HANDY TIPS IN PLANNING YOUR NEXT CARAVAN ROAD TRIP
There is nothing quite like setting up a caravan and hitting the open road. You have spent a long time planning, and now your ready to begin your journey.
Getting things ready before you depart is key to ensure a successful trip. This includes getting your tow vehicle ready and having a safe journey whilst towing your Caravan.
Setting up and towing a caravan can be tricky, and dangerous if done incorrectly, so here are some tips to make sure you are towing safely, so you can get the most out of your journey.
BEFORE SETTING OFF
Prior to getting hitting the road, you’ve got to check everything is in proper working condition, not just the caravan, but your tow vehicle.
If you haven’t recently, take it for servicing. A mechanic will check your brakes, bearings, tyre pressure, and this will give you peace of mind for your journey.
It’s not just your mechanics that should be keeping on top of the tow vehicle; it’s your responsibility as well:
- Check that your suspension is in good working order.
- Check your tyre pressure, but also, make sure that you check your wheel bearings.
- Before you head off, make sure that your caravan is hitched and connected properly with all lights in working order.
GETTING ON THE ROAD
You need to know the rules of the road, not just in terms of your driving, but there are specific rules and regulations associated with caravan driving. There are rules for towing the caravan, but also you, as the driver…
Tips on Towing
There are a few simple rules when it comes to towing:
- You are not allowed to tow more than one trailer.
- Because of the weight of the vehicle, leave adequate space behind other vehicles, this will allow for plenty of time for braking.
- It is illegal to tow a caravan with any passengers in the caravan.
Driving with a trailer can sometimes be tricky for a novice. It can take some time to get into the swing of things. But here are some key pointers:
- Allow yourself longer distances for overtaking, joining traffic, and braking.
- Avoid changing lanes and changing direction suddenly.
- Anticipate changes in traffic or the road further ahead than you would normally. As the braking distance is increased due to the weight of the vehicle and caravan combined, you have to look further ahead.
- Drive smoothly, and be more conscious of how you speed up, stop, and steer. This is especially pivotal when entering corners and curves. You need to slow down a lot.
- When reversing, it’s better to have somebody outside the vehicle giving you proper directions. If you are making a turn in the road, be sure that you are more than aware of the vehicle’s blind spots. When you are in built-up areas, this can mean the difference between a near miss and a major accident.
- Be aware of snaking. This is when the caravan “jerks” the back of the vehicle and cause swaying. In this situation, it’s tempting to hit the brakes, but what to resolve this problem, maintaining a steady speed or accelerating ever so slightly is the key, and do this until the swaying stops.
- Always adhere to the road rules and the road condition. Always plan ahead, especially if there are changes in traffic or weather conditions, and adhere to the speed limits.
- Towing a caravan can be stressful on the driver. Be sure that you plan more rest stops, and if you are traveling over a long distance, allow yourself the luxury of breaks and the opportunity to recover.
Towing a caravan can be more tiring than standard driving. This is not just because of the size of the vehicle, but the issues you can encounter during driving can sometimes mean it is not always such a straightforward journey. Take it slow and enjoy your journey safely.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR CARAVAN THROUGHOUT YOUR JOURNEY
If you look after your caravan, it will look after you. You have to be safe in the knowledge that your caravan is as secure as possible, especially on long journeys. If you are going on any trip, you need to adhere to the following safety checklist:
- Make sure that the caravan is coupled to the tow vehicle. You need to check your safety chain(s), two are usually fitted. Use the ‘D’ shackles to connect them to the secure points located on the toolbar.
- Make sure that the electrical plug connecting the caravan and vehicle is connected.
- Before every journey it’s worth doing a spot check of the tail lights, clearance lights, brake lights, and indicators. If you are driving during night time, and there are no street lights, you have to make sure that you are clearly visible.
- Inside the caravan, ensure that everything is secure, this includes the cupboard doors, and check that the refrigerator door is locked. As tempting as it can be to set things up in your caravan to make it easier when arriving at your destination, remember that this is a vehicle and not a home. Make sure there are no loose items dotted around the caravan that could be damaged or damage your caravan.
Get Some Tools
If you are mechanically minded or are handy with tools, it is recommended you bring some tools with you on your journey. If you don’t have a toolbox, it’s common sense to have one in the car. You may not be near a mechanic if something happens when you’re on the road. A standard tool kit should have adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, a jack and pump, a set of sockets, tow rope, as well as a torch, and battery charger.
Some spare fuel is also recommended for longer, more remote journeys.
Treat It Right
Your caravan and tow vehicle is your all-in-one home when your on your journey, it’s important to treat it right.
- During travelling, be sure to disconnect all electrical, gas, and water connections within the caravan.
- Be careful if you have a portable heater, and make sure that it’s away from any flammable materials.
- Before every journey recheck the exterior of your Caravan to ensure that nothing has come loose on your travels.
As exciting as it can be to go travelling with your rental caravan, you need to exercise some common sense and security:
- Keep your caravan locked up, especially if you’re stopping over somewhere for a break.
- Be sure to update your insurance policy on your caravan and its contents, just in case something happens.
- Keep the jockey wheel safe, either by locking it into position, or pack it away from prying eyes.
There’s also some additional information that you should think about when towing a caravan:
- Be confident in your ability before renting a caravan. If not, you can have some caravan towing lessons. This allows you to be guided by a professional. A lot of people make a mistake in thinking that it’s just the same as driving a normal vehicle, albeit a bit heavier. This is not the case.
- If your caravan has electric brakes, you can install Electronic Stability Control. This gives you additional peace of mind and makes the experience safer. If you are concerned about the vehicle snaking, this can make all the difference.
Travelling safely with your caravan is priority number one.
As amazing as it is to get your rig set up and get on the road, you have still to be cautious during your journey.
Safely towing the caravan isn’t just about getting the right match for your travel requirements; it is also about you having adequate knowledge, so everybody benefits and has more fun while travelling safely on the road.
We want you to have a safe experience with your caravan while on holiday; make sure that you drive safely, so we can see you back again safe and sound in the knowledge that you’ve had a great holiday experience with the right caravan for you.