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Stay safe on your caravan road trip

Caravan and trailer roadworthiness is just as important as your car’s, and particular care is needed for that first summer outing as many are parked up and unused over the winter.
By ensuring that you load the caravan or trailer correctly, and deal appropriately with other traffic, you can help ease the stress levels – especially if you lack towing experience.
That’s according to the Caravan & Motorhome Club and IAM RoadSmart.  Follow their advice for a successful holiday trip!
Before you start your trip, make sure you have checked both your car and caravan or trailer.  Especially check your tyres as they should be inflated to the correct pressure, have a good amount of tread (no lower than 1.6mm) and be free from damage.
The caravan breakaway cable (or safety chain on smaller unbraked trailers) should be in good condition and connected correctly.  If you have a caravan or a large box-shaped trailer you will almost always need to fit extension mirrors – these will help make sure you have a good view behind you and comply with the law.
Remember when loading your caravan or trailer to make sure it is not overloaded as this can put you at additional risk of instability, and you will also be breaking the law.  Ensure your heavy items are positioned correctly over the axle, low to the floor with lighter items higher up.
A quick refresher of the Highway Code will remind you that travelling in the right-hand lane of a motorway with three or more lanes is not allowed.  Also, your speed limit when towing is 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways and 50 mph on single carriageways, unless a lower overall limit applies.
Be extra vigilant on downhill stretches as your speed can easily creep up and get too high – this is a common contributory factor to caravans and trailers losing stability.  Remember, you will need more room to stop when towing and you should always have a big enough gap to be able to slow down and stop in an emergency.
Towing in high winds needs additional care and perhaps a change of route should be considered.  However it’s not just windy days you need to be mindful of.  Overtaking large vehicles can put you in their ‘bow wave’ and this can cause instability for caravans which are badly loaded and/or being towed too fast.
“Towing a caravan or other trailer can be unfamiliar, but doesn’t need to be intimidating,” Martin Spencer, Technical Manager at the Caravan & Motorhome Club.  “By getting the basic set-up right, then following straightforward advice over issues such as speed and safety around other vehicles, towing can be relaxed, easy and comfortable.  Above all, it will be safe.”


Added: 12 June 2019

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