Death or serious injury can be caused by unsecured loads on trailers or on the back or top of vehicles.
Unsecured loads can cause damage, serious crashes and death by falling onto the road and into the path of other vehicles. Road users carrying a load either on the back or top of a vehicle or trailer are responsible for ensuring that it does not move, flap, sway or blow off. Police and transport inspectors will fine drivers if a load is not secure. Cover, restrain or store items securely to prevent damage or a serious crash and a fine.
Use a tarp to cover garden waste and rubbish or other loose materials such as soil or sand so they don’t fall out and to minimise debris.
Use straps to tightly restrain large and heavy items. Evenly distribute the loads and secure each item to prevent movement. Anti-slip mats can help to prevent items from sliding. Ropes are not recommended but if you use them, ensure they are in good condition and knots are tied tight. Loads must not hang over wheel guards, lights or number plates.
Tools should be stored in boxes that are secured to the tray. Larger tools should be secured by straps or a cargo net if they do not fit within the body of a vehicle or trailer. Safe loads must not be oversized or overhanging and if being towed, must be on a roadworthy trailer.
Oversized and overhang
Loads that protrude or overhang from the front, back or side of a vehicle or trailer must be within the specified limits. For example:
- A box trailer can have forward overhang of up to 1200 mm. However, it must not have any object hanging over the back.
- A ute can have forward overhang of up to 1200mm. However, it can only have a small amount of rear overhang and this amount varies depending on the size of individual vehicles. More information about overhang limits is here.
You must not carry a load that hangs more than 150 mm over the side of a vehicle or that is more than 2500 mm in overall width. More information about oversized loads, including for heavy vehicles is here.
Before attaching a trailer to a vehicle ensure the vehicle and trailer are roadworthy. Check the tyres’ condition and make sure both brakes lights, connectors and couplings work. If adding weight to the trailer, check the vehicle manual and ensure the load isn’t more than the towing capacity for the vehicle. Take extra care when towing a trailer, particularly when turning. More information about trailers’ requirements is here.