Do you often use your car to transport items, be it for work or personal use? Here are some points to take note of when ferrying items of different size and weight.
Our cars offer us the convenience of ferrying our things — from small items such as our gym attire and shopping purchases to larger ones such as bicycles and even items of furniture. However, when it comes to oversized items and pets, we do need to take certain precautions to ensure our safety and that of other road users.
Maintain vehicle balance
Whenever you are transporting heavy items, try spreading the load evenly throughout the boot or even the back seat if you have no passengers. This distributes the weight more evenly and keeps your car balanced. It also maximises your fuel efficiency and gives you a smoother ride. Keep to the left lane and avoid speeding. High speeds increase the risk of items becoming loose or detached, making them potential hazards.
Do not overload your car
Check the car manual to confirm that you are not exceeding the suggested load rating for the roof or cargo platform. Overloading the car only slows its ability to stop — and that’s not a good thing.
Ensure all-round visibility for driver
Do not stack items high in the cabin above the rear windows, as that may obstruct the driver’s view via the rear-view mirror. The items may also topple over and injure passengers in the back seat if you have to brake suddenly. Where possible, do not load stuff against the side windows,whether at the back or at the front. Try to keep them clear so that your sight isn’t impeded when you are driving.
Secure bulky items
Bringing home that fancy glass table lamp or big picture frame from Ikea? Make sure fragileitemsare well wrapped and cushioned for the ride. If you are transporting a few bulky items, keep them in place with bungee cords or tie-down straps. These prevent them from moving around during transit. Tug the items individually to make sure they are snug.For added assurance, hold everything in with a sturdy cargo netting, and do another check after a few minutes of driving to make sure they are securely fixed.
Keep cargo within your roof racks
Car roof racks in Singapore must be installed by qualified personnel according to the product manufacturer’s recommendation. When securing cargo to your roof rack, you must ensure that no part of the cargo or its carrier projects beyond the length and width of your car’s body. The load on the roof rack must also not exceed the loading capacity of the vehicle or the roof rack. When ferrying large and odd-shaped items, make sure to strap it down to the car as well as the roof rack as these items can experience wind resistance when the car is moving.This can impede your forward motion, so maintain a slow and steady driving speed. Use ratchet or cam straps to tie the roof rack through the doors, not the windows. Also, be aware of the extra height when you need to go into car parks or areas that have certain height restrictions.
Ferrying your pet
While there are no laws in Singapore governing the transport of dogs in vehicles, it is safer for your dog to be ferried in a dog crate or carrier. The crate should be big enough to house your dog comfortably and allow it to sit up and stretch but not so big that it would be thrown around in the event of a collision. The carrier should be properly secured by tethers or by sandwiching it between the back of the front seat and the backrest of the rear seats. It is also deemed less distracting for the driver and safer for the dog if it is ferried at the back of the car instead of the front. For hatchbacks, SUVs, MPVs and station wagons, dog guards can be fitted between the back of the seats and the boot area to provide a restricted area for your dog.