Caravan roadworthiness is as important as your car’s especially if it’s a while since your caravan has been out on the roads. As is driver knowledge and skill when towing it of course.
So here are some important safety-related tips to do with that all important noseweight, provided by The Caravan and Motorhome Club.
- Before you start your trip make sure you check your car and caravan tyres as they should be inflated to the correct pressure, have a good amount of tread (no lower than 1.6mm) and be free from damage.
- The caravan break-away cable (or safety chain on smaller un-braked trailers) should be in good condition and connected correctly. If you have a caravan or are towing a large box-shaped trailer you’ll need to fit extension mirrors for a good view behind you and so you comply with the law.
- Remember not to overload your caravan or trailer as this puts you at risk of instability and means you’re breaking the law. Position heavy items correctly over the axle, low to the floor, placing lighter items higher up.
- Read the Highway Code sections for ‘Caravans’. Travelling in the right-hand lane of a motorway with three or more lanes is not allowed and your speed limit when towing is 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways and 50 mph on single carriageways, unless a lower overall limit is specified.
- Be extra vigilant on downhill road stretches as your speed can easily creep up – speed is a common contributory factor to caravans and trailers losing stability. Remember too that you need more room to stop when towing and you should always allow a big enough gap to be able to slow down and stop in an emergency.
- Towing in high winds needs additional care and, in these conditions, you may wish to consider a change of route. However it’s not just windy days you need to be mindful of. Overtaking large vehicles can place you in their “bow wave” and this can cause instability of caravans which are badly loaded and/or being towed too fast.
Martin Spencer, Technical Manager at the Caravan and Motorhome Club, reminds us that this Club has 15 training centres across the country so anyone who’s new to towing a caravan, or feels the need for refresher training can receive the best possible advice and hands-on guidance.
IAM Roadsmart and FOXY Lady Drivers Club recommend these courses to ALL drivers who intend to tow caravans.