Securing loads in the car – how to stow properly


Whether clearing out, moving or shopping: Many things can be transported quickly from A to B by car. But you should take some time to secure the load properly in your car.

Even a heavy braking manoeuvre can have dangerous consequences for the vehicle occupants if the load is incorrectly or unsecured. And: Inadequate securing can result in fines and points in Flensburg. We tell you what you need to pay attention to when it comes to securing loads in your car.

The consequences of incorrect loading in the event of a collision and emergency braking

What do a discarded desk lamp, a bag of garden soil or a crate of mineral water have in common? All of them can turn into dangerous „projectiles“ in a car during an abrupt braking manoeuvre if they are not adequately secured in the passenger compartment. This is an accident risk that increases the more things are inappropriately distributed or inadequately secured.

Crash tests without luggage compartment cover or luggage net have shown: In a rear-end collision at 45 km/h, furniture and heavy cardboard boxes, for example, can fly forward, partially rip front seats out of their anchors and cause life-threatening injuries to the occupants‘ heads or spines. A dog weighing 40 kilograms that is not secured for transport would become a two-tonne colossus at an impact speed of 50 km/h. Even a dog lying in the back seat would be injured. Even a mobile phone lying on the back seat develops a skidding weight of 15 kilos at this speed.

Road traffic regulations: These regulations apply to load securing in passenger cars

The legal situation is clear: according to § 22 of the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), all objects transported by car must always be well secured. This means: luggage or cargo must not slip, fall over, roll back and forth, fall down or create avoidable noise even during emergency braking or a sudden evasive movement.

In detail:

  • A loaded passenger car may not exceed a width of 2.55 metres and a height of
    4 metres (otherwise only with special permission from the authorities).
  • Up to a load height of 2.5 metres, nothing may protrude to the front. From 2.5 metres, loads may protrude forward by up to 50 centimetres.
  • Load protruding from the boot must not exceed 1.50 metres (exception: 3 metres for journeys of less than 100 kilometres). From 1 metre, protruding objects must be visually identified: red sign, red flag or red cylinder with a minimum diameter of 30 centimetres and max. 1.50 metres above the road. In rain, twilight and darkness, a red reflector and a red lamp are also mandatory.
  • Load protruding sideways from 40 centimetres (poles are not permitted) must be marked with white lights at the front and red lights at the rear.

Long list of fines for violations

The list of fines for incorrectly securing loads in cars is long with a total of 17 offences – some of which even result in points in the Flensburg traffic offender file. It starts with 10 euros for a load that is inadequately secured against avoidable noise. Cargo that is not stowed in a roadworthy manner costs 35 euros – if this endangers road traffic, 60 euros and a point are added. Exceeding the permissible vehicle height of 4.20 metres on a motorway or dual carriageway means 70 euros and a point. And anyone who triggers the automatic height control and a lane closure by exceeding 4 metres will be charged the maximum rate of 240 euros.

Tips for the correct load securing in the car

When loading the car, distinguish between the luggage compartment, the interior and the roof. It is best to start packing in the luggage compartment at the back of the rear seat. Only fold down the back seat if it is really necessary. It is also a protective partition between the occupants and the load. Loads in the luggage compartment should also not protrude into the front area.

Starten Sie beim Beladen mit den schwersten Gegenständen: Diese gehören nach unten, am besten in den Fußraum oder zusätzlich gesichert mit Gurten. Nur leichte Gegenstände gehören nach oben.

Arrange the cargo with as few gaps as possible and secure it using load securing nets or straps. To do this, you can fix tensioning or lashing straps (not elastic!) to existing hooks and eyes in the luggage compartment. Then close the luggage compartment and do not deposit any objects on the parcel shelf.

Pack and secure items and luggage correctly

For optimum load securing in the car, pack fragile items (e.g. crockery, glasses) in sturdy boxes or wrap them in blankets and stow them behind the passenger seat in the footwell. You should also pack loose small parts in boxes if possible. Also, do not transport glass bottles in the passenger compartment.

To ensure that you are safe on the road even when fully loaded, make sure that the seat belts are not blocked and that the view through the windows is not obstructed. Always observe the specifications for tyre pressure and the axle loads of the car. And: Of course, proper load securing also applies to luggage, for example when you pack your car for a holiday.

Anti-slip mat to lashing strap: These aids secure your load

In order to transport loads safely and in accordance with regulations in and on the car, various aids are suitable depending on the type and extent of the load:

  • Anti-slip mat: prevents goods from slipping in the boot.
  • Fixed grille between luggage compartment and rear seat bench (in the estate car): separates the luggage compartment from the interior and should always remain fitted, e.g. for transporting dogs or objects.
  • Load-securing net: is stretched over several items in the luggage compartment and keeps them firmly on the ground.
  • Edge protectors for objects: prevent sharp-edged injuries to occupants and damage to the interior of the car.
  • Tensioning and lashing straps: fix the goods to be transported. Always keep them in the car so that you are equipped for spontaneous needs.
  • Transport boxes or special harnesses for animals.