Top tips for a caravan holiday - 10/08/2012
New research suggests that the caravanning holiday is coming back in a big way, with one in five taking or planning to take a caravan or camping holiday this year.
The study, of more than 3,000 UK adults, was carried out by a UK vehicle manufacturer and found that one in five ‘towers’ have only taken up the pastime in the last six months. Four out of ten of those surveyed, and who tow caravans, trailers or boats, admitted they had never had training on how to do so safely.
One of the biggest areas of concern is a lack of knowledge about towing capabilities, resulting in drivers buying and renting caravans their car doesn’t have the sufficient power and torque to tow.
The risks are heightened by the pressures towers face from other road users:
· Over 40% of those interviewed admitted to having felt forced to take risks.
· Almost a quarter said they have had to speed up after being tailgated.
· More than one in ten have had to brake heavily.
· A further one in ten had to swerve due to other drivers’ lack of consideration.
“The results of this research highlight a key knowledge gap in towing legislation and safety guidelines,” said Tim Shallcross, the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ head of technical policy, who recommends the following five key towing tips:
1. Check you are legally allowed to tow. Requirements differ depending on when your licence was issued.
2. Know your towing limit as well as the maximum braked and unbraked towing weights. This can be found in your vehicle handbook.
3. Know your limits. 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways, or 50 mph on single carriageways (unless otherwise stated).
4. Allow more time and space for accelerating and braking, given the extra weight.
5. When approaching an incline, select a lower gear in good time. Going uphill this provides extra power; going down it reduces the strain on your brakes.
The good news is there are still plenty of experienced drivers out there. Half of those who tow say they feel confident and assured at the wheel, with a third holding a special licence. There’s also a willingness to improve, with half of those surveyed indicating they would welcome a refresher course or new tips on how to tow safely and with confidence.
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