Swift accident kills 11: Why overloading is so dangerous

Days ago, a horrific accident involving a Maruti Swift, a trailer truck and an unsuspecting two wheeler caused 11 deaths. Nobody in the truck died, both the rider and pillion on the two wheeler died, and 9 people – yes you read right – 9 people traveling in the Maruti Swift hatchback died on the spot. The car was heavily overloaded.

Swift in an accident due to overloading

The front right tyre of the Swift burst, causing it to go out of control, jump the divider and hit the oncoming trailer truck head on. Overloading can be so dangerous, and tyre bursts are just one of its many undesirable effects. Here is why you should ever, overload your car, or any other vehicle for that matter. 

Overloading puts tremendous stress on tyres…

Tyre Burst

The stress weakens the sidewalls of tyres and also increases the operating temperatures of tyres to dangerous levels. When these factors come together, a tyre burst happens. Tyre bursts often lead to loss in control, and horrific accidents. The Swift accident is a prime example of what can happen if a tyre bursts at highway speeds.

It increases stopping distances

Stopping distance

An overloaded car is a heavier car. A heavier car increases stress on the braking system, and the time and distance taken for a car to come to a halt becomes much greater. Longer braking times and distances can cause accidents. Also, brakes get worn out much faster in an overloaded car, and in extreme cases, can even fail.

It causes a vehicle to handle poorly

The suspension of a car is designed to handle a certain amount of weight. Even loading a car to its maximum capacity leads to poor handling, especially in those with softer suspension set ups. Now imagine what overloading can do to such a car. This can become a real bother on twisty roads that highly stress the suspension. Poor handling can often mean the difference between staying on the road, and ending up in the bushes.

Heavy weight means massive momentum

Momentum equals mass times velocity. An overloaded car carries massive momentum, which means that any accident involving it will exponentially increase the chances of the car getting smashed beyond recognition. Also, safety components on the car may not function according to their design parameters due to overloading, and the consequent excess momentum.

Causes massive blind spots

Overloaded car

More people in the car means that the driver has limited space to maneuver inside the car. Also, the driver’s all round vision gets greatly impaired in an overloaded car. On the road, seeing is everything, and if the driver does not notice obstacles due to his sight being impaired by additional passengers, accidents are waiting to happen.

Overtaking gets more complicated

Overtaking

Overtaking maneuvers are common on Indian roads. The more powerful car, the better, as quick overtaking is possible. In an overloaded car though, quick overtaking becomes the casualty as acceleration suffers greatly. When overtaking maneuvers become slower, they increase the chances of a head on collision with oncoming traffic. This is yet way in which overloading can kill.