Flatbed Securement Discussion 2022

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TwoSides11's Comment
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Hey Chief, it wasn't that you needed to be more clear in your explanation, rather me reading what you wrote. You did mention friction but my mind was elsewhere while reading your response, my apologies for that. I was thrown off when you mentioned the PVC pipes.

I tried the fold technique today for the excess strap and it didn't go as smoothly as I thought it should have. I fed the strap from the outside in but somehow got the strap all tangled up lol. Old School wrote:

You only want maybe two or three times max around the spool of the winch.

Well I had more than that in the spool of the winch, had about five to six. The load is tight but it is more than what was suggested. Also my excess strap folded up in a way that looked nothing like Chief Brody's pic. I meant to take a picture of it but today was rough. I will take a pic when I go to unload on Wednesday.

I don't have a question about folding the strap just yet but I do want to ask opinions about the load I refused today. 0633563001643079531.jpg 0135192001643079596.jpgThis was at Hydo. When I first saw the load I called my DM , sent him this picture and told him it was leaning. He said he didn't see that it was. I then reached out to another Knight driver and sent him the same picture. He told me it was fine. So I put 13 straps on it with 5 belly straps. When I was checking the tightness of the straps with my hands, the winch side was nice and snug. I go to the buckle side to squeeze the straps and I was able to squeeze all of them together until the ends touched. And that is the side the load is leaning towards. Feeling really uncomfortable about it I still was going to take it.

I move the trailer over to the tarping station and the load is swaying. I did a left turn and wasn't going faster than 5mph. At the tarping station the guy had all 3 tarps in the air. When he dropped them I noticed the middle tarp was on incorrectly. I remove the middle and front tarp, secure the back tarp, and have to back up so he can put the other 2 back on the lift. While backing up, again the load is swaying heavily. I have done this type of load twice and they were never leaning or swaying like they were today. I had to trust my gut on this one and said I'm not taking it. My DM did assigned me to another load which I'm on now.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

This is just me venting:

I spent 8 long hrs at Cressona today. In my opinion, they were unnecessary hrs spent. I should have refused the load sooner rather than taking the time to strap it down with 13 straps and going to get it tarped. I don't want to have that reputation as someone that refuses loads but I really didn't feel comfortable with it.. Trying the new technique of strapping took time. All the straps that are on the trailer are worn, beat up and some are starting to get mold and rust on them. I had to replace 2 of them because they had tears in them smh. The winches are also rusted to the point it is hard to crank.

I got into a little argument with the tarping guy because he wanted me to take the load I refused. Maybe he was upset that he went through the process of setting up the tarps only for me to refuse the load... When setting up the tarps for my second load I noticed he had the middle tarp sideways again. I told him that was not the way the tarp should be and he gets upset. Tells me to do it myself and walks away smh. I just want to get on the road and drive, I don't have time for this. I rearrange the middle tarp and go sit in my truck and take a breather. He comes back and lifts the tarps so I can start to bungee it.

This is the third load I tarped myself and it is not going good. The load I tarped last week was so loose that it formed air bubbles to the point I couldn't see out my passenger side window. I guess the YouTube videos aren't working because I cannot tarp loads correctly. Having major difficulties another Knight driver comes and helps me out. He arrived when I pulled into the tarping station with my second load. He was able to strap and tarp his load before I was done securing the back tarp of my load. Today was just one of those days. I'm feeling frustrated because I should be in Columbus right now. This load is going to Indiana and I'm an hr outside of Pittsburgh. Didn't even make it out of PA smh.

It is taking me way too long to strap and tarp a load. The loads aren't even difficult, it's pretty much the same things I'm hauling every time. No chains involved, no bulkheads needed, just straps and tarps.... still can't back this trailer the way I want either. If there isn't a spot with 2 open spaces then I can't get in. Last Friday I tried to back in-between 2 trucks but couldn't get the angle needed. Almost hit one of them. So I parked it on the side near the entrance again..... Well time for bed, tomorrow is a new day. Glad all I have to do is drive and not tarp lol

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Also, that Camo strap is 5400 WLL

0500176001643083737.jpg

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey man, it is tough being a rookie! We all know that because we have all done it. I tell people to embrace it, but few people ever take my advice. All this flatbed stuff can be overwhelming, and you had one of those overwhelming days today. Get a good night's rest and all will be better tomorrow.

Let's talk about what happened today. Honestly, I think that load was fine. You have got some rookie jitters and you are harassed by anxiety. Your lack of training brought on some of this, but I think maybe you are an over achiever or a perfectionist who is hard on himself. Am I close to being right with any of that?

