Recently, there have been several reports of caravans becoming unhitched, causing issues for other road users and dangerous situations for pedestrians. One caravan detached from a car and ended up on a railway track, disrupting traffic and rail services, while another crashed into and injured a woman who was walking down the street. At The Insurance Emporium, we want you to make the most of your passions while keeping yourself and others safe! That’s why we’ve put together this guide to keeping your caravan safely hitched, so you can take your ‘van out this summer without worry!
Before you even start to attach your car and caravan, ensure you’re driving an appropriate towcar! You’ll want to choose a vehicle with enough weight and torque to pull your ‘van safely. As a rule of thumb, your caravan shouldn’t be any more than 85% heavier than your car. Your car will have a noseweight limit too, the amount of pressure that can safely be exerted on the hitch. Make sure you find out this limit, and don’t exceed it for safe towing!
Test Your Hitch
Before setting off with your ‘van in tow, you should ensure it’s hitched correctly. This is a step that some people unfortunately miss, but it’s a quick, simple check that can give you peace of mind while out on the road! With the hitch attached but stabiliser disengaged, raise and lower your caravan with the jockey wheel. Your car should move up and down with the caravan if it’s properly hitched. If it is, you’re ready to engage the stabiliser and get safely on your way!
While detachable towbars can be a handy way to tow your caravan, they can be dangerous if not fitted correctly! Purchasing a quality towbar from a trusted manufacturer can help minimise these issues, as well as having it fitted by a trusted installation specialist. Ensuring you can detach and reattach the towbar safely could also help minimise the chance of your ‘van becoming unhitched. When you push it in to the mechanism, you should hear a distinct click from the towbar when it’s secure. Some models have a lock indicator that will turn green, indicating when you should turn the key to lock the towbar in place.
If all else fails, your breakaway cables should do their job and hopefully minimise the danger if your caravan becomes unhitched, provided they’re fitted correctly. The cable should be tight enough to not drag on the ground, with enough slack that your towing vehicle and caravan can articulate fully without engaging the brakes. The cables work by actually breaking themselves in the process, so keeping some spare cables on hand could be a good idea!
We hope this guide has given you a few safety tips and put your mind at ease when it comes to safe towing practices! If you’re planning a caravan adventure this summer, you might want to think about taking out insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, our Touring Caravan Insurance* includes cover for Loss, Theft or Accidental Damage as standard. You could even receive up to 45% discount^ on your policy! Head on down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!
^ The discount is capped at 45% and is made up of 25% Introductory Discount plus a range of additional security discounts (if appropriate). Please see our website for the additional discounts. The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
* Touring Caravan Insurance from The Insurance Emporium does not cover public liability in respect of (a) death or bodily injury, loss or damage to property sustained whilst your caravan is being transported or towed by a motor vehicle, is attached to or becomes detached from a motor vehicle and death or bodily injury, loss or (b) damage to property sustained due to any motor vehicle used to transport or tow your caravan.
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