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Data from the DVSA shows that almost a quarter of vans subjected to roadside testing since 2015 are overloaded. Exceeding the maximum payload limit for a van is not only against the law, it causes an unnecessary risk for other road users because the handling and braking capabilities of the vehicle will be compromised.

DVSA data revealed that out of 44,000 roadside tests, almost 1 in 4 vans were overloaded. With 7% found to be between 25 to 30% above their payload limit.

In response to this data, Peugeot set up the Tradesman Challenge to see whether electricians or plumbers would be best at judging the load in their vans.

The stunt was largely to promote new tech available in the Peugeot Partner van, the Overload Indicator, but it conveys a serious message at the same time.

Why is overloading a van dangerous

When a van is overloaded it becomes unstable, more difficult to steer and it may take longer to stop in an emergency braking situation. The tyres may overheat and wear rapidly, and there is an increased risk of tyre failure such as blowouts.

Exceeding the maximum weight also means the van insurance will be void, so if there is an incident, you won't be covered.

You can find the 'gross vehicle weight' or 'maximum authorised mass' for your commercial vehicle on the VIN plate. This weight is the maximum that the van is allowed to register when travelling on UK roads. It includes the weight of the vehicle, the fuel in the tank , the driver and passengers, and any load being carried.

Don't overload your van

You've gone to the trouble of getting the right van, you've searched for cheap van insurance and found a great deal, and then you overload your van and you are stopped – you're likely to receive a fine or even be prosecuted.

You wouldn't drive without van insurance or an MOT so why risk making your van unsafe and illegal by overloading it?

Find out the right payload weight for your van today and then work out how much your day-to-day kit weighs, so you can make sure you stay within the limits for your van. And don't forget to include yourself and anyone else when weighing everything up.

The Peugeot Partner van's Overload Indicator makes it nice and easy to stay within your legal weight limits, but if you haven't got that piece of nifty kit, you'll need to do some swift calculations.