Driving a specialist vehicle

Many specialist vehicles are large and/or slow, so you’ll need to plan your route and prepare carefully before you drive on the road.

Planning a journey

It’s important to plan your route so you can avoid

  • busy roads
  • known roadworks
  • travelling at busy times of the day.

Whenever possible, do not allow a large queue of traffic to build up behind you: find somewhere safe to pull over and let the traffic behind you go past.

If your vehicle is large, make sure you know its

  • height
  • width
  • weight
  • length
  • ground clearance.

You can then check that there are no size restrictions on your route: ask the local authority for advice if you do not know the area and look out for signs relating to vehicle size when you’re driving.

Projection markers may be needed if your load overhangs your vehicle and there are rules governing abnormal loads.

Securing loads

You must make sure any load on your vehicle or trailer is secure before you begin your journey. Check that the vehicle or trailer can safely carry the load and use suitable equipment to prevent the load from moving or falling off the vehicle.

  • Only use fastenings that are dry and in good condition.
  • Use a sheet or tarpaulin to cover the load if you’re using an open-backed vehicle or towing a trailer.
  • Make sure all anchorage points are secure and free of rust.

Check for any sharp edges that could injure other road users. These must be protected and marked. Mowing machines must have the blades stowed in the travelling position.

Keeping up to date

It’s important to keep your skills up to date. Traffic rules, regulations and signs change from time to time and you’ll need to know how these affect you.

You can find out about changes by reading The Official Highway Code and Know Your Traffic Signs.

You can also find more information:

  • in GOV.UK
  • on motoring organisation websites
  • on this website, and
  • in Highway Code updates on Twitter or on Facebook

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