Renting a U-Haul pick-up truck makes more sense when you’re not transporting a truckload of your personal belongings, not to mention that these can be more cost-effective than trailers and full-sized trucks. Perhaps, you’re just transporting your clothes, shoes and bags along with a few choice pieces of furniture for your college dorm room, not the entire apartment except for the kitchen sink.
Whatever your reason, you should ensure that your cargo will be safely and securely tied down to the back of your rental pick-up truck. Here are the reasons why for doing so and the ways you can achieve it.
Importance of Properly Securing Cargo
For one thing, you want to secure your personal belongings because these represent not just money spent on their purchase but also time, energy and effort. Many of your personal belongings may even have sentimental value and, thus, these are irreplaceable where you’re concerned. You should then take the time and energy to ensure that everything in the back of the pick-up truck will not fall off or be blown away during their transport.
For another thing, you don’t want to be the cause of road accidents that can cause property damage and personal injury, perhaps even cause the loss of lives. Did you know that about 51,000 accidents in North American are due to unsecured loads every year? Sadly, these accidents caused the deaths of 440 people and resulted in injuries to 10,000 people according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
But the negative effects of unsecured loads don’t stop there! The nation, particularly the government, taxpayers and businesses, shoulder nearly $11.5 billion every year on litter cleanup costs. The environment suffers, too, as the litter from unsecured cargo falling on the road has negative effects on the local flora and fauna; the roads become landfills, in a manner of speaking.
So the next time you’re transporting things on a pick-up truck, you should be more careful about cargo security! Besides, you don’t want thieves to easily steal your things just because of their haphazard arrangement and tie-downs!
Tips on Properly Securing Cargo
Every U-Haul pick-up truck – or every pick-up truck, for that matter – has tie-down points where cargo can be tied down with rope, straps and bungee cords, even tarps and cargo nets. These tie-down points can be post holes and D-rings, both of which work well for the purpose.
Which of these things are best for securing cargo? We suggest using ratchet straps and cargo nets instead of rope and bungee cords since these aren’t rated for weight regardless of their thickness.
In contrast, ratchet straps are rated for specific working load limit, usually about 1/3 of their breaking strength. You will also like ratchet straps because you’re most likely to get the amount of torque needed for the cargo’s weight.
Tip: Use ratchet straps with a total load limit about equal to the cargo’s weight. For example, if your cargo weighs 500 pounds, then use ratchet straps with a 250-pound working load limit, minimum.
To ensure that your cargo stays in place during transport – no sliding, no falling off – you should use cargo bars, cargo nets and tie-downs. These supplies are worth the money, too, since your cargo will be intact when you arrive at your new place. By the way, high-quality cargo nets can be bought for $150 to $200 but you can reuse it for several years and for different purposes.
Don’t settle for just one tie-down even when it seems sufficient for light cargo. You should use at least two tie-downs so that the ratchet straps and cargo net can keep the cargo where it’s supposed to be. You may want to double-check, too, as it can be easy to overlook a slack line when you’re in a hurry to travel.
Between an anchored tarp and a cargo net, the latter is the better option. But if you don’t have a cargo net, you can use a strong tarp juts as long as it’s securely anchored to the pick-up truck’s tie-down points and it can keep the items inside the truck.
Just as important as securing the cargo is balancing it. You should arrange the cargo such that its weight is centered, another way of saying that most of its weight should be placed as close as possible to axles. Also, the heavy items should at the bottom and the light items should be on top.
Walk a few steps away from the back of the pick-up truck. If it seems to lean too much in either side, then the cargo isn’t balanced and you have to rearrange the items.
You don’t have to do these steps on your own. You can ask other people for their advice, look at instructional videos and ask for assistance in arranging the cargo and securing it on the truck. It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry when things go awry just because you wanted a completely DIY job.