Research shows students returning to uni could put too much weight in their vehicles.

Students are being reminded to ensure they don’t overload their cars when heading to university ahead of Freshers’ week.

Highways England, the government-run company in charge of the country’s motorways and major A-roads, sent out the reminder after its survey of more than 1,400 students revealed that six in 10 would drive even if they had overloaded their vehicles. As a result the organisation has issued advice to drivers to help them avoid putting too much weight in their cars.

For a kick-off, Highways England suggests placing heavy luggage on the boot floor, directly behind the rear seat backrest, while smaller items should go on top, before being covered with a blanket and secured with a strap. Alternatively, the organisation recommends placing heavy items in the rear footwells behind the front seats.

Young man and woman loading suitcases in boot of car

Furthermore, the guidance advises against putting heavy items on the rear seats and reminds drivers that they should be able to see the mirrors while driving. If drivers are concerned about the vehicle’s weight, or unsure as to how heavily they can load the vehicle, they can check the load limit in the manual and head to a weighbridge to ensure the car is within weight limits.

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said those who failed to load their vehicles correctly could pose a danger to themselves and others.

“We want everyone to get to their destination safely and we can all play a part in that,” he said. “We know that this is an incredibly exciting time for students with many leaving home for the first time. Our traffic officers are there to help get things moving if there’s a problem. But we’d urge all students to make sure they load their car correctly before setting off as they could be endangering themselves and other road users."

Boot of SUV tightly packed ready for journey

Traffic officer Kelly Rudge echoed Leonard’s sentiments, advising drivers to ensure anything heavy is securely strapped down to prevent it flying around the cabin in the event of an accident or heavy braking

“It’s really important that students check their vehicle before setting off and to make sure that they don’t overload them as it could cause serious danger to themselves and other motorists,” she said. “Simple things like putting heavy loads in the boot and keeping loose items inside the car secured can all help to keep the occupants safe if the vehicle comes to a sudden stop. The last thing anyone wants is to be hit by an object that isn’t secure.”

Suitcases and bags in boot of car ready for journey