Overloaded trucks have long been recognized as a road hazard which greatly contributes to many truck accidents on our nation’s highways. However, the danger posed by overloaded cars is rarely talked about in a similar fashion. In many ways, this makes an overloaded car even more dangerous than an overloaded truck. Clearly, they greatly increase the risk of a car accident.
It is quite common for people to cram as much as possible into their cars. We see it on a regular basis:
- Musicians overload their vehicles to get all of their gear to gigs
- Individuals often overload their vehicles when moving into a new home or apartment in order to reduce the number of trips they have to make
- Families overload their vehicles during road trip vacations, especially when young children are involved who still need items like cribs and strollers
- Camping trips often result in overloaded vehicles as people try to fit as much food and gear as possible in order to make the trip more comfortable
People don’t think twice about maxing out the square footage of their trunks, back seats, and back portions of SUVs in these situations. Yet how many people actually alter their driving habits to accommodate this additional load in their vehicle?
The excess weight resulting from an overloaded vehicle causes the following problems:
- It increases the time it takes to bring the vehicle to a complete stop
- It decreases the maneuverability of vehicles
- It makes the vehicle more prone to rollover accidents
As a result, drivers of overloaded vehicles must take certain precautions in order to reduce the chance of a car accident. It is important to leave a longer following distance in order to ensure that you can stop in time if a vehicle unexpectedly brakes in front of you. Also, always leave yourself an escape path in case an unexpected obstacle enters your lane. Otherwise, you may have trouble maneuvering to avoid it.
By recognizing the dangers inherent in driving an overloaded vehicle, you can help keep yourself and others on the road much safer.