Flatbed trucking is not considered an easy job in the trucking industry. It has most of the risks associated with dry van trucking and then some. If you’re new to commercial trucking, you might wonder why pulling a trailer without walls or a ceiling is so difficult and hazardous. The main reason is you can’t afford to get sloppy with cargo securement when loose cargo has nowhere to go but off the trailer and into the path of the traffic following you. Here are three hazards that affect the trucker and/or the driving public:
Flatbeds Have Great Fall Injury Potential
Flatbed trailers are elevated platforms with no walls or guard rails. Sure, the height isn’t that great, but an unexpected fall and a poor landing can cause broken necks and head trauma. If you drive in northern states during the winter, the lack of an enclosure means that ice can build up on the trailer floor, which increases the fall hazard.
In addition, large or unusually shaped cargo that won’t fit in a dry van trailer is reserved for flatbeds. Securing it may require climbing on objects not meant to be climbed on and will increase your fall distance should you lose your footing. Your predicament only gets worse if you add in some snow or ice. When possible, do your load securement indoors with some sort of fall protection system such as safety netting. Tarping introduces yet another fall hazard because it may require your clambering on top of tarp covered cargo.
Poor Cargo Securement Can Have Devastating Consequences
If a load shifts and falls over inside a dry van trailer, you may have to make some corrective driving maneuvers and deal with damaged freight. If the same thing happens on a flatbed trailer, the cargo will land on the road and possibly cause a traffic accident. If you’re hauling large machinery, big logs, or a stack of steel beams, poor securement can have devastating consequences, including crushed motor vehicles. Hitting the brakes too hard or a pothole in the road could potentially cause such a disaster. This is why corner cutting or sloppy load securement is unacceptable.
Flatbeds With Large Cargo Increase the Dangers of Traffic Accidents
Even well secured cargo won’t necessarily stay on your trailer in an accident. The released cargo can hit other cars, cause a chain reaction traffic pileup, or crush the vehicle that collided into your truck. A rollover accident is equally problematic. Avoiding these scenarios means avoiding accidents altogether. You should give your driving the same attention as a hazmat driver would.
Stay safe and keep your Florida rig insurance rates low by securing your cargo carefully and correctly, and by driving defensively. For quality Florida rig insurance at affordable rates, contact us at J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC. We also provide commercial truck insurance in the states of Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa & Nebraska.