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Safe LoadsThe sight of mattresses flying off the back of a truck travelling at speed on the M20 looks like something out of a cartoon car chase, but this is what happened recently on the M20 near Ashford in Kent.

The near-miss incident, reported in the Metro, could easily have ended in tragedy, but, miraculously, the drivers travelling behind the truck were able to dodge the flying objects and no-one was hurt.

Unsafe loads and the dangers to other road users

Unsafe loads are one of many driving offences that can lead to accidents on the nation's roads. An unsafe load could be a van that is badly loaded (e.g. unsafe weight distribution or goods and materials not being secured properly) or vans which are overloaded (i.e. exceeding the maximum permitted axle weight, the gross vehicle weight and/or the gross train weight).

An unsafe load can make the vehicle difficult to handle, prone to tipping over and/or swerving, have a detrimental effect on the braking capabilities and stopping distances, and cause excess wear and tear which can, over time, make the vehicle unfit to drive.

In 2020 the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) updated the guidance on vehicle load security to cover the following points:

  • Load securing basics – including good practice, correct vehicle loading technique, and choosing the best securing and restraint methods.
  • Responsibility for load securing
  • Consequences of poor load securing
  • Enforcement
  • Types of vehicles
  • Types of loads
  • Load securing solutions

If a vehicle is deemed by police to be in a dangerous condition due to an unsafe load either because of the condition of the vehicle, its suitability for the load and/or or the weight, distribution, packing and adjustment of the load, a court can hand down a penalty of 3 penalty points and a licence endorsement for the driver, as well as an unlimited fine.

Further legal action may be taken if the condition of the van and its load caused a road traffic accident.

An unsafe load will invalidate your van insurance

A motoring offence for an unsafe load is likely to invalidate your van insurance and, if there has been an accident, could mean that the insurance company does not pay out for damage to you or your vehicle.

At iVan we can help you find some of the cheapest van insurance around, including any driver van insurance and fleet insurance. If you've gone to the trouble of finding great van insurance, we hope you'll do the same when loading your van.