Header Boards on Trucks: Enhancing Safety and Cargo Management

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As transportation is expanding over time, there is a huge need for safety measures in this process. Header boards on trucks are one of the main safety features that is required to enhance safety and they also help in cargo management. Different terms are used for header boards, such as front-end header boards, bulkheads, header racks, front-end boards, etc. The main purpose of all this equipment is to provide safety for the front cab and the cargo. The header boards prevent serious damage to the cargo items and also provide safety for the passenger cab from penetration in case of any accident or shifting on emergency breaks. Front-end boards are an essential thing for this purpose as they manage the load when things are pushed forward in this condition, and front-end boards should be in good condition.

The header board is a semi-permanent aluminium sheet that is adjacent to the front bed of the trailer to manage the load while brake shifts or an accident in case of recoil from cargo weight. In this article, we will discuss in detail the functions, purpose, and all the types of header boards in detail. We will also discuss the benefits and all the other essential roles of header boards in trucking to ensure safety and cargo management.

All about header boards

Header boards are an aluminium sheet that is made of solid metal that prevents cargo from penetrating a passenger’s cab during emergency breaks or an accident. It also provides stability by managing the load of weight and protects cargo from weather conditions. Header boards are also considered cargo restraints as they protect things while transporting transport so they don’t fall out or be robbed in the process.  If your cargo is not covered, it may fall out and can cause traffic problems, and also provide you with security in case of any robbery. The cargo is safe in the container. In case of any accident or mishap, the cargo doesn’t fall out and minimizes the chances of huge injuries Also cargo will not harm others on the road.

Header boards provide stability for cargo items for weight, which avoids the transformation of load in accidents towards the cabin and avoids rollovers. The front end board plays the part of a divider which makes sure to avoid collapse between the cabin and the trailer. Header boards are usually called by different labels but refer to almost the same function. The most common names for header boards are front-end boards, headache racks, and bulk items. People who are engaged in the field of transport are well aware of all these terms. If we talk about the functioning of the safety of cargo by header boards, it can be done through different methods like blocking (front wall, dunged bags, chocking, wedges and beam), lashing (top-over lashing, direct lashing, loop lashing) and locking ( cargo is locked with a chain to the bearer, for example, twist lock for containers).

Working and benefits of header board

The front bumper panels are intended to prevent cargo from moving forward and hitting the cabin in the event of an accident, thus preventing serious injury to the driver and passengers. In addition, they protect goods from theft and weather damage. Straight bed trucks provide the facility of chaining the cargo, strapping or dunnaging the cargo to make sure the cargo doesn’t fall out in case of any mishandling or off-road driving. It provides stability as well and the weight is equally divided on wheels, which restricts the acceleration weight transfer.

Commercial trucks are usually made of steel or wire and can be disassembled or fixed in place. Similarly, flatbed trucks are attached to the front of the trailer, which stabilizes the load and prevents shifting during transport. The header board also includes rear window shields which prevent damage to the rear window by the impact of cargo weightage in case of sliding towards the cabin.

Header boards also help maintain the weight distribution by avoiding intense momentum forward during acceleration or emergency breaks as there are two axles under the bed of the trailer. They are designed to support 43% of the weight, therefore consider organizing the diffusion between the two lifting axles. The forward pivot holds 14% of the weight steadily and underpins the motor and cabin. This stability feature adds security to the drivers. In the case of accidents, there is less chance of severe injuries.

Also, stability plays an important role in avoiding rollovers in the case of sharp turns, as the weight can accelerate the force on the sides through momentum and gain kinetic energy. Besides all these benefits, header boards improve the shape of the trailers. It is also essential to meet all the regulations given by the authorities so you can make your way out avoiding any surcharge or fines.

Header board types

There are different varieties of header boards that are used for different cargo types, such as standard header boards, front-end headers, barn door header boards etc. The choice of header board depends upon a few factors such as the type of cargo, vehicle and budget you want to spend.

Standard Header boards:

Standard header boards are not affixed to the back of the head, they are basically a sheet which can be wooden, stolen or aluminium made that is located at the cabin end and prevents cargo penetrating into the cabin during transit or emergency breaks.

Headache Rack

Front-end boards are also considered traditional header boards as they prevent damage to the cabin in case of an accident. Make sure the front-end structure is in good condition. The front-end structure should block the forward movement of any cargo you carry.

Header boards for barn-styled doors

Barn door-styled trucks usually carry cargo that needs a specific environment or may need to be protected from other conditions. Barn door-styled trucks provide a wide space of entrance. There is another door style called roll-up doors, which are more convenient considering small spaces.

There are a few other types of header boards.


Header boards that are used for different purposes and can be used for different types of cargo are called adjustable header boards, such as grills.


Removal header boards are those that can be easily removed while loading or unloading the cargo and don’t require any mechanical equipment for fixing it or while removing it from the trailer.

Insulated header boards

Such header boards are manufactured with different materials in layers to prevent heat and maintain temperature for the cargo items. Insulated header boards are used for transporting cargo which needs a specific temperature.

Waterproof header board.

Such header boards are very well sealed. Transporting dry items requires waterproof headers that prevent elements like weather conditions and air humidity as well.

