I haven’t cheated death by avoiding an ill-fated transatlantic flight to Paris, but I get still nervous driving on highways behind most vehicles with loads secured to the roof. One loose strap or one poorly tied knot, and I could end up in my own personal straight-to-DVD sequel to Final Destination. Someone this week got a similar fright in New Zealand and caught it on dashcam.
A driver was following a Range Range south on State Highway 1, 79 miles north of the country’s largest city Auckland. Then, suddenly two surfboards flew free from the Range Rover’s roof rack. The dashcam driver immediately veered left to the shoulder to avoid one of the boards. To somewhat credit the Range Rover driver, they realized what happened and quickly pulled over.
While those boards might seem to be light and float through the air, I can’t understate that what occurred was unsafe. At most speeds, the inertia of a surfboard putting all its kinetic energy through one of the board’s ends could penetrate a car’s windshield. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency spokesperson Andy Knackstedt told the New Zealand Herald:
“It’s very important that people take the time to ensure that anything they are carrying on the roof of their vehicle, or in a trailer or on a rack, is properly and safely secured. Any large or heavy object which comes loose from a vehicle traveling at speed on the road can become a dangerous missile or obstacle, putting other road users at risk.
It’s also a legal requirement in New Zealand to make sure any load you’re carrying is secure and that it can’t fall or escape from your vehicle or trailer. Any person loading the vehicle also has the same responsibility – not just the driver. You can be given a $600 infringement notice, or if you’re prosecuted through the courts you can be fined up to $2000 and be disqualified for a period decided by the judge.”
Please don’t just chance it. Check your loads, so it doesn’t come loose earlier than expected.