07 Mar TIPS FOR SAFE CARAVAN TOWING
Nothing beats packing up the caravan and heading off for a family holiday when the Easter school holidays arrive. To help you keep safe during your family holiday we’ve got some tips for towing safely.
Get your car checked
While your car will need to be rated to tow the weight of your loaded caravan (check your car’s instruction manual or ask your mechanic if you’re not sure), your car will also need to be in top mechanical condition. So if they haven’t been checked recently, get your mechanic to check your suspension, brakes, tyres, steering and cooling system. Your mechanic can also advise you if anything else needs to be checked or altered on your vehicle to be able to tow.
Know your caravan
You will need to know the weight of the caravan to ensure your car is physically and legally able to tow it, and you must also ensure your car and caravan are not overloaded, and there is even weight distribution (overloading can lead to handling and swaying issues, which are dangerous). You should also know the height of the caravan, and if you have roof racks and luggage on your car, you’ll need to know the height of that too. This is so you’ll know if the car and caravan will be able to pass under bridges and through car parks with height clearances (let’s not make the news for becoming a victim of the Montague Street Rail Bridge!).
Practice with short drives
If this will be your first family trip away towing a caravan, it pays to practice towing your caravan first. So on a couple of the weekends leading up to your Easter break practice towing the caravan or even do a few short trips first, in both good and not so good weather, so you familiarise yourself with the caravan, understand how the weight of the caravan feels while driving, cornering, reversing, parking and in different weather conditions. This will help you become aware of adjustments you might need to make when you’re breaking, accelerating and overtaking.
What to avoid whilst driving
Your car is towing a significant amount of weight so it’s important to avoid heavy acceleration, sudden braking, and sharp cornering where possible. Remember, your car is much less manoeuvrable than usual, and it will take longer to stop. It’s also much longer than you’re used to, which is important to remember when cornering and turning. We recommend that you avoid towing your caravan in extremely high winds.
While this may all seem daunting, once you’re used to towing your caravan it will seem like second nature to check what’s needed and adjust your driving to suit. And no doubt you’ll have some awesome caravan holidays with the family!
To have your car checked to make sure it’s in top condition for towing, or to book in for a service, get in touch with our team.