Understand your limits
Every situation will have unique securing procedures, but it is important to know the load rating of your trailer and the weight of the load that is being secured. Load ratings are generally found on the trailer identification plate, and the weight of your load can be determined by using a certified scale.
Know the law
The legal load limit in most states is 80,000 lbs. Heavy or oversized loads will require specialized trailers and permits to transport lawfully. If you are unsure of the law in your state, or not certain of the requirements for a specific load, be sure to check with the local authorities before transport.
Avoid overloading your trailer
It is best to use a trailer with a capacity that is more than the weight of the load plus the weight of the trailer itself. If your load is close to the maximum capacity for your trailer, use a heavier capacity trailer.
Use properly rated tie downs
The Federal Motor Carrier Regulations sets forth the number of tie downs required based upon the weight of your load, as well as their capacity. The basic requirement is that tie downs must have a combined strength equal to at least 50% of the load being secured.
Inspect your chains
Inspect tie downs and chains before each use, and discard any that have visual signs of wear or damage.
Understand weight distribution
It is important to place loads so the weight is distributed evenly between the semi-tractor drive axles and the trailer axles. Too much weight on the front can make steering unresponsive, while excessive weight on the back can affect braking and decrease traction.
Avoid damage during tie down
Pay attention to securement points located on your load, and be sure to use them properly to prevent damage. 45˚ tie down angles offer the best protection, and will keep your load from shifting or sliding.
Always consult your operator's manual.
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