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Parcel force

There is a lot to be said for packing your car with care – even if it means delaying your journey. One of the main problem areas is the so-called parcel shelf at the back. Drivers who actually use the shelf for parcels may not realise they are storing up potential trouble. Firstly, you are restricting your rear view by obstructing the rear windscreen. On a motorway, where use of all your mirrors is so important, you’ll be reducing your all-round visibility. Secondly, should you have to brake suddenly, anything unsecured on the parcel shelf will fly forward.

You do not want to be struck by a gift, however carefully wrapped. The worst culprits for this are not seasonal – it is the drivers who store a ‘handy’ umbrella on the back parcel shelf in case it rains. If you stop abruptly, that loose umbrella could cause an injury. Drivers of HGVs and vans have to take particular care when they are securing the load, and the principle applies to car drivers too. Even a box of tissues acquires the approximate weight of a house brick at a mere 30 mph.