Co-op Insurance research claims students risk safety on the road

19 Sept 2017

As half a million students are off to university this month, Co-op Insurance is warning of the dangers of over-packing cars ahead of these journeys.

The study conducted among UK students revealed that three quarters travel by car when moving into or out of their student home. Of these, two fifths (41%) say they disregard their rear-view window when packing up their vehicles meaning visibility is compromised.

Furthermore, a fifth (20%) block their side window visibility by over-packing their vehicle, a fifth (17%) strapped items to the top of the car without a roof rack, and 16 per cent were unable to properly close their boot because of the amount of luggage they crammed in.

Two thirds said their visibility was poor, a quarter (24%) worried items may fall off the roof or out of the boot, and a fifth couldn’t fully access the car controls.

In addition, when moving, 27 per cent said the passengers in their vehicle didn’t wear seatbelts and a fifth explained that the driver of the vehicle didn’t wear one either.

How students are compromising safety by over-packing:

  • 41% say they disregard their rear-view window when packing up their vehicles
  • 20% block their side window visibility by over-packing their vehicle
  • 17% strapped items to the top of the car without a roof rack
  • 16%  were unable to properly close their boots
  • 27% said the passengers in their vehicle didn’t wear seatbelts
  • 17% said that the driver of the vehicle didn’t wear one either

The study also reveals that over half (54%) of students take two or more trips to move items to and from university and over two fifths (44%) say that they travel over 100 miles to get to their destination.

When looking into how students secure items in their vehicles when travelling to or from university, over two fifths (44%) said they cram items into their vehicles so they didn’t move and a fifth (21%) said they use the seat wells.

Steve Kerrigan, Head of Young Driver Insurance at Co-op Insurance commented: “It’s concerning that 61% of students will venture to or from university in a vehicle where there’s poor visibility due to over-packing. Visibility when driving, particularly on motorways is absolutely critical and nothing should compromise this element of safety.

“Bedding, toiletries and food are among the most popular items that people pack, but these are good examples of items that can be bought once you’re unpacked and will free up extra space in the car. We’d advise parents and young drivers to devise a packing strategy before setting off, secure all items to the car and consider which items are critical and which can be bought closer to university.”

Top 10 tips for packing student cars safely:

  1. Use vacuum storage bags for items that take a lot of room
  2. Remove all items from the car that aren’t needed
  3. Pack items in the order that they’re going to be needed
  4. Use soft bags rather than rigid suitcases
  5. Don’t cram so much in that the driver’s view is obstructed
  6. Ensure there’s space for safety equipment
  7. Keep larger/heavier items low down and pack smaller items around them
  8. Consider roof boxes to carry large items
  9. Keep the dash board clear in case it’s necessary to suddenly brake
  10. Adjust tire pressures to allow for a heavier load
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