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Load on the Road

2018-02-14 08:30:00

Truck Packing


Whether you’re trying to move homes, get your new ski's to the slopes, or hauling DIY materials from Menards, transporting oversize cargo in a vehicle can be complicated and dangerous. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report about 51,000 crashes, 10,000 injuries and 440 deaths were caused by flying debris on the roads in 2010. Do your part to keep yourself and other safe. An added bonus is that every state has some sort of fine or penalty, ranging from a ticket to jail time, for improperly secured loads. Check out the tips below to make your adventure a success.

Check Capacity

SUV’s and minivan’s are naturally going to handle larger loads than a sedan. And if you own a convertible, don’t transport anything. Call a friend that has a truck. Also, can your vehicle handle the weight of the cargo (check your manual). Watch out for your sunroof—anything too firm or heavy could break the glass.

Tie It Down

To safely tie an item to your car’s roof, start with all the windows down, except the driver’s window. (You won’t be able to open the other doors once the rope is tied through the open windows.) If you’re using nylon rope or cinching straps, toss them over the item you’re tying down, pass them through the open windows and tie them inside the car. Take at least two passes over the item, side-to-side and front to back, and tie the rope tightly inside the car. And remember to secure them both lengthwise and widthwise, Leanse says.

Twist It

If you’re securing items with tie-down straps, give them a twist before passing them through the open car windows. This will not only keep the noise down, but also help minimize the amount of force on the straps if you’re traveling on an expressway.

Hauling any of these?

Now that you’ve mastered the basics, here’s how to secure some commonly hauled items:


First, wrap the mattress in a bag (new mattresses generally come in one or you can buy one at a hardware store) and use packing tape to close the bag and secure any loose plastic. Use strong rope or straps and make sure the mattress is tied down lengthwise and widthwise, keeping the fastenings well-centered. Take care to keep it clean and dry, since you’ll be sleeping on it.


Wrap lumber in a tarp to secure it, and place a blanket down on the roof under the load to avoid scratching your vehicle’s paint. Tie down the boards lengthwise and widthwise, similar to how you’d secure a mattress.

Sporting Equipment

When it comes to sporting goods, it’s worthwhile to invest in custom-built roof equipment, like a dedicated rack for bicycles, snowboards, kayaks or surfboards. You’ll be both protecting the life of your expensive gear, as well as easing their frequent transport.


Attach a metal roof rack, or a hard plastic or foldable clamshell. The former works for outdoor gear like hunting or camping equipment, as it’s easier to clean, and the latter is good for protecting softer bags. If you choose the rack, top it off with a cargo net for added safety.

And remember, if you hear whipping or rattling sounds while you’re driving, it means that the load is not properly secured. Pull over and check your cargo. And factor enough time into your trip for safe speeds and periodic stops to double-check your load.

Information provided via online resource by Nicole Price Fasig