Smart Summer Travel: Cargo and Car Top Carrier Safety The 10 Safety Tips You Need to Know


It’s almost time!  School will be out in a few days… and you’re ready to take your family on that summer road trip you planned months ago.  You stopped the newspaper, gave your neighbors a head’s up that you’ll be away, and have nearly finished packing.

And now, how are you going to fit ALL THAT luggage and gear in your vehicle?  

RELAX!  There are solutions to get you out on the road comfortably and safely!

  • If your car, truck, minivan or SUV has a factory roof rack or a luggage carrier, you can use many types of car top carrier bags.  If your rack has crossbars, you can also use a roof basket or cargo box.   
  • If your vehicle has a small steel square hole under the back bumper, also known as a receiver, you can mount a cargo platform or a rack.  
  • If you don’t have either of these, you can still use a car back carrier, a large cargo bag that hangs below the back window.

If you’re not sure which solution will work best for you, we recommend consulting with a professional to understand which carrier or bag is the best solution for your vehicle.

When you’re ready to pack your luggage bag or carrier, keep safety in mind.  The following recommendations will help you pack efficiently and reduce potential drag as well as impact to steering yor braking.


The 10 Safety Tips you Need to Know for Car Top Carrier Safety

  1. Know the Limits:  Whichever solution you plan to use, be sure to check your vehicle manual to understand the weight limits for these racks and for the vehicle itself.  Typically, roof racks have weight limits ranging from 75 – 250 pounds.  Exceeding the limit could cause damage to the vehicle as well as potential accidents.
  2. Pack Smart:  To prevent significant impact to steering and breaking,  pack a stable load with evenly distributed weight.  Choose lighter items for the roof carrier and be sure to pack the heaviest items first.
  3. Secure SUVs:  Adding lots of weight to a vehicle rooftop creates a higher center of gravity.  Since SUVs are already higher off the ground, adding a roof carrier can mean more wind resistance, added potential for swaying, and lower gas mileage.
  4. Use Cargo Anchors:  Prevent items from moving during a sudden stop by strapping down bags or boxes with cargo anchors.  Make sure that all smaller items are packed within larger boxes or bags so that there are no loose items.
  5. Maintain Full Visibility:  Make sure that the cargo carrier does not affect side or rear visibility.  Properly backed rooftop bags and carriers should not affect visibility.  Racks for the back with bicycles could affect visibility — so pay careful attention.
  6. Stock up on Supplies:  Keep extra supplies in case you need to stop and tighten straps for any rooftop cargo.  Be sure to carry sufficient supplies for all of your planned (and potentially unplanned) stops where you will need to unpack and repack the car top carrier.
  7. Riding on Your Tires:  Check the recommended inflation pressure (not maximum pressure) in the manual and confirm that tire inflation pressure is correct.
  8. Watch Out:  Be careful in parking garages, on bridges, and in drive-thru restaurants.  Follow signs indicating “low overhang”, especially if you have bicycles on the roof.  Measure the height and keep that number close.
  9. All Systems Ready:  Follow these important tips to make sure your vehicle is road trip ready.
  10. Ensure You are Insured.Before you leave, make sure your vehicle insurance coverage works for you.

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Now you can spread out and feel more comfortable on your road trip. You might even consider bringing along your camping gear, bikes, or even a kayak.

Ready to get out on the road?  Follow the aforementioned 10 safety tips and have fun!

Questions about vehicle safety , car top carriers, or summer travel and the law?  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can answer them.  Contact us at (954) 428-9333 or

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.