There are several reasons, including the law, why you shouldn’t overload a vehicle when you need to transport a large amount of cargo. You may be tempted to use every inch of space within your car, maybe even adding a rack or box to the roof.
Not only can it be extremely dangerous to overload a vehicle, in the United Kingdom; it’s also against the law. What’s more, whether you have a standard car insurance policy, or a motor trade insurance policy, it might be invalid if you’re carrying an oversized awkward load.
Overloading a vehicle can be dangerous if you carry too much weight, your vehicle may become unstable or act in unexpected ways, you may also find it harder to control or see through your windows and mirrors if things aren’t loaded correctly.
These factors can increase the likelihood of an accident regardless of the age or model of a new and used car.
So, how much can you carry?
Different vehicles have different weight limits, so check your manufacturers manual to be sure of what your vehicles limits are, the information should also be listed on a sticker or plate on your car.
Look for the maximum authorised mass (MAM) or gross vehicle weight (GVW), this outlines how much your vehicle and load (including passengers) can weigh in total.
Factors to consider in addition to considering your car’s MAM:
Vehicle Roof Weight Limit – Your manufacturers manual should also tell you how much weight your vehicle’s roof can hold, take the weight of your roof rack or box into account when making the calculations. It’s recommended not to stack too high or you may not be able to pass under low bridges on your journey.
How Does the Vehicle Look – If your car seems lower to the ground than usual, or its tyres look flat, you’re almost certainly carrying too much weight, and if anything is obscuring the driver’s view, you’ll need to move it by law!
How Secure is Everything – All items must be secured safely, nothing should be sticking out of the vehicle, this includes the car boot and windows. Check everything before you begin your journey and at regular intervals whilst travelling, just in case items move around.
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What to do in an Emergency – If your car is overloaded it will be harder to get out of the vehicle in the event of an accident. You may also need to consider the access to items like a motoring first aid kit, fire extinguisher or spare wheel in case of a puncture.
It’s worth remembering that it will take more time to manoeuvre your vehicle or come to a complete stop when breaking when carrying a heavy load, it’s recommended you change your driving style accordingly.
Taking all these precautions will enable you to transport your luggage and cargo safely; without breaking the law, which is one less thing for you to worry about before embarking on your trip.