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Vehicle Load Safety


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In 2013 the Highways Agency reported more than 22,000 road impact incidents caused by objects falling from vehicles. The best way to ensure safety starts with planning your pick up and how you’re going to load your vehicle. 

We start by answering some important questions you should think about before loading your vehicle and setting off on the road.

How should you safely load a vehicle?

Whatever type of vehicle you’re driving; small or large vans, or pick ups, follow these top points for optimum stability:

  • Start packing your vehicle from the backboard, trying to keep items flush to the backboard to stop movement. Heavy items should be placed on the base and evenly distributed. 

  • Check your load is stable as you go. Now’s the time to support items by using  lashing or webbing straps - these should be in a good, usable condition with no risk of breaking or tearing. 

  • Do you need assistance? If you are struggling to reach the roof of your vehicle or items at height, don’t stand on your vehicle in ways that may cause injury. There are podium steps at each branch to help you when you need them - just ask one of our colleagues for help.

  • Don’t overload your van. If you think there’s too much to load in a safe way for one journey, why not split the load and come back for the rest. The branch staff will make sure your remaining goods are kept safe and ready for your return. If you’d prefer, you can arrange delivery - speak to a member of staff to arrange this for you.

What is your vehicle's ideal payload? 

If your vehicle is overloaded you may find it difficult to steer, and will run the risk of becoming unstable to drive safely.

We have put together the below table as a guide only - you should check your owner's manual for accurate information specific to your van. 

What overhang is legal on a vehicle?

The table below gives you an indication of the requirements needed for overhanging loads:

What if I have an open load?

If you have a vehicle with an open load area, such as a pickup, best practice is to put a cover over it. This will not only protect your goods from the elements, but will ensure any loose parts won’t come off during transit causing an accident.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is intended as an overall introduction and is not intended as specific advice from a qualified professional. Travis Perkins aims to avoid, but accepts no liability, in the case that any information stated is out of date.