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Thousands of families will be planning a spring break or their summer holiday away in a caravan, but how do you ensure you are towing a caravan safely?
Towing a caravan safely will inevitably increase journey times, increase fuel consumption, and it can create headaches while on the road and even when you try to park somewhere safe.
There could be extra problems this year if you are planning to take your caravan across the Channel to holiday in Europe – especially in the event of a no-deal Brexit, when and if it eventually comes.
Here are 12 tips to towing a caravan safely
- Tow bars must meet EU regulations and be designed specifically for your car. (This doesn’t apply to cars registered pre August 1998).
- If it is your first trip towing a caravan have a practice run in familiar surroundings.
- Practice reversing your caravan safely. Remember you turn the car steering wheel the opposite direction to the way you are trying to reverse.
- Give yourself more time and space for all manoeuvres, particularly cornering.
- Tyre pressures should be checked on your car and the caravan.
- Do not exceed 50mph on single carriageways or 60mph on dual carriageways.
- Passengers are forbidden from travelling in the caravan on route.
- Your caravan’s number plate must match your car’s registration number, conform to British Standard and be illuminated at night.
- The rear light panel must be working and visible.
- Caravans in excess of 750 kilograms, including its load, must have a working brake system.
- Keep the caravan as light as possible with the heavier items stowed low down and over the axle.
- Invest in a specialist caravan satnav, You will be able to input your van’s dimensions to ensure the satnav directs you to roads that can accommodate you.
Towing a caravan in Europe
With a delayed no-deal Brexit looking more likely than ever, there are more questions than answers about the legal hoops you may need to jump through before taking your car and caravan across the Channel. You will find some extra advice here.
But, in general, if you are driving or towing your caravan in Europe, check the local laws – including the equipment and documents that you may need to carry.
For a start, you will need high-vis jackets for each member of your party, two breathalysers, a set of spare bulbs, headlamp beam deflectors and reflective warning triangles. The list of must-haves goes is extensive, so check before you travel.
If you are in breach of the rules of the country you are visiting it could invalidate both your motor and your caravan insurance and it would undoubtedly lead you open for prosecution and perhaps an expensive on-the-spot fine.
And remember, towing a caravan safely means sticking to speed limits and they vary from country to country, and sometimes by road type and even by weather conditions.
You must carry your UK driving licence photocard with you at all times and you should have a Green Card, an International Driving Permit, whether post Brexit it is a legality or not. It will help in the event of you having to make a claim, swap details with a third party or the local police.
Adrian Flux are experts in organising what’s best for you, your vehicle, and your caravan when driving at home or abroad.