Apart from adding to the driver’s legal responsibilities, towing requires a greater degree of knowledge and skill than normal driving.
When towing you should:
- Allow for the extra length and width of your caravan when entering or passing traffic.
- Apply the accelerator, brakes and steering smoothly and gently to avoid caravan sway, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
- Avoid applying the towing vehicle’s brakes if the caravan starts to sway or snake.
- When larger vehicles pass in either direction, slow down to reduce swaying of the caravan caused by wind buffering.
- Keep to the hard road surface where possible as the wheels that enter a soft edge may cause the caravan to sway excessively with possible loss of control.
- Maintain an increased distance between you and the vehicle in front to allow for a longer stopping distance.
Engage a lower gear in both manual and automatic vehicles to increase vehicle control and reduce brake strain when travelling down hill.
- Where areas are provided, pull over regularly to allow following vehicles to overtake.
- Slow down when travelling over bumpy roads or at rail crossings.
- If possible, reverse with a person outside the vehicle watching the rear of the caravan.
- Be aware that towing is more stressful than normal driving and more likely to cause fatigue, therefore more rest stops should be planned.
- Use your side and rear view mirrors to give you good visibility along the full length of the towing vehicle on both sides
Checks Before The Trip
Before departing make sure you check:
- Tyre pressure is correct on the caravan (including spare wheels). If in doubt, check with your local tyre dealer.
- The tyres on the caravan have legal tread depth and the tyre casings are not cracked or perished.
Wheel nuts on the caravan are all tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Coupling socket and ball match each other in size.
Coupling is correctly and securely fastened.
Safety chains are correctly connected.
- Caravan light connections are secure and that all lights work.
- Caravan lights, number plate and registration label are clearly visible
- Load distribution between towing vehicle and the caravan are correct and properly balanced, front to rear and side to side
- Wheel chocks and jack stands are working in case tyre changes are required
- Gas cylinders in your caravan are turned off and that the refrigerator door is closed
- Any roll out awning is stored away and locked in the travel position
- Front and rear corner stabilisers are in the up position.
Hand brake of the caravan has been correctly released
- Check the caravan wheel bearings are correctly adjusted and lubricated
- Where brakes are fitted check the brakes are operating correctly on all axles of the caravan
- Roof hatches, windows and stone shields are secure.
240v electrical cord has been disconnected and stored away
- TV antenna is in the travel position.
Limit the amount of load in the boot of the towing vehicle
- Ensure that there are no loose items in either the caravan or the towing vehicle that could upset the balance of the caravan or injure vehicle occupants should they become unrestrained
- Remove the jockey wheel from its clamp and store it in the boot of the car or caravan, or if it is a swivel mount variety, lock it in the travelling position.