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Advice on towing a caravan

  • Bear in mind that ideally, the caravan shouldn’t weigh more than 85% of the towing vehicles kerb weight.
  • Check the maximum weight your vehicle can tow, this is usually listed in the handbook.
  • Try to keep the caravan as light as possible with the heavier items low down and close to the axle.
  • Due to the added length and weight of the caravan, you’ll need to give yourself more time and space for everything. Brake earlier than normal and keep in mind that you’ll probably accelerate more slowly with a caravan on the back.
  • Also make sure you leave a decent sized gap between yourself and the driver in front in case braking takes longer than anticipated.
  • The extra length of the caravan means you will need to take the corners more widely than normal so the back of the caravan doesn’t cut the corner or clip the kerb.
  • Remember the legal speed limits are often lower when you’re towing. Don’t exceed 50mph on single carriageways or 60mph on dual carriageways.
  • You cannot drive in the outside fast lane of motorways with three or more lanes.
  • Snaking is when the caravans swaying motion becomes dangerous.
  • Pitching is when the caravans front end moves up and down, consequently pulling on the rear of the car.
  • To avoid both snaking and pitching, take both feet off the pedals to bring down your speed and refrain from braking while keeping your steering in a straight line. Be aware that trying to steer out of the sway can make the problem worse.
  • There is an adjustment drivers must make when reversing a towed caravan. Small movements are key and extensive steering is not necessarily needed to get the caravan where you want it to go.
  • We’d advise you to have a practise at reversing and maneuvering in a large area with no traffic and set up some small obstructions to test your abilities.
  • Use extension mirrors to enable you to see the rear of your unit, but don't forget to take them off when not towing as this is the law.
  • You must have a visible number plate with your vehicles registration number which conforms to British Standard and is illuminated at night.
  • Make sure your rear light panel is working and your indicators are clear and functional.

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