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Travels of a Trucker Be Nice and Check your Preloads!

November 16, 2011

Preloading a load

I work for a company that often has the equipment preloaded or preloaded and brought to our yard. It is times like these that I often worry about the load itself or the way it was loaded. Since a pre load is just that, a load that I had no control over and was already done by someone else. I have no way of knowing if the load was placed properly. I have no way of knowing if the weight is good. I have no way of knowing if some funky tie down was used since we all undress our trailers when they are dropped after pre loading back at the yard. The end result is that I have to look at each load carefully. Why am I looking at each load you ask? There are a number of reasons.

#1 Am I overweight by checking my air gauges?

#2 Was the load positioned properly?

#3 Are there any loose materials left on the deck that the other driver may have missed such as rocks, debris, nuts and bolts or other small articles which were missed in the original tie-down.

#4 Does the load need chains or straps and if so do I require any special materials like steel corners or dunnage?

#5 Does the load extend beyond the trailer requiring any overlength permits?

#6 Does the load extend the width of the trailer requiring “overwidth”, “D” signs or “Wide Load” signs?

#7 If the load is extending beyond any points is it a reducible load?

#8 Is the trailer C.V.I. current and up to date?

#9 Is the trailer insured?

#10 Are the lights and licence plate lights working?

#11 Is the licence plate on the trailer?

#12 Are all tires inflated properly or was it deflated before it was dropped?

#13 Is there any fresh damage and are all mud flaps attached?

#14 Is there anything I need to see, hear or recognize that would make this trip unsafe, dangerous or would I get a ticket for it?

As you can see these are but a few questions as I look over every load. There are so many more which also includes the actual pretrip of the trailer, but in the end everything falls upon my shoulders as the driver of the load once I accept responsibility for the load.

In a rush

Often times many drivers are in a rush and fail to think of the consequences. Imagine a job site has rented a mobile crane and they are paying $600 an hour to a mobile crane. Imagine if the load was placed incorrectly and the Crane had to be rented again all because you as the preloading driver did not do an adequate job of load placement and you made it unsafe for the next driver handling the load.

My Load

I was asked a few months ago to pick up a preloaded trailer. The load itself was a ship cable winch. he ship cable winch was 24 tonnes or roughly 48,600 Pounds. The load itself was placed on a step deck. The load was not a particularly heavy load for the trailer it was on which was a tri axle. The only problem was the driver who had it placed put it all on the rear end!!!

Now, I don’t know about you, but the driver who did this didn’t think anything of it. He had the crane operator throw the whole thing on the rear end. The Center of Gravity was labelled along with the weight. He ought to have known that you cannot place all the weight to the rear of the trailer. There was nothing for weight on the drive axles!

The problem here is two fold. The driver was in a hurry to load it and get out of there. and the driver did not stop to think about the weight being placed on just the rear axles. So what can be the results of this? If I was going up a hill my traction may not hold since I have no weight on the drives. I may get a ticket for being overweight on the rear and I would have to have the crane rented again at considerable cost to have the load centered on the trailer. If an accident happened, it could be worse.

So to those of you whom do preload for other drivers. Please stop and think about the load. Please stop and think about how you would feel if you showed up on a job site, no cranes around, everyone gone home and your load was not positioned properly. Thanks for reading. Please follow me by email if you enjoy my stories, tips and techniques.

Roger

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One Comment
  1. Lynn Lilje permalink

    I wish more people would realize the amount of responsibility truckers have – your little story is really just the tip of the iceberg. Keep up the great work on your blog…… hubby too is in the business being an owner operator for 25 years and now just a driver – I love that term just a driver – if they really knew.

    Lynn

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