We all love caravan trips and moments on this trip can be some of the best times of our life. But do we ever give a thought about the right way to tow a caravan such that the safety of the towing vehicle and the caravan is ensured. If you attempt to tow your caravan without proper knowledge and understanding, you could be putting yourself and your family in danger. Let’s check out some of the key things that need to be followed while towing a caravan.
The first part about towing is to manage the weight properly. Now you may have caravan annexes and awnings, so these things add on to the weight of the caravan. A good approach to this would be to store them on the floor and above the axel. You also need to keep checking the weight distribution on your caravan so that there is equal distribution. Once you are done arranging your stuff on the caravan, you need to check the weight on the nose. This is the crucial junction of the caravan and the vehicle so you need to check it properly.
A lot of things depend on the compatibility of the vehicle and the caravan. For getting a better idea about the compatibility, you need to consult with the caravan manufacturer and the vehicle maker. They will give you better estimates as to the extent to which the pair is compatible for bearing the forces generated during towing. You can have more than 2 people to help you out while you prepare for towing your caravan. There is no shame in this as you could do with all the help that you can get.
The handling characteristics are crucial for ensuring the safe manoeuvring of the caravan. You need to get accustomed to making decisions while considering the added weight of the caravan. This means, you need to learn how to brake properly. It is best if you can brake in a single line as this would help you to exercise more control over the caravan. Even if you break, you need to give more time to it as the breaks in the caravan would take time to activate and you cannot expect a quick response like you usually get from your own vehicle.
Making Turns with a Caravan
During turns, you need to try your best at braking in a single line and then turning. Similarly, when you need to go uphill, you have to change the gears before you reach the steep uphill driveway. And when you plan on moving downhill, then you need to lower the gears before you reach the crest. This will keep the caravan under control and will help you to maintain proper pace without giving sudden jerks (this can cause damage to the junction).
While reversing your vehicle, you should always take the help of your family or other people so that you are aware of everything that is happening. A good way to approach this would be to ensure that you reverse the vehicle and the caravan in a single line. If you find the caravan swinging to any side, then you need to turn down the steering wheel in the direction in which the caravan is seen to be swinging.
Detaching the Caravan
When you finally halt, you need to take extra precautions while ensuring that the gas has been turned off and the breaks have been duly applied. You need to train yourself to attach and detach the caravan from your vehicle. If you find it difficult to position your caravan with the help of your vehicle, then you can do it manually after you have detached the caravan from the vehicle.
So there you have folks. This is all there is to towing your caravans safely. Weight and load bearing capacity of the vehicle is quintessential as the more people or things you add to the caravan, the more load would have to be borne by the vehicle. Just have a checklist prepared and work according to your plan. Keep these key points in mind and you would have minimal hiccups on your caravan trip.
Danny Smith is CEO and Founder of Australia Wide Annexes which manufactures and sell caravan annexes, awnings and accessories. He just love caravan holidays and frequently blog about caravanning trips, parks and tips.