If you ever need to haul something bulky on the roof or flatbed of your vehicle, ensuring that it does not fall off should be your top priority.
You’ve likely experienced the stress of being behind a vehicle carrying something that doesn’t seem fully secured. Should an object fly off the car in front of you, it will likely hit you and cause serious damage.
Hauling any type of cargo means that you are responsible for looking out for the safety of others by preventing it from flying off and hitting other drivers.
Unsecured loads cause thousands of accidents annually, but they are easily avoidable if you know how to keep cargo properly secured.
To guarantee that you never cause a cargo-hauling accident, we’ll give you some tips for keeping loads secured while driving below.
You should begin by understanding your vehicle’s limits.
Every car is a little different in what it can effectively handle. These specifications will be set by your vehicle’s manufacturer and can often be found in your owner’s manual.
You must know what your car is capable of hauling because you don’t want to overload it. This greatly increases the risk of something coming loose.
The two main measurements to worry about are size and weight. Generally speaking, you should avoid hauling anything larger than your vehicle and especially heavy.
Some exceptions exist, like having a moonroof/sunroof, a convertible top, or a fairly weak engine. All of these factors mean you should avoid hauling objects as much as possible and stick only to smaller items if you must.
Figure out how much your car can handle and be careful to never exceed that limit.
When you go to secure your load, make sure to use tie-downs and a tarp.
Almost anyone who decides to move something like a mattress atop their car knows to tie it down first. However, how it’s tied down is very important.
When you’re tying down an object, you want to cross over and under it at least twice vertically and horizontally. The tie should loop through the interior of your car to keep tension throughout the entire loop.
You’ll know an object is secure when it cannot move, slide, or jostle around with any amount of force. If there’s even a slight amount of room, movement from driving can make the tie even looser and eventually release.
You can use bungee cords, rope, chains, netting, and straps for this. Just ensure that the tie is in good condition and very tight.
Furthermore, you should add an extra level of safety by covering your load with a tarp. This will require further tie-downs, which strengthens the security of your load.
It also blankets the entire load and helps to keep it in place. Should you be carrying anything like loose dirt, it can help to prevent anything from flying out during your travels.
With the use of high-quality ties and a good tarp, you can guarantee that just about any objects you’re hauling won’t go flying while driving.
You must also anticipate changing strains on your cargo and adjust for them.
If you’re driving on a perfectly flat road, then hauling cargo is fairly easy. However, this is unlikely and you’ll probably encounter curves, hills, and sharp turns.
These three situations place additional strain on your cargo and car. Because of this, you need to account for any changing strains while you’re driving.
If you know that you’re going to see several hills, then loop your load around a few more times and consider making it snugger.
Any seemingly minor difference in the road will significantly impact the load you’re carrying. Don’t overlook this because it can quickly send your cargo flying.
Lastly, you should remember to check on your load frequently to ensure that it’s still safely secured.
Even if you did a dynamite job of initially securing it, you can’t guarantee that it will still be that way after driving for a while. Your vehicle creates a lot of vibrations that can gradually loosen the bindings around a secured load.
There’s also the possibility that you didn’t secure your cargo very well the first time around and it might be nearly falling. Either way, you need to constantly check on your cargo to verify that it’s still secured.
You should be checking your rearview and side mirrors often, but you should also pull over and physically test how secure your load is. This will give you peace of mind that everything is safely strapped and you’re in no position to endanger others.
Next time you need to haul a hefty object, ensure that you properly secure it to your vehicle. Unsecured loads are a major road hazard if any objects go flying or land in the road.
To avoid this, you must know how to keep cargo correctly attached to your car. A few tips to help you with this include understanding the limits of your vehicle, using tie-downs and a tarp, anticipating changing strains throughout your drive, and checking your load frequently.
Taking the time to ensure your load is not a danger to others is an essential responsibility when hauling big objects. Do your part to keep the road safe and other drivers at ease by being thorough when you secure any items to your car.