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Students warned about the dangers of overloaded
cars

As Freshers’ season looms, Highways England urges young people driving to university not to pack ‘everything but the kitchen sink’.

Highways England is appealing to young people going away to study not to overload their vehicles and not to drive when tired. It is also reminding them to carry out basic vehicle checks before setting out.

The warning follows research by the Government organisation showing that six out of 10 students would carry on driving even if they may have overloaded their car. It also shows that seven out of 10 students have got behind the wheel when tired.

Sensible packing urged

People should avoid packing ‘everything but the proverbial kitchen sink’, the organisation says, having surveyed more than 1,400 students ahead of Freshers’ season.

“We want everyone to get to their destination safely and we can all play a part in that,” says Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England.

“Our traffic officers are there to help get things moving if there’s a problem. But we’d urge all students to make sure they load their car correctly before setting off as they could be endangering themselves and other road users.”

Tips for safe loading

Highways England is offering advice on how to load vehicles correctly. These include:

  • put heavy luggage on the floor of the boot, directly behind the rear seat backrest
  • put light luggage on top of large cases, cover it with a blanket and secure it with a strap
  • store small, light objects that you don’t need while driving behind the front seat or in vacuum bags in the storage space under the seats
  • put anything particularly heavy in the boot, not unrestrained on the back seat
  • make sure anything you’re carrying externally – for example, a roof box – is secured
  • make sure you can see in your mirrors when driving

They also warn students to make sure they have the right car insurance especially if they’re driving someone else’s vehicle, towing a trailer or sharing the driving.

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