Know your vehicle
It is important to know the capacity and limitations of your motor vehicle.
When choosing a vehicle it is important to think about what you will be towing and the amount of travelling you will be doing. To familiarise yourself with your vehicle, it is recommended you do short trips then increase your travel distance and time as you become more confident.
Towing a caravan greatly increases the stress placed on the safety limits of any car. It is essential that the car is in first class mechanical condition, with special attention to brakes, steering, suspension, tyres and the cooling system. It is also very important to perform regular tyre maintenance.
Know the towbar (tow bar) capacity
When towing, you should never exceed the capacity of your towbar (tow bar) or towing vehicle. Knowing your vehicle’s towbar (tow bar) and ball weight capacity is extremely important and can save you from serious injury or a fine from police.
Know the weight of what you are towing
When towing it is vital to know the weight of what you are towing, this can prevent damage to your vehicle or the prized asset you are towing. It is important to know both the total and ball weights of your caravan, boat or trailer. You can weigh your rig at a public weigh bridge and we are able to weigh your tow ball weight at Hall Towbars.
The most effective and efficient type of brakes today are electric brakes, which operate when the brake pedal of the car is depressed. They have the big advantage where they can be operated separately from the car by a hand control inside the car. This means that the caravan is never pushing onto the rear of the car, which is often when the caravan can start to sway. There are a vast range of electric brake controllers currently on the market. You can choose from pendulum or remote style units. Be mindful of where the unit can be safely mounted in your vehicle especially if you have airbags on the driver’s side of your vehicle.
When deciding on towing mirrors make sure you can clearly see your entire rig length. Eliminate any blind spots you may have by choosing the mirrors that are right for you.
With the growing amount of SUV, commercial vehicles and family cars that are hard to see behind whilst reversing, it is important to keep your vehicle, family or staff safe. A reversing camera is a very effective way of seeing exactly what is behind you while reversing and eliminating your blind spots. There is a complete range of reversing camera’s and screens available to suit any vehicle requirements.
Make sure you do a thorough check of your tow vehicle and rig each time you tow. Always check your trailer or caravan is attached to your vehicle prior to driving, even after a short break.
Be sure to check the hitch is secure, trailer plugs are connected and the hitch pin is secure.
Before moving the caravan at any time, make a routine check to ensure that everything is in order for travelling. Power, water and waste water services should be disconnected, gas bottle turned off, all windows and cupboards fastened, parking legs fully raised, step up and jockey wheel removed. Most importantly, check that the coupling electrical connection and chains are properly located and secure. Have someone assist you in checking that all the tail/brake lights indicators and side marker lights are working properly, including the rear number plate light.
Plan your trip
It is important that you plan the travel time for your holiday or any long distant trip you do whilst towing. Think about things like traffic conditions, weather, and limitations of what you are towing. If traveling long distances be sure to plan rest breaks every few hours to enable a safe trip.
Safe driving distance
When towing, keep a safe driving distance between you and the vehicle in front. Even with electric brakes it takes a longer braking distance to come to a complete stop.