'Take care' when towing caravans this winter

22/12/2011
Towing a caravan may seem like a tricky prospect for those not used to doing so when the weather is pleasant and settled, but the idea of pulling a tourer along when the roads are hazardous can be a whole new ball game.
 
Towing a caravan may seem like a tricky prospect for those not used to doing so when the weather is pleasant and settled, but the idea of pulling a tourer along when the roads are hazardous can be a whole new ball game.
 

When transporting a caravan in winter months, road users must stay alert at the wheel and take in a number of considerations.

Plan your journey

The first thing to do is thoroughly plan the journey to make sure there are no mishaps or unexpected diversions along the way.

Using a map or satellite navigation system could prove invaluable, especially when individuals are travelling to new destinations or down routes they are not used to.

In addition, having a little help guiding the way might be essential on journeys blighted by snow or hale stone, where visibility can be poor.

Towing weight

As with towing caravans in any weather, weight considerations are of primary importance during the winter months - as failing to look into this matter can not only be dangerous, but illegal.

Jon Dale, public relations manager at the Camping and Caravanning Club - which is the oldest and largest such group for all forms of camping, with more than 500,000 members to its name - noted: "Firstly, make sure you're legal to tow – pay attention to the weight of the unit you're towing and ensure it is distributed accordingly."

The industry figure went on to point out: "To make your towing experience as pleasurable as possible, we would advise that you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and try to avoid travelling at times when high levels of traffic are expected."

Driving in snow

While it may seem obvious, those who need to make a journey with their caravan during times of heavy snowfall should make sure they do all they can to ensure maximum visibility - and this means clearing their windscreen of any ice or snow that may be resting on the glass.

Some people may find it easier to simply rub out a small hole through which their face can peer when they are behind the wheel, but this can be extremely dangerous - especially if they have a caravan in tow.

Ford recently made a special announcement advising all road users to clear snow and ice from their windscreen prior to setting off on a journey.

Failure to do so could prove detrimental not only to the driver's license, but also to the safety of everyone else in the vehicle and other road users outside it.

Stuart Southgate, automotive safety expert at the manufacturer, said: "Being able to clearly see where you are driving is perhaps the most obvious and basic safety requirement for motorists."

Beware of potholes

The last few years have seen an explosion in the number of potholes blighting Britain's streets.

Often caused by bouts of harsh weather, the divots can prove particularly tricky to avoid for caravan towers, who have the added difficulty of having to make sure extra sets of wheels do not pass over the holes.

Caravanners should therefore take extra care in poor weather when driving on surfaces laced with the gaps - and also bear in mind the fact more of the dips are likely to appear once the worst of the weather passes and the warmer weather sets in.