Installation and Usage

There are specified ways to install the header boards to secure your cargo while transportation.


Header boards are installed on the front back of the trailer behind the cabin for assembling the board. There is a requirement for brackets which are drilled into the frame of the bed and then the header board is installed on those brackets. The size of the header boards is measured by the height and width of the cabin truck.

The height and width of the board shouldn’t block the view of the driver. The Front-end header protects you from your cargo in case of an accident or emergency.

Securing Cargo

Locking is used on the front, back and/or sides of the load to prevent it from sliding. The lock is designed to fit tightly against the load. It is attached to the cargo deck to prevent the cargo from moving. Support is also used to prevent the movement of the cargo. The support runs from the top of the cargo to the floor and/or walls of the trunk.

Tie down your cargo on flatbed trailers as there is a huge risk of slipping or falling off cargo items which may cause an accident or other problems. It is important to tie down a cargo of 10 feet at least once each, it does not matter how small cargo you are carrying it should be tied two times for proper security. To tie down your cargo you will need the proper type and strength of tie-downs. Such as winches, clinching components ratchets etc. For proper tension on the cargo to fix on the surface it should be tied correctly to the vehicle for this you will need hooks, bolts, rails and rings.

While placing your cargo and tying it to the vehicle make sure it not covering the view of the driver.


 To ensure the stability of the truck, it is essential to manage the weight of the cargo on the flatbed of the trailer for better handling. Place your cargo in the middle of the bed, not towards both ends. Place the cargo in the centre to maintain stability and tie it as tight as you can just to avoid any movement.

Make sure your cargo is not blocking the backlights as they indicate others behind the trailer when you’re going to turn left and right and when you are going to stop.

Keep checking your cargo ties to avoid any mishaps. It is suggested to take a look over all the securing equipment whenever you stop and after every 100 miles to make sure the tie-down equipment is not damaged or lost.

Safety Consideration

FMCSA is a regulatory agency in the United States that provides safety cautions to consider before getting your vehicle on the highway. It is very important to follow the guidelines provided by the regulatory bodies to avoid mishaps on your way towards the destination. Do check the rules and regulations before moving as they may vary from state to state.

The height limits for the vehicle are regulated by FMCSA, which varies in each state. The height limit remains between 13ft to 14ft with exceptions granted for lower clearance on specific roads. Also, there is a width limit too. The maximum width allowed for CMVs on NN in states is 102 inches beside Hawaii. Hawaii allows 108 inches for vehicles.

If we talk about visibility concerns, make sure that the header boards are not too high or should not be extended from the cabin’s width as it can block the view of the driver, which may lead to accidents. As we are talking about vision, we should consider lenses, so that it is compulsory to travel. The person must have binocular or monocular vision and visual acuity of at least 20/40 in one eye. Field of view In at least one eye, the field of vision must be 70 degrees in time and 35 degrees through the nose.

Safety in Weather Conditions

It is important to consider weather conditions while planning long-route transportation. There are different safety measures to consider for different weather conditions. For example, if you face strong winds during transportation, it is advised to lower your header boards as the air friction can result in instability and can make it difficult to handle the vehicle. As there is a lot of pressure from the wind, try to drive slower in such conditions and avoid sharp changes of lines.

If the weather is rainy, make sure to cover your cargo if you are driving a long-tale trailer without boundaries and a roof. Try to drive slower and avoid sharp transit as there is less friction and road grip. Sharp cuts can lead to bad results.

Do not accelerate in serious weather conditions and avoid sharp breaks. It is better to check the weather forecast before starting your journey and get prepared to tackle the weather conditions on your way.

Innovations in Cargo

As technology is advancing day by day, it has made transportation more easy and secure. Cargos can now be tracked easily by tracking devices. It is a lot easier now to estimate the delivery times through tracking devices. RFIDs have made billing a lot easier. Now you can place an RFID bar on the header boards which contains radio frequency data such as descriptions of cargo and can be transmitted and read by RFID reading devices. It has made deliveries more efficient.

Now cargo items contain QR codes which have a lot more detailed information about the packaging. It has made it easy to detect the package that needs to be delivered to a specific place. QR codes make sure that the right cargo is delivered in the right place.

The IOT sensor is another advancement in trucking. Lot uses sensors to collect data from various sources and send it to cloud-based platforms for analysis. Data collected by sensors is used to monitor and control various systems, including environmental conditions, traffic patterns and equipment performance.

All these innovations have advanced the security protection for cargo transportation as it has played a very important role in preventing theft. IoT sensors have made it easy to see the environment of the cargo and analyze the data provided by the sensors to maintain a safe delivery. 

Bottom line

Header boards are essential equipment for cargo transportation as they provide a lot of safety for the cargo items. It also plays an important role in maintaining balance and improves the handling of the vehicle. Make sure to add a headerboard to your cargo vehicles as per the guidelines given by the regulatory institutions. Keep an eye on security measures when heading towards your destination. You can also seek help from different platforms for proper guidance. It is important to choose the right header board for your vehicle as it depends upon the vehicle and cargo type. Choosing the installation of the right header board with accurate installation is essential to handle the cargo during transit and it also prevents accidents.

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