Whether you’re taking a short trip to the seaside, simply going from the airport to the hotel or are about to set off on your annual holiday, getting the car packed right is paramount to your safety on the road. Setting off with the entire family and a lot of baggage implies certain risks, not only for those in the car but also for other road users.
Goodyear advises motorists to follow a few simple rules to ensure the car is packed securely.
Passenger safety and comfort comes above all else. Don’t risk carrying passengers unrestrained due to large or awkward items that are in the way. Install child seats first before loading the car, as it may prove difficult to do once the car is fully loaded.
“Last in, first out”
This saying provides a handy hint to packing that ensures you keep the items you may need during the journey close at hand and easy to retrieve. Be mindful of “must haves.” Take enough food, drinks, nappies, medicine, and entertainment for your kids and other essential items to last you until you reach your destination.
Make sure everything is secure
A few simple rules can make all the difference:
Keep the area around the driver’s feet clear. Loose items rolling around are distracting and potentially dangerous if they get caught under the driver’s feet or the pedals – particularly in emergency braking situations.
Always pack large, heavier items at the bottom of the boot to ensure the center of gravity stays as low as possible. Storing heavy items as far forward as possible and packing these tightly against the back of the boot ensures a better weight distribution. Avoid using the inside of the passenger area of the car for storing your luggage. Items can fly forward unexpectedly, hurting passengers.
Make sure you can see
Try to avoid packing above the line of the back seats. Not only does this significantly hamper your view, it also heightens the possibility of items flying forward in case of an emergency braking maneuver. Consider using a roof rack or trailer if the car’s boot is fully loaded.
If you have to use the full height of your boot make sure you use a net or other built-in protection.
Plan for a puncture
If your car is not equipped with a special safety device and tires, such as Goodyear’s RunOnFlat tires, consider the possibility of a puncture when packing the car. It’s annoying and dangerous having to empty the entire boot of the car next to a busy road to get to the spare tire.
And remember: if you have a puncture, take care of your family’s safety first. Get everyone in a safe place before taking care of the puncture or calling for help.
Safely packed on the roof
Packing items on the roof require a few extra considerations: extra height, extra weight, and extra resistance.
Roof loads increase the drag on the car. The airflow will try to lift the front of a load. In the event of emergency braking, the load will tend to slide forward. Ideally, all items on the roof should only be stored in a securely attached roof box – respecting the weight restrictions of the car.
Traveling with pets
Pets should never be allowed to move freely through a moving car. Not only could the animal get hurt in case of an unexpected maneuver or an emergency braking situation, the other passengers may also get hurt. Always secure them using a safety harness or transport them in well-ventilated crates.
Adjust your driving style!
Last but not least: don’t forget that driving with a fully loaded vehicle impacts its maneuverability and takes getting used to. Additionally, traveling with the entire family and loads of baggage means that you have more distractions, less visibility and a fully loaded vehicle that will require a longer stopping distance.