That load looks nice and square to me. You have good bundles with tight banding and they aren't going anywhere after the way you described your securement...

I put 13 straps on it with 5 belly straps.

There is no way that load is coming off that trailer. You have it secure. You mentioned these things which were bugging you...

When I was checking the tightness of the straps with my hands, the winch side was nice and snug. I go to the buckle side to squeeze the straps and I was able to squeeze all of them together until the ends touched. And that is the side the load is leaning towards.

The winch side is always going to be tighter than the buckle side. That's just basic physics. Once you drive it on the road for about 50 to 100 miles it will even out. Things will settle and move a little until the tension evens out over the whole strap. That is a common occurrence with flatbed securement. It sounds like you were using one of the older trailers where the winches are all on one side. You mention the load leaning toward the buckle side. Guess what? That is good. You are pulling against what you have perceived as a leaning load and you are literally pulling it back in the other direction every time you tighten the winches.

Continued...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

You need to be careful about two things that happened today. You refused a load. I have never refused a load on this Hydro account. Oh, I have had a few questionable ones, but I have always managed to work it out. Please don't make a habit of this. It is going to put a strain on your relationship with your driver manager. That is the most important relationship you have right now. You caused him to have a "failed load" today. That is going to get him in trouble with someone higher up and it will not be pleasant. He told you the load was fine, and another driver told you the load was fine. I think you should have taken it. I can't see it giving you any trouble after the way you secured it.

The second thing was you got into an argument with the guy helping you tarp your load at Hydro. Big mistake! You need those guys to be on your side and you need to be cultivating a decent working relationship with them. You will be dealing with them constantly. You are a dedicated driver to their service. You don't realize it yet, but they can make one phone call to Sean and you will be fired immediately.

Being on a dedicated account like this carries a lot of responsibility. That is why you are getting paid more than regular dry-van or reefer drivers. Don't underestimate the power those employees at Hydro have over your being able to continue with this. There is a lot of communication between Hydro and Knight. All kinds of meetings take place regularly. Everything each party does is measured and talked about regularly. I always am right there helping at the tarping station. That way my tarps are done just like I need them. You should have been helping him with that job.

I move the trailer over to the tarping station and the load is swaying. I did a left turn and wasn't going faster than 5mph.

There is almost no way that load was swaying at that low speed. You were anxious about it and let yourself be convinced it was dangerous. More than likely what you saw was the trailer leaning from you turning and I know those floors in Cressona have spots where it is very much not level. Your air bags may have not been fully aired up yet, and you noticed the trailer swaying and confused it with the load tipping. It is a rookie mistake. It is okay. Just try to learn from today. You caused yourself a lot of problems and you are venting about it. That's okay too. We all need to vent in this career. If you hold it all inside you may never learn from it. Let it out and others may be able to help you clarify some of it.

Take a chill pill man! This is only your third load to tarp alone. You are going to be learning this stuff for the next year or so. My tarping got so much better after my first year. It takes time to develop your own techniques and skills at this. There are a lot of variables to tarping. Every load is different, and you will learn something each time you go through the process. You complained about getting an air bubble in your tarp. I have had that happen a lot. Sometimes you just can't keep the wind out of getting in under your tarps.

I still wish I could be there to help you. This stuff is hands on, and if you just had somebody who knows what they are doing help you a few times, I know you would have a lot more confidence. As it is now you are second guessing everything you do. I am sorry it is like this, but I understand, because I know how Knight doesn't have a good means for training new flatbedders like yourself.

If it gives you any comfort... as a rookie I had my whole rear tarp blow completely off my truck, get air borne like a kite, and land in the median. I had to get out there and retrieve it and then get it back on the load right there on the side of the highway. That was a bad day, in fact it was one of many bad days as a rookie flatbedder. You are going to get better and faster. It will take the better part of a year though. Don't get discouraged. Just keep at it. You have obviously got the brains to do this, you just need to work on your patience and your commitment to the process.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

I 100% agree with everything OS said. He, myself, and Chief have hauled countless loads out of that very same Hydro plant. Not once have I ever seen a load that was unsafe. In fact, the load you pictured looks like a super simple one compared to many of the hodgepodge mix n match loads I've pulled out of there.

I think maybe you were just nervous and simply saw something that wasn't there. That's understandable considering how new you are to this.

The next time you run into those feelings, stop and think about it logically. With the amount of straps and bellies you had on the load, where could it possibly go? If your straps are tight, the laws of physics dictate that it cannot lean in that setting. The lean you saw in your mirror was the trailer.

