A guide to towing a caravan in the UK

Introduction to towing a caravan in the UK.

Embarking on an adventure while towing a caravan in the United Kingdom promises to be an exhilarating journey through beautiful landscapes and quaint villages. However, mastering the art of towing a caravan is paramount for a safe and enjoyable experience. This guide will explore the fundamentals of towing caravans in the UK, focusing on understanding driving licenses and essential skills to ensure a safe and smooth ride.

Rules and regulations for towing a caravan.

What should you have to tow a caravan?

In order to keep you safe, there are a few things your car and caravan need to abide by the law.

Breakaway cable

Any caravan that was manufactured after 1982 must have a breakaway cable. It’s an essential safety feature that activates the caravan’s brakes if it becomes detached from the car.

Mirrors 

When towing a caravan, you must be able to view a minimum of 4 metres on either side of your caravan. As most touring caravans are wider than a car, you will need specially adapted, removable mirror extensions to achieve this.

We stock some very good towing mirrors in our online shop: Towing Mirrors

Lights

Caravans must possess two red triangle reflectors at the rear, together with working brake lights, sidelights, and indicators.

Number plates

Touring caravans must have an illuminated number plate at the rear that matches the number plate of the towing vehicle.

Getting Started Towing:

Do you need a special licence to tow a caravan?

Many drivers are unaware that their standard UK driving licence allows them to tow a load. However, what you can tow depends on your car’s weight and that of your caravan (or trailer). New laws were introduced from 16th December 2021. For more details, please read the government guidance here.

Choose the right caravan for your vehicle.

Basically, the weight of your caravan should not exceed the weight of your car. A good rule of thumb is to find your car’s kerb-weight, which can be found in the handbook. Then, divide it by 100 and multiply by 85. You’ll arrive at what’s known as the ‘85% recommendation’ which is a reasonable maximum weight for towing a caravan comfortably.

Check the caravan is safe to tow.

Just the same as your car, you should always make sure that your caravan is roadworthy and safe to tow. Start by checking the caravan’s safety features, like breakaway cables. Inspect the hitch, lights, and tyres to ensure a safe and secure journey. Don’t forget to check that any loose furniture or luggage is safely tied down before towing a caravan. Anything heavy moving around inside when towing will affect your towing performance and safety.

Learning to tow.

Enrol on a towing course.

Towing courses are offered by driving schools and caravan clubs, providing hands-on experience and expert guidance. These courses are tailored for beginners and offer invaluable, practical skills for towing a caravan.

Davan recommends Caravan Training with Dave Griffin, who offers fantastic caravan towing and safety courses from £140, covering Somerset, Devon and the South West.

Caravan-Towing-Lessons-with-Dave
caravan towing and safety instructor dave-griffin
Dave

Contact David Griffin

07810 738 331

info@caravan-training.co.uk

https://www.caravan-training.co.uk/

Practice in a controlled environment.

Before venturing onto the open road, practice towing a caravan in a secure space like an empty car park. You can take your own time and it allows you to familiarise yourself with the extended dimensions of your caravan.

Master reversing techniques.

Reversing with a caravan can be challenging, so take the time to practice this technique in open areas with plenty of room. It will build your confidence as you learn the nuances of reversing with a caravan attached to your vehicle.

On the Road.

Drive cautiously.

Towing a caravan substantially affects your car’s acceleration and braking. You should always maintain a comfortable speed with a longer braking distance when towing a caravan to ensure a safe journey.

Plan your route.

Before towing your caravan anywhere, first consider the road conditions and terrains along your route. You should plan accordingly to avoid any challenging terrain or narrow roads, to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey.

Regular safety checks.

Conduct routine safety checks during your trip, including inspecting your caravan’s hitch, tyres, and lights. A well-maintained and safe caravan is crucial for a trouble-free and secure adventure.

a group of friends relaxing next to a caravan in the forest

Conclusion:

Towing a caravan in the UK will undoubtedly unveil amazing new experiences and freedom. You’ll embark on safe and unforgettable journeys by understanding your driving licence requirements, choosing the right caravan, and acquiring essential towing skills. Whether opting for professional courses or practising in a secure environment, the key is to build confidence and proficiency before setting out on your caravan adventure. Get ready to hit the open roads, creating lasting memories with your home on wheels. Safe travels!

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