Before you hit the open road with your caravan in tow, the RAC has five rules you should know to stay within the law and to arrive safely at your holiday destination: Read the full article on RAC blogs
1. Don’t overload your Camper
Before hitching any campervan, trailer or caravan to the back of your car, find out what your car is capable of towing. (Check your vehicles owner manual).
Legally, the weight of what your towing (when fully loaded) can not exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle or its towbar, whichever is the lowest.
2. Leave enough space
If the total combined length of your vehicle and any attached trailer or caravan is 7.5m long or more, you must keep at least 200m behind any similar car/caravan or long vehicle on all roads outside built-up areas that don’t have more than one lane in the direction you’re driving, unless you are overtaking.
You should also be mindful of parking restrictions. In built-up areas, you can’t stop a long vehicle on the side of the road for more than an hour unless the driver is dropping off or picking up goods, or signage indicates you can park for longer. Outside built-up areas, you can only stop on the road if the vehicle and its load are completely on the shoulder.
3. Keep the weight balanced
Always distribute weight evenly to keep the caravan steady on the road.
Pack all heavy items first – just forward of the axles, low to the ground and evenly on both sides.
Never store heavy objects up high, as they will raise the caravan’s centre of gravity.
Once you’re loaded up, make sure everything is securely fastened down.
4. Travel at a Safe Speed
You’re towing extra weight behind your car, so staying within a safe speed limit is critical.
When towing a trailer or caravan, the maximum speed at which you may travel is 100 km per hour.
However, a safer towing speed is between 80-90, which is more manageable should you suddenly need to apply the brakes, and helps you stay in control where there is a strong cross wind or uneven road surfaces, travelling at a lower speed also saves fuel and makes it easier for other vehicles to overtake.
5. Mirrors & Extra wide turns
You must have a clear view of the front, side and rear of the vehicle (Investing in towing mirrors to extend your range of view may help this and is highly recommended by RAC.)
While on the road you may at some point need extra space when turning.
If the combination of car and caravan or trailer is more than 7.5m long, you may use part or all of an adjacent second lane for turning left or right if any part of your vehicle is within 50m of the nearest point of the intersection and if it’s not possible to turn left or right from the lane you’re travelling in. You will have right of way to complete such turns, but you must display the sign "Do not overtake turning vehicle" at the rear of your caravan or trailer.