Top Tips on How to Pack a Car Safely

It’s not uncommon to be driving down the motorway, particularly on a bank holiday weekend, and to pass other cars packed to the rafters with bags, suitcases and even duvets & pillows. While it might be an exciting time for them, and you might be wondering where their road trip is taking them, the safety of the vehicle should probably also be questioned. Overloading or badly packing a car can pose a number of threats, so Scrap Car Comparison is here to help you do so safely.

If you feel like your car is so old, unreliable or just downright worn out that it can’t even be trusted for a short trip to the shops, then sell it now with Scrap Car Comparison. We will find you the best price for your vehicle, comparing offers from scrap and salvage dealers in your local area. What’s more, we can even arrange for your car or van to be collected at no extra cost, thanks to our network of buyers that covers 99% of the UK! Find out how much your car is worth today – get a quote by calling us on 03333 44 99 50 or by entering your postcode and vehicle registration into our scrap value calculator.

A man tries to force excessive luggage into the boot of a car while a woman watches

Why Might People Pack Their Cars Unsafely?

The more eco-friendly people among us have been pushing for society to use public transport more for years now, and rightly so. However, when going on a long journey, many of us will prefer the personal comforts of our own car. On top of this, if you’re travelling far and need to take a whole load of stuff with you, public transport of any kind is unlikely to be practical.

An alternative to this is simply to hire a van. Self-drive van hire companies are very common these days, but not everyone can afford to pay the fees, and many people won’t be comfortable – or licensed – to drive the correct size vehicle that they’ll need.

So, a lot of drivers opt to simply cram everything they need to move into their car, believing that as long as nothing is protruding out of an open window or interfering with the driver’s ability to operate the car, they’re good to go. Well, just because you can drive the car, doesn’t mean you should.

Where Would People Be Taking Their Possessions?

If you’ve ever passed a packed out car, you’ve probably been curious about why the occupants need to shift all of their possessions. Here are some of the most common reasons that people will overfill their car:

Heading To A Wedding

This actually applies to all sorts of celebratory events; weddings, birthdays, etc. It’s more likely to be an issue for the hosts and their families who may have large items to bring, like outfits, presents or even food, particularly if the party is taking place somewhere away from the family home.

Moving House

One of the more momentous reasons for people to fill their car with their items. In fact, they’ll be packing everything they own into their vehicles, most likely across multiple trips.

Going On Holiday

Take a look at the faces of this vehicle’s occupants and you’ll probably see that they’re the happiest of all drivers on the road, despite having their knees squished against the dashboard.

A Camping Trip

It’s not for everyone, but camping and generally spending time outdoors is an extremely common reason for packing the car too full. Seasoned pros will probably have their car far more organised, but if you want to see a good example of this one, look out for any classic ‘first car’ occupied by teenagers during music festival season – unfortunately, this guide won’t specifically cover packing pop-up tents and kegs of beer.

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The Dangers Of Packing A Car Badly

It might sound a bit pedantic to worry about how everything is stacked in your car, but there are some legitimate concerns raised by driving around with an overloaded vehicle. The worst of all are listed below:

Excessive Weight; Fuel

Once again, you might look at your car and think that there’s no way this huge lump of metal that’s capable of cracking 100 mph can be affected by some boxes or suitcases. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Every vehicle, including massive jumbo jets, have to take into account load weight.

Packing your car with too much stuff can have a significant impact on fuel efficiency, with a heavier car guzzling petrol or diesel at a much quicker rate. In fact, even electric vehicles will flatline faster!

Excessive Weight; Performance

There’s also the added stress applied to the vehicle’s tyres, which means you will have to keep an eagle-eyed watch on your tyre pressure. Incorrect tyre pressure, or even an uneven load, could lead to reduced steering ability, sluggish turning and acceleration and even longer braking times.

It’s with good reason then that packing your car so full that it exceeds a legal weight limit, putting you at risk of a fine and penalty points if you’re caught!

Reduced Visibility

If you really are filling your car to the brim, you might have exhausted the space in both the boot and the back seat, and let your possessions spill over into the front of the car too. If this is the case, it’s absolutely essential that you don’t obscure your view out of your wing mirrors or, most importantly of all, out of the front windscreen. Doing so is incredibly dangerous, especially when combined with the impact of the excessive weight. Rightly so, it’s also illegal.

You should also avoid, if possible, obscuring the view out of your back window through the rear view mirror. It may not be illegal to block the back window (as long as both of your wing mirrors are intact) but it’s still best to avoid doing so.

How To Pack A Car Safely

Whether you’re wondering how to pack a car for camping or for a holiday, we’ve got some tips below. Let’s get down to the business of ensuring your own car is packed properly. If you want to make sure you’re safe whilst not breaking any laws, consider using the following tips:

Start With The Big Stuff

A fairly straightforward one to start with, we know. Make sure that your largest, heaviest items are placed on the floor of the boot. This way, they won’t be able to move around once everything is on top of them, and they should also be pinned between the boot door and back seats.

Once the smaller stuff is packed too, it’s then a good idea to use a luggage strap to secure each item, bag or box together to stop them from bouncing around in transit.

Utilise The Back Seats

As long as you’ve got no passengers in the rear, you have two options here. You can flatten the rear seats, although this is probably best for when you’re dealing with one or two long items that, again, will be the length of the space and therefore pinned in place.

The alternative is to keep the back seats upright and place your possessions in the rear footwells. You’re probably noticing the trend, that the most important thing to do is pin your items in securely. The footwell should prevent them from flying around the rear seats. If you must put stuff on the back seats, it’s a good idea to try and secure it. The seat belt could work if the item in question is even vaguely human-shaped.

Invest In External Storage

This might seem like cheating, but there is always the option of purchasing more storage space in the form of a roof box or even a towable trailer! These will have their own weight limits that must be adhered to, and similarly they have to be secured to your vehicle safely. Failing to do so could have catastrophic consequences.

If your car just isn’t capable of getting all of your stuff where it needs to be, sell it now with Scrap Car Comparison and we’ll find you the best price for it, offered by fully-licensed Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) in your local area. We cover 99% of the UK, and we’re so confident that we’ll have a buyer just a stone’s throw from you that we offer free collection to all of our customers! Get a quote today by calling 03333 44 99 50 or entering your postcode and vehicle reg into our scrap value calculator.

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