Top tips for towing a touring caravan

If you’re new to the world of touring caravans, towing a vehicle for the first time can be a daunting prospect. With the caravanning season just around the corner, the Coast team has put together some helpful hints for new tourers.

1. Prepare your vehicle for the load

It’s important your vehicle is in good condition to cope with the additional strain of a towed vehicle. Make sure your tyres have good tread and well inflated, your brakes are working effectively and there are no problems with your engine or suspension.

2. Watch your weight

Before hooking anything up to your tow bar, check your car manual for the maximum towing weight permitted.

3. Lights, mirrors, action!

When your car is prepared and your caravan is hooked up, it’s very important to assess your lights and mirrors set-up. You should be able to see behind your caravan in both your wing mirrors – if you can’t then fit a mirror extension (available at most outdoor stores). Check the aim of your headlights and readjust if necessary. Monitor your side, brake and number plate lights to ensure they are in full working order.

4. Spread out evenly

If you’re going away for a summer holiday, the likelihood is you’ll have a fair bit of luggage with you. The caravan is a great place to store it, however make sure your goods are spread out across the cabin to distribute weight evenly. In general, the heaviest items should be nearest the caravan axle to maximise balance. Secure all items to stop them moving in transit.

5. On the move

Once you set off there are a few rules to remember. For starters, it will take you longer to move off, negotiate sharp bends, slow down and stop, so it’s important to drive smoothly and anticipate changes in speed and direction. When driving on a dual carriageway or motorway you can travel no quicker than 60mph and you are not permitted to use the right hand lane for overtaking on roads with three or more lanes. On single carriageway roads the speed limit is 50mph.

6. Reversing

Of all the manoeuvres, moving backwards while towing a caravan is generally considered the most difficult. The overall rule is to turn your steering wheel in the opposite direction to which you want your caravan to move, taking care to move slowly otherwise your tourer could jack-knife. Before the caravan straightens up, turn your steering wheel in the other direction until the car is in line with your caravan.

To reverse straight back, first make sure your caravan and car are aligned – even if it means pulling forwards slightly. When you start moving backwards, monitor your wing mirrors carefully: if the caravan starts to appear larger in one than the other, turn the steering wheel slightly towards that mirror until its alignment is corrected.

Whatever your holiday destination this summer, Coast can protect your caravan in the event of damages and accidents with our dedicated touring caravan insurance. To find out more about the comprehensive cover we can offer, simply contact our sales team on Freephone 0800 614 849 or click here for an online quotation.