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How to safely load a van

Overloading a van is easily done but the penalties for doing so can be steep. Drivers and their employers should always check that a van meets its weight targets before heading out on a journey whatever the distance.

Vans that are overloaded or loaded incorrectly can be unsafe to drive, as the weight will have an effect on how well the van handles. Unsecured items can also pose as deadly missiles during a collision, or they could fall on drivers as they open the doors. An overloaded van can also increase fuel consumption, making each journey more costly. All of these risks should be taken into account when loading a van.

Before loading a van make yourself familiar with the maximum weight permitted for the van and also the maximum weight allowed per axle. It is possible to be under the maximum weight for the van, yet exceeding the limit for a specific axle. If this happens you will also incur a penalty and it could pose a risk to the driver and other road users.

Good loading and unloading procedures can help to maximise space and improve fuel efficiency. Start by loading the larger items onto the van first and ensuring that they are distributed evenly across the floor space of the van to prevent overloading individual axles. Once the later items are safely loaded onto the van you can then add the smaller items around them as long as everything is safely secured.

If you have any items that can be dismantled then you should always do this to lower the centre of gravity of the item and make it safer to transport. Avoid stacking items too high as this can make them unstable and difficult or dangerous to unload.

Employers and drivers of vans transporting goods should make safe loading a priority to avoid accruing any fines and to meet with safety guidelines.