Imagine a pickup truck loaded with personal belongings and tooling down the expressway at 65 miles per hour. Also imagine that a single tiedown is holding a tarp that is supposed to be keeping everything inside the truck bed. The problem is that it wouldn’t take much to dislodge something from that truck, sending it flying through the air and hitting the windshield of a car following behind.
Many of us have experienced situations like this. When such a situation arises, the best we can do is hope and pray we make it to our exit without being struck by flying cargo. The crazy thing is that this sort of thing is completely avoidable. Just use more tiedowns, Einstein. This is one instance in which more is better.
They Aren’t Just for Looks
I have seen unsecured loads on pickups and trailers enough to have to wonder what people are thinking before they hit the road. Do they think that tiedowns are just for looks? It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that about some of the drivers I have encountered.
Obviously, tiedowns play a vital role in both cargo and road safety. Tiedowns are designed to keep cargo secure during transport. That is their job. That’s why you’re supposed to run them over the top of a load and secure them. More importantly, that is why most loads call for more than one tiedown.
Overkill on Tiedown Straps Is Okay
My preferred tiedown is a cam strap or ratchet strap. I find cam straps easier to use, especially those made by Rollercam. But my brand preferences aside, cam and ratchet straps are strong, lightweight, flexible, and extremely easy to use. A grade school student could properly deploy cam straps with just a few minutes of instruction.
The thing about using cam and ratchet straps is that overkill is okay. If you did the math, calculations might reveal you could get away with just two straps on your load. But who does the math? Instead, just use four straps. Doubling might be overkill, but so what? It is okay. Your load isn’t going anywhere.
Using multiple straps makes a lot of sense for multiple reasons:
- Loads Shift – Loads have a tendency to shift as you’re driving down the road. Every time you accelerate, brake, or turn a corner, whatever you are hauling in your pickup bed or trailer can move. Multiple straps are better able to limit that movement.
- Load Distribution – The amount of force a cam strap has to hold in place is known as the load. The fewer straps you use, the greater the load each one has to carry. Use more straps and you distribute the load across more area. This makes for a more secure load all the way around.
- Working Load Limits – Cam straps have working load limits (WLLs), which is to say a limit to the amount of force they can withstand. Something as common as hard braking can produce enough force to exceed a strap’s limit. If that happens, the strap can break. But using multiple straps reduces that risk.
I have seen a lot of strange situations involving people and the cargo they transport on their cars and in their pickup trucks. It seems to me that a fair number of them do not think things through. They just load and go.
The judicious use of a few cam straps would make a lot of their journeys safer. And in fact, more is better when it comes to tiedowns. More tiedowns equals a more secure load and a safer day for everyone involved.