If you are planning to head off on a road trip this summer, be careful not to overload your car with heavy baggage or you could find yourself in trouble with the law.
Overloading your car beyond its weight limit is a punishable offence, with motorists facing a hefty fine and penalty points if they break the law.
A punishable offence
While a summer road trip requires plenty of supplies, with some families taking along bikes, toys, or camping gear, alongside clothes and food, cramming too much into your car comes with numerous risks.
Not only can overloading obstruct your rear windscreen view, exceeding the weight limit of your car can attract a fine of up to £300.
Motorists will also be landed with three penalty points on their licence.
Additionally, if you are involved in an accident while your vehicle is loaded beyond its maximum limit, this can also invalidate your car insurance.
Maximum weight limits
The maximum weight your car should hold, including passengers and luggage, will be outlined in your vehicle handbook.
If this weight limit is ignored, it can pose a danger to your vehicle by placing additional strain on the tyres and other components, affecting the handling of your car and increasing your risk of having an accident.
Motorists may then be liable for the damage costs to other people or property, as well as their own car.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, told The Sun: “As families get geared up for time away, parents can end up playing a game of ‘Car Tetris’, as they try to fit suitcases, bags and children into the car.
“In most modern cars, you’d be hard pressed to take the vehicle over its weight restriction.
“However, you should always check the handbook and ideally, weigh everything before putting it into the car.
“If you feel you are close to breaching the limit, drivers should head to a weighbridge and get an accurate reading.”
How to check the maximum weight for your car
Before heading off on a trip, be sure to check the maximum authorised mass (MAM), or maximum permitted weight recommended for your car.
The MAM will be listed in your vehicle handbook and is also normally displayed on a plate or sticker fitted to your car.