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Each year, debris, which is carelessly strapped down or loaded into the back of pickup trucks, cause hazards on the road, hit fellow motorists, and are even responsible for fatal accidents. According to Mike Sawaya, Denver car accident lawyer, of The Sawaya Law Firm, all drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care on the roadways, including taking proper care of your vehicle and loading a pickup properly. Whether you own a pickup truck and use it to haul items back and forth on a regular basis or you're planning on renting one to help a friend move, here it's important to load your pickup with safety in mind:
Unless you own a pickup truck or are following a fully loaded one on the highway, pickups probably don't get much thought for causing a serious accident. However, between 2011 and 2014, road debris caused nearly 200,000 accidents, 39,000 injuries, and more than 500 deaths. Approximately two-thirds of debris-related accidents are the direct result of items, such as unsecured cargo, flying out of the bed of the truck and hitting the road or striking a vehicle.
Take the Time to Secure Your Load
Even though securing your cargo might take more time than just tossing it into the back of your pickup, using tie down straps can save your items from becoming damaged, keep motorists safe, and prevent you from being responsible for a serious accident. Since debris related accidents are more prevalent and serious on interstates, where cars are traveling at top speeds, it's crucial to secure your load with the right materials.
Bungee cords and rope work should only be considered when driving slowly and on smooth terrain, but to be safe, always consider using heavy-duty ratchet straps. Experts suggest purchasing 15 ft., 1-¼ in. or wider ratchet straps with a minimum 1,000 lb. load limit / 3,000 lb. break strength. Ratchet straps are easy to use (just read the directions) and don't require knowing how to tie complicated knots. Plus, if you take care of the straps, they will last you a long time where rope may only be used a few times if you're lucky.
Netting and Wrapping
Pickups are great for hauling lumber and other materials for household projects, however, have you ever noticed a bundle of lumber hanging out of the back of a truck and hoped it would stay in place? If you wrap lumber into a bundle with stretch cling film, you're less likely to lose a board or two. Similarly, if you're hauling light material such as insulation or recycling, a cargo net, stretched and secured across the items in the bed of the truck, will keep debris off of the road.