SAFELY LOAD CARGO TRAILERS WITH A CARGO LOADING PLAN
October 31, 2017
LOOK TRAILERS’ SAFETY TIPS AND GUIDELINES FOR PACKING YOUR HAUL
So, you’ve just purchased a cargo trailer and you’re ready to make your first haul. But, hold on. Do you have a cargo loading plan? Before you load up your tools, gear, toys or merchandise, review these tips and guidelines. They’ll make it easier to load your trailer and keep you and the contents safe.
1. HOW MUCH CAN YOU HAUL?
In other words, what is the maximum towing capacity of the vehicle you’ll use to pull the trailer? If you pull an enclosed trailer that’s too heavy, you risk serious harm to the towing vehicle and other safety problems. Check your towing vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the maximum towing capacity.
2. HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN THE TRAILER BEAR?
Look Trailers lists payload capacities for each model on our website, under “Specs,” and your dealer can help you, too. But, in general, to find out how many pounds of payload you can carry, you will need to find the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), listed on the VIN label of your trailer, which is the most weight allowed of both your trailer and cargo. You also need to know the weight of the trailer by itself. To calculate maximum payload capacity, subtract the weight of the trailer from the GVWR. To be on the safe side, multiply that figure by 80%.
3. COUPLE THE TRAILER TO THE TOW VEHICLE BEFORE LOADING CARGO.
Makes sense—it’s easier to couple if the trailer is lighter, especially if you need to maneuver it into position.
4. OBEY THE 60-40 RULE.
As we state in the Look Trailers Safety Tips section of our website, the 60-40 rule is generally accepted as the be-all method for cargo storage in a towable trailer. Just make sure 60% of your items (and the heaviest) are loaded in first and are positioned closest to the back of the towing vehicle (towards the hitch). The other 40% can be loaded towards the back of the enclosed trailer. This will ensure that the majority of the weight is dispersed where it can be supported the most, as well as help you avoid an uneven turning and slow-down process. If the cargo is of widely varying sizes, place larger items in first, filling in smaller items in gaps, adhering to the 60/40 rule.
5. GIVE SENSITIVE CARGO TLC.
Are you loading liquid, hazardous or perishable items? Make sure they are properly contained and follow the package guidelines for storing (for example, any sensitivity to heat or cold), and transporting. Perishable items should be placed in a container that will maintain their freshness and, if possible, placed where they are easy to get to.
6. SECURE EVERYTHING.
Shifting weight inside the trailer throws off the 60-40 balance and makes towing more difficult and less safe for you on the road, as well as the cargo inside. Use cords, rope, and straps to tie everything down, employing grommet tarps or cargo nets to keep small or lightweight objects contained. If your trailer has compartments, use them to stash gear and other small items.
7. CONSIDER PERSONAL SAFETY.
Before you start to load your trailer, review these guidelines for safe lifting and carrying:
- Wear protective gloves and shoes.
- Warm up your back and legs by rotating your trunk and lower back both ways, and stretching your hamstring and Achilles.
- Get help. Don’t try to lift very heavy or awkward items yourself. Get a buddy to help and make use of ergonomic equipment such as dollies, carts, and hoists.
- Use the proper lifting technique:
- Get as close to the object’s level as possible.
- Grasp the item and breathe in.
- With a straight back, use your legs and hips to lift the object up, keeping it close to you, breathing out as you rise up.
Now that you know how to load cargo trailers, why don’t you take a look at all the options for hauling? Use our Look trailer dealer locator to find the nearest representative. They’ll answer any questions you have about trailers, hauling, loading, and more.