Packing Your Car The Wrong Way Could Cost You

Packing your car may seem like an simple task, but doing it the wrong way could lead to disaster or even death.

In June, Highway Patrol says an unsecured cooler caused a car to land upside down in a corn field near D.H. Conley in Pitt County. In April of 2009, a 25 year-old woman was killed when her laptop loose in her car, hit her in the head in what authorities described as a low-impact fender-bender.

That's why AAA Carolinas and Consumer Reports say it is imperative to pack your car the correct way before a road trip. Even at low speeds, small objects can become dangerous missiles.

Experts advise people to put the heaviest items in your trunk or cargo area first and to make sure to balance the items with the best center of gravity.

Smaller items such as toys, electronics, and coolers should be secured under a seat or inside a tray. It's easiest to put soft items, like pillows on top.

Always check your owner's manual for loading and weight capacity information. Over-packing you're vehicle could also lead to danger.

Experts say make sure the driver's line of vision is not blocked. In order to test your packing job, experts say go to an open parking lot or empty drive way; drive slowly then hit the brakes to see if anything shifts.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Jul 9, 2010 at 02:05 AM
    You know of course it is not physically possible to secure everything and still obey the letter of the law or be safe. If your driver's license isn't in the driver's compartment with you, it's a ticket. If you are reaching under the seat for your purse, or into some other obstructed area, it could be a bullet. If your cell phone is in the trunk, it's not very useful in an emergency. In fact, if it's shoved under the seat or in a compartment it could be bad too - a good friend of mine had her car totalled when she was hit by a drunk earlier this yr, & she dialed for help while crunched into a space she was later cut loose from. She was able to reach her phone because it was close by in the driver's compartment. Personally, I just don't drive in a manner that will lead to flipping my car and hurling objects. While a drunk is a possibility (as illustrated), I think a loose cooler would the least of my worries at that point.
  • by John Location: Richlands on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:38 PM
    Accident can be in many forms and that brings at least two to mind. One would think that a Kleenex box would cause a death, but it can. Simple setting in the back window and a low impact that box come fly forward the corner hits a person in the head and it is all over. Driving a convertible(the top down) and the car does a flip the only injury noted was a very small puncture wound behind the ear. During the flip he went over a thorn bush and some how one little thorn hit him behind his ear. It was all over for him. There are many others that can be so simple and yet death will be the end.
  • by Lightening vs. Laptop on Jul 8, 2010 at 01:43 PM
    Anyone have the stats for loose articles killing people in a car vs. lightening strikes. Probably about the same.
  • by Cooler on Jul 8, 2010 at 01:40 PM
    No my response is the same. If you drop a CD on the floor should you pick it up while driving at 70 MPH. If your child drops a toy, should you reach back and pick it up while driving. She made the mistake, not the cooler. Yeah it would have been better to initially secure it, but the wreck was 100% her chaoice and her fault. It was no accident, more negligence.
  • by The Pirate Lady Location: Grimesland on Jul 8, 2010 at 01:02 PM
    I'm not exactly sure what is wrong with this sentence, it either needs another comma, or something, so that it makes sense: In April of 2009, a 25 year-old woman was killed when her laptop loose in her car, hit her in the head in what authorities described as a low-impact fender-bender.
  • by OutsideLookingIn Location: ENC on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:53 AM
    Gosh Anonymous; where'd you get that statistic? I've often thought about objects in my vehicle becoming projectiles during a crash. Did you also know that an unsecured human being can also be a lethal projectile in a serious crash? I always secure most items, even groceries, in the trunk of my car for this very reason.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2010 at 08:19 AM
    So basically stupid people shouldn't be driving. yaaaawwwwwnnnnnn...tell me something I don't know, slow news day the average is a wreck for every 60,000mi we drive, ie you drive enough something's going to happen eventually
  • by Response to Cooler on Jul 8, 2010 at 08:13 AM
    To Cooler: I think the point is the accident was initially caused by an unsecured cooler not whether it physically caused the wreck. If it had been secured, the woman would not have tried to upright it as you report. Unfortunately sometimes your immediate reaction is not the same as you would respond when given time to think about it after the fact.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 8, 2010 at 08:08 AM
    Yeah, but if the cooler was secured, it wouldn't have been a distraction...which caused the accident. The laptop didn't cause the accident either, but it killed the woman because it was loose according to the story.
  • by Cooler on Jul 8, 2010 at 06:43 AM
    If I am not mistaken it was the woman trying to upright an overturned cooler that caused the wreck. The cooler did nothing to physically cause the wreck. If this woman would have driven to the next turn off, then fixed the cooler the accident would not have happened.
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