There’s something about camping and caravanning that appeals to our sense of adventure and our love of the great outdoors. However, there are things you need to know before you can safely tow a camper or caravan anywhere. Hitching something to the back of your vehicle that can weigh several tonnes requires some extra driving skills and a new awareness of braking distances and height and width clearance.
With that in mind, here are some of our safe driving tips for towing campers and caravans.
Know Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity
This one is vitally important: you must never exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity. If possible, check your vehicle’s maximum braked trailer weight limit before you purchase your camper or caravan and allow for extra weight in or on the vehicle, such as luggage and passengers, which will reduce your towing capacity. Towing a trailer that’s too heavy for your vehicle presents some serious safety concerns.
Pre-towing checks should always be carried out after you’ve packed everything, but before you even start the vehicle. It’s too easy to overlook something or get distracted while you’re packing, so make it the last thing you do and give it your full attention.
Check that the trailer is properly coupled, the safety chains are on, and the trailer plug connected. Check that the handbrake is off, any gas cylinders are switched off, and then take a walk around to make sure everything is secure and looks right. Check everything again every time you stop for fuel, food or to rest.
On the Road
A caravan will be bigger and heavier than a camper trailer, but these tips apply no matter what you’re towing. Remember you’re a lot wider when you’re towing, so keep a look out for anything close to edge of the road, especially in towns and cities, and leave plenty of room on both sides for clearance.
When cornering, take the widest possible path because your camper or caravan will try to cut in and take a shorter path than the towing vehicle. On narrow city streets, you may need to wait for traffic and use both sides of the road. Avoid dangerous sway when towing at speed by properly balancing the weight in the trailer, and slow down when a large vehicle overtakes you. Trailer sway control is invaluable and well worth the investment if you do a lot of towing. If your caravan or camper starts to sway, don’t hit the brakes hard. Decelerate gradually until the swaying stops, or accelerate smoothly again if the swaying continues.
Perth Caravan and Camping
Whether you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned adventurer, the professional team at PMX Campers is here to help you choose the right camper trailer or caravan to make your next holiday a memorable event. We’re active members of the camping and off-roading community and can provide expert advice on all your caravan and camping requirements. Contact our friendly and experienced staff today on 08 9455 1454, email us at [email protected] or fill out our online contact form.