22 July, 2009
Summer Caravanning Safety Advice
Thousands of new caravanning families are expected to be out and about this summer. The National Caravan Council, the trade association that represents the UK caravan industry, is issuing free safety advice on what to do before towing a touring caravan.
Caravanners who want to know more about towing, loading, hitching and general safety can ask for a free copy of the Caravan Towing Guide either by calling 01252 318251 or by ordering online at http://www.tourerinfo.co.uk. The NCC's top ten safety tips are:
- Before setting off, check your caravan's and tow vehicle's tyres, particularly the pressure and tread - follow the advice from http://www.tyresafe.org/
- Make sure that your caravan is not overloaded. For a novice caravanner, a fully loaded caravan should weigh no more than 85 per cent of the kerbweight (MRO) of the car.
- Load your caravan carefully, check the nose weight and place heavy items directly and securely on the floor close to the caravan axle. Travel light for greater fuel efficiency.
- Make sure you hitch up safely, follow a systematic routine every time and ensure the gas is turned off.
- Check the breakaway cable - all caravans with a MTPLM (maximum technically permissible laden mass) of more than 750 kgs must be fitted with a breakaway cable. This will include the majority of family caravans.
- Then check all lights, indicators, reversing lights etc on the car and caravan.
- Keep on the right side of the law by:
Observing the national speed limits for a car and caravan (50 mph on a single carriageway and 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways)
Fitting two functional rear view mirrors; as the side mirrors are unlikely to provide a clear view down both sides of the caravan, extension towing mirrors may be needed.
- New owners should already have checked they have the right driving licence to tow the caravan they have bought – see www.direct.gov.uk for details; it is advisable to take your licence with you on holiday.
- Finally, for peace of mind, your caravan should be insured. Most car insurance policies allow you to tow, but they will not cover damage to the caravan or its contents – or any damage that the caravan does.