If you load the car incorrectly, you risk your life
An ADAC crash test shows how unsecured luggage is catapulted forward in the event of an impact.
Air mattress, tennis racket, tent poles – and then the boccia balls on top. Shortly before they go on vacation, people hardly pay any attention to how they stow their luggage safely. The main thing is that everything somehow fits into the car. It is precisely this attitude that can have fatal consequences.
E.It happens early in the morning on the A8 near Stuttgart: A truck from Bulgaria skids, hits the central barrier and loses its load. Crane parts weighing tons fly into the opposite lane, where an Audi is on the move at the same moment. Its inmates have no chance; the passenger dies, the driver is seriously injured.
"Accident due to unsecured cargo, ”says the police report. Not an isolated case on Germany’s roads: the traffic radio has to warn of objects that have fallen from the loading area of the truck every day. According to statistics, more than 2000 serious collisions occur in this country every year. Around 930 people are injured and killed.
But the topic of load securing is not only an issue for truck captains and drivers of small vans – car owners should also think about it when loading their car. "We buckle up, pull the belt tight and adjust the headrest. But before you set off, who thinks of buckling up your briefcase in the back seat or the luggage in the trunk? ”Asks Dieter Scheunert, Head of Mercedes Accident Research.
"The ADAC calls this dangerous convenience, and believes that around 9,000 lives in Europe could be saved from accidental death every year if drivers made sure that all passengers are buckled up and that the load is safely stowed before starting. The automobile club’s experts warn of the "Brute force ”, with which unsecured suitcases, bags, shopping baskets or crates of beverages can be thrown forward in the event of an accident and injure the car occupants.
"The objects then strike like a hammer, ”report the safety experts from TuV Sud. They know what they are talking about: in a rear-end collision at 50 km / h, deceleration values of up to 30g are measured. That corresponds to 30 times the acceleration due to gravity. In other words, a 20 kilogram suitcase is catapulted forward at 30 times its own weight, so it has an impact force of exactly 600 kilograms.
But it’s not just holiday luggage, crates of drinks or shelves from the furniture store that pose a threat. Small objects also have a big effect in the event of an accident or emergency braking becomes a dangerous projectile. And even the cell phone can hit the occupants in an accident with an impact force of nine kilograms – always calculated at a city speed of 50.
The risk of injury is particularly high with compact cars, station wagons and off-roaders that do not have a stable partition between the luggage and passenger compartments. Here, experts recommend the installation of dividing grilles or nets, which many car manufacturers only supply at an additional cost. VW demands 165 euros for the Passat Variant, Ford 205 euros for the Mondeo tournament and Opel 305 euros for the Insignia Sports Tourer. Audi, BMW and Mercedes supply the network as standard in their station wagons, with other models such as the A3, B-Class and BMW 1 Series, such a detail costs up to 275 euros extra.
Even cargo space covers, which can catch unsecured cargo in the event of a crash, are often not part of the standard equipment in compact cars and station wagons. But the ADAC experts warn: "If the load protrudes over the rear seat backrest, a dividing net or grille must be installed. "
It is even better to lash your holiday luggage in the trunk so that it cannot slip in the event of an accident. But no simple cords are suitable for this. Instead, tension belts with a tear strength of at least 700 kilograms are required. Tested luggage nets that are stretched over suitcases and bags also offer good protection. The prerequisite is of course that there are stable lashing eyes in the trunk of the car for attaching the belts and nets – the manufacturer must have these checked according to a strict standard.
There are also test regulations for the foldable rear seat backrests of compact and combination models. The ECE standard stipulates that the backrests should withstand two wooden cubes each weighing 18 kilograms in the event of a 50 km / h frontal crash – very little in view of the high payload capacity of modern station wagons.
That is why reality often looks different than the results of the standard tests. A crash test by TuV shows what can actually happen in the event of an accident in a fully loaded station wagon: at an impact speed of 48 km / h, the rear seat backrest simply buckled under the load of the load. The driver and front passenger would have buried boxes and suitcases from the hold.
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