A Guide to Weight Limits and Overloading a VanJuly 29, 2016
Van hire offers immense freedom, allowing you to carry out a variety of tasks like home removals, transport of goods and carrying out the odd job for your business. But hiring a van does come with some important guidelines that you should be aware of if you’re planning on piling up boxes, furniture or goods and hauling them long distances.
We thought it would be handy to give you an overview on the limits and regulations when it comes to loading a van, and why you should think twice if you think that overloading a van won’t cause a whole host of problems.
What are the weight limits of the van?
When you rent a van, it’s natural that you might not be acquainted with all of its features, so you may not be aware that a van’s gross weight is clearly labeled inside. The ‘gross vehicle weight’ (GVW) will be listed on the vehicle identification number (VIN) plate in the van. The GVW is the maximum weight the van can weigh when it’s loaded, and accounts for the total combined weight of:
- The vehicle
- The driver and any passengers
- The load and anything the van is carrying.
If you’re concerned about the weight limits of the van you are driving, you can check in to any local weighbridge to check if the load is within legal limits. Click here to find your closest weighbridge.
What are the penalties for overloading a van?
Overloading a van can cause problems for both you and the van. It’s vital to remember that when you hire a van, you are responsible for loading the van appropriately.
Driving a van while it’s beyond its GVW can have a notable impact on the performance of the van, making it:
- less stable
- more difficult to steer
- less responsive when braking
- more of a strain on the tyres.
Driving an overloaded van poses a serious safety hazard to you and any other driver on the road.
Fixed fines will be handed out to drivers of overloaded vans, and will range from £100 to £300 depending on how much over the GVW the van is. Drivers of overloaded vans could potentially be charged with dangerous driving, which may carry a prison sentence, and a van measuring more than 30% over the GVW will result in a court summons for the driver.
When hiring a van, it might be necessary to hang items on top of the van itself to transport them. Again, there are requirements and guidelines in place to make the operation of the vehicle as safe as possible for you and other drivers. They are as follows:
- Loads not exceeding 1 metre: No specific requirements.
- Loads between 1 metre and 2 metres: If the load projects rearwards, clearly visible projection markers should be attached to the end and sides of the load.
- Loads between 2 metres and 3.05 metres: Marker boards are required for loads projecting rearwards. For loads projecting forwards, an attendant will be required in addition to the marker boards.
- Loads exceeding 3.05 metres: For these loads – exceeding forwards and
rearwards – an attendant and marker boards are required, along with at least two clear days notice given to police, detailing the time, date/route of the journey and the length of the vehicle and load being carried.
For loads overhanging the sides of vehicles, the following applies:
- For loads projecting over 3.05mm: Two clear days notice to police, marker boards on the front and rear. and additional lighting during darkness and poor visibility are required.
- The same is required for loads between 2.9 metres, and 3.5 metres overall width.
- For loads between 3.5 metres and 4.3 metres overall width: The same as above is required, with the presence of an attendant also required in addition.
How to prevent overloading
The main way to prevent overloading of any van you hire is to be aware of the van’s GVW and understand what the GVW encompasses. You will need to take into account things like roof racks, pallets and packing cases too as they will all contribute to the overall weight.
When loading your van, it’s critical that the weight is evenly distributed and secure. Distributing the load evenly between the axles is key here; you can be under the GVW but still have an overloaded axle which can cause damage to the van and interfere with how it operates.
i-Drive Van Hire provides high quality, affordable vans for short and long term hire. We have a fleet of modern vans available in a variety of sizes, so we’re sure you can find the right van for your needs. Whether you’re moving home or office, or just looking to transport some goods, our professional team can assist you in choosing the perfect van, so get in touch today!
image sources: projection-marker-side: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/55bb8d18e5274a1545000018/projection-marker-side.jpg