Are you planning on transporting cargo in the back of your truck or on top of your car? Then the first step is to make sure you secure it properly to avoid any accidents. For this to be possible, you need to use the right equipment for the job. Tie down straps are one such example widely used for such purposes. Here’s why; not only are they effective but they’re very simple to use.
But it’s important to note that there are few precautions you need to keep in mind when using these straps. Only then can you ensure the safety of your cargo, yourself and the people travelling in the vicinity.
Before we discuss these safety tips, we’ll start by explaining why it’s necessary to use tie down straps during transportation of cargo.
Importance of Tie Down Straps
As mentioned earlier, using tie down straps will ensure that your cargo is transported in a safe manner. The reason why the cargo might end up falling can either be because of unbalanced weight distribution or improper securing of the cargo. So the trick here is to properly secure the cargo because failure to do so can lead to the cargo falling due to:
- Inability of the driver to control the vehicle
- Emergency braking
- Navigating a turn
When any of the above will happen, there’s likely to be a traffic congestion or injury of either the driver or the people around you. In worst cases, the results could be fatal. So let’s see how you can prevent that.
To avoid the abovementioned scenarios, it’s in your best interests to practice the following tips.
The first thing to remember is that it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure that cargo is transported in a safe manner—no one else’s.
As such it’s your responsibility to exercise the following.
Conduct an Inspection
It’s important to inspect the following before securing any cargo:
- Whether the vehicle body is in good condition. Your truck or car must be road worthy. Are the brakes working? Are the shocks and bearings functioning properly? Make sure everything is working as expected to avoid any problems.
- Is the load platform good enough to place a load on it? Make sure it has all the necessary hooks needed to tie your straps in.
- Check the condition of the straps. Are they intact and in good condition? Torn and worn out straps are definitely not a good idea because they compromise on strength & stability.
Even Load Distribution
Earlier on we mentioned how important even weight distribution is. The last thing you need is a vehicle of which the load is tilted towards one side. This greatly increases the chances of the cargo tipping over. To avoid this you must take these precautions:
- The weight of the load must be distributed towards the centre
- Place heavier goods at the bottom and the lighter cargo on top to create a balance
- Recheck the weight distribution each time you load or unload
Adhere to Set Regulations
When it comes to securing cargo, there are different rules and regulations you must comply with depending on your area of operation. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the governmental safety standards and adhere to them.
These measures are put in place to avoid tipping or tilting of the load during transportation. Not only is compliance in your best interests where safety is concerned, but you’ll also avoid being on the wrong side of the law.
This isn’t the time to invest in the cheapest tie down straps on the market. It’s in your best interests to use straps that are strong and designed to protect your cargo against any unfortunate eventualities including;
- Sudden turns
- Emergency braking
- Undesirable road conditions and terrains
- Bad weather conditions
While still on the topic of straps, make sure you use units that have a holding strength that is twice your cargo weight. Also, make use of the necessary additional reinforcements for added security. You can consider including the following:
- Edge beams
- Friction mats
- Safety nets
Conduct Regular Inspections Mid-Route
We get that you would have checked your load before commencing your journey, but it doesn’t end there. We highly recommend that you stop after a few kilometres and check if the load is still in place. Cargo does have a tendency to shift during transportation.
Also consider stopping mid route and checking your load if you happen to brake suddenly or go over a sharp turn. This is necessary to ensure no shifting of the load took place.
Every motorist must always exercise caution during driving but when you’re transporting a load, then you need to be extra cautious. Since you’re not driving under “normal” conditions, make sure that you:
- Follow the regulated speeds and avoid speeding.
- Avoid any sudden sharp turns.
- Drive at a controlled speed while keeping your distance from the cars in front of you. This will greatly reduce any unexpected braking.
- Observe the rules of the road. That means stop where you need to and don’t engage in risky driving like crossing an intersection when there’s a red light.
While securing your loads is your top priority, be sure not to crank the straps too tight. This will just end up damaging either your vehicle or your cargo.
Whatever you do always remember to play your part in being a responsible driver. So many people’s safety depends on it.