To go to the source, the guidance for safety chains and load securement comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Safety Chains are found in CFR 393.371 and load securement in CFR 393.128. Basically with a trailer you are required to have two properly rated and crossed safety chains with properly rated hardware and latching hooks. Crossing the safety chains is to prevent the tongue or towing device from falling to the ground and control the trailer if something happens. If you don't cross the chains and the trailer gets loose it will take you for the ride of your life, try it pass you or take off into the oncoming traffic lane. Load securement, CFR 393.128, for vehicles under 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) requires a four point tie down system between the vehicle and the trailer that prevents movement side to side, vertically and most importantly, motion front to rear. As to the "big X " tie down securement method, over the years and after a lot of research on the subject I could find no where in the the FMCSA regs, state regulations, towing and transport info, SAE, towing equipment manufacturers and training organizations where this method of securement is reccomended, its just not there. In a hard stop or starting and stopping in traffic, most of the resistance or load force is going to be moving front to rear and the straps will be stretching out at an angle to the force as well as affecting their strength, as well as as well as extending the strap which may loosen up. It has been pointed out that the CFR's are only for commercial drivers. Not quite true as all states are required to adapt the FMCSA rules and in doing so there is probably a non-commercial regulation that would also apply to your combination being an "unsafe load or vehicle". Polyester straps can stretch 10 to 15 per cent under load which is why stopping after a few miles and during a trip to check the load is always a good idea. As to the comment on towing speed, most rigs can tow at 70-80 mph but will have no chance of stopping if something happens, what are you chances of being able to safely steer, stop and control your vehicle in an emergency situation? Remember that gravity is not a retention device and when you are loading up always ask yourself, Self, is this the safest way to be doing this?
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Sometime the license plate can be a clue as to the vintage of the car or the photo. For example, in California. a new plate was issued each year fro 1914 up into the 1940's. ID the plate and you know when the picture was taken.
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