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Ing. Ladislav Luka, Fuel expert

Permissible Dimensions of Heavy Goods Vehicles in Poland

Dispatchers and logistics specialists are tasked with selecting the appropriate vehicle to safely transport a client’s goods to the intended destination. In order to execute this task successfully, it is important to be aware of the legal regulations involved. This includes details like the permissible dimensions of a vehicle, load capacity, and axle load, among others. This article will cover the most important information relevant to trucking companies operating in Poland.

Permissible Dimensions of Heavy Goods Vehicles in Poland

National Regulations for Dimensions of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV)

The permissible dimensions of heavy goods vehicles in Poland are as follows:

Length of the Heavy Goods Vehicle:

  • The length of a single vehicle cannot exceed 12 meters.
  • For a truck and trailer combination (articulated vehicle), the maximum length is 16.5 meters.
  • For a combination of two vehicles (e.g., truck and trailer), the maximum length is 18.75 meters.
  • For a combination of three vehicles, the maximum length is 22 meters.

According to Article 2(49) of the Road Traffic Act, a group of vehicles consists of vehicles joined together in order to move on the road as a whole, but this does not apply to vehicles joined together for the purpose of towing. Thus, for example, we are dealing with a combination of vehicles when a car is coupled with a trailer, but not with another car in tow.

What are the differences between a trailer and a semi-trailer?

A special category of vehicle combination, on the other hand, are so-called articulated vehicles. According to Article 2(35) of the Highway Code, these are vehicle combinations consisting of a motor vehicle coupled to a semi-trailer. What is the difference? There is an important distinction between trailers and semi-trailers. A trailer is a vehicle without an engine, designed to be coupled to another vehicle. While a semi-trailer is a type of trailer, part of which rests on the motor vehicle and places a load on it.

Width of a Truck:

  • The maximum width of a vehicle is 2.55 meters (2.60 meters for refrigerated trucks).
  • The overall width, including the load, must not exceed 3 meters. The load may extend up to 23 cm on each side.
  • The maximum height is 4.0 meters.

Allowed Axle Load:

  • The maximum axle loads in Poland are 11.5 tons on motorways, expressways, and most national roads.
  • On certain national roads or sections and a significant portion of provincial roads, the maximum axle load is 10 tons.
  • On the remaining provincial roads and local roads, the maximum axle load is 8 tons.

Regulations Regarding Maximum Permissible Laden Weight (MPLW)

The permissible MPLW of a towing vehicle in a combination of vehicles cannot exceed the following limits:

  • Single towing vehicle: 10 tons for trailers with a single axle (except for semi-trailers), 18 tons for trailers with two axles (except for semi-trailers), 24 tons for trailers with more than two axles (except for semi-trailers), 28 tons for combinations of vehicles with three axles, 40 tons for combinations of vehicles with at least 5 axles, 28 tons for combinations of vehicles with up to four axles, and 40 tons for combinations of vehicles with more than four axles.

In the case of a tractor-trailer, the situation is as follows:

  • 42 tons for a two-axle tractor-trailer and a three-axle container trailer for intermodal transport.
  • 44 tons for a three-axle tractor-trailer and a two- or three-axle trailer for intermodal transport.

Exceeding any of these parameters will result in the vehicle being considered non-compliant. The parameters should be followed along with all other applicable rules for truck drivers in Poland

Choosing the Trailer for a Heavy Goods Vehicle

When organizing the transportation of goods, it is also crucial to consider the selection of the appropriate trailer. When doing so,, several factors must be taken into account; including the dimensions (length, width, height), and load capacity of the trailer. The permissible dimensions and total weight of heavy goods vehicles are key considerations.

The most popular trailers on Polish and European roads are curtain-sided trailers.

Curtain-Sided Trailer (Tarpaulin Trailer)

One of the most versatile and widely used types of trailers is the curtain-sided trailer. The design of a curtain-sided trailer allows for loading not only from the side but also from the back or from above. This is possible due to the sliding roof, which facilitates quicker loading and unloading.

Sample Dimensions of a Curtain-Sided Trailer and Permissible Load Capacity

Here are the basic parameters of a randomly selected, modern curtain-sided trailer from a Polish producer. The trailer's external dimensions are as follows:

  • Length: 13,885 mm
  • Internal Length: 13,643 mm
  • External Width: 2,550 mm
  • Internal Width: 2,480 mm
  • External Height: 4,000 mm
  • Internal Height: 2,920 mm
  • Unladen Weight: 6,790 kg ±4%
  • Load Capacity: 28,210 kg
  • Permissible Gross Vehicle Weight: 35,000 kg
  • Loading options: Back, side, or top loading.

In an effort to remain compliant with local regulations, dispatchers and logistics specialists would do well to familiarize themselves with all of the information above. Doing so will help avoid costly fines and penalties, and allow better decision making when selecting the appropriate trailer for transporting goods on Polish roads.

If your trucking company does business across Europe, Eurowag can help take you further. Contact us today and find out why more and more clients are trusting us to handle all their logistics and transportation support needs.