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Staying safe while hauling cargo

Published On: Mar 11 2013 01:00:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 04 2013 12:01:17 PM CST

It is one thing you never want to see if you're driving -- something that's fallen off a truck or trailer right in front of you.

It is one thing you never want to see if you're driving -- something that's fallen off a truck or trailer right in front of you.

That's what happened when a race car fell off a trailer and wound up causing a multi-car crash Friday night that injured two people. Click here to read more about the accident.

News 5 spoke with police and equipment haulers to find out what you need to know before you hitch a trailer with thousands of pounds of cargo.

A mangled, metal mess that sent two people to the hospital may have been preventable. Virginia State Police said a race car was not properly secured to its trailer, causing it to fly off, flip over the median, and land into oncoming lanes. Several cars crashed and at least two people were hurt.

With spring not far off, that means more people will be hauling everything from mowers to cars; if you're hauling something large, like a vehicle or machinery, you could have an accident if you don't pay close enough attention.

Sam Boyd owns Boyd Excavating and hauls equipment like an 18,000 pound tractor around daily. He told us it's crucial this equipment gets safely secured and then double-checked. "We take a chain and go through the wheels, and go through the other side," explained Boyd.

The chains he treads through the monster tires are ‘grade A’ and built to withstand the heaviest equipment, but he knows time can take its toll. "About every time you to pick them up it's just a habit you look at it when you pull the chains through. if you see a bad link like it's been drug on the road, get rid of that," said Boyd.

Another common way to anchor things down is using nylon straps, but just like chains, you've also got to inspect before you them. If they are at all frayed, we're told you shouldn't use them.

Then there comes anchoring the load down.

Virginia State Police Trooper Philip Battel tells us any time you use chains or nylon straps with open trailers, they always need to be tightened with a ratcheting device. "I would recommend after 15 minutes of traveling stop and check your straps. Make sure that they are still tight, and that your load has not shifted," Trooper Battel said.

Boyd starts the self-inspection before hitting the highway by having someone else double-check his work, because carrying this kind of cargo is a responsibility. "You've got the public to tend with," said Boyd, "and I wouldn't want to hurt anybody with that."

Trooper Battel told us some trailers are required to be inspected by the Commonwealth, like trailers with brakes, but other simpler trailers are not.