Every day on our roadways, we see trucks, trailers, and flatbeds hauling different types of cargo. Some may be consumer items, various types of construction materials and equipment, lumber, and industrial machinery, among others.
These trucks and trailers must follow specific safety rules regarding the cargo they carry. These rules regulate the size of the load, the weight, and, above all, how this load is secured, either with straps or chains that can keep it as stable as possible.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that there are approximately 500,000 accidents involving trucks each year, and many of them have to do with these types of vehicles that transport large volumes of cargo. Unsecured cargo causes thousands of accidents, injuries, and deaths each year. When objects are not properly secured, they can fall onto the road, becoming projectiles and dangerous obstacles that put other drivers at risk. They can even cause multiple collisions or chain accidents.
Drivers of these trucks must make periodic stops to ensure that the load is still well secured. In addition, they must make sure that the load has not moved from its place, which can significantly affect the vehicle’s center of gravity and, therefore, its control.
Trucking companies must follow strict regulations regarding the load limit their vehicles can carry. This is another situation that is crucial to check because if the vehicle exceeds this limit, the load would be more likely to come loose and fall onto the road, or even the truck to overturn when trying to maneuver.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other trucking regulatory agencies offer training on how to load a truck properly. This includes training sessions that transport companies and their drivers must take.
If you find yourself driving near a cargo truck, you can also take certain precautions:
- Try to keep a safe distance at all times between the cargo vehicle and yours.
- Consider the truck’s blind spots and the possibility that the driver may not have much vision due to the same load.
- Try not to get between two cargo trucks and have a clear lane you can maneuver into.