For those who operate semi-trailers, one of the key concerns is safety. And though safe driving is a main focus with drivers of all kinds, it’s not all that matters. The personal health of the driver, proper trailer maintenance… these are crucial. But possibly most critical of all, particularly when operating a semi-trailer, is cargo securement. But it’s not as simple as some people might think. To prevent a catastrophe, you must understand the guidelines and the laws of physics as they apply to securing cargo.
Shifting Cargo Is Dangerous
While being thorough is a great way to assure proper cargo management, there’s more to it. The whole point is to prevent anything from bodily injury to lost cargo. In extreme cases, death has been the result of unsecured trailer loads. These catastrophic failures, in most cases, could’ve been avoided. Any situation can become dangerous when momentum and high speeds are involved – no matter what the cargo.
Have a Plan
When it comes to transporting cargo securely, some highways make it harder than others. Check weather forecasts, and use mapping tools to plan the time, speed, and route of your drive. Also pay attention to heavy traffic areas, steep grades, and frequent or heavy curves.
Now let’s talk about securing loads on various types of trailers.
Referrers and Dry Vans
In general, though there are some special considerations here, reefer and dry van loading is easier than a flatbed. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Stacking (weight-based) – Consider your entire load. On the bottom: heavier cargo. Stability is added by a lower center of gravity. This reduces shifting cargo and the risk of rollover. The chances of crushing your cargo can also be reduced.
- Uneven distribution – it is critical to practice proper weight distribution not only for safety but to lessen the costs of trailer maintenance. Wear and tear on the vehicle can be a result of poor loading. And improper distribution could mean that all your tires aren’t connecting with the road at all times.
- Shifting cargo – anything inside can be damaged by shipping boxes experiencing too much movement. Additionally, it can have a severe impact on driving ability. It could even cause your truck to tip over. Prevent as much movement as possible by securing loose cargo.
A unique challenge is offered by flatbed trailers and the securing of cargo. There are no tops or sides to help you keep your cargo properly positioned. Offloading and loading may be easier, but while you’re traveling, it’s harder to keep your cargo on the trailer bed. And if it comes loose, it’s not just going to bounce around inside of a confined trailer. It’s going to be all over the roadway – making not only a mess but a hazard for other drivers. Use these objects to secure your load (the object you’re tying down will determine which method of securement is best):
- Load binders and chains
- Webbing straps
- V boards (to reduce cargo damage by tiedowns)
- Tarp (while this should not be considered a sole source of securement, it protects against weather damage)
Always make regular inspections of your cargo. And pay special attention to accelerating and decelerating. Not only will starting and stopping have an effect on your cargo, the cargo itself will have an effect on how adequately you will be able to stop and start.
At Mickey Genuine Parts, we have all of the equipment you could need for securing your cargo. From shelving to tie-downs, and everything in between, we have what it takes to securely transport your cargo safely. We also have certified service centers throughout the United States to help with installation of shelving and other parts and accessories. If you’d like to talk to someone about what we have to offer, contact one of our experienced, knowledgeable Mickey Genuine Parts representatives today. At Mickey, the safety of our clients, drivers, and their cargo, is a top concern.