The best and safest way to be sure your work truck or trailer will not coast after it is parked is to use commercial wheel chocks. These solid rubber wheel chocks are stronger and can withstand a heavier workload than the cheaper and lesser rated standard wheel chocks.
If you don’t think many people use wheel chocks, you just need to start looking around. Places to look are anywhere a trailer is parked, a recreational vehicle sometimes has wheel chocks at its tires, a vehicle parked on a hill may use them, or often any type of lift or crane will use wheel chocks for extra precaution against unwanted movement.
Why Are Wheel Chocks Required?
Depending on the type of truck it may be required by law to use wheel chocks when parked. Most vehicle have a reliable breaking system for when they are parked, but some older trucks are not as trustworthy. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a set of commercial wheel chocks to put at the rear tires when parked to prevent the truck from rolling.
Trailers that are not equipped with air brakes will not have any braking applied to the wheels when unhooked so it is especially important to use wheel chocks on unhooked trailers. Any of those trailers unhooked on even a small slope will want to roll, or at the very least it will cause extra stress on the trailer jack.
While preforming a pre-trip inspection of the truck the wheels should be chocked because the truck will be running and the driver will be on the outside doing the inspection. With the truck engine running there is a higher risk it could move without wheel chocks being used.
How I Use Our Commercial Wheel Chocks
In our tree pruning business we often use wheel chocks for our boom truck when it is parked at the tree and in operation pruning or removing the tree. When the bucket truck boom is high in the air there can be no chance the truck moves or the wheels roll. Any small movement at the ground is magnified many times when the boom is at full extension. Something as simple as throwing a piece of firewood into the truck box can be felt by the person in the bucket.
To use the commercial wheel chocks is pretty simple and straightforward. Park the truck and lock the brakes. Determine which way the truck could roll if the brakes didn’t hold and put the wheel chocks on that side of the tire. Put a wheel chock on each side of the truck. Preferably the rear tires are chocked but the front tires can easily be chocked as well. Under special circumstances or on a steeper than normal hill all the tires can be chocked.
The Solid Rubber Wheel Chock
The commercial wheel chocks have become my new favorite as the previous kind we had are not solid and after using them they cracked on the sides and aren’t able to hold nearly as much weight. The crack actually got big enough that if the truck would be put into gear and driven forward it would have been able to squash the chock and drive over it.
A solid rubber wheel chock can be a little more expensive than the regular chocks. But the price difference isn’t much and the extra strength, product life, and trustworthiness will be worth the cost.
A solid rubber wheel chock is going to be much stronger than a hollow wheel chock. With a hollow wheel chock the strength is in the edges and the small braces in the center. But with the solid chock the strength is all the way across the chock. That makes it much harder to crush and the solid chock can hold back more weight.
With a standard wheel chock you run the risk of a heavy truck crushing the chock and rolling over it. If you are using light equipment or trailers a standard chock probably is good enough for you, but with heavy trucks and trailers you will be thankful to have a commercial wheel chock you can trust in.
Storage For The Wheel Chock During Driving
All trucks will need a storage area for the chocks while the truck is driving on the road. This storage area needs to be approved by the state department of transportation Basically that means they need to be secured or stored in a safe place so they won’t fall out while driving.
Our boom truck has a special compartment just behind each rear tire that the chock fits snugly into. This commercial wheel chock holder is a V shaped compartment that is sloped inward and keeps the chock secured while driving.
This convenient holder is easy to put the chock into for storage and pull it out of when chocks are needed. And with the holders location behind each rear tire, no extra steps are needed to apply them.
Other places wheel chocks are commonly stored would be in a toolbox or some other compartment on the truck. Those are also great places to store them, but a small downside with a toolbox is the toolbox could be crowded and you need to dig them out.
Commercial wheel chocks are great for your trailer for when it is unhooked. Sometimes a trailer is unhooked at a job site and left there. It would be a good idea to have wheel chocks for then. Most trailers have a small storage area near the front or mounted in between the trailer frame near the hitch. That would be a convenient place to store them while driving, or if there is no toolbox a small compartment can easily be added beneath the trailer deck.
The Best Color For Commercial Wheel Chocks
My favorite color for any commercial wheel chocks is black. That is a pretty standard color, especially with the solid rubber wheel chocks. Black seems to blend in nicely and is less noticeable than some of the other bright colors.
If you get into the steel wheel chocks you could expand the color range quite a bit as they could be painted in pretty much any color.
Your Arborist Friend: