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5 tips for truckers in preventing cargo claims

Drivers have to take care to avoid cargo claims.
/ Industry News & Trends /

By: Phil Sneed

Cargo claims are something that all drivers likely want to avoid, but they may be unsure of some the ways they can prevent such claims from coming up in the first place.

Essentially, cargo claims, sometimes also known as freight claims, are when a shipper demands financial reimbursement for a shipment that was stolen or damaged. When a shipper makes a claim, they believe the carrier, driver or both did not complete the delivery as promised.

But given the nature of the business, accidents or other incidents may occur. Here are five ways drivers can prevent cargo claims from happening.

No. 1: Know the dangers

All drivers should know the dangers they may encounter while delivering freight, Northbridge Insurance advised. These dangers will range from roadside accidents to potential theft.

By understanding what they might encounter on the road, drivers can better prepare themselves. For example, if they know a portion of the road on a certain route is being worked on by construction crews, drivers can be sure to remain extra cautious at that area.

"Dangers will range from roadside accidents to potential theft."

The same principle also applies for truckers driving through heavily forested areas with minimal roadside lighting. Even during the daytime hours, these areas must be carefully driven through so as to avoid potential collisions with animals that may dart out into the road. Understanding the dangers will allow the driver to prepare his or her vehicle. In particular, when it comes to animal strikes, installing a reinforced bumper before the delivery can make all the difference.

No. 2: Understand the road

As much as drivers will strive for a smooth journey, accidents may still occur. Truckers have to remember that other cars are on the road, and that not everyone operates a car in the same, safe manner. One common type of accident that leads to cargo claims is a sideswiping incident. Equipment upgrades and ensuring mirrors are adjusted to the right position can help reduce the risk of this incident occurring.

Additionally, drivers must remember that their vehicles need more space than cars do in order to stop. It's not uncommon for semitrailers to weigh thousands of pounds, and they do not operate similarly to passenger vehicles. More space is likely needed when the weather is less than ideal, such as thunderstorms or when it's snowing. To help prevent rear-end collisions, anti‚Äč-lock braking systems and other safety technologies will help, but drivers must always remain aware behind the wheel.

Similarly, truckers going through cities understand that city driving is completely different from being on the interstate in rural areas. Left and right turns can be particularly tricky if drivers do not have the experience or practice making such tight turns.

No. 3: Watch out for crime

Unfortunately, truckers are sometimes the victim of thieves and criminals. If they make off with cargo, shippers will demand a freight claim.

Whenever drivers pull into a rest area during the day or at night, they should always be aware of the area and their surroundings. Overdrive recommended picking out strategic parking spots when making a stop. Drivers aim to park in well-lit areas that are also populated by a good amount of foot traffic. If security cameras are nearby, it's even better.

No. 4: Secure the truck

Drivers can also take a proactive approach when it comes to securing their cargo. First, a professional grade padlock should always be used. But truckers may also find other gear appealing.

Wheel locks, alarms and GPS trackers can all play a vital role in preventing thieves from stealing cargo and avoiding cargo claims. Preventive measures, combined with good practices such as never leaving a truck idling, will go a long way toward fending off criminals.

"Spoiled or rotting food is a common basis for cargo claims."

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No. 5: Check the equipment

Spoiled or rotting food is a common basis for cargo claims. In most instances, food can be saved if faulty refrigeration equipment is spotted and fixed or replaced beforehand.

Drivers who operate refrigerated semitrailers will have to understand the intricacies of the equipment so they can spot issues and know how to fix them. Monitoring equipment plays a vital role in relaying critical information back to the driver so he or she can receive updates on the cargo.

Cargo claims are serious financial matters that can be avoided if drivers take the time to follow some best tips.