Nick and I love a good road trip. Being passionate about cars, we love to hit the road and drive somewhere fun.
One of our road trips involved a trip to Iowa. I helped get all of our bags packed, for me and the kids, and then started to take them to the car. You know how it goes – mom gets the bags ready and dad loads the car.
Well, Nick had put my 3rd row seats down to try and create more room for our bags. I came out to bring the last bag and realized that it was not going to work. Although putting the seats down created more room, it also created a safety hazard. If you put your 3rd row down and then you can put them “in a up position” that is fine. But he had them flat so there was no barrier between us and and bags. (That is my dad coming out in me!) Anyway…
In the event we had to hit the brakes hard, ALL that loose luggage would fly forward quickly. This wasn’t safe, nor a good way to pack the car. It’s not safe to have a 30 lb bag rushing toward you and your passengers in the event of a quick stop.
We repacked the car with the seats up, placing the heaviest bags on the bottom and towards the front, and were on our way to Iowa.
Here are some “Packing the SUV/Car tips from www.ConsumerReports.org:
Not all SUVs and minivans are created equal
Just because you own an SUV or minivan doesn’t mean it can be loaded to the roof. Maximum load capacity, which is the maximum amount of passenger and cargo weight that a vehicle is designed to handle, varies greatly from vehicle to vehicle, even within a model range. For small SUVs, capacity can span from a low of 675 pounds for the Honda Element to 1,155 pounds for the Mitsubishi Outlander. In the Element, four large adults—without luggage—could exceed the payload rating. Among midsize SUVs, the Nissan Murano only can carry 900 pounds, while the Lincoln Navigator tops out at 1,525 pounds. Minivan capacities can vary significantly, as well. The load capacity is specified in the owner’s manual.
Put the heaviest items up front
Make sure the heaviest items are put as far forward in the cargo area as possible, and keep them on the floor. In all vehicles, and SUVs in particular, it is important to keep the heaviest items towards the center of the vehicle. This reduces the potential adverse effect on handling that could be caused by the cargo weight; significant weight at the back could compress the rear springs and reduce the weight over the front wheels, impacting steering and braking. Further, this strategy helps keep the overall center of gravity lower, reducing the likelihood of a rollover.
Secure loose items
To prevent cargo from flying around during a sudden stop, pack smaller items into boxes and strap down larger ones using the car’s cargo anchors. Make sure items from the cargo section will not strike passengers in an emergency situation. Refrain from loading large items—or even small, loose items—on the top of your cargo pile, as these can become dangerous projectiles in a panic stop or a crash.
Rear visibility is important
Make sure that you don’t stack your belongings so high that you can’t see out. An obscured rear window makes driving difficult and creates considerable risk when reversing. Without rearward visibility, there is no telling what you might run in to—even a child.
Keep essentials handy
Make sure your roadside emergency kit, cell phone, and maps are readily accessible, just in case. Be aware that you may need to unload the cargo area to gain access to a spare tire.
Tire maintenance and pressure is important
Visually inspect your tires before preparing for a trip. Make sure there are no sidewall bulges and there is no indication of tread damage or extreme wear, such as chunked tread, exposed steel belts, punctures, or sidewall cuts. Confirm the tires are properly inflated for carrying people and cargo, making adjustments as necessary. The recommended inflation pressure usually can be found on the driver’s side doorjamb, inside of the fuel-filler door, or in the owner’s manual. Be sure to use these inflation pressure numbers, not the maximum pressure figure on the tire sidewall.
If you ever have questions about weight capactiy, tire pressure or towing capacity PLEASE feel free to call the guys at the shop and they will be happy to answer all your questions!