Flatbed trailers are used for moving a wide range of loads, especially vehicles. However, vehicles do roll about if they are not properly secured. Therefore, when precautions are not taking when moving items and loads with a flatbed trailer, mistakes will happen. You will need accessories and techniques to avoid any mishaps for smooth transportation.
What is a Flatbed Trailer? Is it the Same as a Flatbed Tow Truck?
Flatbed trailers are usually used to tow large, heavy commercial loads. They include lumber, machinery, large pipes, equipment, and so on. A type of flatbed trailer, which is called a low boy, has the flatbed sitting close to the ground level. They can tow large equipment and heavy tractors to and from construction or work sites.
Flatbed tow truck consists of a ramp or platform, situated at the back of the tow truck. The platform looks like a bed, and thus the name of the tow truck. They also call the rollback trucks. They have hydraulic systems in place that enable moving the ramp or platform up and down, and the vehicle can be driven up onto the flatbed. Once the vehicle is placed, the hydraulics will balance the flatbed, and the truck can transport the loaded vehicle.
Steps and Precautions to Take when Towing with Flatbed Trailers
When you are towing heavy loads, the larger loads are top-heavy. And when towing is done using a flatbed trailer, extra precautions need to be taken. It is because vehicles have wheels, and wheels can make the vehicles roll off during transportation.
Before hitting the road, one will need to fasten the loads to be transported. Accidents can happen unexpectedly, and people do make mistakes. When you are not careful handling these loads with a flatbed trailer, damages and loss will occur.
Therefore, tying down the items or loads is essential. The following accessories are commonly used by tow truck drivers to tie-down the loads.
They are used to reinforce the tie-down on the loads. Nylon straps come in different lengths and widths.
They are nylon straps that come with steel hooks at each end. V-straps can be used to latch onto parts below the undercarriage of a vehicle.
They are nylon straps with web-like design. Basket straps can fit over the wheels. They can also be attached or hooked to the eyelets of a trailer.
They are steel-ratchet mechanism combined with nylon straps to tighten and fasten the load.
When the nylon straps are not available, one can consider using chains instead. The above-mentioned accessories also come in chain form.
Next, we will discuss the proper loading procedure. When you have the appropriate towing equipment, and if you are towing an automobile, position the car on the trailer evenly and over the axel. Pull the car as far forward as possible without coming into contact with the front of the trailer. Set the parking brake, and put the automobile in gear should it has a standard transmission. With chock blocks, place one in front of the automobile, and one behind at least one wheel of the car.
Tie Down the Loads
Use the basket straps if available. Put one over each of the tires. It is necessary to ratchet the front tires as well as the rear tires. When the tires are secured, move below the automobile. This is when V-straps are used on the front and rear. Most of the automobiles have tie-down eyelets or tow hooks near the bumpers, be sure to utilize them. Do not hook the V-straps on any suspension components, because this may tear the parts of the automobile. Put the straps in opposite directions. In this way, one can tow the car from each way. Before moving off, ratchet and secure everything. Check the hitch, light, and safety chains as well.
Drive with Care
Drive with caution when traveling with a heavy load. Avoid fast maneuvers and drive at a safe speed. Be sure to give yourself enough space and time for emergency brakes, and to drive through the curves and turns smoothly.