Motorists are being told how they can drive safely over the festive period as cars are being dangerously overfilled with presents, luggage and Christmas trees.
Experts at LeaseCar.uk and LeaseElectricCar.co.uk are now informing drivers how they can travel safely over Christmas time by avoiding exceeding weight restrictions and checking visibility isn’t compromised, which could lead to accidents and hefty fines.
Drivers should always ensure they can see clearly out of all the windows and blind spots on the vehicle.
Before setting off on any long, or short, festive trips, double check that there aren’t too many presents piled up in the boot or the Christmas tree isn’t blocking the view.
Whether driving back from some last-minute gift shopping, travelling over the country to visit loved ones or driving with a Christmas tree in the back, it’s important that all drivers stay aware of how to drive safely this festive period.
The Highway Code states that drivers MUST NOT overload their vehicles and nothing can be sticking out of the car dangerously; it must be secured down.
To check the weight restrictions on a vehicle, check the manual or it may be displayed on a sticker on the inside of the driver door.
Overloading the vehicle is not only dangerous and illegal, but it also will likely cause long-term damage to the brakes and suspension of vehicles.
If a Christmas tree will not fit inside the car and sticks out slightly, then it is advisable to attach something reflective to the end so other road users are aware – but the tree cannot block any vision for the driver.
A safer option is to attach Christmas trees to the top of a vehicle, ensuring that it is properly secured down with ropes or bungee cords, and with the stump of the tree at the front of the vehicle to reduce wind resistance.
When driving with an increased load, all motorists must be aware that this will increase fuel consumption and must drive with more caution – braking and accelerating gently too.
A roof rack can also be useful to transport presents home, or luggage when travelling to see loved ones over the Christmas period.
But motorists must check the maximum weight limit for the car and the roof box before setting off to avoid driving with excessive weight, which could be dangerous and an offence leading to fines.
When driving with anything attached to the roof, whether it be a rack or a Christmas tree, it is advisable to pull over regularly to ensure everything is still secured and in place.
Make sure the rear of the car isn’t blocked by anything piled up and everything is secured down tightly so nothing can fly around – pack belongings and gifts safely next to each other and use the back seat belts too.
If a driver is found to be travelling in a vehicle which exceeds its weight restriction, then a hefty fine and penalty points could be on the way to ruin any Christmas cheer.
And if presents, luggage or Christmas trees are blocking a clear view for the driver, they could be fined heavily for dangerous driving.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk and LeaseElectricCar.co.uk said: “We all know how difficult it can be to actually pack everything up in your car when you’re off on a long journey to visit your loved ones over Christmas.
“There’s presents which are big and awkwardly sized and expensive, fragile gifts too. Alongside that there are suitcases for overnight stays filled with thick warm coats and jumpers that surprisingly take up a lot of room.
“But no matter how much you and your family may want to squeeze everything into the car, the driver must ensure that the car doesn’t break any weight limits, including limits from the roof rack too.
“And as tempting as it might be to pack everything up high to fit in the remainder of the presents, the driver must be able to see clearly out of all the windows and blind spots – nothing can obstruct the view.
“Bringing home the Christmas tree, and disposing of it early next year is also something drivers need to be aware of to not break any weight restrictions.
“Everything in the car, or on the roof, has to be securely fastened down. Something flying around can be a massive distraction for the driver causing dangerous driving, and packing the car over its weight limit could mean a hefty fine and penalty points which will no doubt ruin Christmas.”
For more Christmas safety tips for drivers this festive season, head over to leasecar.uk.