By Alex Kapadia
Millions of British holidaymakers are overloading their cars to dangerous levels as they gear up for their summer holiday, warns a leading high street insurance retailer.
The extra weight puts additional pressure on tyres, which can cause them to overheat and possibly blowout , according to Swinton insurance.
As well as affecting tyres safety and performance, if a car is too heavy it becomes less stable on the road, is more difficult to steer and will take longer to stop.
Also, overloading will also cause the vehicle to use more fuel.
This year has seen a record number of families avoiding holidays abroad in favour of UK breaks as the Great British Holiday makes a comeback.
And as the recession continues to grip the nation, camping trips are proving hugely popular with families trying to save some cash this summer.
Often reliving holidays experienced during their youth, families are stacking their cars with equipment such as tents, gas cookers, luggage and bicycles and heading off to popular camp sites and holiday resorts across the country.
But parents are putting their families at risk by overloading the car with sometimes unnecessary equipment, gadgets and luxuries.
Steve Chelton, Insurer Development Manager for Swinton, said: “Car overloading is a serious matter that is often overlooked by motorists. Not only does it put other road users in danger, but also the passengers of the overloaded vehicle.
“To avoid carrying unnecessary weight, limit luggage to essentials. Leave behind anything that can be bought on arrival at a nearby supermarket, such as drinks, food or charcoal for the BBQ. And always make sure that you have a clear, unobstructed view out of the rear window.”
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that the ‘vehicle user’ is responsible for ensuring that the car is not overloaded. Drivers risk a fine of up to £3,000 for exceeding a vehicle’s maximum weight.
Drivers could also receive three penalty points on their licence if their car is deemed overloaded under the driving offence CU50 – causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers.