Towing Do's & Don'ts
- Do follow a set routine when hitching up a trailer. You will be less likely to forget any aspect of the connection procedure.
- Do fit wing mirror extensions to help you see clearly what's happening behind you when towing a caravan.
- Do remember that your vehicle and caravan together are longer, higher and wider than the car alone. Watch out for width and height restrictions, allow extra space when cornering and overtaking, and take account of the additional weight when braking.
- Do keep the engine revs up and release the clutch slowly when you make hill starts.
- Do practice reversing. It's a tricky manoeuvre until you get used to using the opposite lock to normal.
- Don't exceed the car or caravan manufacturer's recommended nose weight - the pressure which the trailer exerts on the towball itself. Ideally this should be about 7% of the caravan's Actual Laden Weight. If the nose weight is too low or too high the steering may become too light or too heavy, affecting stability.
- Don't attempt to tow a caravan or trailer that is too heavy for your vehicle - you will experience difficulties caused by the lack of power and may have problems in braking. The Caravan Club recommend that the Actual Laden Weight of the trailer is never more than 85% of the tow vehicle's Kerb Weight.
- Don't panic and brake sharply or make rapid steering movements if the trailer starts snaking from side to side. This can happen when accelerating downhill, if you are caught in a cross wind, or are passed by a large lorry. Just gently lift off the accelerator and maintain a straight course, letting the vehicle slow down naturally.
This page can only give a quick outline of towing practicalities. For further information please contact us or visit the National Trailer and Towing Association website at http://www.ntta.co.uk.
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- Bryan Campbell
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