Sandbags for Safety


As a contractor, you constantly battle the elements, including inclement winter weather. For the best traction, you'll want a greater percentage of the vehicle's weight centered over the drive wheels, or the wheels where the engine sends the propulsion power. This looks different in different models and you may need to add weight to avoid safety issues.

Pickup Trucks

Pickups were built to carry cargo, but people often don't have a full truck bed. An empty bed can become dangerous in harsh conditions, as the truck was designed to carry weight on the rear axle and without it the rear wheel traction is suboptimal.

When the roads become snow-covered, you'll notice that your truck will not have enough traction to get up hills, causing you to fishtail around curves. If you notice your tires spinning by adding even the slightest pressure to the gas pedal, this is a clear indicator that your vehicle could use more added weight. SiteOne offers pre-filled 18Kg burlap utility sandbags that work well for this purpose. These are also great in the spring to control flooding from excess rain or snowmelt.

Rear Wheel Drive Vehicles

These kinds of cars and SUVs are designed with nearly equal weight balance in the front and back axles. If you have a lot of gear loaded, extra weight probably isn't necessary. If not, placing weight over the rear axle may help gain traction in the snow. Figuring out the correct amount of weight will take some trial and error; ensure you never exceed the safe weight limit listed under vehicle payloads in your owner's manual.

4-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Assuming the tires are in good condition, automatic transmission vehicles with 4-wheel drive typically perform well in winter weather. However, some manual transmission vehicles with 4-wheel drive may benefit from added weight, especially if they are driven in icy conditions or you spin out.

Front-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Front-wheel drive vehicles typically have the bulk of the weight over the front axle. This weight slightly flattens the shape of the front tires and increases the friction between the road and the tires, creating better grip. It is not advised to add weight in these kinds of cars as extra rear weight could cause problems.

All-wheel drive vehicles should not have weight added either. If sliding or skidding occurs, the engine sends more power to the wheels that are getting better grip automatically.

Other Safety Tips

You may think it's easiest and cheapest to just let the truck bed fill up with snow, but this is not best practice and can be very dangerous. When driving, the snow can fly out of the truck bed and cause impaired visibility to drivers behind you. Additionally, do not use cement blocks as these can become projectiles in the event of a car crash.

Sandbags should be placed over the centre of the rear axle. In a pickup truck, that would be next to the wheel wells. Avoid adding weight near the pickup tailgate as this can displace the weight from the front and cause instability. In a rear-wheel drive car or SUV, sandbags should be placed as close to the rear wheels as possible.

Ensuring you keep the gas tank filled can also help as a filled tank can add weight. Check your tires regularly also to ensure the tread is still sufficient.

Stock Up at SiteOne

SiteOne carries what you need to get the job done. Call or visit your local SiteOne Branch to order pre-filled sandbags and other ANSI-certified winter safety gear to stay safe on the road. If you have any questions, our associates are happy to help you prepare for the snowy season.