You'll often see cars passing you on the road that are loaded right up to the roof. It should be obvious that piled-up baggage restricts the driver's field of vision and makes accidents more likely, but deciding what not to take isn't always easy. Nevertheless, careful packing is the key to a safe journey and also helps you to keep an eye on things.
Travel stress usually begins with loading the car. Even if it's just a weekend trip, you want to take everything with you, from camping equipment to cuddly toys, but it only takes a sharp curve or heavy braking for your suitcases and other items to start banging against the sides of your car or even flying around the interior, and that can be dangerous. The smallest distraction while you're driving can lead to an accident, and an unsecured load can injure anyone inside the car. How should you load your baggage into the trunk and back seat and secure it to prevent this from happening?
AXA Accident Research & Prevention has put together these tips to help you enjoy a safe journey.
Items moving around inside the car aren't just annoying, they can be a real hazard – whether it's just a water bottle in the footwell distracting you or something big and heavy, which could severely damage your car and harm those traveling in it. That's why heavy items should go right at the bottom.
To make sure that your suitcases, bags, etc. don't slide forward under heavy braking, you should place them on a non-slip surface. Rubber mats are ideal, and you can find them in various sizes at hardware and car accessory stores. They also protect the lining of your trunk from wear and tear as well as dirt. You might even have something suitable at home already. What about your yoga mat, which you might want to take on vacation anyway?
Baggage nets and sheets fixed to the sides of the trunk and the back of the rear seat can help a lot in terms of safety by holding items in place when you brake heavily and thus preventing injuries and damage to the windshield. Straps improve safety even further. Fasten them to any fixing points fitted to your trunk. These can usually be found on or underneath the mat and on the side walls.
Safety belts aren't just there for people, they're also great for holding baggage and other items in place on the back seat.’
Here's another top tip: always attach the belts, even if no one's riding the back. They'll hold back items in the trunk that might surge forward under braking.
If you're carrying pointed items like Nordic walking poles or tentpoles, it's advisable to attach a wooden board to the backs of the front seats. It will make sure that nothing can pierce the seats and injure the driver and front passenger.
You should also avoid stacking items higher than the top of the back seat so that nothing can be flung forward out of the trunk. Follow all these tips, and enjoy a safe and stress-free journey!