Good practice towing
- Always tow with a good pair of extension towing mirrors fitted to your car
- Consider also fitting a stabiliser, which will give you much more protection if the outfit becomes unstable, e.g. sharp braking
- Observe the maximum speed limit for the type of road you are on: 60 mph for motorways and 50 mph on all other roads
- Allow more time for slowing down or stopping
- Take care when turning or emerging from junctions
- Try to maintain a reasonable speed on smaller roads so that you do not hold up faster traffic
- If you notice a big queue of vehicles building up behind you on a long and winding road, look for somewhere safe to pull in to let them past
- Leave a sensible distance from the car in front, and allow enough space for others to overtake you
- On dual carriageways, keep watch for 'heavies' coming up from behind to pass you - if they are close they may make your outfit sway
- Reduce speed in high or cross winds/going downhill or in extreme weather conditions
- Get someone to 'see you back' when reversing into a pitch or confined space
Aim for even weight distribution from front to back. The heaviest loose items loaded (awnings, boxes of food etc) should be kept at floor level over the axle.
Keep the noseweight of your caravan around 100lbs or 45kg. Check every time you load up for a trip. (See left)
- Wedge loose items firmly in place to avoid damage when cornering.
- Keep the centre of gravity low so that your caravan will be stable
- Keep the load as light as possible. Check each item with the question, "Do we really need to take that?"
Ready for the off?
CHECKLIST: check that
- The caravan's coupling firmly attached to the towball
- The jockey wheel fully raised and firmly locked in the up position
- The caravan's handbrake fully off
- The safety chain is secured
- The caravan's electrics (road light, brakes etc) connected to the car
- You do a visual check to ensure the lights all work
- The towing mirrors are properly adjusted
- The fridge door and all cupboard doors securely shut and fastened
- Chemical toilet empty
- All roof lights are closed down
- The caravan's door is safely locked
When setting off on a long journey, stop after 30-60 minutes and check the van inside and out to make sure everything has stayed securely in place.
N.B. It is important that both car and caravan are regularly serviced, according to the manufacturer's recommendations, by a qualified technician.