Road vibration, wind, bouncing and time will all work together to cause a seemingly-secure trailer load to move, and once it starts moving, there's a disaster in the making.
That disaster, should it happen, has the potential to point a fortune's worth of liability right at the operator. Here are a few common sense rules worth keeping in mind when dealing with load security.
1. You and you alone are responsible for the integrity and safety of your load.
2. Know the weight of your load, distribute it as widely over the surface of the trailer as you can.
3. Secure the load to your trailer with sufficient load-rated or DOT approved straps, chains and/or binders so that if the trailer were to flip on its side, your load would not come loose.
4. Follow approved methods for securing vehicles or other wheeled machinery to your trailer — if you are hauling a loader tractor, attach it to the trailer at each wheeled corner and the loader independently.
5. No matter how tight your load feels when you head out, pull off the road in a safe place after the first dozen miles or so to check all of the load binder tensions. You'd be surprised at the amount of slack that can be let into once taut chains and straps with just a little jostling around.
Safe towing takes a bit more forethought and skill than simply throwing items on the trailer and taking off. Err on the side of safety — your family and that oncoming stranger you meet on the highway will be glad you did.
Watch the full episode! Hank shares hints like these in each episode of Tough Grit. Visit Tough Grit online to view this episode and many more. The hints above appeared in Episode 5, "Ya Got a Hitch In Your Get-Along?"
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.