Load Security

No Load SecurityA reader asks about a recent incident where a ladder had fallen off a truck traveling on the highway. The driver following behind the truck took evasive action that resulted in a collision. This question raises many important issues including hazard avoidance, duty at a collision and load securement.

An object of any sort falling off of the vehicle in front of you is definitely a surprise. The actions available to you are usually either to drive over the object or swerve around it. If you have maintained two to four seconds following distance and made sure to keep an open space beside you on multi laned roadway you will have given yourself both time to think and react as well as the room to do it. Always leave yourself an out!

The driver of this truck was indirectly involved in a collision on a highway and had duties that he must fulfill. These duties included stopping or immediately returning to the scene, rendering assistance and providing details in writing concerning himself, his vehicle and insurance to other drivers involved, the police and any witness that demanded it.

Load securement rules in British Columbia have changed in 2005 and those changes include significantly increased fines for those who do not obey. These fines are $173 for most people, but increase to $288 for commercial and business vehicles and $598 for drivers who do not obey an order to remove a vehicle from the highway until the load is properly secured.

Most of us carry loads that are a collection of smaller articles of some sort. These are known as aggregate loads. If the articles are not contained by the sides of the vehicle or tie downs, they must be covered in some manner to prevent them from bouncing, blowing or dropping from the vehicle. A suitable tarp or net would be the answer here.

Larger articles may be secured with chains, ropes, belts or cables. The methods can be complex and the easiest way to learn about them is to pick up a free copy of BC Booklet 2 - Cargo Securement from the nearest weigh scale or downloading it from the Ministry of Transport web site. Similarly, the National Safety Code Standard 10 that the BC load security regulations are based on is also available for download.

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secure loads

I bought a load of wood pellets a couple of years back. This load consisted of 50 bags wrapped in clear wrap. It went on my truck easily and I never even thought this should be tied down. Home is 20 minutes from the store and 15 minutes after leaving my load slid and I lost 20 bags in to the ditch and all over the road.  We had a broom so I turned around and started cleaning up. Two guys, so grateful, stopped and helped us. I think I lost about 5 bags altogether.

I phoned the store upset because this was the first and last load of pellets I picked up, I asked why they don't put up a reminder sign to secure your load. He told me then they would be responsible. I said make a sign "Just a reminder we are not responsib le for your load, remember to secure your own load"

 It would have made such a deifference. We have tie downs in all our vehicles now.

Learning the Hard Way

I think we all have times in our lives when we look back and say "I should have...."

I watched a pickup truck with a shiny new stove in the back headed home from the appliance store one day. The driver didn't tie it down and didn't even bother to put the tailgate up. The first big hill he encountered was enough for the stove to slide out of the back of the box and crash onto the pavement.

I don't think I would have wanted to be him when he got home with it.

Looking at that picture above ...

... a couple of things come to mind.  One of them is tire pressure!  Often ignored, it's never or more importance than when heavily loading a vehicle - be it a pickup truck with construction materials, or a small bus with passengers.

The other is comprehending physics.  Drivers often don't realize that the seats in a vehicle are completely supportive during acceleration and at least to some degree during cornering.  But loads are inert, and inertia means that when the vehicle is accelerated the load will try to remain in the same place regardless.

Last summer, some guy (who didn't speak English so good) doing a home renovation dumped his pickup load of long precut 2x4s and similar product when starting off uphill from the 4-way stop adjacent to my house.  So I wandered over along with a couple of other neighbours and we helped him put it back on his truck piece by piece.  Once the job was done, I stressed to him that he needed to drive very, very gently - and thought he understood.

As I walked away, I heard this great crash as the stupid bugger once again dumped it all in the middle of the intersection.  Neither I nor any of the other neighbours could be bothered to return to help him out this time ... 

And the winner is

Watched a guy load a pallet of empty wine bottles into his pickup, they were about level with the cab of his truck. They were new, in boxes, with a couple wraps of shrink wrap. I was loading the same, but in a trailer, and they must be chimney blocked as they are pretty shaky.

i was busy with my own load but was shocked when I heard a crash, and looking out, saw he had stacked a second pallet on top of the first, and had made it as far as the parking lot entrance where the second skid tumbled forward, partially crushing the roof, and hood, while shattering all the windows.

kind of off topic....but I was unloading hanging beef at Provigo in Montreal, when I heard guys shouting in the trailer beside mine. I glanced in, and every single side of beef was on the floor, except one at the very front.

And the driver says (swear to God) “I don’t know how the hell that got up there!”


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