Thursday, 17 April 2014

Towing me, towing you

In times of austerity, we're all looking for ways to have a break without breaking the bank. Camping and towing can help you venture the country and get a break from home. 

Before setting off, make sure you check both car and caravan tyre pressures, including the spares.  The caravan tyre pressure will need to take into account the weight of the load inside the caravan.  Check the tightness of the wheel nuts using a torque wrench. The correct settings can be found in the caravan's handbookEnsure LPG (gas) cylinders are turned off, and securely fastened in an upright positionCheck the nose weight of the caravan, and if necessary, re-adjust the position of the load inside the caravan, keeping heavy items low and over the axle. Every car and caravan has a maximum noseweight, use the lower figure of the two.  Ensure any load is always properly secured. Make sure the towing vehicle has mirrors fitted so you can see down each side of the caravan. Check the car and caravan lights. Walk round the caravan for a last minute check. The caravan should be level, or very slightly nose down.

When you're on the move:

·         Steadily get your speed up

·         If you are worried about a queue of traffic behind you, pull into a lay-by and let them pass

·         Remember you will be slower moving off than other vehicles, and it may well take longer to stop

·         On roundabouts, remember how long you are with your caravan on the back

·         Think about taking a reversing course. These are provided by the Caravan Club, and the Caravan and Camping Club.

Once you've arrived:

·         Remember to uncompress the hitch mechanism to avoid it moving into the rear of the car when released

·         Put the handbrake on and place blocks by the wheels to avoid rolling

·         Make final adjustments by placing a spirit level on the caravan floor

·         Only enter the caravan once it is  level, and the corner steadies are down

·         Make sure the step is level and secure.

·         Don't disconnect the caravan until it is level across its width

·         Don't use the corner steadies to adjust the level of the caravan as this can cause unnecessary strain.

Don't forget, you'll need to check if your driving licence covers you to tow a trailer. Also, speed limits can and do differ when you're towing. The maximum speeds for a car and trailer are (providing a lower limit is not in force:

·         60 mph – motorway and dual carriageway

·         50 mph – other roads

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