A disposable coffee cup here, some trash there, and soon your car is looking like a rolling garbage bin. What you may not realize: The more stuff you have in your car, the more potential flying projectiles you could have in the event of a sudden stop or car accident. 71404568 - excited family on a road trip in car, rear passenger pov

If you’re like most parents, each of your children probably has a number of toys and books stashed in your vehicle. Plenty of your own stuff is probably in there, too. Whether you’re a harried Mom or Dad racing through busy days, you work out of your car or have a long commute, your vehicle can easily become the “storage room” of last resort.

Most people are comfortable with a certain level of clutter. But when it comes to your vehicle, clutter can become a huge and deadly safety issue. Even things you think are perfectly safe, like a sippy cup, have the potential to become a projectile missile that can ruin a perfectly good day. Each year, tens of thousands of injuries, including head injuries, are attributed to objects flying around in cars.

That’s why it’s a good idea to do a clean sweep of your vehicle once a week. If you have a passenger car, store extra items in your trunk. If you’re hauling the family pet along with you, make sure they are properly restrained with a seat belt. Animals can become flying projectiles, too! Keep heavy items stored and secured in a cargo net. And don’t forget unoccupied booster seats. If a child isn’t riding in a booster seat, put it in the trunk.

Small items like keys, bottles of lotion or hand sanitizer, pop cans, phones and garage door openers can slip out of the center console and under your brake or gas pedal. Secure any loose items — big and small — lying around your vehicle. While you’re cleaning out your car, why not take a look in your glove compartment and make sure you have current registration and car insurance paperwork available?