Get your caravan ready for a trip away

Get your caravan ready for a trip away 25th April 2014

As the weather is heating up, many drivers will no doubt be wanting to get their caravans on the road again for a long weekend away. However, if it is their first trip away of the year with the vehicle then it is well worth checking to make sure it is well prepared.

Additionally, expert advice on towing the caravan safely should not be overlooked. The road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motoring's (IAM) Peter Rodger has provided a series of tips on safe towing. His tips can be applied not only to caravans but also other vehicles to be towed, such as horseboxes, another car or a trailer.

One of the tips involved checking tyre pressures to make sure they are correct for the road. This includes pressures for the tyres on the car that would be towing as well as the caravan. Making sure that all the tyres have the right pressures is vital for handling.

In addition to this IAM advice, drivers should also check the overall condition of the tyres and wheel alignment on both their car and their caravan. They can get it looked at by an expert technician by heading to their nearest ATS Euromaster centre for a free tyre safety check.

If it turns out that the driver needs to replace one or more of their tyres then the technicians can advise what would be best for them based on their budget and what they require them to do. ATS Euromaster also deals in tyres for caravans as well as cars.

As well as making sure their tyres are in good condition, Mr Rodger also advised drivers that they should check to make sure all their lights are working. They should ask someone to help check to make sure their rear lights are connected properly and working by standing near the back of the caravan while the driver tests their brakes and indicators.

The caravan weight should also be monitored carefully, so drivers should make sure they do not pack more than they can carry. Whatever they will be towing should not exceed 85 per cent of their car's kerb weight. Any excess weight could make the vehicle unstable.

Additionally, drivers should make sure that their caravan is attached securely to their car. They should check this before they set off and again after travelling a short distance, keeping an eye out for anything that might be loose, missing, disconnected or broken.

There are also a range of challenges that drivers face while on the road with their caravans. For example, they will have lost the use of their rear view mirror and will need to make extra use of their side mirrors. They must also be aware that stopping distances will be increased, so will have to make time for this, and that lower speed limits apply for towing vehicles.

Mr Rodger said: "Whether you're towing a speedboat, a horsebox, a caravan or another car, there are certain rules which must be applied. It is important to recognise the challenges which come with having to control not just one vehicle, but two."

Posted by Danielle Barge