How to safely tow your caravan
The great thing about owning a touring caravan, is the ability to hitch it onto your vehicle whenever you want and set out on the open road. However, towing a caravan is no easy feat. No matter how experienced or in-experienced you are at towing a caravan, you should always prepare and take the necessary precautions when towing.
See below our recommended steps on how to tow your touring caravan safely.
Licence and vehicle tow capacity
Depending on the weight you are towing, you may need to take an additional category driving test. If you passed your test before 1 January 1997 or passed after 1 January 1997, details on what you can tow can be found here.
The towing capacity for your vehicle, can be found on your vehicles VIN Plate (Vehicle Identification Number Plate) which is either stamped into the chassis, found in the engine bay, bottom of the windscreen or on the inside trim of the driver or passengers’ door.
Be sure to carefully check your driver’s license and vehicles towing ability before setting off with your touring caravan. Towing too much weight could cause your vehicle significant stress, or even an accident due to loss of control, brake, or acceleration issues.
Width and length requirements
Traveling across British roads can be dangerous, especially when it comes to the narrow and unpredictable lanes and small A roads. That’s why your vehicle and towed caravan must be no more than the maximum width and length to safely travel on the road.
- 2.55 metres is the maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle
- 7 meters is the maximum length for a trailer towed by a vehicle weight up to 3,500kg. This length does not include the A-frame.
These additional items will have to be attached or in working order when towing your touring caravan behind a vehicle. Fines can be issued if you are caught not using the appropriate towing equipment.
- Towing mirrors are a legal requirement and must provide you with an adequate view of the road behind you.
- Trailers and caravans must have a working brake system if they are over 750kg when loaded. A breakaway cable or secondary coupling must be used in case your caravan or trailer disconnect from your vehicle.
- Tow bars must be ‘type approved’ so it meets EU regulations and is designed to fit with your car. If your car was first used before 1 August 1998, your tow bar doesn’t need to be type-approved.
- Your caravan or trailer must display the same number plate as the vehicle that’s towing. The number plate must be clearly visible.
Packing your caravan
Just like packing up your car or a suitcase to go on a plane, packing up your caravan is just as important. If you overpack your caravan or items are not safely secured, this could cause all sort of problems when on the road.
Overpacking your caravan will inevitably increase your vehicles towing weight. If your vehicle has exceeded its towing weight, then the caravan could become unstable, and may wobble, interfere with your vehicles steering or affect the braking and acceleration of your vehicle. All these interferences are enough to cause a serious accident, so make sure your vehicle is towing no more than its maximum amount.
Large items such as gas bottles, BBQs, bikes, and heavy bags should be packed first, and stored on the floor of the caravan or in your vehicle. Items like these should be spread across the caravan floor to provide an even distribution of weight across the axel.
Medium sized items should be spaced out evenly on the floor, again to distribute the weight. Light items can be stored in roof racks or lockers in the caravan or in your vehicle. Just make sure any cupboards, drawers and moveable furniture are secure so items do not fling out and damage the inside of your caravan.
Views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of Guardcover Tourer Select.