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Drive Safe: Secure Your Load

More than 700 fatalities a year are attributed to unsecured loads.

When you realize something won’t fit in your trunk, it’s not as easy as just tying it to the roof of your vehicle or attaching a trailer – you need to know how to properly secure your load. Safety outside the vehicle is just as important as safety inside – and it’s every driver’s responsibility to ensure all cargo is safely secured. 

By the Numbers

Unsecured loads not only endanger you, but also other drivers and pedestrians. Each year, about 730 people are killed and 17,000 more are injured because of objects in the road. Most of these crashes (81%) involve unsecured loads on passenger vehicles.

Tips for Securing Your Cargo Properly

  • Tie it down with rope, netting or straps. 
  • Tie large objects directly to your vehicle or trailer.
  • Consider covering the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting. 
  • Do not load excessive amounts of cargo in or on your vehicle or trailer.
  • Always double-check your load to make sure it’s secure. 

Secure Your Load – It’s the Law

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws regarding unsecured loads. Additionally, drivers are always responsible for safe operation of their vehicle – this includes properly securing anything that could separate from your vehicle, creating dangerous obstacles on the road. Laws state that cargo should be tied down in such a way as to prevent anything from dropping, shifting, leaking or otherwise escaping the vehicle. Violation of unsecured-load laws carry state-specific penalties with fines up to $5,000. 

Ask Yourself 

  • Is there any chance of debris or cargo falling or blowing out of my vehicle? 
  • Is my load secured at the back, sides, and top? 
  • What would happen to my load if I had to brake suddenly, if I hit a bump, or if another vehicle hit me? 
  • Would I want my loaded vehicle driving through my own neighborhood? 
  • Would I feel safe if I were driving behind my vehicle?

Always remember to drive safely and secure your load.