During December we find that many drivers are placing their safety at risk by overloading their vehicles. Many of them are towing trailers, caravans or loading equipment in ever available bit of open space.
Overloading vehicles do not only increase the pressure on the suspension and other vehicle components -but makes it much more difficult to steer the vehicle safely in challenging road conditions. The overloaded vehicle will not only put the driver at risk, but also passengers and other road users.
Overloading a vehicle will pose the following risks:
* The vehicle will be less stable, difficult to steer and take longer to stop. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights which they are designed to carry are exceeded.
* Overloaded vehicles can cause the tyres to overheat and wear rapidly which increases the chance of premature, dangerous and expensive failure or blow-outs.
* The driver’s control and operating space in the overloaded vehicle is diminished, escalating the chances for an accident.
* The overloaded vehicle cannot accelerate as normal – making it difficult to overtake
* At night, the headlights of an overloaded vehicle will tilt up, blinding oncoming drivers to possible debris or obstructions on the roadway
* Brakes have to work harder due to ‘the riding of brakes’ and because the vehicle is heavier due to overloading. Brakes overheat and lose their effectiveness to stop the car.
* With overloading, seat belts are often not used as the aim is to pack in as many persons as possible into the vehicle
* The whole suspension system comes under stress and, over time, the weakest point can give way.
* By overloading your vehicle you will incur higher maintenance costs to the vehicle – tyres, brakes, shock absorbers and higher fuel consumption
* Insurance cover on overloaded vehicles may be void as overloading is illegal
We would like to urge all vehicle owners to pay attention to the risks of overloading when on holiday. We need to do everything possible to avoid preventable and unnecessary car insurance claims!