Back to Basics for Towing
We all like to get away at holiday time and grab the boat or the caravan to enjoy a trip, but when was the last time you had your Towbar or your Wiring system checked? Every couple of years it is a good idea to have your trailer, towbar & vehicle inspected by an authorised technician. This could be as easy as booking it in at your preferred dealership/mechanic or having a mobile safety inspection visit your place.
The last thing we need when we are on holidays is to have a problem with our Towbar or the wiring. Over time the connections can wear on the wiring pickup points, so it is advisable to test the trailer wiring on your towing vehicle before you hook up the boat or van. This can be carried out by you with a simple test kit (available here) or easily checked by your mechanic.
Once your vehicle has been checked, take a look at the trailer and make sure it’s up to scratch. They often get neglected and spend most of their life in the weather. Have you nearly rear-ended a trailer being towed with non-working brake lights? Pretty dangerous, right! What about those poor souls on the side of the highway with the trailer missing a wheel? Not ideal. Get it checked out by your mechanic to make sure it’s safe to use.
NOW THAT YOU’RE READY TO TOW, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A FOCUS ON SAFETY:
Do I have the right towbar for what I am towing?
Always check the towing capacity for your vehicle. Make sure the load you are pulling does not exceed this and make sure your towbar & ball is rated for the specified load.
Do I need to adjust my driving skills now that I have a caravan or trailer on the back?
Now that you’re towing, your vehicle is heavier and will take further to stop. Make sure you leave enough distance between you and the car in front so you can slow down in time. You will also need to be more considerate of other vehicles now that your vehicle is longer. Changing lanes should be done with plenty of warning and only when safe. Reversing should be carried out with an extra set of eyes, preferably outside the vehicle.
How should the Towing Mirrors be positioned?
Clip on extension mirrors should be set to see down the outside of the van, the cars mirrors should be set to see the caravan’s wheels. This way you can make sure your van is staying in your lane.
ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD:
Is your GPS up to date?
Have you planned your rest stops?
Do you know how far you will travel in a day?
Can you access money and fuel easily on your journey?