Do you think of 18-wheelers and their mammoth trailers when you think about an improperly secured load? If so, you aren't alone. This is the first thing that probably comes into the minds of most Texas drivers. The reason why is because the commercial trucking industry is where that question usually comes up most often.
However, did you know that you could be liable if something flies off the back of your pickup truck and causes someone else to have an accident? Properly securing a load applies to more than just big rigs. You need to understand how to do it as well.
Properly securing a load in your pickup truck
If your load is unsecured, nothing keeps it anchored to the bed of your pickup truck. This means that you failed to secure it to your vehicle with tie-downs, netting, rope or some other restraining method. Perhaps you started the job but failed to do it right or to complete it. Regardless, your load presents a danger to you and others on the road. Your cargo should not have the ability to shift, fall, become airborne or slide. If it does, and hurts someone as a result, it could cost you.
Consider the fact that, out of around 200,000 crashes that AAA reviewed over the course of a four-year period, unsecured cargo contributed or caused approximately two-thirds of them. Not all of the improperly secured loads came off 18-wheelers. It doesn't matter if you drive slowly or your load is heavy, you are legally responsible for securing it properly so that it doesn't hurt anyone as you drive.
You can secure your load by putting the lighter items underneath the heavier ones before securing them to the truck. Then secure a tarp over the items and to the truck. After doing so, it would be a good idea to check the load to see if you find any weaknesses in it that could result in something getting loose and possibly causing an accident. Then, you can head out with the confidence that your load isn't going anywhere.
You secured your load, but someone else didn't
Sadly, not everyone is as conscientious as you are. Other drivers don't secure their loads more often than you would think, especially when it involves a private vehicle. If a piece of cargo becomes a piece of debris that strikes your vehicle, it could result in a devastating accident, depending on the circumstances.
The injuries you suffer may keep you out of work for some time and cost you in medical expenses, among other things. Fortunately, Texas law allows you to seek compensation for these and other damages.