AA Patrols who are preparing for up to 1,500 breakdown call outs over the weekend and who report a marked year on year increase in motorway breakdowns, are reminding those who will be driving with an extra load this bank holiday to make sure it’s securely fastened. They’re also advising drivers to adjust their tyre pressure and driving style as their vehicle handling is likely to be affected.
By and large AA Patrols observe a fastidious approach to the practice of driving with an extra load by Irish drivers however do report on the occasional reckless behaviours where drivers unthinkingly put themselves and other road users at serious risk of harm.
Of a group of 7,700 AA Members polled by the AA at the start of the summer, 410 individuals admitted to having lost luggage off a roof rack, roof box, trailer or open boot on one or more occasions during their driving careers. Among the potentially lethal objects this cohort of drivers confessed to having lost and which highlights the importance of correctly fastening loads for all weather conditions, were kayaks, a mattress, a bale of briquettes, pipes, suitcases and clothing.
“The likes of plastic kayaks can bend under a heavy load, so it’s really important to allow for this when transporting them via roof rack.” Advises Noel Keogh, Head of AA Rescue. “It’s also crucial to think of the affects of cross winds particularly when driving on motorways.”
180 of the AA Members polled also shared that they have had the frightening experience of having jack knifed a trailer. A similar number, 181 drivers, stated they had attempted to drive away having incorrectly fastened their trailer to their tow hitch.
“We’d particularly worry about those who are new to the experience of towing a trailer. Do your home work and ask for help if you’re unsure of anything.” Advises Keogh. “One driver we polled admitted to learning his lesson when the trailer he was towing became unfastened and ended up in a ditch. Another lost the back door off his trailer while someone else lost the wheel off their trailer due to overloading. Thankfully no one was hurt in any of these cases but it could have been a very different story.”
The AA also advises drivers to make sure they have a good tank of fuel on board, a fully charged mobile phone and their AA Membership cards on them before heading off into bank holiday traffic. Currently 11% of all motorway call outs attended by the AA are as a result of Members having completely run out of fuel it reports.
For further advice on what to do in the event of a breakdown or to avail of their bank holiday Membership sale motorists’ should visit: AAireland.ie/Membership
In light of their findings, AA Patrols offer the following tips on travelling with an extra load:
Inside the car:
Keep larger/heavier stuff low down
Can you still see?
Passengers come first
On the roof:
Roof racks are a great way of carrying very large or awkward items but take care: