The trunk, a question of safety
How to load the trunk and transport our pets when on vacation
In general, the main approach that most of us use when loading the trunk is like a game of Tetris: we fill empty spaces with similar shapes so that in the end, and with a little luck, we can close the door successfully.
What we don’t take into consideration is the fact that the load in the trunk affects our safety, especially in terms of the passengers in the back, who are usually minors.
A while back, certain dynamic tests were conducted involving a trunk full of suitcases, something common in 90% of the cars that go on vacation. The load from the trunk moved into the passenger space with catastrophic consequences.
In fact, according to the approval criteria, the backrest of the luggage compartment is designed for a weight of 36 kg.
Let’s look at an example. Assuming that 2 adults and 2 children are traveling in a vehicle, the additional weight would be about 200 kg where the loading weight of a mid-range vehicle is about 450 kg. This leaves us with an additional weight capacity of 250 kg. The manufacturer’s instruction manual does not clearly define a maximum trunk weight.
Let’s think about the 36 kg. In a 5-seater vehicle, this means that each occupant can take a suitcase that weighs approximately 7 kg.
This are the figures, and what is guaranteed by the approval test.
More things to keep in mind. There are backrests with child seat Top Tethers on them, which in the event of a collision means that there is an added load on the backrest; it is important to note that these have never been tested together in approval tests.
Accordingly, how we load the trunk, and with what weight, will affect our safety inside the passenger compartment.
- Try to avoid “just in case” items when packing your luggage, this will lighten the load.
- Place the heaviest suitcases on the floor of the vehicle and the edges.
- Place suitcases close to the backrest.
- Use the load hooks in the luggage compartment to secure the baggage.
- Avoid using a car seat with a Top Tether when the luggage compartment is loaded.
- Do not put anything on the cargo cover. If there is a collision, these things would be thrown forward and may hit the occupants.
- If you will have an excessive load in the trunk, use roof racks, boxes or trailers so that you do not jeopardize the safety of the people in the passenger compartment.
Evenly distribute the weight of the luggage across the trunk. This means, do not put the heaviest ones on one side and the lighter ones on the other.
As for how to carry our pets, given that in this situation the trunk will already be occupied, the safest option is to secure them with a certified safety harness if there is a seat available, or on the floor between the front and back seat in a pet carrier bag, as we recommended in the article on pet transportation.
These recommendations will make our trip safer, assisting both the active safety of the vehicle and in the event of a collision.