Tips on How to Place Luggage in a Car


Published 26/07/2019
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When it comes time to go on holiday, the same problem always arises. How should you organise your luggage in the car? Some drivers underestimate the risk of incorrectly loading up their vehicle, or not taking the necessary precautions.

Before going on a trip, you need to make sure the vehicle is in good condition and all the luggage is protected, secured and, above all, placed correctly. A fully packed car is less stable when making any sudden manoeuvres and over-packing it may affect electronic safety systems, such as stability control (ESP).

Recommendations for placing luggage in a car

First off, the luggage must be placed correctly in the boot and, if you need to transport very bulky or heavy luggage, you can always help yourself out with a trailer, a cargo box, bicycle rack or a ski rack.  No matter your individual circumstances, always keep in mind the following recommendations.

All luggage must go in the boot

Backpacks, suitcases, bags and any other object must be placed in the vehicle’s boot. It’s important to evenly distribute the weight and place the vehicle’s centre of gravity as low as possible. First place the heaviest pieces, with the larger, rigid suitcases at the bottom and lightest ones on top. It’s also important to secure or attach the luggage to the anchors in the boot using fasteners or nets. This way, even if you make a sharp turn, the weight of the luggage won’t move around and won’t destabilise the vehicle.

If you have any fragile or sharp object, such as glass, you should protect it with a towel or blanket to avoid cutting yourself if there is an accident.

In addition, you shouldn’t carry loose objects or place anything on the rear tray, as this will reduce your field of vision and, in the event of collision or sudden braking, it may cause damage.

Use closed and airtight boxes if necessary

If the boot doesn’t have enough space to accommodate all of your luggage, you can use a closed, weatherproof and approved exterior cargo box for the rest of the luggage. Don’t forget to ensure the cargo box is properly secured.

Comply with the car manufacturer’s recommendations

Keep in mind the limitations that the car manufacturer sets regarding the gross weight and maximum load that the axles and roof can support. Remember to also check the load capacity on the trailer ball if you need to use it.

Fasten all seatbelts

Even if no one is travelling in the back seats, fasten the seatbelts so that, in the event of sudden braking or a collision, the luggage does not enter the cabin

Consequences of placing luggage in a car incorrectly

Drivers always have to place luggage in the boot. That way, in case of an accident, the luggage will be prevented from hitting the people travelling in the car. The main danger that can be caused by incorrectly placed luggage is a change in braking distance and a decrease in the car’s stability.

Increased braking distance

When the car is loaded up, the distance it needs to stop is much greater than that of an empty vehicle. The greater the weight, the greater the distance you will need to brake correctly.

The luggage places greater stress on the tires, the suspension and the braking system, which means that the car doesn’t respond in the same way as when you are travelling without the extra weight.

Braking in a curve and the vehicle’s stability are compromised by 20% when the car is full, compared to when there is only one driver inside. This should help you get an idea of the importance of being familiar with the car’s behaviour when it is fully loaded.

The car’s stability is reduced

On the other hand, when the car has to swerve, stability and agility are compromised by more than 11%, according to a study carried out by the Mapfre Foundation. When the is car is fully packed, and if the luggage is placed behind the rear axle, it is possible for a situation to occur in which the driver loses total control.

If you’re driving in a straight line on a dry surface, the cargo has hardly any influence, although, according to data, the braking distance is still increased by 4.3%.

On the other hand, if there is cargo in addition to passengers, by decreasing the centre of gravity, you can achieve greater efficiency in curves and better stability.

In short, correctly placing luggage in the car when you travel is very important, since it affects the safety of the driver and the passengers. It turns out that this is something that you really need to pay attention to.  For this reason, we recommend that you follow all of the above tips when travelling with luggage in your vehicle.

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