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Projecting loads

Note: This section relates to light vehicles up to 4.5t. For information about loading heavy vehicles, see the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

A load that extends beyond the outer edge of a vehicle is considered a ‘projecting load’.

This section outlines the dimension limits for various vehicle types and how to keep your projecting load safe for you and other drivers.

Limits on projecting loads

Total dimension limits are worked out to help you safely clear overhead bridges, power lines and other roadside objects, such as signs. They also ensure you can turn safely while staying in 1 lane.

You must not exceed the legal limits of your vehicle or trailer’s total length, height, width and rear overhang.

Total dimensions = Dimensions of vehicle or trailer + dimensions of projecting load

Include the vehicle load when calculating these total dimensions, but not the rear vision mirrors, lights or reflectors.

Remember: If your vehicle or trailer is built to the maximum dimensions, you can’t carry any projecting load.

The following diagrams illustrate the permitted total dimension limits for various vehicles.

(The images below are from the Vehicle Standards Bulletin produced by the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and are used with permission.)

All light vehicles – other than motorcycles

Illustration of dimensions of light vehicles

  • Total width ‘A’: no more than 2.5m
  • Total height ‘G’: no more than 4.3m
  • Distance load can project from side ‘PS’: no more than 150mm

Rigid vehicles

Dimensions for rigid vehicles

  • Total width and height: see limits under ‘All light vehicles’
  • Total length ‘L’: no more than 12.5m
  • Rear overhang 'R': no more than 3.7m or no more than 60% of 'W', whichever is less
  • Distance load can project from front ‘PH’: no more than 1.2m in front of headlights
  • Distance load can project from rear ‘PR’: no more than 1.2m without a flag

Rigid vehicles hauling 1 trailer

Illustration of dimensions of rigid vehicles hauling 1 trailer

  • Total width and height: see limits under ‘All light vehicles’
  • Total length ‘Y’: no more than 19m
  • Distance load can project at rear ‘R’
    • for a pig trailer: no more than 3.7m or no more than ‘P’, whichever is less
    • for a dog trailer: no more than 3.7m or no more than 60% of W, whichever is less
  • Distance load can project at rear ‘PR’: no more than 1.2m without a flag

Rear projection limits

An illustration of a load projecting from the rear of a vehicle

Rear projection up to 1.2m does not need a warning device.

Illustration of a vehicle with load projecting more than 1.2m from the rear of the vehicle


Rear projection more than 1.2m does need a warning device

Remember: Many vehicles and trailers already have the maximum permitted rear overhang, even without projecting a load. Check the total dimensions permitted. Don’t carry a load projecting from the rear if it will cause you to exceed these dimensions.

Loads projecting from the front of a light vehicle (other than motorbikes)

A load must not project more than 1.2m in front of a vehicle’s headlights.

Loads projecting from the side of a vehicle

Light vehicle:

Illustration of a load projecting less than 150mm from the side of the vehicle

Light trailer:

Illustration of a load projecting less than 150mm from the side of the vehicle

A load must not project more than 150mm beyond either side of a vehicle or trailer.

When measuring how far a load projects from the side of a vehicle or trailer, measure from the edge of the vehicle or trailer body – not from rear vision mirrors, lights or reflectors.

For trailers with mudguards, measure from the outer edge of the mudguard.

Motorbikes

  • Forward projection: no more than 150mm forward of the front wheel
  • Rear projection: no more than 300mm behind the back wheel
  • Side projection: not past the outer extremity of the motorbike on either side

Motorbike with sidecar

  • Forward projection: no more than 600mm forward of the front wheel
  • Rear projection: no more than 900mm behind of the back wheel
  • Side projection: not past the outer extremity of the vehicle on either side

Motorbike trailer

  • Rear projection: no more than 300mm behind the back wheel
  • Side projection: not past the outer extremity of the trailer on either side

Safety requirements for projecting loads

Loads projecting from the back of a vehicle or trailer

Clearly visible loads that project up to 1.2m from the back of your vehicle or trailer don’t need a warning device.

Any load that projects more than 1.2m from the back of your vehicle or trailer must display a warning device.

Warning devices

If your projecting load isn’t easily visible to a person following the vehicle, you must have the following safety features:

  • During the day: display a brightly coloured red and yellow, or yellow flag at least 450mm by 450mm fixed to the extreme back of the load.
  • At night: display either a red warning light that is visible from at least 200m away or at least 2 red reflectors capable of reflecting from the headlights of a following vehicle.
  • At all times: display all warning devices at the very end of your load and clearly visible to other people.

Read more advice on how to transport loads.