Overloading is something thousands of drivers are penalised for on UK roads every year.
To many, getting caught means getting hit with a hefty fine. Ignoring the longer-term consequences is though painfully short-sighted.
That’s because the impact of overloading extends beyond your bank balance and to the vehicle itself. Indeed, excess load can seriously impinge on performance and endanger those behind the wheel... not to mention passers-by.
Let’s take a closer look at the associated dangers.
Firstly, lorries and vans can very quickly become difficult to steer. Sheer weight leads to slower turning capability, the perils of which are obvious.
Cornering can suddenly prove hazardous and result in your vehicle causing some highly embarrassing obstructions. HGV’s are challenging to drive at the best of times, why complicate matters?
2. Stopping Times
Just as - if not more- alarming is the effect overloading has on stopping times.
Coming to a complete halt will inevitably take that bit longer if you’re transporting more weight than the vehicle was built to carry.
This heightens the risk of collisions, particularly when unforeseen hazards appear and necessitate a hard stop. Those few extra milliseconds could prove fatal.
3. Tyre Wear
Braking will also be negatively impacted by failing tyres, often a direct consequence of vehicle overloading.
The pressure placed on your wheels is exasperated by increased stock, resulting in overheating and accelerating the rate of wear and tear.
Of course, too much strain will inevitably lead to blow-outs. In that scenario a minor delay could prove the least of your worries.
4. Fuel Consumption
A predictable drawback of overloading is increased fuel consumption. Simply put, the heavier your vehicle, the more energy is required to move it. And energy equates to petrol.
This may seem a mere after-thought to employees, but business owners will be counting the cost of those extra pit-stops at service stations across the county. Likewise, the self-employed.
Adhering to the legal weight of your particular vehicle will ensure it runs more efficiently.
It’s not uncommon for vehicles to buckle under the pressure of excess weight and become horribly unstable. This will pose a genuine risk to any cargo which could suddenly find itself ricocheting in transit.
It’s nonsensical to take such risks, particularly if you’re carrying valuable stock. Remember, it will ordinarily be your company that’s liable for any damage.
6. Invalidated Insurance
Driving without insurance is illegal. Driving an overloaded vehicle invalidates insurance. Drivers are that flout the rules are therefore breaking the law.
In doing so they put both themselves and their company at risk of prosecution. In the most severe cases unlimited fines will be meted out, along with bans.
The negative coverage a local business could attract from such a case will also cause reputational damage from which it is hard to recover.
Familiarising yourself with the Road Traffic Act of 1988, and in particular its rules relating to overloading, is a must for anyone who drives for a living.
7. Road Damage
Those who deliberately drive overloaded vehicles are not, in all likelihood, the most conscientious of people. The odds are they’ll care not for the wider damage they cause to roads. Even so this can prove quite substantial.
Highways, pavements and bridges are not going to suddenly collapse when met with overloading but will, over time, display the effects.
Repair work will be footed by the taxpayer and inconvenience those forced to follow diversions, yourself included.
8. Unfair Competition
Finally, overloading upsets the playing field by creating unfair competition.
Then majority of companies transporting stock across the country will adhere to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations Act of 1986. Those that don’t automatically gain an unfair advantage over them.
They suddenly have extra capacity, which could easily translate to increased profits.
This is stealing a march by illegal and dangerous means which could ultimately backfire.
As highlighted, overloading brings with it headaches of a financial and reputational nature. It also places people in immediate and considerable danger.
All of that can be avoided by investing in weighing equipment that keeps you roadworthy. And given wireless axle weigh pads are now available through the likes of Solent Scales, vehicle weighing itself has never been easier.
In 2020 there really is no excuse for overloading.