The Road Ahead : June July 2007
TORQUING POINT WITH JOHN EWING Take a load off 54 JUN/JLY 07 If some of the motorists on the road at Easter were anything to judge by, then it's clear that travelling light is a foreign concept to a lot of folk. They appeared to have ever ything on board, including the proverbial kitchen sink. In many cases, proper loading techniques appear equally unknown. Cramming as much as you can fit in or on the vehicle isn't an acceptable answer. Car-makers usually specify a maximum payload, which includes the occupants. Typically it's about 400 to 500 kg for a family sedan. Roof racks should be well secured and the vehicle maker's maximum roof load should not be exceeded. Generally speaking, this will be around 50 to 100 kg. Excessive weight up top may cause body damage and will upset vehicle stability and handling. Loads on the roof count as par t of the total payload too. Secure loads well and protect from dust and weather as required. If the proposed loads are going to exceed the vehicle's payload, then consider using a trailer. When loading the boot, tr y to distribute items evenly, placing heavy items low down, near the vehicle centre line, and as far for ward as possible. Loads in station wagons, including 4WDs, should be well secured to prevent objects becoming deadly missiles under emergency braking or in a crash. A proper Australian Standards compliant cargo barrier is best. Small items left loose in the cabin can slide around, distracting the driver, or could enter the driver's footwell and inter fere with safe use of the pedals. Even an item as light as a phone or purse could become a projectile that inflicts serious injur y. Use the oddments storage compar tments provided. If carr ying fishing rods, make sure the lines with attached hooks and sinkers are well secured to prevent injur y. Gas bottles for items such as camping stoves should always be carried in an upright position to ensure the safety valve will, if necessar y, operate as intended. Cylinders should be well secured. The total capacity of all cylinders must not exceed 5 kg and no single cylinder should be larger than 2.25 kg. "Even an item as light as a phone or purse could become a projectile that inflicts serious injury." If you'd like some technical advice, visit racq.com.au or call RACQ's Technical Advisor y Ser vice on 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 (members in countr y areas).
April May 2007
August September 2007