How to Transport a Ladder

Need to transport your ladder from one work site to another or over any distance? Worried about transporting a ladder (especially extension ladder) safely and legally?

Afraid not!

We’re here to help you.

You may already know how to use a ladder safely. But it’s also essential to understand how to transport a ladder most safely and efficiently.

This little guide will help you to learn the best ways to transport a ladder safely. We have also added some fantastic tips at the end of this guide to ensure your ladders stay secure and protected during transportation.

Read Along!

The Main Purposes Of Safely Transporting A Ladder

  • To protect the ladder from any damage
  • To Keep other road users safe
  • Factors to Consider While Transporting a Ladder

    No matter you’re a homeowner or contractor, during ladder transportation, you should consider some factors for safe transportation. These are:

    #1. Free Space To Haul The Ladder

    Before carrying any ladder, consider the availability of space around where you’ll move or carry it. You can hit another object or person or electrical power lines. It’s quite impossible to transport a ladder inside your car or van. But for truck, you need to be more conscious to position you ladder safely and conveniently.

    #2. Traffic Safety

    Consider the traffic safety before tie off your ladder on your truck or van for transportation. One data of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that in the USA more than 200,000 road accidents occur due to road objects and debris flying from various vehicles.

    #3. Types and Length Of The Ladder

    Different types of ladders come with different length. So, depending on the type and length of your ladder you’re transporting, you need to choose the type of vehicle- truck, van or cargo. It’s essential to ensure you have the right vehicle to transport your ladder. Otherwise, you have to face trouble with the law or worse.

    #4. Accessories to secure the ladder

    Undoubtedly, loading and unloading a ladder from truck or van requires energy and time. However, accessories such as ladder clamp roof rack, rear bar are good option to fasten the ladder securely on your vehicle. But you should invest in accessories which are easily and quickly installed and removed so that you only have to have it when you need. It’ll not only increase your work efficiency but also reduce the risk of accidents.

    How to Transport a Ladder

    This section will cover the following:

    • How to Transport a Ladder within Outdoor Space
    • How to transport a Step ladder/ Short ladder inside a van or car trunk
    • How to transport a tall ladder on a van or truck

    1. How to Safely Transport a Ladder within Outdoor Space

    • If you need to transport a tall/ long ladder within your outdoor space, first be aware of obstacle in your surroundings.
    • Firmly grip the ladder in its center or middle rung to maintain balance. The bottom of the ladder should be to your right and top to your left.
    • Lift it onto your shoulder if possible. If it’s not possible for you, carry the ladder at your side and rest it against your hip.
    • If you don’t feel comfortable carrying it by yourself, take help of your coworker, friend, family member, or someone else.
    • Carry it horizontally tilting it lower in your back and higher in your front. Move slowly. Always check for obstacles at each end before making your turn.
    • If your ladder is heavy and tall, get someone else to help you carry it.

    2. How to Transport a Step Ladder/ Short Ladder Inside a Car Trunk

    Step ladders are easier to transport as they are shorter length. You can transport them inside your van which eliminates the worry and risk of having to secure it on the roof of the vehicle.

    • With the seats down, you can carry a step ladder in your car. But you should be careful to secure it.
    • To carry a ladder in the car trunk, try to get the front and rear seats as flat as possible. First, fold-down back seat. Then, slide the front passenger seat forward as far as it can go. Open the trunk.
    • Start the top end of the ladder into the truck and over the back seats. Guide the ladder over the front seat.
    • If last foot of your ladder hangs out the truck, attach a red flag to the end of the material for safety.
    • Then, secure the car trunk lid with a bungee cord, stretch strap, ratchet set, or any strong rope.
    • To protect your car trunk when carrying ladders in it slips a piece of /4-inch foam pipe insulation on the bottom and both lid of the trunk.

    If you have a telescoping ladder, collapse it to a compact size. Place it into the trunk/ boot of your car. As it’s placed in the boot, there is no need for it to be strapped down.

    3. How to Transport a Tall Ladder on a Van or Truck

    Longer ladders, such as extension ladders are not possible to hold tight into the back of a van or car. So, you may require carrying them on the roof of the vehicle.

    It’s essential to transport a long ladder from one place to another without causing risking the safety of yourself or others or any damage to your vehicle.

    Transporting a tall/ long ladder is tricky. Some people often take the risk in transporting tall ladders, which is illegal and risky.

    Legal Requirements for transporting a ladder on a vehicle

    It’s also essential to know the legal requirements involved in this issue. Stay within the restrictions for how much overhang is allowed at the front and rear of your vehicle.

    The Law on Overhanging Loads

    Front Overhang

    If the overhang is between

    0 to 2 meters — > No requirements

    2 to 3.05 meters — > You require a front and side marker board

    Over 3.05 meters — > You require give the police two working days’ notice.

    [Source: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), under section 26.]

    Rear Overhang

    If the overhang is

    Less than 1 meter — >No requirements

    between 1 and 2 meters — >Ensure that the overhang is visible to other road users
    ***You may use a bright cloth or high-vis vest to mark it.

    between 2 and 3.05 meters — > You require to have a rear marker board

    Over 3.05 meters — > You require to give notice of 2 working days to the police

    [Source: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), under section 26.]

    Steps To Transport Your Extension Ladder On Van Or Truck

    Step 1: First, ensure that the overhand regulations are adhered to, then make sure your extension ladder is completely closed.

    Step 2: Lift the ladder and place it into position on the vehicle’s roof. You may take extra help of hand to lift it. If you lift it yourself, be sure that the top end of your ladder is tilted upwards.

    Step 3: Lay your ladder carefully on the roof of your vehicle. You may lay it between the roof bars or against the roof/ ladder rack.

    • How To safely Transport A Ladder By Using A Ladder Rack

    The safest and of course the easiest way to secure a ladder on the truck or van is by using a ladder rack, roof rack or roof bars. It’s also more convenient and economical than using ratchet straps or ropes.
    By securing your ladder on your vehicle with the help of a rack system, you could avoid accidents caused by falling ladders. If you’re a homeowner and own trucks or vans, ladder rack is a great idea to carry your ladder any distance.

    • How To Safely Transport A Ladder Without A Roof Rack

    Don’t you have a roof/ ladder rack?
    No worry!
    There are ways to transport you ladder on a vehicle. If you don’t have roof racks, to protect your car’s roof paint put cushions such as foam, pillows or a thick blanket between your ladder and the car roof as a buffer before you tie it on to avoid damage to the van roof and sides.

    Step 4: Secure the ladder at both the front and rear by using ladder clamps or locking ladder holder. You may also use ropes, bungee cords, or other strong ties. Make sure all sides of your ladder are tied and secured before moving the vehicle.

    Some Tips on How to Transport a Ladder


    It’s helpful to take a short test drive with your ladder in a safe area. You also turn some sharp corners and brake abruptly to ensure your ladder is secured correctly.


    To prevent theft, it’s a great idea to cable lock the ladder or ladders together.


    Take your time to tie down your ladder correctly on your vehicle. It’s the safe and responsible thing to do while carrying a ladder on a vehicle.


    Hope these guidelines will help you a lot to transport your ladder to its destination without damaging it and without risking your life or that of other road users.  

    Thanks for reading our article on how to transport a ladder.

    Frederick McHale

    Hi! I'm Frederick, a passionate blogger. I have work-experience in many fields. Professionally I'm an Engineer. I have over 15 years of experience working with different power tools.

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