With the August Bank Holiday approaching, many people will be dusting off their caravan and packing for a long weekend away. Going away with the whole family and the caravan, trailer tent or camping trailer is a great experience. By ensuring that you load the caravan or trailer correctly, and dealing appropriately with other traffic, you can help ease the stress levels, especially if you lack towing experience.
Caravan and trailer road-worthiness is just as important as your car’s and particular care is needed for that first summer outing, as many are parked up and unused over the winter. With the south-west of England being a very popular place to visit, it is not surprising that the South West has some of the highest incident rates for caravans. Between 2017-2018, there were 850 caravan or trailer incidents on main roads in the South West region, with 460 of those occurring in the summer months of May to September - a sure way to put a sudden end to a lovely holiday. Recent figures from Highways England revealed that around 4,000 accidents a year involved trailers of one description or another.
With the majority of caravans only being used over the summer months, this figure needs to be reduced. We take a look at the top caravanning tips from IAM RoadSmart for preparation and keeping safe on the road:
• Check – Before you set of be sure to check both your car and caravan or trailer. Especially check your 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 breakaway cable or safety chain should be in good condition and connected correctly as well as the fitting of extension mirrors to your car to ensure visibility around what you’re towing.
• Remember – Remember when loading your caravan or trailer to make sure it is not overloaded as this can put you at additional risk of instability, and mean you’re breaking the law. Ensure your heavy items are positioned correctly over the axle, low to the floor with lighter items higher up. Also keep in mind 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 applies.
• Take Care – Be extra vigilant on downhill stretches as your speed can easily creep up and get too high - this is a common contributory factor to your caravan/trailer losing stability. Remember you will need more room to stop when towing and you should always have a big enough gap to be able to slow down and stop in an emergency. As well as this towing in high winds needs additional care with perhaps alternative routes planned.
Are you taking a trip with your caravan over the bank holiday? Do you have any other caravanning tips? Let us know on our social media channels!
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