There is a lot more that goes into towing a caravan than securing the hitch and starting up the
engine. There are crucial elements that must be correct in to ensure that towing a caravan is a safe
and painless process. However, understanding the most common mistakes that drivers make when
engaging in this activity can make getting out on the open road with your caravan in tow a much
less intimidating prospect.
The first step is to make sure your tow is fixed properly to your vehicle. Get your tow bar installed
by a professional who can fit the right size and type of tow to suit you and your vehicle. There are
plenty of towing centres that specialise in tow bar fitting and who will also be able to help you with
any spares or parts for your towing equipment should they become damaged or worn.
The number one mistake that drivers make when towing is speeding. When you are towing a
caravan, your maximum speed should be 10Kph lower than the national speed limit. For example,
drivers should not typically exceed 90 kph . Exceeding these limits will cause drivers to have
inadequate time to brake in order to ensure the safety of other cars on the road around them.
Braking is another area of safety that should be of major concern. Drivers should always be sure the
wiring that allows your brake lights to translate to the braking signals on the rear trailer are
functioning. Should this system breakdown, drivers behind you will have no idea that you are
reducing your speed, creating a serious risk for a rear-end collision.
The weights of both vehicles you are using must also be taken into consideration. If the vehicle
doing the towing is far outweighed by the vehicle in tow, the chances of losing control on the road
are greatly increased. Using a vehicle that is not rated to tow the amount of weight you are dealing
with can also do severe damage to the engine over time. Check the towing payload of your vehicle
before hitting the open road or research the recommended ratios for safety when it comes to towing
your particular caravan. This will allow you to avoid overloading on either side. Uneven weight
distribution can be equally dangerous, quickly leading to the dreaded snaking and pitching. For
example, avoid packing one end of your caravan with an excessive amount of heavy equipment.
Distribute additional weight that comes with gear and suitcases evenly throughout the space.
Finally, perform all the normal checks and vehicle maintenance that come with any vehicle. Look
for rust and other signs of damage that might weaken the integrity of towing components and
replace worn out and damaged parts. Your inspection should also include checking fluid levels and
ensuring proper tyre pressure. If your tyres are over or under inflated, your gas mileage will suffer,
your caravan will be less than stable when encountering bumps along the road, and you will
increase your risk of experiencing a blow-out or flat tyre.
So you have just purchased your first caravan and are thinking of setting off for a summer holiday.
Well, we all know that towing your caravan across the country can be a pretty daunting task;
especially if you have never towed anything before. Well, don’t you worry; here are some pieces of
advice that may help you on your way.
It is always a good idea before you set off to do a final maintenance and safety
check, especially if you have left your caravan standing for a long time. You should also check to
see f the load is correctly distributed and firmly secured; you don’t want it coming unattached
during your drive. The lights should also be checked, are they undamaged and working correctly?
Next up check the tyre pressures and ensure that your tyres are all in good condition. And finally
you have to ensure that the caravan is safely and correctly coupled to the tow ball or pin and that the
coupling height is level and correct.
The performance of the vehicle you are driving will obviously be affected
by the fact that you are towing a caravan so keep these points in mind.
When you are moving off from a stationary position it will take a lot more effect as you are towing
a substantially larger amount of weight. You should also remember that when arriving at junctions
or pulling out of them, it will take a lot longer than usual to speed up or slow down.
And the last thing to remember is that it will be a lot trickier to negotiate sharp bends. You should
take extra care because you don’t want to jack-knife.
Well, there you go, I hope this tips are of some use to you. All you have to do now is make sure you
have the right insurance for your caravan and drive carefully