When driving, it is crucial to consider the load you are carrying and its effect on the vehicle.

Bulk liquids carried in tankers are susceptible to being lifted off the ground when cornering or pushed forward when braking.

This is partly due to the ‘wave effect’ created by liquid moving after the vehicle has slowed or turned. To combat this, some tankers are fitted with baffle plates.

The downside of having baffle plates fitted is that it restricts the ability to clean the tanker.

The driver must take considerable care when cornering and braking to avoid the ‘pendulum effect’ when carrying hanging meat.

The pendulum effect occurs when hanging meat swings when the vehicle turns or brakes and then swings back. This movement can often destabilise a vehicle, particularly when travelling at speed.

Knowledge of how the vehicles’ refrigeration system works is also a requirement as the load is temperature-sensitive.


When driving a double deck car transporter, take extra care around street furniture.

The trailer will overhang the tractor unit when turning.

To help ensure animal movements are within the law, the following measures are recommended:

Plan journeys thoroughly and keep the duration to a minimum

Ensure the animals are fit to travel and check them regularly

Provide sufficient floor space and height allowance

Ensure vehicle loading and unloading facilities are constructed and maintained to avoid injury and suffering

Provide water, feed and rest as needed

Ensure those handling animals are competent

The type of training required by drivers carrying livestock varies according to the distance, journey duration and species involved. For journeys of less than 65 km (40 miles), no formal qualification is required, but you must have practical experience in the care of animals being transported.

If you’re only carrying half a load on a double-deck lorry, this should be carried on the lower deck whenever possible. With only the top deck loaded, your lorry is top-heavy and at risk of overturning as you drive around bends, corners or in high winds.

ISO (International Standards Organization) cargo containers should only be carried on lorries or trailers with the appropriate securing points. These are designed to lock into the container body.

Multimodal Transport is the combination of different means of transport to facilitate cargo movement, i.e. making it faster and more efficient.
When it comes to this mode of transportation, there is more than one kind of vehicle necessary to take the goods to their final destination, be it the use of trucks, trains, ships, airplanes or some other mean of transport for the delivery.

Groupage transport involves consolidating multiple compatible shipments from a number of companies into one single delivery load.

When delivering goods, freight and haulage companies often have room to spare in the lorry. 

As the name suggests, multi-drop driving involves dropping off deliveries in multiple locations. Generally, when undertaking multi-drop work, you will be completing a pre-defined route on behalf of a customer.
As items are unloaded from the rear of the vehicle, the weight will be transferred to the front axle. Take care that this axle doesn’t become overloaded. You may need to redistribute the load when undertaking multi-drop work

When conducting multi-drop, a driver that is making deliveries no more than 50 metres apart is not legally required to wear a seatbelt.


What is Tramping?

A tramper or tramping is slang for the driver or vehicle that undertakes long-distance deliveries that may take multiple days. The vehicles themselves are usually large articulated lorries designed with a bunk to allow the driver to sleep


You may need to adjust your driving style based on the type of truck you’re controlling.

An articulated lorry is a lorry with the combination of a tractor and a trailer which are connected by a pivoted bar. Usually, goods are loaded on the trailer, and the tractor unit is used to pull it. The trailer is not as agile as normal trucks, so they are they are mainly used in long-distance freight transport.

Drawbar trailers give rigid trucks the extra payload and loadspace and can be run at the maximum weight of 44 tonnes. The two main type of drawbar are a straight bar with the axles in the centre of the trailer, and A frames where the front axle is mounted on a steering turntable dolly axle.

Many drawbars are fitted with demountable bodies, allowing the prime mover to swap bodies between the truck and trailer rather than taking the entire combination into urban areas. Drawbar combinations are traditionally known as wagon and drags


Box vehicles often come with a tail-lift and are suitable for a variety of different purposes. They can be used for multi-drop work delivering pallets or cages.

When empty, rigid box vehicles can be sensitive to side winds

A tail-lift that carries people, in this case, the driver, should be inspected by a ‘competent person’ every six months

Debris falling from vehicles can be very dangerous to other road users, so skips need to be covered when they’re transported. 

Unless you’re on firm, level ground, there’s a risk of your lorry overturning when the body is tipped. Before raising the body, check that you’re well clear of overhead obstructions such as power lines.

Tyre damage is common when delivering to building sites.

Check for debris lodged in between wheels or in wheel arches.

Demountable bodies have legs that can be lowered so that the carrier vehicle can be driven out from underneath the body. This has an advantage over ISO containers, which require some form of crane or lift to remove the container from the trailer.

Unless the curtains are specifically designed, they must not be used to restrain a load. They should be used to protect it from the weather and provide a level of security. Most companies also use them as a mobile advertisement.

Vehicles being carried piggyback must always have chocks applied to their wheels, in addition to a restraint.

