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No Matter how much van makers try to find new ingenious ways to transport large items, the roof rack will always be king

VAN manufacturers are coming up with some ingenious ways of transporting long loads nowadays.

Overhanging loads – what you need to know

  • Up to 1m – no markings required
  • 1m – 2m – ends must be clearly visible
  • 2m+ – 3m – reflective marker boards 400mm to 1700mm off the ground
  • Over 3m – reflective marker boards, driver’s mate and notification to Police required

Take the new Vauxhall Vivaro and Renault Trafic for example.

There is a little flap in the bulkhead near the floor and another underneath the passenger seat so that in the long wheelbase versions, loads up of to 4.1 metres can be carried – that’s 13 and a half feet in old money!

properly, capped, pipes, roof, van
An example of some properly capped pipes on a roof

Use a proper roof rack

But no matter how much the van makers try, there are always going to be odd times when you need that little bit extra for a lo-o-o-o-ng load. And in that case, there is only one solution – tie it on the roof.

It’s a pretty obvious ploy but before you leg it off to Tesco’s for a ball of string and some double-sided sticky tape, there are one or two things about roof-mounted loads that we ought to make you aware of.

Let’s look at the safety aspect for a start. If you don’t use a proper roof rack – and there are plenty of van users who don’t – then you are risking big trouble in the event of an accident.

If your load happens to be a bundle of pipes, they will shoot forward in the event of a prang and possibly spear any poor passer-by who happens to be in the vicinity.

If they are hurt, or even killed, then expect to have the book thrown at you by the law, followed by a knock on your door from a lawyer representing the injured party in a civil compensation case.

Believe us, you REALLY don’t want to go there.

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