There is an art to loading tractor trailers. When fully loaded, massive big rigs can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds in Tennessee and across the country. Large trucks carrying smaller loads, however, can become involved in serious truck accidents when their weight is improperly distributed. Cargo that is packed into a truck can easily shift during travel. When shifting occurs, it can throw off a big rig’s center of gravity. This shift can also cause the truck to experience braking problems, jack-knife, skid or roll over.

Federal laws dictate the amount of weight that can be placed on a truck’s axles and tires, according to This weight can vary depending on the size of the truck, how many axles it has and the truck’s suspension system. Different driving conditions can also affect the materials in the truck and should be considered when loading. Loads should never be concentrated at the front or back of the trailer, but rather distributed evenly along the center of the trailer in order to maintain a proper center of gravity.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations in place to prevent improper loading in tractor trailers. Not only are large truck operators required to inspect their load before they start out on the road, but they must then recheck the load after driving the first 50 miles to catch any shifting that may have taken place. Depending on the exact weight and size of the material being transported, there are specific ways in which the load should be restrained, as well as what type of equipment should be used to secure the load.

When tractor trailers are not loaded properly or the materials in the truck are not secured, it can be dangerous for the truck driver, as well as all other motorists on the road.