Driving while towing a caravan is a different experience from normal driving; it requires heightened spatial awareness of both your vehicle and caravan, a need for greater stopping distances and careful consideration of environmental factors such as high winds, wet roads and uneven surfaces.
1: Brakes and tyre safety
There are a lot of things to consider when checking your brakes, tyres and wheels. The main things you need to look for before heading out on the road are:
- Caravan tyre pressure is meets manufacturer’s specifications
- Caravan spare wheel is packed and operational
- Wheel nuts are tightened to manufacturer’s specifications
- Wheel chocks and jack stands are working in case tyre changes are needed
- Caravan wheel bearings are correctly adjusted and lubricated
- Caravan tyres have legal thread depth and the tyre casings are not cracked or perished
- Check brakes are operating correctly on ALL axles of the caravan
- Electric brakes (if fitted) are charged and the charging system is working
2. Securing your things inside your caravan
Securing all of your belongings, beds and anything that can possibly move or fall while you are travelling is very important. This will ensure nothing will fall or break while you are travelling.
- Audit your packing, make sure you do not overpack as it can be dangerous.
- Plan accordingly, where are you headed, what clothing, bedding, heating or cooling you need.
- Keep essentials handy, have hooks for your keys, DIY hooks for your broom so it is in a handy spot
- Plastic bins are great for storage. Whether that be in cupboards, the inside of draws or even the inside of the fridge.
3. Towing and driving safety
Towing a caravan can be stressful unless you have been doing this for years. Take it slow, make sure you are comfortable and confident. If you need tips or lessons don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.
- If you’re not 100 per cent confident in your towing ability, have some caravan towing lessons.
- For further safety and peace of mind, have electronic stability control fitted to your electric-braked caravan by a certified installer.
- Before purchasing your caravan, ensure it’s compatible with your vehicle. While travelling, check on the coupling connection and safety chain at every stop.
- When driving, pull over at a safe point if there are cars wanting to get past. If you wish to overtake someone, wait for an overtaking lane rather than crossing to the lane of potential oncoming traffic.
4. Water crossing safely
Water crossings can be scary and daunting however if you have all of the right information, confidence and recovery gear you can make light work of any river crossing you come across.
- Cool your engine, brakes and mechanical parts down. Quick changes in temperature from hot to cold can damage integral parts of your car (or 4×4) and caravan.
- Test any river or water crossing on foot first, or with a stick to check the height and the flow of water. This will determine whether you are confident in making it across the water or river.
- Pick the line you want to take from one side of the river or water crossing to the other. Finding the perfect line and sticking to it will ensure you get across the river safely
- Hope for the best but make sure you are prepared for the worst. Have recovery gear ready to go and on hand if it is needed.