Safety and Advice

Many newcomers to caravanning are concerned with the prospect of towing or manoeuvring a car and caravan combination. The problems that are sometimes encountered may be due to incompatible vehicle combination, incorrect loading, lack of proper towing equipment or simply a lack of skills. Once the above points have been fixed and a little common sense is used, towing a caravan or camper trailer need not be any more difficult than driving a car by itself.

Sway is the side to side movement of the rear of the caravan or camper trailer. This movement is sometimes referred to as snaking and can result in complete loss of control. Because prevention is better than a cure, sway controls should only be considered when all other factors contributing to the instability have been eliminated.

Whenever a vehicle towing a trailer travels along the road with the back down and front up, a problem of weight transfer exists. This means that there is less weight on the front wheels but more on the rear than without the trailer in tow.

A towbar is to a car and caravan what glue is to two pieces of timber. Use the wrong glue and the timber will come apart. Fit the wrong towbar to a car and the caravan may not stay in place.

With the trend towards smaller and lighter cars, compatibility of tow vehicle and caravan in regard to weight and size has become more important.

Considering the importance of safety, the most suitable towing vehicle is one which is heavier than the caravan or trailer it tows and which has enough power to permit quick and safe passing manoeuvres.

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