How to Secure a Load in a Pickup Truck

How-To, Safety on July 31, 2018

Whether you own a truck or not, it can be handy to know the right way to tie down and transport materials, especially considering sometimes people will borrow a vehicle for moving homes or moving furniture. Knowing the best way to secure a load in a pickup truck is a handy skillset to have.

Why should this matter to you?

More than 25,000 crashes take place on U.S. roads every year because of poorly secured loads. Think about it, who’s going to be held responsible if the cargo falls off your pick-up truck and somebody gets badly hurt because of that? You, of course.

Here’s how to secure a load in a pickup truck:

#1: Invest in high-quality anchor points and tie-in straps.

Do you have all the right equipment you need for securing the load in the truck bed? You will need high-quality truck anchor points and strong and rugged ratchet straps. These are essential to your cargo restraint system and have a specific rated capacity so that you’ll know how much weight they are capable of carrying.

Some pick-up trucks have built-in anchor points at the bottom of the truck bed. These points can be hard to access when you’ve got a particularly large and heavy load. It would be more convenient to have an anchor point in the rail stake pocket. That makes it a lot easier to strap a taller or heavier load.

#2: Secure the Cargo as Tightly as You Can.

Tie the cargo down to two sides of the truck using the anchor points and ratchet straps. Tie down each item and secure them with straps. Make sure the load is as secure as it can be. The cargo has to be absolutely still when the truck is on the move. There shouldn’t be any movement of any sort.

#3: Never Exceed Load Capacity of the Truck.

The load capacity of the truck is measured in terms of gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). You can look for the GVWR in the owner’s manual or on a tag on the rim of the driver’s door. Never exceed the GVWR at any cost. Doing so could potentially cause a lot of damage to the truck.

#4: Make Sure the Cargo is Positioned Properly.

You don’t want the truck to be back-weighted, that would make it very difficult for you to control it. That’s why the heaviest cargo items should be placed towards the cargo of the truck. Balance the weight by placing items on either side of the truck. When the cargo is properly balanced, you will have no trouble steering or handling the truck. This is important not just for your safety, but for that of the others on the road.

#5: What If There are Any Overhanging Materials?

If there are any overhanging materials in the cargo, attach a red or orange tailgate flag to them. You’re required to do so by the law, so this is not exactly a tip. You can buy tailgate flags online; they don’t cost much.