Top Towing Tips
The end of term time for schools is almost with us and the Great British summer getaway will soon begin, caravans and camping trailers will be cleaned, aired and off to the seaside. A recent study has shown that one in five people plan to take a camping or caravan holiday this year, love them or hate them, as soon as the kids break up for summer you can guarantee that there will be thousands of holiday homes being towed around our roads. Here are our top tips for a safe tow, even if you are only taking your small trailer to the local recycling centre to get rid of some garden waste, our top tips could help make all the difference to your journey
- The first thing you should do before towing is to check that you are actually allowed by law to tow, not everyone is aware that this depends upon when you actually passed your driving test, when your driving licence expires and the weight of your caravan or trailer.
- Do your research and find out what your towing limit is, you will need to know the maximum braked and unbraked towing weights – check your vehicle handbook
- Be aware of the speed limits – unless otherwise stated these should be 50 mph on normal roads and 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways
- The extra weight will mean it will take longer to both accelerate and brake so allow extra time for this
- You will need to select a lower gear for hills, whether you are going uphill or downhill
- Allow more room when cornering
- Never, ever allow anyone to travel in a caravan whilst it is being towed, it is not only illegal it is also extremely dangerous!
- Use caravan towing mirrors, it is illegal to tow “blind”
- Load correctly and keep luggage and camping essentials stowed securely
- You should only tow in the outside lane of a 3 lane motorway if you are instructed to do so
- Pull over regularly to allow built up traffic queues the opportunity to pass you
- The rules are different if you are towing in Europe, always research the laws of the country you are to visit – including any that you will be driving through.
- If you do not have GB on your number plate you will need to attach a GB sticker on the back of your car and your caravan/trailer
- Some countries require you to carry a fire extinguisher and first aid kit
- Some countries require you to carry high visibility jackets or vests to be used in the event of an accident, this rule varies depending upon which country you are in – some countries insist that this item of safety clothing should be within reach of the driver. Some countries require each occupant of the car should have a high visibility jacket or vest
- Carry a warning triangle – or even 2 warning triangles, again this is dependent upon which country you are in
- Ensure you have adapted your headlights to avoid dazzling oncoming motorists; kits are available from garages or vehicle accessory stores
This is not an exhaustive list; it is advisable to always check the rules and regulations for each country you will be driving through.
Special Thanks Bill Ward for providing the image