Unconventional towing situations – It’s common in December to see drivers attempting to cart home a Christmas tree. With trailer towing it should be simple, but how can you ensure the tree is secure and won’t be damaged? Here’s a guide to loading a trailer with trees and other unusual objects.
- Trees. Christmas trees range from between 5 to 14 feet in height, so getting yours home can present a problem. Ask to have it netted, and if it’s growing in a pot place the base inside a plastic bag and tie it closed to prevent dirt escaping. Stand it upright or lie it lengthways on the trailer floor with the base on the floor and the top resting on the trailer sides, with minimum overflow. Secure it in place using a cargo net or straps.
- Play equipment. Found a trampoline, swing set or cubby house that someone’s kids have outgrown? If your trailer isn’t big enough, consider hiring a larger one – it will save a lot of strain and angst. Make sure the centre of gravity is balanced on the trailer and the load is tightly secured.
- Water tank. Slimline, round or oval, rainwater tanks come in many shapes and sizes. Once it’s on the trailer, pack around it with boxes or matting to reduce any movement, then secure it with straps.
- Mattress. Mattresses tend to be heavy yet flexible, often with wire framing that is easily damaged. Avoid standing it on its end, as the more height it has the more unstable it will be. Provided it doesn’t hang too far over the trailer sides, lie it flat and secure in place with ratchet straps.
- Pallets. Heavy pallets might seem straightforward, but it’s important to stack them so they’re balanced and won’t shift.
Gravity is a Serious Matter
Whatever the load you’re carrying, it’s essential to account for the effect of gravitational forces. Every time you brake, swerve or go around a corner, the force of gravity will cause items to move unless they are properly restrained.
- Light items that are loose are just as likely to fall off the trailer as a heavy load.
- Before loading heavy items onto a slippery metal floor, put down a rubber mat to provide grip and stability.
- Whatever you do, make sure you are not overloading the trailer.
#Loadfail, a social media campaign run by NSW police, is filled with images of couches on roofs, drivers holding the load with one hand out the window while steering with the other, and loads tipping over. Avoid your own loadfail when city towing by always ensuring that your load is balanced, supported and securely fastened so that it will not shift under most circumstances.
Ropes, chains or straps? Read our guide to securing your trailer load for transit.