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Truck Safety Tips: Ladder Racks

If you own a truck or utility van, a ladder rack is a game-changer when it comes to carrying equipment. Being able to store your ladder on the roof increases the amount of cargo space inside your van or truck bed.

ladder rackBut as with any vehicle accessory, there is a right and wrong way to use a ladder rack. In order to keep yourself and others on the road safe, always follow these safety tips for ladder racks.

Three Points of Contact

As a general rule of thumb, ladders and other rooftop cargo should always be secured by at least three points of contact. This will prevent the cargo from shifting, or worse, falling off during travel.

Drivers should always use either ratchet, rapid locking, or another variation of tie down straps when securing objects. Many drivers make the mistake of using bungee cords, which allow objects to shift and move around.

Limit Overhang

When loading cargo on your ladder rack, avoid unnecessary overhang at the front and back of your vehicle. Every state has different rules regarding overhang limits, so be sure to check with your local Trick Trucks team to ensure your vehicle is up to code.

If there is overhang on your vehicle, be sure to mark the load with red or orange warning flags. This will notify other drivers that they need to keep their distance from your vehicle.

Adjust Speed

When traveling with cargo on the roof, drivers should always adjust their speed accordingly. The additional weight on the roof can completely change the dynamics of the vehicle, including how quickly it can accelerate and how quickly it can come to a complete stop.

It is important that drivers always abide by the speed limit, avoid tailgating, and allow for enough braking distance.

Check Clearances

One of the most important pieces of information a driver should know about his truck or van is the vertical clearance. This is the minimum height a vehicle can safety drive under without causing damage to the structure or the vehicle.

Along with knowing your vehicle’s clearance, drivers should also take note of overhead clearances when driving. Fortunately, many parking garages and bridges have bright yellow poles that conveniently label the clearance.

Weight Limit

All ladder racks have a maximum carrying weight. This is the maximum amount of cargo that can be carried safely without damaging your vehicle, or the ladder rack itself. If you do not know your vehicle’s carrying limit, check with the vehicle’s manufacturer or check your owner’s manual. If you do not know your ladder rack’s weight recommendations, refer to the instruction booklet or a Trick Trucks team member.

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