BOISE – It’s the beginning of summer, a time for landscaping the yard and filling truck beds and roof racks with camping equipment and water toys, lawn clippings and tree branches. But before you hit the road, AAA reminds drivers to double-check that your load is secure.
NHTSA reports that from 2016-2020, more than 700 fatal crashes occurred each year as the result of a vehicle colliding with an object that hadn’t been properly secured, with nearly 17,000 injuries per year.
“We’re all excited to take advantage of the nice weather, but we can’t cut corners when we’re securing a load. If something falls off or out of your vehicle, it puts other vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists at risk. And if anything is blowing out of a truck bed or trailer, it can reduce visibility and create havoc on the roads,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Please make the extra effort to secure your load, then scrutinize your work to make sure you’ve done a good job.”
Here are some additional tips from AAA:
- For loose items, such as grass, dirt, bark, or gravel, cover the entire load with a heavy tarp.
- Use bungee cords and ratchet tie-downs for large, bulky items, and secure them directly to your vehicle or trailer. Use a cargo net for smaller items of varying widths and sizes that may be more difficult to secure in other ways.
- Tug and push on the load and on your tie-downs and netting to make sure things remain in place.
- Don’t overload your vehicle or trailer.
“All 50 states have laws regarding the safe transport of loads, and the driver bears the responsibility for ensuring that things are good to go,” Conde said. “We don’t want anyone hurt, and we don’t want anyone’s property to be damaged by falling out of a vehicle. A safety mindset is a win for everyone.”