How To Prepare For Hauling Extra Long Loads In A Pickup Truck

If you find yourself in a situation where a standard length truck bed isn't enough and are forced to load more on your truck than an ordinary amount, you will want to be prepare both yourself and your truck for these tough loads. Below are some specifics to keep in mind:

Use the proper bed extension device

The truck accessories aftermarket offers owners a variety of devices that effectively extend the length of truck beds. These bedxtenders, as they are called, come in one of two types: hitch extender or tailgate extender.

A hitch extender consist of a t-shaped welded steel structure that mounts to a Class I through Class V hitch receiver. These extenders are simple to attach and detach, and they add several feet of capacity for long items such as furniture, lumber and pipes. Hitch extenders work well for lengthy, but single-piece, cargo.

A tailgate extender attaches to the top of the truck bed and serves to add extra feet within the truck bed itself. Tailgate extenders are constructed in a cage-like structure. These extenders typically don't offer the length capacity of a hitch-mounted extender, but they are more effective at keeping loose, multi-piece cargo, inside the truck bed.

Be sure to choose whichever extender that meets your cargo hauling needs. A "one-size fits-all" approach probably won't work when picking an extender, so don't allow yourself to buy the wrong type. Hauling your cargo with the proper extender in place will greatly enhance your safety and prevent a loose load nightmare from becoming a reality.

Make sure others see your load

Another big safety measure necessary for when you haul extended and oversized loads is making you cargo visible to other drivers. This can be accomplished during the daytime by simply using a bright red cloth tied to the end of a piece of lumber. At night, you are required to use a red light. Failure to do so could result in a tragic rear-end collision or a traffic citation.

You can enhance the impact of your cargo visibility marker by using strobe flashing lights. Though not strictly required in most jurisdictions, flashing lights draw extra attention toward your vehicle's load and can help prevent accidents.

Balance the weight of the load

When loading a large, heavy load on to a pickup truck, make an effort to balance not only the length of the load, but just as importantly, be sure to balance the weight. An unbalanced load can introduce unsafe driving and handling characteristics. For example, if too much weight is carried by the rear end of the truck, it may lessen the effectiveness of your front braking.

Avoid backing up

Whenever possible while hauling long and oversized loads, avoid reversing your truck. It is difficult to judge rearward distance, especially if the long load extends much beyond the rear bumper. Always try to pull your truck straight ahead through parking spaces, and don't leave your vehicle in situations where you may need to back up. If find yourself trapped and needing to back up, then don't hesitate to remove all or part of the load to make it safer for everyone involved.

Use side view mirror extenders

Side view mirror extenders are useful for towing trailers, but they can also be handy for hauling extended longs with truck beds. These mirrors typically are attached to the outer edges of the side view mirrors and increase the angle of visibility toward the rear. Once you are finished hauling the load, you can easily remove the mirror extenders.

When using side view mirror extenders, you will need to be careful that you don't scratch or bump nearby objects. Other vehicles, buildings, and landscaping are a few things that can either damage your truck or be damaged by you should you scrape against them.