Safely Loading and Driving an SUV or Minivan

Posted & filed under Car Insurance Tips.

With the holidays fast approaching, more families will be hitting the roads in SUVs or minivans packed to the gills with food, presents, luggage, and people — although sometimes it’s hard to find room for the people. Most of us regard loading up the family car as a “more is better” proposition, but from a safety standpoint, this is not the case. Follow some basic packing guidelines in order to take that holiday road trip safely, and with the best use of your available space.

First, concentrate on appropriately positioning the load. In SUVs and minivans, it’s an urban myth that putting the heaviest items over the rear wheels increases traction and improves handling.

– Put the heaviest items forward in the cargo area.

– Keep the greatest degree of weight in the center of the vehicle.

– Keep heavy items on the floor.

Putting extra weight to the rear can potentially compress the rear springs and make the front wheels too light and high. This affects steering and the vehicle’s ability to corner and can also lead to flips and rollovers.

Pay attention to your tires. On either the driver’s door jam or on the fuel door, you’ll find a sticker with pressure information. Make sure the tires are inflated for maximum load capacity.

– Maximum load capacity is the total safe weight the vehicle can handle when both the passenger and cargo weighs are combined.

Do not take the pressure information off the side of the tires. Also, look at the tires and make sure there are no bulges or obvious signs of damage to the treads. A flat tire or blow-out is no fun under the best of conditions, but certainly not when the vehicle is fully loaded. ï » ¿