Secure loads for everyone
A toolbox here, a book there – lots of drivers don’t give too much thought to this sort of thing. And yet, loose and unrestrained objects in a vehicle can become very dangerous in critical situations. We have summarised the most important points about load safety for always stowing away your luggage securely.
The topic of load safety is important for not only trucks but also light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tons and cars. The legal framework is set out in the EU Directive 2014/47/EU, which came into force on 20 May 2018, as well as the national road traffic regulations (StVO). Infringements can be penalised with fines of up to € 5,000 and an entry for the driver in the register of driver fitness. So you see, its pays to pay attention to secure loads.
But what exactly do I have to watch out for when loading a vehicle? Can my child ride in the front passenger seat too? And what about transporting animals? We have investigated these and other questions for you.
Loading cars correctly
Heavy items should always be placed in the boot directly behind the rear seat, or if there are no passengers on the rear seat, in the foot well there. This stops them from slipping in the event of an emergency stop or in sharp corners. With very heavy loads, we recommend attaching the seat belts on the rear seats. The rear seat backrest protects passengers and therefore should only be folded down in exceptional cases.
Bicycles, skis and other sports equipment should be secured in a roof box or suitable roof racks wherever possible. Loose snowboards or even ski boots can turn into dangerous missiles inside the car in the event of an accident. This is why you should take particular care with these for your own safety.
Never exceed the vehicle’s maximum payload. Always adjust the tyre pressure and headlights accordingly when transporting heavy loads. You must always be able to see behind you in the rear-view mirror, which is why you should never load the passenger compartment too full.
Even seemingly harmless objects in the passenger compartment can be dangerous if they are not secured properly. In principle, it can be said that the parcel shelf should be kept free of any kind of object. Even a book weighing 2 kg could hit you with a force equivalent of 100 kilograms after an emergency stop from 50 kmh.
Transporting children and animals
The driver is always responsible when transporting children up to the age of 14. Children below the age of 14 and/or less than 150 cm in height need a children’s seat according to their size. Depending on the model, children can be strapped in either on the rear seat or front passenger seat. Children’s seats that face backwards, so-called reboard systems, may only be installed on the rear seat or on the front passenger seat if the airbag on the passenger side can be deactivated.
Animals too have to be secured properly if they are being transported in a car or commercial vehicle. There are several ways to ensure that your pet arrives at your destination safely. The most common method is to use a transport box, which similarly has to be secured against slipping. Special animal safety belts are another option, but these can only be attached on the rear seat. Bars or nets between the rows of seats are recommended for larger animals to prevent them from jumping into the front of the vehicle. Always make sure that the safety device matches the individual size and type of the animal.
Many dangers lurk in cars, so remember: all objects stay in their place if they are well secured and do not pose a risk to passengers. Plan a couple of minutes in advance to make sure loads are secure before setting off on any journey.