Rock Products

MAY 2018

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • May 2018 • 47 The stress placed on the trailer can go above that level mul- tiple times, so it's important to keep in mind that the 1.8 multiplier is only an average. If no cushion is built in to the trailer to handle those spikes in stress, there will be more potential for long-term, progressive structural damage, which can lead to trailer failure off or on the road. It also will diminish the life of the trailer. Safety ratings vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from no margin to an industry high of 2.5 to 1, which is considered ample cushion. A safety rating isn't a free pass to add weight over a trail- er's capacity rating, though. In other words, a 2.5 to 1 safety rating on a 50-ton lowbed should not be used to justify load- ing the trailer with 125 tons of cargo. Just like a rubber band, each time a trailer is overloaded the dynamics of its steel changes. Overload it enough times and eventually the steel, and therefore the trailer, will break. It can happen off the road or on, which risks damaging cargo and injuring people. This is why it's important to take trailer capacity seriously. There are a lot of considerations and numbers to factor in when choosing a trailer that's right for the operation. Many manufacturers, however, can figure out optimal trailer capac- ity in their sleep and can help customers select the best trailer for their applications. Look Before You Leave Once a trailer is matched to the load, optimizing safety doesn't stop. A pre-trip inspection should always be done before taking off with each load. Frame: Walk around the trailer and ensure there are no cracks or damage to the trailer's frame. Hoses: Look for visible damage, such as chafed hydraulic hoses, which could spring a leak and cause the system to fail. Tie-Down Equipment: Tie-down equipment, such as chains, binders and straps, should be in good condition, free of broken parts and pieces. Check the equipment being hauled to ensure the tie down tools are rated appropriately. Also ensure the trailer isn't leaning or sagging to one side. Tires and Brakes: Test the brakes and psi of each tire. Over- inflated or underinflated tires don't provide the right load rating, so they won't carry the weight like they should, which adds stress to the trailer. Improperly inflated tires can also cause a blowout when hauling heavy loads. Drivers can find the psi, size, ply and load rating on the manufacturer's VIN tag. There is a wide range of resources available that offer more information on what to look for to ensure safe travels with heavy-haul loads. For a detailed list of inspection requirements, refer to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's part 396 web- page and the Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report. The Motor Carrier Safety Compliance also outlines pre-trip inspection guidelines as does FleetClean USA. Know the Limits When heading down the road, it's not only important to keep state regulations in mind, but also speed. The slower Before each trip ensure tie-down equipment, such as chains, binders and straps are in good condition and properly tightened.

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