Every day, thousands of flatbed haulers hit the roads to deliver necessities and goods across the nation. While there is a variety of cargo, trailers, and truckers that trek long and short distances for deliveries, there is one thing all truckers will have in common: the need for heavy-duty trucking equipment and cargo control tools.
The proper securement of cargo plays into the safety of the truck driver and their fellow motorists on the road. However, with so much cargo control equipment in the industry – all of which claim to be a must-have accessory – it can be a headache trying to find the best products for your haul.
Avoid the stress of having to decipher which tools you actually need to improve your safety on the road – the article will lay out all the must-have cargo control equipment you should have on your truck in order to safely brace, fasten, and tie down your cargo to a flatbed trailer!
Top 10 Must Have Cargo Control Equipment
Trucking is an important industry that is often overlooked when people consider “public safety” issues, but improper security due to poor or lack of cargo control products can lead to accidents, injuries, and even death! It’s important for the safety of your cargo and fellow motorists that you have all the equipment you need; see the list below for our Top 10 Must-Have Trucking Accessories:
Ratchet straps make up some of the most common tie-down equipment you’ll find in the trucking industry. Usually made from strong, polyester webbing, these straps will provide you maximum strength with minimum stretch. These trucking accessories are ideal when hauling cargo that is fragile – ratchet straps avoid the risk of denting, chipping, and scratching objects during transit.
Ratchet straps are softer and lighter than trucker chains, don’t require the installation of winches, and are extraordinarily flexible – you will be able to stretch a ratchet strap both horizontally and diagonally across your cargo. No matter what cargo you haul, though, ratchet straps will always be a great securement option.
Winch straps are often seen as competition and frequently compared to ratchet straps, but they provide a very specific use that may be more beneficial to some flatbed haulers than others. For truckers with winch systems installed on their flatbed trailer, winch straps are the way to go!
Winch straps are commonly used as a fastener, meaning high-quality straps will have high tensile strength and greater resistance to vibrations and movement than standard ratchet straps. Winch straps are treated to be weather-resistant, durable, light-weight, and strong.
Unlike chains and additional, rough trucking accessories, winch strap webbing is notably softer and won’t damage fragile goods without sacrificing strength and durability.
The sides of winch straps can be reinforced to reduce any wear or tear that may come from the stress or tension of being strapped over sharp-edge corners or objects. Winch straps are a common, reliable, and recommended securement method that can be easily applied and used on any flatbed trailer with winches installed.
3. Chain and Binders:
When hauling heavy equipment or vehicles, sometimes straps are not your most reliable tie-down tool. Chains are not susceptible to tearing like straps, which makes them the best option against cargo that has a lot of sharp edges or is heavy-weight. Additionally, load binders are used to tighten these chains around your cargo for proper securement. You can’t have chains without a binder, but there are two load binders truckers can choose from: ratchet and lever. While lever binders are faster to use, ratchet binders are less likely to recoil and injure the operator.
In the same fashion, there are a lot of chain grades you can pick when deciding on a transport chain. Grade 70 chains are the most common on the market, easy to use for standard cargo but not recommended for any overhead or heavy lifting. The heavier the job, the stronger the chain. Always make sure you’re following the working load limit for your chains to avoid damaging them and your cargo.
Bungee straps and cords are unique and flexible trucking accessories! With the ability to use them in a variety of jobs, bungee straps are commonly used to tie-down tarps onto flatbed trailers.
Bungee cords offer five key benefits for every trucker:
- They have high elasticity, which is ideal for loads that may vary in size since they can easily stretch and adjust per load without the risk of breaking.
- They are adjustable, some with the ability to adjust the length of to shorten when needed.
- The rubber material allows for high heat resistance, which is especially important and useful for truckers who haul in hotter climates or months.
- In a similar vein, they are also UV resistant.
- Bungee straps are designed with high tensile strength, meaning that they allow for a lot of stretches before the risk of any damage or breaking will occur.
5. Auto Tie Down Straps:
The best choices for truckers who frequently haul vehicles, auto-hauling tie-down straps are designed to keep cars from rolling and moving during transportation. There are a variety of auto tie-down straps on the market, each with its own pros and cons. Be sure to do your research regarding proper tire size accommodations, ease of use, and so on before you purchase an auto hauling wheel strap.
6. Tire Chain:
For heavier vehicles or large tires, auto wheel straps may not be the best choice for safe hauling! In order to prevent tires from slipping or snapping your tie-down tools, tire chains provide extra grip in order to keep a vehicle’s wheels firmly in place – no matter the size, weight, or weather!
7. Corner Protector:
During transit, it’s impossible to avoid obstacles like potholes and vibrations on the road. Friction can be a killer to tie-down straps, especially when they are stretched over tall or sharp-edged cargo. Eventually, this wear and tear will result in fraying, tearing, or snapping of a strap – but this situation can be avoided with the use of corner protectors!
Flatbed truckers will know the importance of good corner protectors and how they can protect not just your straps but your cargo and tarps from any tearing, rubbing, or friction too. Edge protectors may seem like a small, unimportant trucking accessory that is nice to have but not a must-have, but they can end up being lifesavers when it comes to the safety of your trucking equipment and cargo.
8. Flatbed Tarps:
Trucking tarps are without a shadow of a doubt the most important cargo control equipment a flatbed trucker should have. Tarps are designed to be durable and flexible in order to fit around your cargo and protect it from weather or debris. Most will be waterproof or resistant, which will protect your cargo from getting wet during transit – this can be an important detail for a client!
Additionally, there are several styles, sizes, colors, and types of flatbed tarps available which are guaranteed to meet your specific cargo control needs. Trucking tarps are a must-have for all flatbed truckers!
9. Cargo Net:
The ideal solution for truckers who haul cargo in the back of a pickup truck or enclosed van, cargo nets are designed to fit against the walls of a van or truck bed and keep all your cargo organized. Whether you face a sharp turn, hard stop, or unexpected bump, cargo nets will ensure all your cargo remains where you left it! Designed to hold large items down, they have multiple D-rings for the best anchoring system and security.
10. Truck Safety – Flags and Banners:
There are a lot of unique loads flatbed truckers will find themselves in the business of hauling, and that includes loads that will be considered “oversized.” This can mean any cargo that is extra tall, wide, or both! One must take extra precautions when preparing to haul oversized loads in order to make sure all motorists are safe during transportation.
Using wide-load signs, flags, and lights and investing in “oversize load” banners can help signal to your fellow drivers that they must be very careful when driving near you. In most states, it’s also the law to have these additional flags and banners when hauling oversized loads. Before you start considering hauling an oversized load, make sure you have all the tools necessary to do so safely and legally.
Road and cargo safety is integral when transporting cargo of any size and kind, and ensuring you have the products you need to get every job done right is just as important! When investing in the right equipment, it’s important to consider the type of cargo you do or plan to haul so you know to get the right amount, size, and type of cargo control accessories. Securing cargo isn’t a luxury – it’s a requirement. We hope this guide has helped you learn and find the must-have cargo control equipment for flatbed haulers!