Most of todays heavy hauling accidents are attributed to human error rather than mechanical failure. Proper hauling requires a combination of knowledge, training, experience and patience. Before hauling a piece of equipment you must know your trailers limits and your trucks capabilities. You can usually find the trailer’s capacity on the data plate mounted on the trailer. Know your limits!
It is crucial to know how and where to position the load on the trailer. The machine weight must be evenly distributed throughout the vehicle and trailer. If the machine is placed too far forward, you will start to lift the front of the tow vehicle and lose steering control. If the machine is placed too far back, you will lose traction and braking. Be aware that the added weight of the machine will increase your stopping distance. Finding the right placement takes time and patience. It is important to keep in mind that all machines are different and not all machines are loaded the same. Wheel loaders, skid steers, excavators and dozers all have their own loading/unloading procedures.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Know proper loading/unloading procedures for the machine you are hauling.
- Always load/unload on level ground.
- Make sure ramps and trailer deck are in good working order. Replace any worn or broken boards.
- Make sure trailer ramps and trailer deck are clean and clear.
- Keep others clear while loading/unloading.
- Do not drive a machine on a trailer unless you are trained to do so.
The next important thing is keeping your load secure. Most trailers are equipped with tie-down points. Using the weight of the machine, you will be able to determine the aggregate working load limit to determine the number of tie-downs you will need. Many manufacturers mark the tie-down points on the machines and it is important to use these points. You should always use grade 70 chain or greater for securing your loads. Make sure to discard and worn, stretched or twisted chains.
- Secure all loose attachments.
- Once loaded make sure to check your overall height.
- Always do a final walk-around to make sure there is nothing you missed.
- Loads shift…..Always stop after the first 25 miles and check your tie-down points.
Following these guidelines will help to keep you and others safe on the road. Hauling is a big job, but with a little patience and practice, it can be done safely.