Carrying loads

You must properly secure a load - cover it if necessary.

You must not drive a vehicle which is loaded so that its permitted gross vehicle weight or maximum permitted axle weights are exceeded.

The permitted gross vehicle weight and maximum permitted axle weights of a goods vehicle are marked on either side of the vehicle.

Gross vehicle or axle weight includes the weight of the vehicle and any passengers and load etc.

You must not carry or support any load on the tailgate.

You must not allow the load to touch the roadway.

You must make sure that your vehicle, or trailer, is loaded so as not to cause danger to you or your passengers or other road users; or to cause damage to the road or property.

(For rules and advice on where to stop on the road to load and unload goods see pages 82 and 83.)


Overhanging loads

When driving a vehicle with an overhanging load, you must ensure that there is a red flag not less than 1 square metre at the rear extremity of the load other than during the hours of darkness or in poor visibility. During the hours of darkness or in poor visibility, you must install a white light showing on each side of the front of the load and a red light showing at the rear of the load.

You must not load or drive a vehicle so that the load

  • Extends beyond the front of the vehicle by more than 1.5 metres.
  • Extends beyond the rear of the vehicle by more than 1.4 metres.
  • Is more than 2.5 metres in width.
  • Is higher than 4.6 metres from the road surface.
  • Is at a height that may cause damage to any object or wires erected above the road.

Fallen or spilled loads

If a load or object falls or spills from your vehicle then stop your vehicle in a safe place and try to remove the fallen load or deal with the spillage - if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to quickly and safely remove any object then try to warn other road users and fetch help.

On major trunk roads and in 'Tunnel areas' or expressways use the roadside emergency telephone, if available, to inform the police or control centre. Do not try to retrieve a fallen load yourself.

Long Vehicles

When driving a long vehicle you may not be able to keep within the normal traffic lanes or follow the path taken by smaller vehicles, particularly if the lanes are narrow and your path is tightly curved. When carrying out unusual manoeuvres look out for inexperienced road users who may drive or step into the swept path of your vehicle or into one of your blind spots. Turning left or right has to be done with great care. On leaving a junction stay in lane until you are well past the junction.

Before driving an articulated vehicle check that the trailer is properly connected to the tractor, including braking and electrical connections in addition to the usual safety checks.

Additional rules for drivers of articulated vehicles can be obtained from any Licensing Office of the Transport Department.

Additional information is available in the 'Code of Practice for the Loading of Vehicles'.


On Tow SignOn tow sign - the letters and characters must be at least 150 mm high in white and against a black background.

You must not tow another vehicle with a tow rope or chain if the gap between the two vehicles is greater than 4.5 metres. You must make sure the tow rope or chain is clearly visible to other road users.

The vehicle being towed must be under the control of a driver holding a driving licence for the vehicle and who is able to brake and steer the vehicle properly. A proper 'On tow' sign must be fitted to the rear of the vehicle being towed.

Other rules apply when using tow bars or towing vehicles capable of lifting vehicles.