Never rely on just the  parking brake

truck-mounted forklift enables the driver to offload the goods themselves.

truck mounted forklifts should be inspected by a ‘competent person’ every 12 months

When using a truck-mounted crane, stabilisers should always be used. All drivers should be fully trained and regularly tested on their competence in using stabilisers.

If there’s any danger that the load you’re lifting with a crane is too heavy for ropes or straps, or that sharp edges on the load may damage them, you should use chains with compatible tensioners.

A truck mounted crane should be inspected by a ‘competent person’ every 12 months

When using a lorry mounted crane, stabilisers should always be deployed.


Ways of preventing a vehicle from becoming overloaded

Make sure that your lift / tag axle is used correctly. Not using this axle when the vehicle is loaded means that axles or gross weights could exceed their allowed limits.



It makes the vehicle less stable, difficult to steer and will take longer to stop. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights they are designed to carry are exceeded.

A massive strain is put on vehicle tyres. Overloading can cause the tyres to overheat and wear rapidly, which increases the chance of a premature, dangerous and expensive failure

Insurance cover is void. Overloading a vehicle is illegal, and therefore insurance cover can be voided if the vehicle is involved in an accident.

It is unfair to other operators. Exceeding weight limits is unfair competition as more load is moved per journey.

Overloading an axle has an impact on the environment, causing damage to road surfaces. 

Fuel consumption increases when carrying extra load, which will increase your costs.


When a fixed penalty notice or conditional offer is issued for an excess weight offence, the examiner will prevent the vehicle from going further.

This is to stop an overweight vehicle from being used on the road and to preserve road safety. A fixed penalty is the preferred option for dealing with excess weight offences unless:

The offence is too severe, and the maximum number of penalty notices would be exceeded.

Less than 10%
10% up to but not including 15%
15% and over

Vehicle bounce

A short-wheelbase empty vehicle will bounce more noticeably than some long-wheelbase vehicles. This can affect braking efficiency and all-round control.

Don’t be tempted to push this type of vehicle into bends or corners simply because the vehicle appears to be easier to drive.


The leading causes of lorries shedding their loads are driver errors, such as sudden changes of speed or direction, driving too fast for the conditions, and harsh braking.

If you become aware that any part of your load is insecure, you must stop as soon as it’s safe to do so. Resecure the load before continuing your journey. If this isn’t possible, then you must seek assistance. Don’t take risks.


The forces acting on a lorry will try to move it in a straight line as it enters a bend. The greater the weight, the greater the force. If you’re going too fast, there’s a danger that you could lose your load or tip over.


Vehicles carrying dangerous or hazardous goods need to have markings on them that identify the load. This will help the emergency services to deal with any incident quickly and safely.


Not all loads or vehicles are the same. Choose a securing system that stops the load moving without creating other risks – like unnecessary manual handling and working at height.

Webbing straps or chains are often used to secure loads, but they are not suitable for every situation. For example, fragile or live loads need different securing methods to prevent damage.

The law states that loads MUST be secured to the vehicle bed to prevent 100% of forward movement and 50% rear or sideways movement.

Failing to comply with these load containment measures can result in BOTH a driver and their employer being prosecuted. If the loading process was carried out by a third party, they may also be held responsible.

A driver, employer or load handler is responsible in the event of:

To ensure that all or part of a load cannot be ejected from the vehicle, it is important to plan how secure the load will be as this can highlight potential issues before they become an on-the-road problem.

The person responsible for loading should always prepare a written load plan for the driver so that they understand how the load has been secured. This information should also be made available to those who will receive the delivery.


When securing a load, the driver must use the most suitable type of restraint. Scrap metal for example is likely to have sharp edges that could wear through straps or ropes. Security of the load is the driver’s responsibility; a load that has been correctly secured shouldn’t move if an emergency arises.

Start with the rearmost sheet, then work forward – If the load is sheeted incorrectly, the wind may get underneath a sheet, making it flap about. This is dangerous, as it can catch unsuspecting pedestrians or cyclists, and it can also seriously reduce the driver’s view of what’s happening behind.

When using ropes, the ends should be spliced or otherwise treated to prevent fraying. The rope should be of at least three-strand construction, with a normal diameter of at least 10 mm.

All spare sheets and ropes carried on the vehicle must be tied securely to prevent them from falling onto the road, where they may become a hazard for other vehicles.


Split-link and iron chains shouldn’t be used to secure loads, as they’re less reliable than solid-link and steel chains. For more information on the suitability of various-sized steel chains, consult the relevant British Standard (BS) leaflets.


Webbing and ratchet straps can be used to secure most types of loads, but it’s important to make sure that you use and store them properly.
As a general rule, if you’re
transporting palletised goods,
boxes and stillages, you will need
at least one strap per row.


Nets are used as a way of containing items. They are primarily used on skips and tippers to keep the load from flying off when the vehicle is being driven


Twist locks are used to secure ISO cargo containers. When a container is in place, all locking levers must be in the secured position.

ISO containers should not be carried on vehicle’s that do not have the ability to lock the container in place