Prevent overloading a truck the basics!


The first step is for the driver to guarantee that the trucks they take out on British roads are safe and secure. There are methods you can use to avoid overloading a truck that we’ll go through in this beginner’s guide.

Current legislation

The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires “vehicle users” to ensure that vehicles are not overloaded.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 require that “all parts and accessories and the weight distribution, packing and adjustment of their loads shall be such that no danger is likely to be caused to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on the road.”

All companies have a ‘duty of care’ under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1999 for the safety of employees at work.

An employer must take every precaution to ensure the safety of their employee, as a result of which they must implement safety measures to prevent their vehicle from being overloaded. The Act also requires employers to undertake appropriate risk assessments.

The operator has a moral and legal responsibility which is shared with the driver of the vehicle.

overloaded truck

Eight ways to prevent overloading your truck

  1. Know the weight of your truck and load. If feasible, weigh the vehicle to get accurate axle weights.
  2. After any drop-offs, re-distribute your load to avoid overloading axles.
  3. Make sure you check the Gross Vehicle Weight before setting out, if you have any doubts, you may check your load at the nearest available weighbridge where an accurate weight will be metered. Once satisfied, continue with your journey, If you are overloaded, have the company remove some of the weight before continuing your journey. Depending on where you are located this could involve them sending someone out to you to remove some of the load.
  4. Do not automatically trust declared weights, invoices, or delivery notes given to you by customers. Remember that you hold the responsibility for not overloading the vehicle, not the customer.
  5. Remember that the GVW (gross vehicle weight) and GTW (gross train weight) include the weight of the vehicle, load, trailer, driver, and any passengers. Also, allow for the weights of any pallets or packing cases.
  6. Check to see whether your lift/tag axle is set up correctly. If you don’t utilize this axle when the vehicle is loaded, it might result in the axle weight or gross weights going over their permitted limits.
  7. Find the maximum permitted axle weight and Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). This could be on a manufacturer’s plate or a Department for Transport plate which is usually located in the vehicle cab, under the bonnet, or on the chassis of a trailer. If your vehicle has manufacturer and Department for Transport plated weights, the Department for Transport limits should be used as these are the legal limits in the UK.
  8. Be careful not to mix up the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) with the Gross Train Weight (GTW), the GVW is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle (plus any load it is carrying), while the GTW is the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle plus any trailer being towed.

The following are seven of the most common effects associated with overloading a truck:

  1. Overloading a truck makes the vehicle less stable, more difficult to drive, and harder to stop. When the maximum weights for which a vehicle is designed are exceeded, it has distinct reactions. The outcomes can be deadly.
  2. Tires are put under a lot of strain. Overloading can cause the tires to overheat and wear rapidly, increasing the likelihood of early, hazardous, and costly failure (such as blowouts).
  3. The insurance coverage is invalid. If an overloaded truck is involved in an accident whether the fault of the other vehicle or not, its insurance coverage can be canceled because it is illegal to overload the vehicle.
  4. Overloading causes excessive wear and damage to roads, bridges, and pavements at the expense of the taxpayer.
  5. It is unjust to other businesses. Exceeding weight limitations is anti-competitive because more freight is transported per trip.
  6. Fuel consumption increases when carrying an extra load, which will increase your running costs.
  7. You could receive a huge fine or even a jail sentence if you are driving an overloaded vehicle.

Load Distribution and Security

Truck load security is important in the trucking industry to ensure that loads are secure and not overhanging. There are various ways to achieve this, such as using load bars, tie-downs, and tarps.

Trucking companies in the UK have implemented these measures to ensure the safety of their drivers and the general public.

Load bars help to distribute the weight of the load evenly, preventing it from shifting during transit.

Tie-down straps or chains can be used to secure the load to the truck, preventing it from moving around.

Tarps can also be used to cover the load, protecting it from weather damage and making it more difficult for thieves to access.

By taking these measures, trucking companies in the UK are ensuring that their loads are securely transported.


Trucks are a vital part of transporting goods over long distances, but they must be loaded and operated safely. There are many ways to prevent overloading a truck, and by following these tips you can ensure that your vehicle is not overloaded, which will keep both you and your cargo safe.

Thank you for reading this beginner’s guide “Prevent overloading a truck the basics!” we hope you found it useful.