Message Monday

Loads shift around. Recheck your tie downs

Random furniture, construction debris, lots of single shoes and tons of other garbage litter the roadsides of Iowa. How does all that junk get from someone’s house, a factory, or a jobsite to the ditch?

Practically every day operators in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Traffic Management Center cringe at what they see on their monitors. Pick-up truck beds loaded to the hilt tied down with a single rope (or no tie down at all), passenger vehicles with half-open trunks full of stuff peeking out through precariously placed bungee cords, flat bed trailers with beams bobbing and weaving with each dip of the road. These items are all just one bump away from becoming dangerous obstacles in your daily commute.

The following are tips from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Tips to safely secure your load

When moving, towing furniture, or transporting items in an open truck bed, it is important to make sure all items are secured.

  1. Tie down load with sturdy rope, netting, or straps – be sure to inspect tie downs and discontinue use if they show signs of wear, frays, or tears
  2. Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
  3. Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
  4. Don’t overload the vehicle
  5. Always double check load to make sure a load is secure

How to avoid road debris

  1. Drivers should continually scan the road at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead for debris.
  2. Don’t tailgate! By maintaining at least 3 to 4 seconds of following distance, you can see potential objects in the road ahead easier and will have more time to react.
  3. If you see you are about to make contact with debris, safely reduce your speed as much as possible prior to making contact.
  4. When driving at dusk and dawn be especially alert for animals on or near the roadway
  5. Always be aware of open space around your vehicle.
  6. Drivers should maintain open space to the front and at least one side of their vehicle at all times in case they need to make a sudden movement to avoid debris.

Check out what the Iowa DOT does to make sure there aren’t obstacles in your way – http://cbs2iowa.com/news/local/special-report-road-debris

For 2018, there have been 112 fatalities reported. That’s an increase of six since last Monday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/stats/daily.pdf

June 4, 2018