more visible by attaching a flag or sign to warn other drivers. It’s especially important to flag any items that extend from the back of your vehicle, like wood beams (after you properly secure them, of course). In fact, the Utah Department of Transportation requires that any item projecting more than 4 feet behind the back of a vehicle or truck bed be flagged.