Driving safely is a key to keeping auto insurance rates as low as possible. As the festive season beckons, several families are getting ready to hit the road to a favorite vacation destination. Over eighty percent of the holidaymakers will be driving to their destination.
If you also plan to travel by road, keep in mind that preparation is critical to your safety on the road. You should ensure that you are safe before you leave the gate. One of the main areas but less remembered by travelers is maintaining a clear line of sight for the driver and keep the car balanced on the road.
Packing too much and un-proportionally in and on the car, is a safety risk on the road. Not all cars are created equal. There is a reason why there are different load limits for different models. Here are some useful tips to ensure that your luggage is packed safe for the road trip.
Put the heaviest bags as far forward as possible in the cargo area. The heavy loads should be kept on the floor and not on the roof. The heaviest item should be kept at the center to ensure balance in the vehicle.
Failure to do the above shifts the weight off the front wheels of your car and can negatively impact your ability to steer the vehicle. It also makes the car take longer to stop when the brakes are applied. In an emergency, this can lead to a collision. Heavy loads on the roof can increase the chances of a rollover if the vehicle moves on a tilted surface.
All loose items should be fastened
Ensure that there are no loose items lying around especially the light ones. These fly about if the car suddenly stops and can cause damage or injury to the occupants of the vehicle.
Ensure that the driver can see the rear
Do not stack the luggage in such a way that the driver will not see through the rear window. It makes driving dangerous especially when parking or reversing. The driver does not see people or items just behind the vehicle. In the same line, ensure that there are no sharp pointed edges such as in the case of metallic boxes that are pointed to the rear window from the cargo area. An emergency jack may lead to the damage of the windows
Kid items and snack
You can purchase small organizers where your passengers can store small items such as snacks or books on the road. When the vehicle starts moving, it will be hard for them to reach a book that has gone under the seat without unbuckling the seatbelt, which is very dangerous. Moreover, do not carry toys that can cause injury if they hit the children as they play on the trip. There will be less space, and the car is less stable on the way.
Keep essential items within reach
Ensure that you can access the first aid box and roadside emergency kit without unloading the cargo. In situations of emergency, you may not even recall where the first aid box is. This could be a matter of life and death. Other essentials such as mobile phones should also be put in areas where they can be reached with ease.
Do not forget other essential tools to deal with weather related problems such as snowing and raining. You may need to pack a pair of snow boots, a shovel, a flashlight, a candle and some matchboxes and an emergency blanket. The items to carry depend on the time of the day you are traveling, weather condition, and the distance of travel.
Use the roof to carry the lighter items such as the beach bags, groceries, and coolers. Do not park too high on the roof as it might be stuck if you drive into a low overhang.
What if you have so much luggage?
If the luggage cannot fit into the vehicle using the above guide, get a trailer and attach it to your vehicle. Ensure that it is in good condition regarding wheels, lights and secure attachment to the car. Moreover, do not forget it is there when parking or stopping on the road. Check it after every few hours on the road.
Ensure that the tire pressure is enough for the extra load
Inspect your tires before starting the vehicle. The tire should not have any sidewall budge, as it is a sign of inadequate pressure. Moreover, ensure that there are no exposed steel belts, chunked tread, sidewall cuts, or punctures. You may find the recommended pressure numbers in the owner’s manual. Remember different weights and road conditions require different tire pressures.
Packing your cargo safely lowers your risk of an accident greatly. You may be surcharged and lose you driving license for causing an accident due to the improper packing of your cargo. The auto insurance company may also increase the premiums due to dangerous driving. Stay safe this festive season by packing your luggage correctly.