on Safely Loading your Vehicle for the
are ready to hit the roads for the holidays.
The car is fully loaded with not only
passengers, but also their luggage and
holiday travel needs. There are five
safety belts for the five passengers,
and at least five pieces of luggage
in the vehicle. So youre good
to go, right? Not necessarily.
to AAA, your fully loaded car could
put you in harm's way this holiday season.
If your vehicle is bogged down and overweight,
AAA experts warn it may become potentially
hazardous while on the road.
vehicle has a manufacturers recommended
payload capacity, which is the maximum
combined weight of all cargo and passengers
that can be safely carried by the vehicle.
The weight, however, does not including
towing. According to AAA reports, exceeding
this payload capacity stresses the vehicle's
tires, shocks and springs three
important pieces for keeping a vehicle
vehicles do post their recommended payload
capacity and passenger limits on stickers
inside the driver-side door panel. For
example, a 2005 Nissan Quest minivan
can hold up to seven passengers, with
a suggested payload capacity of 1,200
pounds. If each of the Nissan's passengers
weighed at least 200 pounds, the minivan
would be considered overloaded even
without passenger luggage.
capacity can differ from vehicle to
vehicle, including those that may hold
the same number of passengers. For instance,
a 2006 Toyota Corolla can hold five
passengers with its payload capacity
of 850 pounds. However, the 2007 Lincoln
Town Car can hold the same amount of
passengers, but has an increased payload
of 1,100 pounds. Some smaller vehicles
like the Mazda Miata can only hold two
people with a payload capacity of just
to John Nielsen, director of AAA's Approved
Auto Repair program, an overloaded car
is a safety hazard even if it is well-maintained.
in safety mechanisms that help a driver
maintain control at highway speeds wont
work properly when supporting more weight
than they were designed to carry,"
properly inflated tire carrying too
much weight tends to bulge at the bottom
and sidewalls, causing them to contact
the pavement. As the tire rolls along
the pavement, the bulged sidewalls can
rub against the tire, heating it up
and increasing the chance of sidewall
and tread failure or a dangerous blowout.
In addition to tire damage, Nielsen
said an overweight vehicle can prove
dangerous to control.
a turn or sudden swerve, an over-weighted
vehicle will roll too far to the outside,
which causes the spring and shock system
to rebound, pushing the vehicle back
to the inside. This condition creates
a rocking effect similar to a ship on
the sea that can make steering so difficult
that a driver may lose control of their
vehicle, Neilsen said.
recommends motorists following a vehicle
weight checklist if they are traveling
with passengers and cargo this holiday
the sticker on the driver-side door
for the vehicle's payload capacity.
renting a car if you need more payload
Be prepared for a vehicle to take
longer speeding up, braking and steering
when it's fully loaded with passengers
Limit the number of passengers to
the number of safety belts available
in the vehicle.
any load traveling on the hood of
your vehicle to no more than 100 pounds,
or 18-inches in height.
careful not to overload the trunk
or rear cargo compartment.
that are placed inside a vehicle's
open cargo area should be properly
secured and stored.