AN astonishing picture shows a delivery driver with so many parcels crammed into their car it is impossible to see out of the front passenger window.
The Vauxhall Zafira, used by a driver for courier firm Hermes, has almost every spare inch crammed with items, leaving space only for the driver.
A road safety group said today the image had easily gone straight in to their top three most stupidly-loaded cars of all time.
Hermes said it was investigating the case, which will increase concern that under-pressure delivery drivers are putting public safety at risk as Christmas approaches.
The picture was taken on November 3 in a street in Loanhead, Midlothian.
Parcels of every shape and size have been wedged in to the car, blocking two out of the three mirrors.
The photo clearly shows the front passenger seat of the car crushed with parcels making the side window blocked and even part of the windscreen obscured.
The Hermes delivery driver can be seen kneeling down to access packages that have been jammed in to the back seats of the car.
The rear suspension of the car also appears to be compressed under the weight of the load.
A spokesman for the AA said: “This is nothing short of madness. It is a unique form of stupid driving.
“If they had to make an emergency stop, as you can imagine, everything would go flying. A policeman would even think twice about pulling this driver over and they would have to double take, it’s that stupid.
“The only thing perhaps more stupid than this would be the driver who tried the take a pony in his passenger seat.
“It easily comes out in our top three most stupidly loaded cars, and that list would include the driver who tried to put the horse in his car, people who put christmas trees on their roofs,blocking their windscreens and the idiots who used to return from France or the continent so heavily laden with wine and cigarettes that their wheels would be scraping the arches.”
The AA went on to say that drivers who operate as couriers should think about buying a van.
He continued: “Our message to the driver would be get a van. A van has a partition between the driver and the storage compartment, making it much safer.”
A spokesman for Scotland’s Worst Drivers, who obtained the image, said: “This is downright reckless, not only has she blocked 2 of 3 mirrors, but it looks like she has overloaded the vehicle too. As you can see from the wheel arches there is too much weight which could affect the steering and braking.
“When turning left she won’t be able to check the near side mirror for a cyclist or look around at her blind spot. It is impossible for her to know that the zone around her vehicle is safe for her to proceed.
“Driving with an overloaded vehicle can also render your insurance policy invalid. I suggest she considers buying or hiring a van especially with the busy Christmas period approaching.”
A spokeswoman for Hermes said: “We are concerned at what this picture appears to show as we make extra payments to couriers who return to sub depots for second trips if the volume of parcels is too much to fit into their car on the first visit.
“We will fully investigate this incident and remind the courier involved of the safety obligations we expect from our suppliers.”
Hermes, the second-biggest delivery company in the Britain, delivers for John Lewis and other major retailers and has recently been involved in a dispute over minimum wage payments for their courier drivers.
The delivery company delivers more parcels in the UK than any other company after the Royal Mail.
Last year is made £36m in profits and unlike the Royal Mail, all of its couriers are classed as self-employed.
The German company is owned by a 73-year-old billionaire, Michael Otto and his family, who own the majority of the Otto Group, one of the world’s largest internet retailers.