With the cost of air travel creeping up daily, many people are choosing to stay on the roads when they go on holiday. A great many of those people will be doing so with a caravan hooked up to their car, and if you’re thinking of joining them, then you’ll need to know all about what towing a caravan requires, wherever you plan on going.
Before You Drive
First things first will be your driving licence. Depending on when you passed your test, you will be entitled to tow differing weights of caravan, and it is essential that you check beforehand. Rules may vary in the country you’re visiting, so you must plan ahead. You also need to make sure that your caravan is properly insured before you take it out on the roads. You can get specialist cover from places like www.towergateinsurance.co.uk.
Towing a caravan safely begins before you even set off. Proper loading is a very important consideration; the caravan will be a lot more stable if weight is distributed properly. Your heavier items should be loaded first, with lighter items on top. To help keep a low centre of gravity, the majority of weight should be above the caravan’s axles. Additionally, the front should not be overloaded.
There are a variety of checks that must be performed before you leave. Ask yourself these questions before setting off:
- Is the tow ball securely in position?
- Has the supporting wheel been raised?
- Is the caravan handbrake off?
- Is the safety chain on?
- Are the lights hooked up?
- Have you fitted extension mirrors?
Only when you’re sure that the caravan is properly attached should you set off.
On the Roads
The additional weight is the main issue when you’re towing the caravan. You’ll notice when accelerating, going up hills, and most importantly, when you apply the brakes. Having a more powerful engine will certainly help make things easier, but you always need to give yourself extra braking distance, and be aware that you aren’t going to be able to move quickly. Pulling out of side roads and roundabouts will require more time and room that you’re used to.
Caravans are generally quite bulky, and this extra size can make manoeuvres difficult. You’ll need more room to turn corners, and it’s essential that you don’t get yourself stuck into a situation that you can’t get out of. Three point turns are going to be impossible in most places.
In most places, there will be differing speed limits for towing vehicles, and you must adhere to these. This does not mean you must travel at these speeds of course; it’s much better to be safe. If you do hold up traffic however, you should be courteous and let people pass where possible.
The ability to take your accommodation with you is a rewarding one, but towing such a large addition to your vehicle has its problems. The main rule is to always keep safety in mind.