Pickup Trucks: How to Transport Cargo Safely
Most people who buy pickup trucks are interested in the ability to haul cargo easily. Many are farmers, construction workers, movers, or otherwise. But how many times have you been speeding down the highway or interstate only to come up on a pickup truck and realize that the driver has not properly secured the cargo he or she is carrying? Unsecured cargo has been the cause of many fatality and non-fatality accidents, and these accidents were completely preventable. What is the best way to secure cargo in the bed of a pickup? Here are some tips. Use a cargo net. For only $60, Isuzu sells a Bed Web Net made of a tough elastic material and designed to stretch.
The mount hardware is included and installation is easy. The net keeps cargo from flying out or sliding out of the back even during hard stops or fast turns. Buy a bed extender. Designed for the Isuzu i-370, the Bed Extender, made of steel, retails for well under $300 and gives pickup owners additional truck bed length. This particular bed extender has the ability to swing in to provide a contained cargo area as well.
Bed Covers work well too. Many pickup models also can be accessorized with bed covers that not only keep cargo inside, but help to hide it and prevent theft as well. Cargo Sports Bags are another option. These are often used in SUVs as well and do an excellent job of keeping smaller items from rolling around or flying out of pickup truck cargo beds. Use a safety flag or light. Laws differ by state, but many require a red cargo flag or safety light be used when transporting cargo that extends beyond the cargo bed of a pickup. For example, in the state of California, when the load on any vehicle extends at least four feet from the rear of the pickup's body, the driver must use a fluorescent orange flag, or solid red flag at least twelve inches by twelve inches at the extreme end of the load. In addition, if the vehicle is operating after dusk, there must also be two lighted red lights at the end of the load visible at minimum of 500 feet to the side and the rear of the vehicle for safety. It's also important to keep in mind that using these precautions, as well as others will protect the cargo itself. When hauling cargo, it's important to drive more cautiously than normal and make slow, steady turns.
The added weight of your load can make turning more difficult and brakes may not respond as quickly or efficiently as when driving without cargo. Every pickup truck has cargo weight guidelines. It's extremely important to obey these guidelines. While it might not be simple to actually weigh the load you plan to haul, it is better to err on the side of caution if estimating. Hauling additional weight beyond the manufacturer's guideline can significantly increase your chance of an accident or damage to your vehicle. There is also a chance you could be ticketed by law enforcement for hauling a load heavier than your pickup is designed to carry.