Summer is coming! Hundreds of caravanners are about to hit the roads in search of some choice views, adventure and, of course, some sunshine. What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a bit. Though those who tow caravans are likely to be a little more adept on the road than those who do not, there are still a few things that can go wrong. But don’t worry, a few simple checks can ensure a safe and leisurely drive to your chosen destination.
1. Map out your escape to the sunshine
Caravans are notoriously tricky to tow on some of the UK’s narrower roads. Have a look at your route before you travel and where necessary side step some of the tighter squeezes. On the day you travel, check Google maps and turn on traffic so you can suss out the busiest roads and avoid them like the plague. You can also checkout scheduled roadworks on the Highways Agency website.
2. Think about caravan towing mirrors
Caravan towing mirrors aid vision whilst towing but are overlooked by many drivers. Legally, you must be able to see 20 meters behind you and four meters either side when towing a caravan. Most vehicles will therefore require additional mirrors to be fitted. Be prepared by test fitting and driving with your extra mirrors before your next caravan holiday sneaks up on you.
3. Check caravan tyre pressure
Caravan tyres not only last longer if you keep them adequately inflated - they're also safer. Too much air can make cause extra wear on the outer edges of the tyres, whereas under-inflation can cause rapid deflation while driving, meaning an untimely stop on the hard shoulder. Check out TyreSafe’s handy caravan tyre safety sheet for guidance.
4. Ensure your caravan is gas safe
Caravans have mandatory vents installed to help extract any dangerous gases. It’s important these are not blocked! They can cause drafts but not letting gases such as carbon monoxide escape from your caravan will be much worse. Watch our video on how to recognise when there’s a problem and how to carry out gas checks.
5. Air out your awning
Keep things fresh and hang your awning out in your garden to get rid of that damp musky smell.
6. Is your caravan insurance up-to-date?
If you’ve bought anything to spruce up your caravan in the last year, you may need to update your caravan insurance policy. It could be a motor mover or awning or some new caravan curtains; in any case it’s worth checking your documents to make sure your sums insured correctly reflect the value of your caravan and its contents, just in case. Also, if you're planning to head overseas this year, check your insurance allows it. More about touring caravan insurance.
7. Hitch up look sharp
Make sure your hitch lock is in full working order and oil it where necessary. Caravans which become detached from the tow are not only a major inconvenience which could cause damage, they are highly dangerous for others. Don't live in hope, make sure yours is in full working order before you go away.
8. Touring caravan security
Be careful when stopping at service stations. Unattended caravans are like gold dust to opportunistic thieves. You should consider taking all the necessary precautions when leaving your touring caravan unattended at a motorway service station. It may seem inconvenient but attaching your hitch lock or wheel lock is advised in this scenario and could save your holiday from being a complete write-off. Alternatively, if you're travelling with more than one person, take it in turns to use the services so the caravan is never left unattended.
We hope this helps keep you safe this summer. Happy travels!