Dangers of Overloading a Van
Overloading a van is easily done but did you know that driving an overloaded vehicle is actually an offence under the Road Traffic Act?
Van drivers are increasingly at risk of being fined if their vehicle is found to be above the maximum permitted weight. The law now imposes a maximum penalty of £5,000 for each offence and you could find yourself personally liable.
Not only do you run the risk of receiving a hefty fine, you could also pose a real hazard to yourself and other road users. Driving an overloaded van can have a huge impact on the vehicle’s braking system and put undue strain on the tyres. This causes the vehicle to become unstable and harder to stop in an emergency. You could also unknowingly cause excessive wear and tear to the road’s surface whilst travelling.
How do I know if a van is too heavy?
You can find the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of your van in the driver handbook or printed on the van itself. This will tell you the maximum total weight of the vehicle plus the weight of the load, driver, and passengers it’s carrying.
If you have any doubts about the weight of your van, you can take it to a local weighbridge to check the load is within legal limits.
It’s not always obvious if a van is overloaded and sometimes even the most heavy-duty vans can struggle, so don’t leave it to chance.
How to prevent overloading
If you are conscious and stay aware of legal limits then you shouldn’t have any problems loading a van. If you are still unsure, double-check the following before setting off:
- Check the weight limit for the van you’re driving
- Ensure load is distributed evenly
- Allow for weight of extra passengers, or anything loaded on a roof rack
- Allow for the weight of packaging and loading pallets
Remember that you are responsible for overloading. Vehicle checks take place all over the country and the police or the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) can stop a van at any time.