Safely storing & securing items inside & outside a vehicle can be the difference between a safe trip and an accident warns Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Whether it’s camping gear stacked on a minivan, equipment piled high on a van owned by a contractor, or a car with a queen size mattress and box spring tied to the roof, you’ve seen vehicles unsafely loaded. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says there’s a reason drivers can get ticketed for doing this: if the items fall off the vehicle they can cause a car accident.
A picture tells a thousand words.
The photo was taken by the New Hampshire State Police who, like their Florida law enforcement colleagues, often deal with drivers who can’t pack enough into, onto or behind their vehicles. According to the Boston Globe New Hampshire State Police last month published a warning against over-packing vehicles after a state trooper pulled over the driver of this minivan which was practically covered by a variety of items (including a bicycle, lamps and furniture) strapped on by rope.
“Driving with items attached/strapped to your vehicle can be extremely dangerous for you and those driving nearby,” police wrote. “These objects can obstruct your view or even worse become unsecure and cause an accident.”
The driver was stopped on Interstate 93 North in Londonderry, New Hampshire, according to police. He received summonses for negligent driving and driving an uninspected vehicle. The vehicle was towed from the scene.
No matter the vehicle if items are outside, on the back of a truck, on a trailer or on the roof of a passenger vehicle, if the items fall off and onto a roadway, especially at highway speeds, it can cause an accident. A following vehicle may strike the item, or swerve to avoid it, causing it or other vehicles to crash.
If not done properly even items stored inside a vehicle can be a threat to safety. Consumer Reports states that,
- You shouldn’t overload your vehicle by going beyond its load capacity (calculated by subtracting the vehicle’s curb weight (the vehicle’s empty weight) from its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR, the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry)). The load capacity includes passengers, cargo and weight of the gasoline in your tank.
- Put the heaviest items as far forward and as close to the center of the vehicle as possible. This reduces the adverse impact on handling. If the greatest weight is in the back it may affect braking and steering of the vehicle.
- Smaller items should be boxed to prevent them from flying around the vehicle. Large items should be strapped down using cargo anchors (if available). Large items in a trunk or in an SUV should be secure enough so they don’t shift, possibly hitting passengers or the driver or impact handling in an emergency situation.
- Don’t pile items so high the driver can’t see what’s behind the vehicle. This is especially dangerous when the vehicle needs to reverse.
- If you’re transporting a heavy load maintaining correct tire pressure in safe tires, which is always important, can be critical. Look at your tires before your trip. Look for sidewall bulges, tread damage, extreme wear, punctures or sidewall cuts. Additional weight puts additional stress on tires. If they’re already well worn a long trip with a heavy load may be too much for them to safely handle.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by an improperly loaded passenger vehicle or commercial truck, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.