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Transporting goods in a car

From time to time, we all need to transport goods in a car that are large or heavy, such as when we are heading off on holiday, picking up materials from the DIY store, or taking the kids to school or college. But what is the best and safest way to do this, and what should you consider when transporting goods in a car?

Be prepared

If you are transporting goods in a car that are much heavier than your usual load, you will probably need to adjust your tyre pressure. Your drivers’ manual will advise you on how to do this. Don’t forget to re-adjust them when you have finished. You should also double check your spare tyre, as punctures and blow-outs are much more common when transporting goods in a car.

Be sensible

Think sensibly when packing to transport goods in a car, keeping heavy items as low in the vehicle and as close to the centre as possible. This will reduce the impact of the load on handling when transporting goods in a car. Make sure your mirrors and other sight lines are clear and that there are no loose items that will rattle around and get damaged or cause damage to other items or passengers.

Be safe

Safety is the key when transporting goods in a car. Heavy loads will drastically increase your braking distance and make your car less responsive to drive, so you need to adapt your driving style accordingly, especially if you are used to driving the car alone or with a single passenger.

If you are using a roof rack, remember to tie the load down securely at both the front and the back. The airflow when you drive will try to lift the load at the front, while the air resistance will try to push it off the back. Accelerating and braking will also make the load shift through inertia.

Be legal

Above all, it is important to stay legal when transporting goods in a car. Your car will have a maximum permissible load stated in the manual and on the VIN plate. If you exceed this, you will not only risk serious damage to your car, but also risk prosecution for dangerous driving.

The Highway Code states that loads must be secured and must not ‘stick out dangerously’. Loads that extend more than 2m from your vehicle will need to be tagged with an end marker. Side markers are also required if it extends over 3m, although once you reach this point, your load is unlikely to be legal in any case.

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