10 Top Tips for Towing a Caravan for the First Time

Towing a caravan for the first time can be a daunting prospect, but there’s nothing to worry about as long as you’re prepared.

In this blog, we’ll share 10 top tips to make your first caravan towing experience a breeze and give you the confidence you need to get behind the wheel.

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10 caravan towing tips for beginners

Follow these simple caravan towing tips for a stress-free journey every time:

1. Make sure you have the right driver’s licence

Before getting behind the wheel, it’s important to make sure you’re legally entitled to tow a caravan.

If you passed your driving test before January 1997, your licence should allow you to drive a vehicle and caravan combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). However, if you passed your test after 1st January 1997, you are only permitted to tow up to 3,500kg MAM.

You can find more information about the new rules for towing a caravan on the government website.

2. Check your caravan’s weight restrictions

Check your caravan’s specifications list to find out the maximum load weight and make sure you don’t exceed it when packing. Overweight caravans pose a huge safety risk, reducing stability and increasing braking distances.

You might need to weigh the items you’re loading as you go. Although this may be time-consuming, you’ll only need to weigh the items that will come with you on every trip once – just don’t forget to make a note of their weight for next time!

3. Load your caravan correctly

Loading your caravan in the correct way will help to ensure stability while you’re on the road.

Your heaviest items should be loaded first, low down and close to the axle. These should be followed by your medium-weight items, which should also be loaded as low down as you can get them but can be more spread out than the heavier items. Your lightest items should be loaded last and can be stored in overhead lockers.

Make sure everything in the caravan is secure so that nothing can slide around while you’re driving.

4. Fit extension mirrors

Your car’s wing mirrors alone will not offer a clear view to the rear of your caravan, so you must fit extension mirrors to your wing mirrors before setting off with your caravan. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it will also make your journey much easier!

Extension mirrors are easy to fit and can be removed quickly when you are no longer towing.

5. Fill up with petrol before hitching your caravan

Manoeuvring a caravan into the right position at a fuel pump can be tricky, even for an experienced caravan tower. To make life easier, fill up your car before hitching up and setting off – it’ll save you from ending up in a potentially stressful situation at a busy petrol station!

6. Time your first trip for when the roads are quieter

If possible, wait until the roads are quieter to set off on your journey. This will allow you to build up your confidence without the pressure of having lots of other road users around you.

Try to avoid rush hour traffic and busy periods like Christmas, Easter, and bank holidays. If you do have to travel at a busy time, make sure you get some practice in beforehand when the roads are quieter.

7. Take a caravan towing course

If you’re feeling nervous about towing a caravan for the first time, there are plenty of courses available to help build your confidence. The Caravan and Motorhome Club offer caravan towing courses all over the UK that cover everything from hitching up safely to manoeuvring around tricky corners.

8. Take extra care at junctions

When towing a caravan, you need to remember that your vehicle is much longer than usual. Make sure you leave extra room when pulling out at a junction to avoid causing an accident and take corners a little more widely than you normally would so as not to clip the kerb with your caravan’s wheels.

9. Know what to do if your caravan starts pitching or snaking

When a caravan sways side to side behind a car, this is known as caravan snaking. When the front of a caravan moves up and down, this is known as caravan pitching. Both can pull at the rear of the towing car and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle in extreme cases.

Making sure you have a well-matched towing outfit and load your caravan correctly will help to reduce the chance of either of these things happening. However, snaking and pitching can still happen even if you’ve taken precautions, particularly if you find yourself travelling in strong winds.

If this does happen, avoid the instinct to brake or steer out of it. This could make the snaking or pitching worse. Instead, keep steering in a straight line and take your feet off the pedals until the caravan is back under control.

10. Drive slow and take plenty of breaks

As you get used to towing a caravan for the first time, don’t feel pressured by other road users to drive faster than you feel comfortable. If traffic is building up behind you on a single-lane road, you can simply find a safe spot to pull over and let the other vehicles pass.

You’ll be concentrating harder than you usually would be while driving, so make sure you take lots of breaks. It’s also a good idea to share the driving with someone else if possible!

Secure your dream caravan with Auto Finance Online

At Auto Finance Online, we make caravan finance simple. Select your dream caravan from one of the UK’s top dealers, then sit back and relax while we liaise with them to secure the best possible deal on your behalf.

Want to know more about securing a caravan on finance? Get in touch with our team today.

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