Whenever you buy a van, you must be aware of what weight does the van allowed to carry. Weather you use the van as a carrier or as a removal, you need to know your van. This is important for health and safety reasons. As a result, authorities are paying extra attention to find overloaded vans. Let’s find out more about overloaded van and how to avoid overloading them?
Just like mentioned above, van owners must be aware of how much weight does the van allowed to carry. Small Wheel Based (SWB), Medium Wheel Based (MWB) and Long Wheel Based (LWB) vans (including 3,5 ton Luton vans) normally are allowed to carry 1 tonne of weight. 7,5 Luton vans are allowed to carry 2,5-3 ton of weight. The only bigger brother which is normally used by removals is the 10 ton truck. They are able to carry about 9 ton of weight. However they are normally used for long distance and international moves.
Why is an overloaded van dangerous?
Driving an overloaded van is dangerous for many reasons. First of all it puts much more pressure on the suspension and tires, which can result in a blown tire, which is extremely dangerous especially when the van is overloaded. It makes the brakes less effective, so in case of a sudden stop in front of you, you wouldn’t be able to stop as quickly as you would in normal conditions. On top of that, it makes steering more difficult which makes the vehicle less controllable. In case a sudden steering would be necessary to avoid a danger on the road, due to the excessive weight of the van, it might turn on its side. So, if we would like to sum up, why is it so dangerous, it’s simply because the van is less controllable, providing a potential hazard to both the driver and everyone else around the van.
What happens when they stop you?
When the authorities stop you, they will ask for your documents, such as ID and Driving License. They will start to gain evidence and take pictures of the tires and suspension. They will also ask you to open the van, so they can see how full it is. Once that’s done, they will ask you to get additional vans who can take off the excess weight of you. This is because you are not allowed to continue your journey until you are within the legal weight limit. Depending on how much excess weight you had, you might get a penalty on the scene. However, if you are heavily overweight, hey send all the evidence to court, where the judges will decide what penalty will you receive.
What are the charges of an overloaded van?
Because it is so dangerous, authorities give penalties in accordance with its seriousness. The minimum penalty you can receive is around £100 for those who are about 5-10% over the limit. But don’t relax now. Depending on how much your van is overloaded, you can get a fine of £2500 and 6-9 points. However, in worst cases you might loose your license for a while and you might even face imprisonment.
How to avoid overloading the van?
First of all, just like mentioned already, you must know what is the weight limit of your vehicle. Once you know that, you need to be able to judge the weight of what goes onto your van. If you are working as a courier, you should be told about the weight of the consignment, so theoretically, you cannot get into trouble. If you are moving houses, that’s a bit more difficult, however you should be able to judge the weight of certain items and start the calculation.
One of the other signs of an overloaded van are its tires. Due to the larger weight the tire has on it, it looks like if they were not inflated properly.
You can also see if your van is overloaded, if you have a look of its side. If the back of the van is much closer to the ground than it was and the side wings are close to the tires, your van is definitely overloaded.
Being overloaded is extremely dangerous and also costs a pretty big fine. There are signs which helps you avoid being over the limit, and it does worth to look out for them. Do not risk your life, others life and potentially your license and your job. It simply just doesn’t worth it. When you are on the road, you are responsible for yourself and for the people around you. So be cautious and think twice.