Transporting heavy loads is never an easy task. You only have to think of the implications associated with moving large items to realise that it’s not a task to be taken lightly. Failure to secure your loads properly can lead to accidents.
It’s not surprising why companies that specialise in transporting oversized loads have to follow certain procedures for loading, transporting and off-loading these items. We outline some details to help you get it right the next time!
The Right Equipment
You need to use the right transporting equipment for the job if you expect a safe and successful journey. This means using specialised load restraint tools such as:
- Tie down straps
- Ratchet straps
Before using any of the load-restraint tools it’s important that you inspect the equipment. Make sure it’s not damaged. The tools should be free from any fraying, webbing, holes or tears. If you notice any of the afore-mentioned, then don’t use that particular tool.
The Right Loading Personnel
Having the right equipment when you don’t know how to use it might render the equipment useless. This is why we strongly recommend that experienced personnel in loading and securing heavy loads handle the job.
The right people will ensure safe loading with regards to placement and securing of the load. These are both crucial steps. Placement is important because it determines stability of the vehicle mid-transportation. Improper loading can cause your vehicle to sway which may lead to overturning.
You’ll also need an experienced driver to transport the load. The following precautions should be exercised during transportation of the load:
- Never drive at normal speed. Always reduce your speed when transporting oversized items. This way you’re better prepared to navigate bends, turns and curves on the road without risking overturning.
- Pay attention to the speed limit signage throughout the duration of the trip.
- Don’t follow behind a vehicle too closely. Always leave extra distance in case you have to stop abruptly.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
We understand most of the above-mentioned tips are probably nothing new but it’s worth reiterating them. The need for extra precautions can’t be over emphasised when transporting over-sized items.
Signage and Signalling
Before you even load your trucks, it’s important to ensure that your goods are properly and visibly marked. Signage must be present either on the front, back or sides of the cargo. This will depend on the shape of the load as well as the oversize demarcation requirements of the areas you’re driving in.
As a general rule of thumb, you must place flags on the load so that other motorists exercise caution when driving near you. At night there must be flashing lights to increase visibility during low-light driving situations.
In certain cases, you may need escorting vehicles for the duration of the trip. Escort vehicles are normally used when your load exceeds the recommended physical dimensions on the road you’re travelling on.
In such scenarios, an escort vehicle must be in front or behind the loaded truck. The idea behind using escort vehicles is to warn other motorists about the oversized load on board. In addition, the driver of the loaded truck can also be warned about any impending obstacles on the road.
Observe State Regulations
Taking the necessary precautions when transporting heavy duty loads isn’t only for your own safety, but it’s a legal issue too. We mentioned earlier how different countries and states have varying regulations regarding the transportation of oversized items. Make sure you’re familiar with the different regulations—and strictly adhere to them.
Some countries require you to have a permit for transporting an oversized load. These payments differ according to the nature of the load and may be issued annually or per haul.
Failure to adhere to the stipulated regulations may attract a fine or you can lose your licence—both driving and operating licences. Make sure you’re not caught on the wrong side of the law.
Adhere to Travelling Times
Not only must you have the necessary documentation required to transport over-sized items, but you must also observe the travelling times. Some states restrict movement of heavy loads to day time where visibility isn’t impaired. In certain countries heavy load transportation must stop at certain times such as noon.
Again, fail to adhere to the driving hours and you’re likely to attract penalties.
It’s your responsibility as a driver to take the necessary steps to ensure safe and secure transportation of your over-sized loads. You want yourself—and your load—to arrive in one piece. It’s also your responsibility to safeguard the safety of other motorists, passengers or pedestrians on the road.
Use the right equipment, secure the items properly and make sure you have the necessary documentation. The effort is worth a safe trip!