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  • Moving Yourself? Do It The Safe Way

    Sometimes it just makes sense to move furniture and belongings yourself, rather than hire a mover to do it.

    When carrying things on the roof of your car, there are some basics to remember. A poorly secured load can mean lost belongings, present grave danger to other drivers and is also a ticketable offense in many places. A few simple precautions can assure that you and all your belongings arrive intact.

    If you’re tying stuff to the roof, your vehicle is possibly overloaded which may cause the center of gravity to shift and change the way the car handles. You may be using improvised racks and tie-downs as well, so take it easy on the road, particularly on turns, and pay close attention to the speed limit. It’s a good idea to stay out of the left lane on highways.

    Cargo on the roof should be secured extremely well to the roof of the car, preferably on a roof rack. You should be able to actually rock the car when you push on the cargo you’ve tied onto the car. If your cargo moves around on the car it needs to be secured better. Stop after the first fifteen minutes of driving and check your load again; most tie-downs will stretch and loads will settle. Give the tie-downs a couple of tugs every stop to make sure everything is still tight.

    Bungee cords should not be used to tie down loads on the roof. The very elasticity that makes them so convenient also allows loads to shift. They are handy to keep bike wheels from spinning or to secure a flapping edge of a tarp, but they shouldn’t be used to secure a load to the roof. Ratchet straps are sold fairly cheaply and are a better option. Even the cheapest ones are far stronger and more reliable than bungee cords. If you’re using rope to secure a load to the roof of your car make sure to knot the rope securely and use plenty of it.

    A vehicle equipped with a roof rack comes in very handy when moving. Be careful not to tighten the ratchets so much that you damage the racks. A lot of racks are barely designed to hold the weight of a couple of bicycles, so try to keep that in mind as you pack. If your vehicle doesn’t have a rack then you’ll have to take extra care to make sure the cargo is safely tied onto the roof.

    The load has to be secure so that it doesn’t move from side to side or front to back. One big package on the roof is preferable to several smaller bags; if you have to put several small bags on the roof, consider wrapping them in a tarp or putting them in a large cargo bag to make one large package. (Securing the wrapping is one of the places where bungee cords or duct tape may be appropriate.)

    And remember, when driving with a load, take it easy on the road.

    Stay Safe!

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