From moving to a new home to picking up new furniture to hauling equipment around for your business, the benefits of a pickup truck are easy to see. Unfortunately, you may not be familiar with the safest methods to securely load large, heavy items. Considering 25,000 crashes occur each year due to debris in the road, properly securing items is imperative. If you are a home or business owner planning a construction project that requires multiple pieces of lumber in various shapes and sizes, you may struggle loading your truck's bed. Fortunately, using this guide, you can safely load and haul the lumber for your project.
Equip Your Truck
Pickup trucks vary in design and capability, so equipping your truck for frequent hauls may not be necessary. Some models include a standard liner to protect the interior, but many do not. In addition, the bed length varies according to the truck's specific make and model. To combat these issues, these upgrades are available to equip your truck for safe and secure hauls:
- Liner – Bed liners protect the interior of your truck, but they also help secure your load. Constructed out of weather-resistant rubber or a durable plastic or vinyl, liners prevent cargo items from shifting during transport.
- Bed Extender – While a full size truck with a long bed offers an average 8-foot length, it still may not be sufficient space for hauling large pieces of lumber. Since your tailgate is unable to handle a lot of weight, do not rest the longer pieces of lumber on top. Equipping your truck with a bed extender offers added space when you need to haul longer pieces of lumber. When not necessary, you can close up the extender to bring your bed back to its normal length.
- Tie-Down Points – Tie down points along the perimeter of your bed are standard in most truck models. These points allow you to anchor tie straps and tarps to the bed, which will help prevent lost, stolen, or moving cargo. If your bed does not offer them, install them before hauling any type of cargo.
Secure With Supplies
If you are transporting your lumber a short distance, you may feel that your cargo is safe and secure. However, securing items in your truck bed is necessary no matter what the distance. Use the following tips to ensure your lumber is secure inside the bed:
- Tie Downs – Rope and bungee cords prevent your lumber from moving when anchored down. If you plan on frequently hauling heavy items and lumber, invest in a quality set of heavy-duty ratchet straps. The ratchet allows you to tighten and hold heavier items to prevent any movement while in your truck bed.
- Wrap – When transporting multiple boards, wrap them for added protection. Use stretch cling film to wrap the ends of longer boards together.
- Covers – To protect other drivers on the road from flying pieces of wood and shivers, consider covering your lumber with a tarp or cargo net. The tarp or net should cover the entire portion of your bed without any excess that will flap over. Anchor the cargo cover to your tie down points.
Hauling items can add a great deal of weight to your truck. This additional weight will change how your truck moves, so you will need to adjust your driving methods when hauling cargo.
A heavier truck will require extra time to stop, so allow yourself space between vehicles in front of you. For the safest transport, drive well below the speed limit to ensure you have ample time to use your brakes correctly. Use caution when making turns, as well, to prevent your lumber from shifting in the bed.
A pickup truck is a great investment for the needs of your home or business, but proper use is key. Using this guide on safe hauling, you can transport your lumber without putting yourself, your truck, or other drivers in danger.