Dangers of overloading your vehicle

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PHOTO: Arrive Alive Twitter

Overloading has become a commonality on South African roads, one that has furthermore been recognised as a safety and cost concern.

According to Arrive Alive, the National Department of Transport has incorporated a campaign against overloading in its Road to Safety strategy.

“Economic growth demands an adequate transport infrastructure. Overloaded vehicles, especially freight vehicles, are destroying our roads, impacting negatively on economic growth – the damage caused grows exponentially as the load increases.”

Overloaded vehicles do not only threaten the lives of the drivers but also the lives of passengers and other road users.

Arrive Alive has compiled a few risks posed by overloading:

  • The vehicle will be less stable, difficult to steer and take longer to stop. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights which they are designed to carry are exceeded.
  • Overloaded vehicles can cause the tyres to overheat and wear rapidly which increases the chance of premature, dangerous and expensive failure or blow-outs.
  • The driver’s control and operating space in the overloaded vehicle are diminished, escalating the chances of an accident.
  • The overloaded vehicle cannot accelerate as normal – making it difficult to overtake
  • At night, the headlights of an overloaded vehicle will tilt up, blinding oncoming drivers to possible debris or obstructions on the roadway.
  • Brakes have to work harder due to “the riding of brakes” and because the vehicle is heavier due to overloading. Brakes overheat and lose their effectiveness to stop the car.
  • With overloading, seat belts are often not used as the aim is to pack in as many persons as possible into the vehicle.
  • The whole suspension system comes under stress and, over time, the weakest point can give way.
  • By overloading your vehicle you will incur higher maintenance costs to the vehicle – tyres, brakes, shock absorbers and higher fuel consumption
  • Insurance cover on overloaded vehicles may be void as overloading is illegal.

Compiled by Gypseenia Lion