Whether you’re taking a road trip, visiting your parents for holidays, or even taking a student to school or university, packing a lot into a small space can be a challenge. However, you have to be careful about the consequences of overloading a vehicle.

What are the Risks of Overloading your Car?

  • Difficulty in steering and taking longer to stop the car: Having unstable car is a major hassle.
  • Car acceleration won’t be up to standard: Overtaking another vehicle, to avoid any road safety risks, will be challenging.
  • Risk of driving without a seat belt: With overloading, the driver’s aim is to generally pack-in as much resources as possible.
  • Vehicle control and operating space would be diminished: Increasing the chances of an accident.
  • Tyre overheating and wear-and-tear: This can ultimately result in an expensive tyre blow-out.  
  • High maintenance costs: Due to high fuel consumption caused by car overloading.
  • Rejection from insurance coverage: Car overload is illegal.
  • Issues in the vehicle’s suspension control system: The vehicle’s suspension won’t be able to handle highway speeds appropriately. The suspension system may therefore come under stress, causing the control system’s weakest points to give in.

What will Happen if my Car is Found to be Overloaded?

Let’s hope that you don’t get pulled aside by SA’s law enforcement. But, if a road traffic officer found your vehicle to be overloaded, you should expect a massive fine up to R1500. The traffic officer may also prevent you from travelling any further, until the weight of your second hand car is rectified.

Do not expect your Insurer to Pay if you Overload your Vehicle

Some vehicle owners often complain about their insurers and non-payment of a claim. This is caused by not having enough knowledge about their car insurance company – car insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company, where the insurer agrees to provide cover on receipt of a monthly insurance premium for normal and expected risk to the insurable interest of the client.

An insurance policy would also specify situations where they will not be able to make payment. These could include a certain event, person or condition that is not covered. Typical exclusions from car insurance would be overloading your car, using your car as a taxi service, damage to your car from driving on gravel roads, etc.

Overloading and Road Safety

CarZar has come up with some tips and advice to keep in mind, when ensuring road safety and the correct weight of your car load.

  • Know  and understand the weight of your vehicle: Ensure that the permitted axle weight and the gross vehicle weight is correct.
  • Gross vehicle weight: The maximum permitted weight  of the vehicle, including any load it’s carrying.
  • Authorised vehicle weights: These can be found on the vehicle ‘plates’, which are fitted to onto buses, minibuses or vans.  These are normally fixed to the chassis, often in the engine bay. It may alternatively be fixed onto the bodywork inside the door of the vehicle. On minibuses, the weight can be found inside the manufacturer’s handbook.
  • Passenger weight: Remember, your passengers need a seat and are required to wear a seat belt by law. That’s why you’ve got a boot to store suitcases, packages, etc.
  • Distribute your load: Your car trunk will come in handy here. Unless it’s a passenger, your load should always and only be placed in your car trunk – not on top of car seats.
  • Check your car weight: This should be done before and after, using a weighbridge.
  • Logistics companies should own a weighbridge: Especially truck service companies.
  • Companies must have a “safety culture” in place: It will ensure that drivers understand and know weight legislation – any concerns about overloaded vehicles should be reported immediately.

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