Tags – Dangers of driving an overloaded vehicle
All vehicles are subject to laws regarding the maximum weight they can carry and how the load is distributed.
Whether relating to a family car or a commercial vehicle, the law applies equally, albeit the weight restrictions vary.
Whilst you may give little thought to the weight and more to how much you can fit in, the police can readily spot an overloaded vehicle travelling on the roads.
The simplest case, when viewed from the side of a vehicle if the back is closer to the ground, you have an issue.
Equally if the tyres look underinflated or flatter than they should, it’s likely that your vehicle is overloaded.
ADVERSE EFFECTS OF OVERLOADING A VEHICLE
The effects of overloading a vehicle can be catastrophic. The instances can include:
Tyres – The strain placed on the tyres of a vehicle carrying a heavy load is huge. As a result, they can overheat and wear very quickly. Also, the strain can be such that it can result in highly dangerous blow outs.
Steering – An excessive load can make your vehicle unstable. Consequently, steering becomes unpredictable and can cause reduced braking distances. Therefore, the risk of an accident is significantly increased.
Fuel Consumption – Carrying heavier loads means getting fewer miles from your fuel which, evidently, means higher costs.
Insurance Cover – Carrying an excessive load is illegal and as such invalidates your motor insurance. Therefore, if you’re unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, a heavy load will result in no insurance cover.
HOW TO PREVENT A VEHICLE OVERLOAD
Distribution – The redistribution of a load can overcome overloading axles.
Knowledge – If you know the weight of your vehicle and the associated restrictions, you will have a head start.
Check – Whilst you might be overloaded, if you’re en route to a weighbridge, it is accepted that you are taking action. Equally, after using a weighbridge, if required you are also permitted to drive to a suitable place to reduce the weight.
So, the dangers of driving an overloaded vehicle are evidently severe.
Consequently, the penalties imposed for doing so can also be high. For example, fines can be imposed by a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officer or the police and you can be taken to court.
According to the government’s website, the responsibility for the roadworthiness of a vehicle – including the load – lies with the driver. As with all laws, ignorance is no excuse.
Additionally, it is also the driver’s responsibility to report any defects in writing to the relevant member of staff within their organisation.
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