With 2021 set to be the year of the Scottish staycation, many of us will be setting out on road trips to enjoy all that our beautiful country has to offer.
There’s only so much you can fit in a car though, which is where a roof or bike rack can prove invaluable – but be careful how you use them or risk falling foul of the law.
Drivers failing to follow the rules could be fined up to £5000 and charged with dangerous driving, plus clock up to nine penalty points on their licence, or even face a temporary driving ban.
First up, check the permissible weight allowed for your car in the operating manual and remember that it will include the weight of the rack itself.
When fitting it, be aware that according to the Highway Code the rack must not hang over the edges of your vehicle, and that it is firmly secured so it doesn’t move when you start driving.
If you’re looking to use a bike rack, be aware that a roof-fitted model will add a significant amount of extra height to your vehicle, making some bridges and underpasses inaccessible.
Shoud you opt for a bike rack that attaches to the back of your car, it’s important to ensure your number plate and brake lights can still be seen, or you could face a hefty fine and up to nine points on your licence.
You must also ensure the rack doesn’t obscure the driver’s view and, as racks can be considered to be a modification of your vehicle, you should contact your insurance company and make sure your policy provides coverage.
Joel Kempson, of insurance company Uswitch, said: “Using roof boxes and bike racks are a great way of transporting heavy loads, we just need to make sure drivers are aware of the laws and safety concerns around using them.
“It is your responsibility to ensure the weight of your rack is suitable for your vehicle, and that what you are transporting is securely fastened in. The rack should not hinder you while driving, so make sure your vision is not obstructed in any way and everything is secured. It is also important not to impact other drivers around you, so make sure nothing is sticking out in a dangerous manner.
“We recommend you take out supplementary insurance if you are not already covered by your existing policy.”
Check out Uswitch’s full safety guide here.
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