5 key things to know when towing a caravan

Caravans are perfect for holidaying during those long summer months. They provide you with a handy portable home that you can enjoy anywhere! When towing a caravan with another vehicle, it is essential to bear these five points in mind.

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1. Make sure you have the right driving license

If you acquired a standard license before the 1st January 1997, you will be able to drive a vehicle and trailer of a combined weight of up to 8,250 kg up until your 70th birthday. Once you reach 70 you may have to take out a new license. If your standard driving license was acquired after the 1st January 1997, you are allowed to drive a vehicle of up to 3,500 kg, and you can use that vehicle to tow a trailer weighing up to 750 kg. These weight restrictions will be no problem for a typical caravan, but if you do want to tow a trailer that will weigh more than these limits, you will need to apply for a different license from the DVLA. This will involve demonstrating that you have the skills needed to tow a heavier caravan - taking a course with an institution such as the Camping and Caravanning Club will help to prepare you for this test.

2. Know your speed limits

When towing a caravan, you must keep to a lower speed limit than when driving a car. This is 50 mph on dual carriageways and 60mph when on the motorway.

3. Remember to avoid the outside lane of a motorway

When towing your caravan on a three lane motorway, you must not drive in the furthest right-hand lane. 

4. Get a proper number plate and rear light panel for your caravan

Some caravan owners believe that they can simply write a large cardboard sign with their car's registration number on and secure it to the back of their caravan. This is not the case. Your caravan must have a number plate that displays the registration number of the car that is towing it and that is clearly visible at all time - including at night. The back of the caravan must also be equipped with a working rear light panel.

5. Load the van carefully

Load the caravan evenly to avoid snaking (the caravan weaving from side to side behind your car) and pitching (the caravan leaning over to one side). Pitching, in particular, is associated with the vertical instability that comes from loading too much on the top storage levels of your caravan and not very much on the lower levels.

Now you're ready to go

Take these five points into consideration and you will be well prepared for your caravan trip. Happy caravanning!


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