Tie down your load safely…and legally

If it’s bigger than your car or trailer, how are you going to get it home safely and without the police stopping you?  Here are some tips.

Always spread your load if you can so all the weight is evenly distributed. It’s less likely to break free and cause a problem. Centre the load over the axle/s, with slight downward weight to the tongue. This will balance the trailer better and you will tow it, rather than it pushing you around.

If you need to stack your load, make sure the bigger heavier items are on the bottom to minimise the chance of the trailer swinging and potentially jack-knifing i.e. keep the load’s centre of gravity as low as possible.

Best and safest is to keep your load narrower than your vehicle. If your load is so wide you have no option but to have it hanging over both sides, use flags. The maximum allowable load WIDTH is generally 2.5 metres. Look for braked/unbraked load capacities in your owner’s manual, or on the vehicles towing attachment/tongue.

If your load extends more than a metre beyond the front or back of the vehicle you must affix a white/fluorescent red/orange/yellow flag a minimum of 400mm long by 300mm wide. We have reusable orange ones here for your free use. Ask us. 

If you need to brake in a hurry, or swerve, bounce over pot holes, or just turn a sharpish corner, and your load moves, all hell can break loose with some nasty consequences. Think each tie-down through and consider what effect any one of these conditions might have on your load and tie-down in such a way that it is secure. i.e. Most braking momentum/movement is forwards, and then centrifugal force produces sideways movement, so when you ‘rope it down’ consider how you can best stop this from happening. A good place to start is by putting your load hard up against the front headboard of the trailer, and if the load is sufficiently large balance excess towards the axle/s.

If you’re travelling distance, stop and check your load every 20kms or so. Loads securely tied down to begin with can loosen incrementally over time allowing for free movement of the load. If you’ve had to brake harshly or swerve sharply, it’s a good idea to check your load immediately after. It could mean someone else’s life if something breaks free and bounces out of your trailer or vehicle.

At night, you must have lights on loaded trailers, with flags/lights needed on loads greater than 2.5m wide, or 1m over the front or back of the trailer.

The best most secure ties are ratchet-tie-downs and Renovation Warehouse keeps a good stock of them so you can get your load home as safely as possible

Ratchet tie downs – rated to 2,500kgs. 50mm wide and 9 metres long https://www.renovationwarehouse.co.nz/collections/miscellaneous/products/50mmx9mtr-ratchet-tie-down-2500kg-special 

Lighter duty Ratchet tie downs - rated to 1,500kgs. 35mm wide and 6 metres long https://www.renovationwarehouse.co.nz/collections/miscellaneous/products/35mmx6mtr-ratchet-tie-down-1500kg 

Remember, we carry ‘over-length’ flags which are complimentary (and re-useable). Just ask us – we’ll be most happy to give you one, or more if the load needs it. Safety first. It’s better for everyone.

During the hours of darkness, you must have lights on the load:

  • at the rear and facing towards the rear, coloured red (if the load extends sideways or to the rear)

Hazard warning panels can be used instead of flags

  • at the front and facing towards the front, coloured white or amber (if the load extends sideways or forwards)

During the hours of darkness, the lights must be clearly visible in clear weather at a distance of at least 200 metres.

If the overall width of the projecting load is one metre or less, then place one flag or panel or light at the centre of the load. If the load is wider than one metre, then place a flag or panel or light at each corner of the projecting load.

Come and see us!

Just look for the BIG ORANGE building next to the Caltex truck stop.

28 Kioreroa Road
Port Whangarei 0110

Phone: 0800-274-438 or 438-2887
Email: sales@renovationwarehouse.co.nz