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Returning from our vacations: taking care not to overload the vehicle

Vuelta de vacaciones: cuidado con los objetos de más que se llevan en el vehículo

26/08/2019

Did you know that traveling with too much baggage in your vehicle can be dangerous? We begin our vacations with a certain amount of baggage and come back with much more than we started out with. We want to offer you some recommendations to bear in mind on your journey in order to ensure that there is no risk to your safety. 

Firstly, we need to be familiar with the concept of  ‘maximum authorized mass’. Known by the initials ‘MAM’, this is the maximum weight a vehicle is authorized to have on the roads once it has been loaded. For example, in Spain, the B category driving license only allows you to drive vehicles with a weight of up to 3500 kg. The vehicle is not allowed to exceed this weight. 

However, the vehicle's Tare is the vehicles' weight when it is empty. In order to work out how much weight the vehicle can carry, you will need to calculate the difference between the MAM and the Tare. You need to take into account the passenger's weight and ensure that the vehicle's tared weight is its weight when it is completely empty, with an empty tank of gas, etc. All this information appears in the vehicle's technical specifications sheet and inspection papers (called an ITV in Spain).

Overloading a vehicle can affect its stability and the car will also use more fuel. Reaction times will also be slower when faced with an unexpected event on the roads and the braking distance will increase: slamming on the brakes in a completely empty car is not the same as in an overloaded car. 

SAFETY TIPS

For these reasons, on long journeys with more baggage than normal it is advisable to evenly distribute the load so that it does not affect the vehicle's stability. You should also pay heightened attention to the road and increase your safety distance from other cars. 

In order to reduce fuel consumption, it is best to drive smoothly and consistently, without too much acceleration and sharp braking. We advise driving in higher gears at a moderate speed and never going over the legal speed limits on each stretch of the road.

Before setting off on your journey you should pay special attention to vehicle maintenance. You should check the tires, suspension, brakes and engine. Planning the journey also helps to manage any possible unforeseen events, to choose the best route possible and decide on when to take breaks on the journey. 

You should not transport any pets or loose objects that are not secured in place or in their appropriate pet carriers inside the vehicle. In this infographic we address the consequences of not properly securing items in the vehicle.

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