The next time you see a perceived lean of a load, tighten your winches on the lean side first. That will exert some initial pressure against the lien. Then once the load gets a few miles behind it, it'll settle down into its happy place. That's why the first load check down the road is so important. Even if all your winches are on one side, loads have a way of settling into a groove once you roll a few miles.

As to the tarps, it's very common for the middle tarp of a three-tarp system to be turned sideways. For example, all company issued tarps at Prime are set up this way.. I'm not familiar with Knight tarps though. So your set up may be different. Either way, don't tick off the tarp guy.

You'll get it, man. It'll get a little easier every day.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar
Honestly, I think that load was fine. You have got some rookie jitters and you are harassed by anxiety. Your lack of training brought on some of this, but I think maybe you are an over achiever or a perfectionist who is hard on himself. Am I close to being right with any of that?

I have major rookie jitters lol. I don't want to make excuses with the lack of training I received but it is playing a part in my anxiety and fears. Yes Old School, you are correct with your analysis lol. I am an over achiever and a perfectionist with a touch of OCD lol. When I don't have enough information to make a wise decision it makes me feel uncomfortable and anxious, as the situation I'm currently in. I don't seek praise from other ppl though, I am satisfied when I know I've done my best.

I called my DM today and apologized for refusing that load. He told me it was fine and if I ever feel uncomfortable with a load I can ask for a different one. He also said with more experience I will get more comfortable. Kinda what you said Old School. I definitely won't make a habit of refusing loads, hopefully that will be my only one. With all the stress and anxiety I'm feeling I have to say I really enjoy flatbed work. I forget about the cold, the back pains and muscle aches once I get behind the wheel lol.

Before I drift too far from the topic of this thread, I will get back to the subject at hand

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar
The winch side is always going to be tighter than the buckle side

How do you know if the straps are too loose before going down the road? In my inexperience, loose straps equals your load in the highway. Things will start to settle once going down the road but what if the load falls before my 50 to 100 mile check? That is something that terrifies me. That will be the end of my career if that happens. I don't have the eyes for this yet and maybe I'm worrying about things that won't happen.

This is how I did my straps for the load 0712233001643169661.jpg 0381461001643169715.jpgI was able to tuck it under the load but it seems like the fold is too bulky. Also I'm guessing it is bad if the fold starts to go inside the winch when tightening? That started to happen with me so I had to pull it out, tighten the winch first then fold the excess strap. I think this way is better than rolling the whole strap into the winch, I just need to learn how to do it efficiently

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

I’ve never hauled a load out of there but based on the description it sounds like you just didn’t have your straps tight enough. I know it’s better to have your straps alternating so the winches aren’t all on the same side but in my experience most of the time it doesn’t really matter enough to make a difference.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

The winch side is always going to be tighter than the buckle side

double-quotes-end.png

How do you know if the straps are too loose before going down the road? In my inexperience, loose straps equals your load in the highway. Things will start to settle once going down the road but what if the load falls before my 50 to 100 mile check? That is something that terrifies me. That will be the end of my career if that happens. I don't have the eyes for this yet and maybe I'm worrying about things that won't happen.

This is how I did my straps for the load 0712233001643169661.jpg 0381461001643169715.jpgI was able to tuck it under the load but it seems like the fold is too bulky. Also I'm guessing it is bad if the fold starts to go inside the winch when tightening? That started to happen with me so I had to pull it out, tighten the winch first then fold the excess strap. I think this way is better than rolling the whole strap into the winch, I just need to learn how to do it efficiently

You need to make sure that the fold is between the strap and the rub rail. That's the whole purpose of putting it in there so you're cinching it down in between the strap and the rub rail. It takes a little bit of practice to be able to get just the right amount of the fold in between the rub rail and the strap without it going down into the winch. My prior picture picture where I had it laid on the deck with just the edge at the crease between the strap and the rub rail is about perfect if you already have the winch hand tightened or maybe just one click short of hand tightened.

Also at Hydro Cressona, I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, you actually have two options for strapping and tarping. There is the tarp machine where you lift the tarp over the load with assistance from one of the Hydro employees. There's also the tarping stations where the platforms push against the trailer. With the tarping stations you can climb on the deck and really get hands-on putting your tarp over the load. You may want to try that option because, first of all, you'll be able to do it yourself and it'll help you learn the tarping hands-on. Second those tarping stations are relatively little used, in my experience, so you'll be out of everyone's way and you can take your time to secure or re-secure and make sure that your tarps are done to your satisfaction.

Keep us updated.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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