Secure Your Load

Failure to adequately securely fasten items that are being transported on the outside on a vehicle is a serious safety hazard to the motoring public. The driver of a vehicle that has an unsecured load is at risk of receiving a significant fine and even jail time, should it result in an accident where someone is seriously injured or killed.

“I can’t tell everyone how to secure their load, but what I do know is this: secure your load as if everyone you love is driving in the vehicle behind you.” Robin Abel, mother of Maria Federici who was blinded and disfigured as a result of an accident caused by an unsecured load.

Tips for Tying Down Your Load

Ways to secure your load:
  • Use a tarp. Covering items with a large, sturdy tarp is often a good way to secure a load. Remember to make sure the tarp is securely fastened to the vehicle.
  • Tie the load down. Use rope, netting, straps, or chains to tie large items directly to your vehicle.
  • Layer the load. Put lighter items at the bottom and heavier items on top to help keep them in place. Don’t forget to secure the heavy items to your vehicle.
  • Don’t overload it! Cramming too much stuff on to a vehicle increases the risk of items shifting, sliding or falling on to the roadway.
  • Check it once, then check it again. Double check that items are securely anchored down and any tarps are tied to the vehicle.
  • For a demonstration of what a “Secured load” looks like, watch the Washington State Patrol “Good to Know” video.