It could happen to you: Cover Your Load
If you've taken a trip to the transfer stations recently, you may have noticed the reader boards along the road reminding you to "cover your load." This is part of our April campaign to fight litter and keep the roads safe!
When you're driving behind a truck full of branches or gravel that flies out and chips your windshield, or behind a van with a mattress flopping precariously atop the roof, you know that uncovered or unsecure loads can be dangerous. But when you throw your bag of recyclables or sheet of lumber in the back of your vehicle, you may think it's not a big risk.
A recent accident on Monday, April 16, 2018, proves that even little things can be dangerous. A resident of Vancouver had thrown a bag of bottles and cans in the back of her truck and didn't secure it. When she noticed the cans and bottles falling out the back, she pulled over, but the scattered debris was already causing problems for vehicles behind her and resulted in a crash.
Taking a couple of seconds to strap down your load with a netting, tarp or simple bungie strap will not only protect other drivers, but also the environment. Much of the litter along roadways is accidental from things that fly out the window or the back of vehicles. Litter on roadsides attract birds and scavenger animals, placing wildlife and drivers at risk of collisions. When it rains, litter or spilled liquids run into storm drains and leach toxins and pollution into waterways that could lead all the way to the ocean.
Securing your load can be quick and easy. When hauling materials in a car, make sure the back windows are closed and the trunk is closed and latched. If you have an open bed truck, keep a tarp and a few bungie cords under the back seat so you always have them on hand. Shake the load to make sure it's secure. If possible, try to keep loads level with the truck bed or trailer and not hanging above the vehicle where it can be caught by wind. Always keep lightweight materials on the bottom of the load or in the vehicle so that they don't fly out. And look back at the load periodically to make sure nothing has come loose, especially when taking sharp turns or sudden stops.
Securing your load properly keeps our roads safer, protects the environment and saves you from Washington State fines.