Rules and Regulations to Use Wheel Chocks
Like with any trucking product, there are some rules that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have in place regarding the use of wheel chocks.
OSHA requires chocks to be used during the loading or unloading of a vehicle or wheeled cargo to prevent movement, especially if a forklift is in use. Federal Regulation 30 CFR 56.14207 states that “mobile equipment [tow truck] shall not be left unattended unless the controls are placed in the park position and parking brake is set.
When parked on a grade, the wheels or tracks of mobile equipment shall be either chocked or turned into a bank [or curb].” It’s important to stay up to date on the federal regulations regarding the trucking industry and to ensure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment needed to do your job safely and legally.
Meaning of Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are small wedges made of rubber, plastic, or wood, which are designed to stop a vehicle (or isolated tire) from rolling or moving accidentally. Wheel chocks are also called wheel blocks, tire chocks, trailer chocks or wheel stops.
Meaning of Scotch Blocks
Scotch blocks are a specialty type of wheel chock made of steel or steel alloy. Scotch blocks are traditionally used on railways to prevent parked train cars from moving or rolling. Scotch blocks are also sometimes used to store motorcycles or other vehicles that typically rely on a kickstand to remain upright while stationary.
Importance of Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are important because a parking brake alone often isn’t enough to keep a vehicle from rolling during a towing job. It’s also important to stabilize tires and vehicles when they’re being transported so they don’t come loose and cause injury.
How to Use Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are used in the following situations:
- Auto-hauling / transporting a car or tires
- Repairing a vehicle
- Storing tire or vehicle
- Keeping airplane stationary while it’s on the airport apron
It’s the responsibility of a tow operator or car hauler to make sure the tow truck or trailer is properly parked or secured before you begin loading or unloading a vehicle. Always try to load or unload on an equal leveled ground surface, not at a slope. Once you’ve loaded the vehicle and properly secured it with chains or straps, install the wheel chocks against the centerline of the tires. A chock that is off-center or at an angle will not hold a tire properly and could slip. Ideally, your wheel chock should be wedged-shaped and fit snug against the tires.
Install the chock so the tire pushes down on it and, should it roll, will follow up the incline plane or wedge - gravity, friction, and the angle of the chock will work together to keep the vehicle in place.
Types of Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks differ in regard to their size, the materials they’re made out of, their surface textures, and their extra features. You may see some tow operators or truckers recommend the use of wood wheel chocks as an inexpensive investment that “gets the job done;” however, a four-by-four inch block of wood may work for a limited time in certain situations. The sides of a wooden chock are smooth and lack any sort of traction, making sliding a much bigger risk than it would be with a rubber or aluminum wheel chock. If your trailer or surface is wet or icy, a wooden chock will not be able to hold the weight of a vehicle and keep it in place.
The lifespan of a wooden wheel chock is also very limited compared to aluminum or rubber, as repeated use and stress can cause the wood to splinter or break after only a few jobs. It’s important that you choose a wheel chock that is designed to handle the weight of a vehicle for long periods as well as provide tension no matter the surface, which is why it’s recommended to use wheel chocks like aluminum wheel chocks, polyurethane wheel chocks, rubber wheel chocks, etc.
How to Choose the Perfect Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are available for nearly every vehicle and wheel size. When selecting the wheel chock you should be using, first check for any specifications by the manufacturer in case the chock cannot be used in the way you plan to apply it. Then, factor your truck’s gross vehicle weight (GVWR), tire size, and the surface where you will be setting the wheel chocks. A truck with a higher GVWR or large tires will require a different wheel chock compared to standard commercial vehicles.
Generally for light-duty applications, the height of the wheel chock should be about a quarter of the height of your tire.
Checklist for Choosing the Right Wheel Chocks
Know your Job:
Are you lifting a vehicle to tow it? Are you hauling a vehicle on a flatbed? Are you storing a motorcycle? Different jobs require different kinds of chocks.
Know your Surface:
Whether a surface is flat or steeply inclined, gravelly or smooth, soft mud or hard concrete, there are chocks that you can use to stabilize a vehicle. Make sure you choose the chocks that suit the environment of the job.
Know the Vehicle Stats:
If you know how heavy a vehicle is and the size of its tires, you will avoid accidentally damaging tire chocks by surpassing their WLL or overloading a small chock with a big tire.
Know your Budget:
Ultimately, wheel chocks are an important safety tool and a great investment. But that investment doesn’t have to break the bank! At Mytee, you can get a wide variety of high-quality tire chocks for less because we cut out the middleman.
When we pass those savings on to you, you can Stock up on affordable wheel chocks you need for a wide range of situations.
Ease of Wheel Chocks: Another way Mytee Products helps you haul safe and earn more.