You’ve finally set up your 4×4 for camping and overlanding and installed a roof box on top of your vehicle. Ever wonder what your top speed should be with it on?
How fast can you drive with a roof box? It depends on a few factors, including the size and weight of your roof box, the type of car you’re driving, and even the weather conditions. But to give you a ballpark, you shouldn’t be driving more than 80 mph (130 kph) if you have a roof box on top of your vehicle.
That said, there are some general guidelines you can follow to ensure you’re driving safely with a roof box. In this article, we’ll discuss the top speed question in detail and give tips on staying safe while driving with roof cargo boxes. Let’s take a look.
How Fast Can Your Drive with a Roof Box
There are different types of roof boxes – some are made of hard plastic, some are baskets, and some are bags, but all go on top of your vehicle. Even the best roof cargo box will affect how fast you can safely drive.
Rigid plastic boxes are the most aerodynamic and allow you to drive faster than a basket or bag-style rooftop carrier. However, all roof boxes will create drag and slow you down to some extent. The bigger the car top carrier and storage, the more drag it will create.
If you’re driving with a heavy-duty plastic roof box, you can typically drive at a top speed of 70 to 80 mph (110 to 130 kph). If driving with a basket or bag, you should limit your speed to 60 to 70 mph (90 to 110 kph).
It’s always best to take extra caution when driving with a cargo box. If you’re unsure about your cargo carrier’s allowable top speed, it’s better to play it safe and go slower than the posted speed limits rather than risk damaging your roof box or car. Consider going even slower if you are driving under wet or windy conditions.
You should always consult your car’s owner manual or the roof box manufacturer to determine the safest top speed for your particular setup. But as a general rule of thumb, you should consider anywhere between 60 to 70 miles per hour as your top speed when driving an SUV with a cargo carrier.
It’s also important to note the distinction between an empty roof box and one that’s loaded with cargo. An empty roof box will weigh less than a full one, so you can typically drive faster if you aren’t hauling any gear.
Safety Tips for Driving with a Roof Box
Now that you know the top speed that you can safely drive with a roof box, here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind:
Secure the Roof Box Properly
Ensure the roof box is adequately secured to the vehicle’s roof. You never want your roof box facing backward or slightly off-center, as this can create a drag on the vehicle and make it more difficult to control. Not only that, but it increases the potential for the roof box to come loose and fall off entirely, which could lead to serious accidents or damage.
Pack Your Gear Properly
Make sure you pack your gear in the roof box properly. It’s best to put heavy items toward the bottom and lighter items on top. This will help keep the center of gravity low and prevent the roof box from becoming unbalanced and toppling.
It’s also important to evenly distribute the extra weight inside the roof box, so it doesn’t become lopsided. The best way to achieve this is to use packing cubes or similar organizers.
Be Aware of Your Center of Gravity
With a rooftop cargo basket, you can expect the car’s center of gravity to shift somewhat. This can affect the vehicle’s cornering and increase the likelihood of spinning out.
Therefore, it’s essential to consider this when driving, especially when making sharp turns. Try to avoid taking corners at high speeds.
Never overload the roof box beyond the weight limit specified by the manufacturer. This not only puts undue stress on the car and roof rack but can also make the car more difficult to handle.
Be Mindful of Weather Conditions
If you’re driving in windy conditions, be aware that a cargo carrier for SUVs can increase the risk of you losing control. It’s important to go slowly and carefully in these conditions.
Lock It Tight!
And finally, make sure you know how to properly open and close the roof box. Many roof boxes have locking mechanisms that require a specific technique to unlock.
If you’re not familiar with the process, take some time to read the instructions or watch a tutorial video before hitting the road.
Failure to do so could result in the roof box opening while driving, which could be dangerous and damaging to your belongings and other drivers.
Err on the Side Caution
If you’re ever unsure about how fast you can safely drive with a roof box, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Most manufacturers will have a recommended top speed for their roof boxes, so check that before attempting to drive at maximum speed.
It’s also important to remember that different roof boxes will have other speed and weight limits. So do your due diligence and make sure your roof box can handle the extra speed before testing it out. And if in doubt, stay within the speed limit.