The load consisted of rough lumber, about 2×6 or 2×8 size 12 to 14 feet long and 3 feet high on a flat deck trailer pulled by a large pickup truck. Load security was provided by a single heavy strap wrapped once around the middle of the load. The combination was being pulled at highway speed which was 90 km/h. Do you think that this load was secured to the trailer sufficiently?
Even if you knew nothing about the rules that must be followed to properly tie down this load I think you would join me in shaking my head. Have you seen a commercial truck drive past with a similar load at any time while you were driving? How many straps did they have wrapped around the load and how big were they? This knowledge alone should tell you that one strap is not enough.
The minimum number of tie downs needed is determined by the length of the load. Since the load was more than 10 feet long but not more than 20, it needed three. These straps must also be distributed equally along the load.
Next, the capacity of the tie downs must be considered. The aggregate strength must be at least equal to half of the weight of the load. Depending on how strong the tie downs are, you may end up having to use more than the minimum of three but never less.
There are many other loads and situations that can complicate securing a load fully and properly. Rather than trusting to luck, a quick call to the nearest weigh scale, some of which are always open, will get you the expert advice that you need for everyone to be safe.
- Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community website about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years, he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and ten as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC website, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and website.