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Dangers of over-packed student cars revealed

Read Cars logo Read Cars 18/09/2017 Gareth Herincx
© Co-op Insurance

As half a million UK students head off to university this month, new research has highlighted the dangers of over-packing cars ahead of these journeys.

In a Co-op Insurance study conducted among students, three quarters (77%) travel by car when moving into or out of their student home.

Of these, two fifths (41%) say they disregard their rear-view window when packing up their vehicles, meaning visibility is compromised.

A fifth (20%) block their side window visibility by over-packing their vehicle, a fifth (17%) strapped items to the top of the car without a roof rack, and a sixth (16%) were unable to properly close their boots because of the amount of luggage they crammed in.

Two thirds (61%) said their visibility was poor, a quarter (24%) worried items may fall off the roof or out of the boot, and a fifth (17%) couldn’t fully access the car controls.

“It’s concerning that 61% of students will venture to or from university in a vehicle where there’s poor visibility due to over-packing,” said Steve Kerrigan, Head of Young Driver Insurance at Co-op Insurance.

“Visibility when driving, particularly on motorways, is absolutely critical and nothing should compromise this element of safety.”

Top 10 tips for packing student cars safely:

1. Use vacuum storage bags for items that take a lot of room

2. Remove all items from the car that aren’t needed

3. Pack items in the order that they’re going to be needed

4. Use soft bags rather than rigid suitcases

5. Don’t cram so much in that the driver’s view is obstructed

6. Ensure there’s space for safety equipment

7. Keep larger/heavier items low down and pack smaller items around them

8. Consider roof boxes to carry large items

9. Be aware that items may be thrown forward if it’s necessary to brake suddenly

10. Adjust tyre pressures to allow for a heavier load

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity, added: “Making the move to University can be an exciting time for young adults, especially those moving to new cities.

“As frustrating as moving can be, we would encourage all students to take their time when packing and ensure their any vehicle is loaded safely and correctly. It’s worth figuring out what needs to be taken urgently and what can be moved at a later date.”


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