It is illegal and dangerous to drive a vehicle that is overloaded or has an insecure load.As the driver, you are responsible for ensuring that any load you carry is legal and safe, even if it was loaded by another person.
Make sure the vehicle is not overloaded (check the handbook for the maximum weight). If you are not sure whether your vehicle is overloaded, take it to a public weighbridge.
Remember that a car is not a van, so do not cram as much as you can physically fit into it.
Put items in the boot rather than the passenger compartment and distribute the load evenly. Make sure the rear seat backs are secure and, if not carrying passengers, engage the seat belts across the rear seats for extra security.
Avoid loose items on the dashboard or rear parcel shelf – they will become missiles if you crash.
Only use a trailer if you have the correct licence entitlement, and you have been trained to drive with one. Make sure you know how to connect the trailer, including the electrical connections, that it is not overloaded and that the weight is evenly distributed and securely covered. Make sure no items are sticking out. Cars towing trailers are subject to lower speed limits and cannot use the outside lane on motorways with three or more lanes.
If you use a roof rack, make sure it is securely fitted, the load is evenly distributed and securely fastened. Think about how, and where, you can safely load and unload things in a roof rack.
When driving, remember to account for how the extra weight affects the vehicle’s handling and stopping distances. Check whether tyre pressures should be adjusted when carrying a full load.
Throughout #OSHtober we will be providing you with tips and advice on how to ensure you drive safely for work. You can also keep up to date with all the latest safety news by signing up to SafetyMatters, our free monthly e-newsletter