'Car-Cramming' Reaches All Time High With Young People

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Young people feeling the squeeze of the credit crunch are overcrowding their cars in an attempt to save cash, according to Swinton, the UK's leading high street car insurance retailer.

The dangerous trend, known as 'car-cramming' was uncovered by an online poll of 1,000 Swinton car insurance customers. The survey revealed an alarming 30% of drivers aged between 17 and 25 regularly carry at least one more passenger than the law permits. A shocking 15% of drivers aged between 17 and 25 admitted they would squeeze in an extra two passengers and a further 9% confessed that when push came to shove they would fit in an extra three. The most common reason given for carrying extra passengers was to save money on petrol, taxis or public transport.

Only 7% of 26 - 39 year olds admitted to overcrowding cars on a regular basis and just 1% for those over 40.

If caught, drivers who overcrowd their cars can face a hefty fine and up to three penalty points on their licence. Swinton is urging young drivers to be sensible when it comes to carrying passengers and not to buckle under peer pressure to carry more people than they should.

Steve Chelton, Insurance Development Manager at Swinton said: "Not only is it illegal to drive a car with too many passengers but it is also extremely dangerous. Too many passengers in a vehicle reduces visibility and road handling therefore increasing the chances of an accident.

"It is vital that young drivers do not overcrowd their cars and ensure that every passenger has a seatbelt. Drivers who overcrowd their cars run the risk of invalidating their motor insurance if involved in an accident."

Swinton is also warning drivers of the serious damage overcrowding can cause to a vehicle itself. If a car is carrying too much weight drivers run the risk of:

  •     Dragging - when a vehicle is overcrowded it can cause the underside to drag over speed bumps and when travelling up and down hills. This can cause damage to exhausts and brackets which can be costly to repair.
  •     Handling - more weight in your car than it was designed to carry can affect steering and braking which makes the car slow to respond and could lead to a nasty accident
  •     Headlights - excess weight can mean that headlights will appear misaligned and could cause dazzling in drivers travelling in the opposite direction

For further information please contact, Anoushka Foster or Michael Travers at PR on Tel: 0161 838 7770.

Notes to Editors
About Swinton

  •     With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer
  •     Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community
  •     Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike, van insurance and even classic car insurance
  •     With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates.

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Anoushka Foster
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