An experienced log truck driver who was transporting logs to a nearby mill had to make a sudden stop. The load, which was properly secured, slid forward and caused damage to the truck's cab and severe injuries to the driver. What could have prevented this? A sufficiently manufactured headache rack, otherwise known as a, "cab guard."
Headache racks save lives. They are designed to prevent heavy loads from hitting the cab of a tractor due to a sudden stop, and their main purpose is to protect a log truck's occupants.
Although headache racks are not required by the Department of Transportation to be part of a securement system for logs, their use will help prevent and/or limit the amount and severity of injuries and property damage in the event of an accident. And while their installation adds weight to the overall truck, reducing the amount of cargo that can be hauled, they reduce the potential for loss of life, loss of equipment use and loss of revenue.
The Danger of Aluminum Headache Racks
Many headache racks are made from heat-treated aluminum, however this material can weaken over time due to fatigue stress which results in them becoming inefficient and unsafe. Alarmingly, a large number of drivers who use aluminum headache racks are unaware of this potentially fatal exposure. Indeed, there has been been a number of cases where log truck drivers have been injured or killed because of defective headache racks installed on their trucks.
While it's tempting to choose headache racks made of aluminum due to their lightweight properties; making them easier to install, allowing more cargo to be transported, and perhaps offering an advantage in gas mileage, steel will always be the winner for strength and durability. And since the purpose of a headache rack is to protect the truck cab and its occupants, it's vital to always choose the strongest and safest material.
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