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11 Oct 2021

NEWS & INSIGHTSTips on how to load an open trailer

We often see trailers that are simply loaded from the front to the rear with no consideration for weight distribution or load capacity, or even overloaded. These practices can hamper the handling of your trailer while driving and even lead to serious accidents. Follow these easy guidelines for better loading safety.

1. How much weight are you allowed to tow?

First and foremost, you need to know what your load capacity is. This is determined by the load capacity of your trailer, the towing capacity of your tow vehicle and the permission code on your driver’s license. Read our blog covering these aspects: How much weight am I allowed to tow?

2. A safe loading area

2.1 Park your trailer on a level surface

Loading on an angled trailer may cause the load to shift or even tip, which can cause damages or injuries. Make sure there is enough space to hitch your trailer once you completed loading.

2.2 Chock the wheels

To wedge the wheels is an additional safety precaution and will help to stabilise your trailer and prevent that it does not move or roll while loading.

3. Arrange your cargo on your trailer

3.1 60/40 Weight Distribution

Plan before you do. Take a quick inventory of your load and point out which of your items are heavier. 60% of the weight should be placed in front of the axle and the remaining 40% behind. Too much weight behind the axle can result in trailer sway, whereas excess weight in front of the axle can lead to difficult breaking conditions.

The best way to load for proper weight distribution is to start with the largest and heaviest items. Place heavy cargo in the centre of the trailer, just forward of the axle. Then, lighter weight items can be placed around it, distributed evenly.

3.2 Top-heavy items to the front

Load tall items and those that are easily off-balance first, such as bookcases and display cabinets. Place them to the front of the trailer to prevent shifting. Since this is the shortest distance from the rear of your towing vehicle, items placed here will have less of an influence on how your vehicle drives.

3.3 Heavy items to the centre

Move heavy, bulky items next. Push these up against the top-heavy items to provide additional support and pack them in tightly together to prevent shifting. Heavy items tend to cause the most problems while driving, so take extra care to ensure these are stable and secure.

3.4 Smaller items remaining

Once you have loaded your heaviest and most risky items, start to pack your smaller items from the back of the trailer. Place the heavier items on the trailer floor, followed by stacking the rest of the cargo on top, arranging them from the heaviest to lightest. Be sure to balance the items from top to bottom, but also from front to back.

4. Secure your cargo

Secure the large and heavy items with tie-down anchors, ropes or ratchet straps. Make sure all the items are secure and thoroughly tied down. Also, double-check all the straps, ropes etc. You do not want your cargo to come undone while driving.

Depending on your cargo, and possible weather conditions, you might consider covering your items with a tarp. Make sure this is also securely tied down with no flapping ends.

You are now ready to hitch and test your trailer lights.

Travel Safe.

Note

This article serves as a general guideline, loading may vary based on trailer type.

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