Leaving trucks unchocked, especially when managing heavy loads, may lead to damage, injury or runaway trucks….
Wheel chocks are a crucial tool for truck drivers. These wedges may not look like much when placed next to truck wheels, but they can actually prevent accidental truck movements. Controlling these unexpected movements can help with reducing truck impacts, damage to vehicles and even injuries. In addition, wheel chocks can make freight yards, loading bays, airports or quarries a much safer place.
Need help choosing wheel chocks? Here are 3 tips to make the process a little easier.
1. Get to know your vehicle
When it comes to your vehicle, you should know -
• The tyre shape and diameter
• The total weight of the vehicle (including any loads)
• The height of the chock against the wheel
• That brakes are working properly
The vehicle itself will generally determine what kind of wheel chock you need. The wheel chock will need to match the vehicle type and the tire width. While small wheel chocks are suitable for trailers or cars, more oversized vehicles like HGVs, diggers or dumpers will require something bigger and more robust.
Make sure the wheel chocks are a sufficient height, width and material for the vehicle. Consult your manufacturer or manual to get the information you need.
When looking at wheel chocks, check the max load specification. This will determine how much weight the wheel chocks can handle. With trucks, ensure you know how much the vehicle weighs with and without trailers or loads.
2. Get to know the area
The area the chocks are being used in is crucial to how well they will work. You should inspect –
• The surface type and condition
• The frequency of traffic in the area
• Slopes and inclines
It’s crucial to know the surface you are placing the wheel chocks on, whether it’s tarmac, concrete, paving or loose gravel. The harder and more even the surface, the better the grip from the wheel chocks. Uneven ground or gravel surfaces make it much harder to place wheel chocks. Inspect the area regularly to check the surface health and the latest on-site requirements.
Any slopes or inclines will also determine how many wheel chocks you need and how they should be placed. For example, large trucks facing forward on a hill may only require chocks on the wheels facing down the slope, whereas wheels may need to be chocked from both sides on level ground.
Rubber also tends to be the go-to material for most wheel chocks, especially for trucks, vans or trailers. However, some polyurethane wheel chocks have a robust design that can cater to loaders, dump trucks, mining vehicles, or large aircraft with 240 tonnes and over. Polyurethane also has the advantage of being moulded to brighter colours quite easily.
3. Know how often they will be needed
Most wheel chocks can be as permanent or temporary as you need them to be. If temporarily required, ensure that the chocks are reasonably weighted for ground staff to move them quickly. Some designs come with rope attachments that help staff remove the chocks easily without getting too far under a vehicle.
Other designs may come with eyebolts and chain attachments. These allow for a more permanent fixing directly to runways or designated loading bays. This may help reduce the need to constantly move heavy wheel chocks back and forth.
A quick guide on how to insert wheel chocks