Transporting your ladder safely
The way you transport your ladder is important, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the equipment required to do it. It is essential that you secure ladders adequately to avoid accidents when driving, and there are even laws that relate to overhang.
Longer ladders, like extension ladders, are not always possible to squeeze into the back of a car/van, so you may need to transport them on the roof. There are commercial ladder handling solutions for vehicles, which help to load and unload ladders to and from a van's roof from the ground using gas-assisted mechanisms. But for those of us without these luxuries, there are more low-tech solutions that work just fine.
The most common thing to do is secure the ladder to a roof rack or roof bars. But if you are going to transport a ladder this way, you will need to be familiar with the legal requirements involved. For the UK, these are recorded under section 26 of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). It is most important to stay within the restrictions for how much overhang is permitted at the front and rear of your vehicle.
If the overhand is less than 1 metre, then there are no requirements.
If the overhang is between 1 and 2 metres, you must ensure the overhang is clearly visible. Many choose to mark it with a high-vis vest or bright cloth. Whatever you choose, it must be clearly visible within a reasonable distance to other road users.
If the overhang is between 2 and 3.05 metres, you are required to have a rear marker board
If the overhang exceeds 3.05 metres, you must give notice of 2 working days to the police.
If the overhang is between 0 and 2 metres, there are no requirements.
If the overhang is between 2 and 3.05 metres, you are required to have a front and side marker board.
If the overhang exceeds 3.05 metres, you are required to give the police 2 working days' notice.
Some tips for safe transportation
Once you have ensured the overhang regulations have been adhered to, you will need to make sure the ladder is completely closed if it is an extension ladder. You may need to recruit some help with carrying the ladder and lifting it into position on the vehicle's roof. If you are unable to get any help, be sure that the top of the ladder is tilted upwards when you carry it.
How to Transport a Ladder without a Roof Rack?
If you don' t have a roof rack, be sure to use pillows or cushions, or even a couple of bicycle tyres as a buffer to protect your vehicle.
How to secure the ladder tight on your car/ vehicle?
Lay the ladder carefully on the roof of the vehicle, either against the cushioning, roof rack or between the roof bars.
Secure the ladder at both the front and the back using ladder clamps, bungee cords, ropes or other strong ties.
It may help to take a short test drive with the ladder in a safe area, turning some sharp corners and braking abruptly to ensure the ladder is secured in place.