Topic

VEHICLE LOADING

TRANSPORTING LOADS

When driving it is important to take into account the load you are carrying and the affect it will have on the vehicle.

Bulk liquids/fuel

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

This is, in part due to the ‘wave effect’  that  is created by liquid moving after the vehicle has slowed or turned.  In order 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

Hanging meats

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

The pendulum effect occurs when hanging meat swings when the vehicle is turning or braking 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.

 Car transporters.

When driving a double deck car transporter take extra care around street furniture.  The trailer will overhang the tractor unit when turning.

Animals

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

TIP

Make sure your load is being restrained correctly.  The curtains on a trailer should not to be used to as a restraining device.

REMEMBER

An ADR qualification is required to carry any hazardous loads and is valid for five years.

VEHICLE WEIGHTS EXPLAINED

Unladen weight or kerbside weight

The unladen or kerbside weight of any vehicle is the weight of the vehicle when it’s not carrying any passengers, goods or other items.

It includes the body and all parts normally used with the vehicle or trailer when it’s used on a road.

It doesn’t include the weight of the fuel or if it’s an electric vehicle, the batteries.

Maximum authorised mass

Maximum authorised mass (MAM) means the weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be carried safely when it’s being used on the road.

This is also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight.

It will be listed in the owner’s manual and is normally shown on a plate or sticker fitted to the vehicle.

The plate or sticker may also show a gross train weight (GTW), also sometimes called gross combination weight (GCW). This is the total weight of the tractor unit plus trailer plus load.

CALCULATING A VEHICLE PAYLOAD

To calculate a vehicles’ payload use the following equation

CALCULATING AN AXLE PAYLOAD

The maximum permitted payload on each axle can be determined by the space between each axle on the vehicle.

To calculate the axle load you must multiply the payload by the distance from the centre of the load and the rear axle.  Then divide by the wheelbase

CALCULATING AXLE WEIGHT

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

PREVENTING A VEHICLE BECOMING OVERLOADED

Know the weights of your vehicle and load. If possible, weigh the vehicle to establish individual axle weights

Re-Distribute your load appropriately after any drop-offs to avoid overloading axles

Do not automatically trust declared weights, invoices or delivery notes given to you by customers. Remember that you hold the responsibility for not overloading, not the customer

Remember that the GVW and GTW include the weight of the vehicle, load, trailer (for GTW) driver and any passengers. Also allow for the weights of any pallets or packing cases.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF AN OVERLOADED VEHICLE

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

Massive strain is put on vehicle tyres. Overloading can cause the tyres to overheat and wear rapidly which increases the chance of 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 a crash

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

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