Bungee Or Tie Down?
It wasn’t long after the first elastic band was patented in 1922 that the bungee cord was created and it too would prove to be a useful tool for pretty much everyone. Today, whether you drive a 80,000 lb transport truck or two door hatchback you will find many uses for a good bungee cord. However despite its many uses it IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be used in lieu of a proper tie-down strap.
Here are some reasons as to why:
5 Reasons Why Bungee Cords are not Tie-downs
1. Tensile strength
While many bungee cords sometime come rated for a max weight, this rating is not the same as a working load strength and is not something you would want to push to the limit. Compare that to a certified tie-down strap. A proper strap comes with a printed max load capacity printed right on the strap itself. While it is never a good idea to push anything to its limit, you can be sure that if you stay below the max working load weight on a well maintained strap, you will never have to worry about it breaking.
2. Load Stability
It doesn’t matter how short your trip is, a bungee cord will not guarantee that your freight will stay in place. Due to its elasticity, a bungee cord will allow a load to shift when you suddenly brake or turn. Not only could this result in damaging your cargo, but more importantly it could injure any surrounding motorists. When we compare this to a properly secured load via a tie-down strap, even if your route is a multi day journey along the twists and turns of Canadian highways your freight will remain in a secure and safe position.
3. Wear and Tear
First of all, a good general rule of thumb is to never stretch a bungee cord more than twice it’s resting length. Second, even with normal use bungee cords will eventually stretch permanently, not to mention fraying, cracking from exposure to sun and road salts, and snapping as a result of being stretched tight in extreme temperatures.
There are so many parts of a bungee cord that can cause you grief. Not only do some cracks and breakdowns become visible only when the cord is stretched out, the hooks on the end of a bungee cord can become a huge risk all on their own. As bungee cords are not initially designed to be used to strap loads down, the weight ratings on the hooks can be somewhat of a mystery. They have been known to bend, twist, and even slip out of the bungee cord from time to time, not to mention scratching your freight all to heck.
5. Projectile Weapon
Almost everyone has experienced what happens when a tightly pulled bungee cord slips out from under your grip. When this happens it can cause serious injury as the free end of a released bungee cord can recoil anywhere from 45 to 65 miles an hour. Most truck drivers prefer having two working eyes so the thought of a hook travelling towards their face at highway speeds is enough of a reminder to use bungee cords in a safe manor.
You Can Still Use Bungee Cords
Hopefully our list doesn’t make you hate bungee cords. While it does appear that there are many dangers that come from the misuse of a bungee cord, you don’t need to only use tie-down straps. When properly used there are many things that a bungee cord can do that a tie-down just wouldn’t be practical for. Most bungee cords are inexpensive as well, so keeping good condition cords on your truck won’t break the bank.
The important thing is to remember to give your bungees a quick check over before each use. If you see any signs of cracking or breakdown, just throw it out and use a fresh one. It also would be a good idea to throw on your safety glasses when using bungee cords. Stay safe out there and protect your eyes!