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Towing Tips part 2

Read on for some sound advice.
Please accept the following as a guide to some do's and dont's on your new hobby.


This is achieved by correct loading of all your clothes & effects into the caravan. Heavy items at floor level and as near the axle line as possible. Kettles & teapots also. From experience it is not a good idea to stow them at eye level. When you open the cupboard you're assaulted by a kettle shaped missile trying to gain revenge! If you've stowed everything properly your outfit should tow without the dreaded snake being caused by an awning placed at the rear of the caravan. Loading properly will also, as well as being safer, increase you m.p.g. and important part of holiday touring.


There are many types of mirror, and as many arguments as to the best type. One thought is to use the wing mirror type seen clamped to front wings. Others mainly use extension door mirrors. These should extend far enough to give a clear view beyond the width of your caravan. Some people do not bother but will receive an almighty shock should their Insurance companies find out.
The more common type of door mirrors are those that employ lengths of rubber to cling to the actual door mirror. Another type coming to the fore are the type that fix to the door mirror surround. These are claimed to have less disturbance via vibrations.
Be warned! If you intend touring abroad you will have to have extension mirrors by law. Fines can be imposed on the spot and be costly.


This is not as difficult as some would have you believe! The first rule is take your time. There is no rush, you've paid for the pitch and no-one is going to steal it! Make all your steering wheel movements small ones; this may sound daft but it is one of the big secrets to reversing a caravan. Hold your hand on the bottom of the wheel and turn it in the direction you want the caravan to go, making small corrections as you move. Hand signals from a partner help as long as you both understand the signal - this can stop divorces!
If you have a single axled caravan it will move dramatically to any large steering movements. Many people reverse so far and then manhandle the caravan into position.
If you have a twin axled caravan, the method is the same but there will be less movement of the caravan when large turns of the wheel take place. Some people believe it is easier to reverse a single axled caravan. Having had both I do not subscribe to this belief.
Another method is to let a lady do the reversing with the man giving instructions. At least the man can get away with ordering his wife about! :o)



This is exactly the same as a normal hill start, with the proviso you remember there is a heavy weight attached to your vehicle. It will not accelerate in any normal way and this must be taken into account when pulling away. Be aware that front wheel drive cars will experience slightly more difficulty due to the incline and weight on the back wheels; so be careful of wheel spin and take this into account also.



A snake is a sudden side to side movement of the caravan caused either by bad loading or bow waves from passing traffic.
Pitching is the fore and aft movement caused by undulations in the road surface.
Stabilisers can not be used to offset bad initial loading (see 1). They are to assist the caravan regain a straight line in case of a snake. They will not make an unstable outfit into a stable one.
There are two main types. The spring stabiliser attaches to a fitment on the car and slides into an attachment fitted to the caravan. It works via pads similar to brake pads which attempt to keep the caravan in a straight line. A service interval of a couple of years (depending on usage) is recommended to keep the stabiliser in good operative order.
The other main type clamps directly onto the tow ball and again uses pads to keep the caravan in line. This is the more expensive option but doesn't need on the car or caravan. It also replaces the normal tow hitch.
Two others are the Straightliner which is of the leaf type but more effective (and expensive) and the Winterhoff which not only helps prevent snakes but also the pitching of the caravan. This also fits directly onto the tow ball after replacing the normal head.



Try to avoid using your brakes to slow the unit. Again, this is on cost as safety considerations.
Look ahead to see what is happening and use momentum to slow you whilst you consider your choice of action. Obviously, one can't do this all the time but it will make a difference to both cost and temper. Use the gear box instead of the brakes on a hill - again it may sound daft but it will be more effective than brakes that have overheated and stopped working!



This is just about the worst thing that can happen to you when towing. The only recommended safety feature is Tyron Bands which keep the tyre on the caravan whilst you slow down. These are expensive but may save you the cost of a new car or caravan!
In the case of a blow out - DON'T BRAKE! Simply take you foot off the pedals (I press mine to the floor!) and wait until the snake has stopped and slowly move onto the hard shoulder or the first place of safety. If you can remember put on your emergency flashers as soon as possible to let everyone know there's a problem.



Try and keep your driving as smooth as possible, it makes for a more enjoyable journey and again, will save money. After all, you don't drive your car with fast accelerating and jerky movements……………do you???



Tricky! This calls for good judgement and knowledge of you car's towing/accelerating abilities. If in doubt - don't! Never try overtaking on a downhill slope. This can cause a snake, it will mean that when you start braking the caravan won't want to stop and it will take you a fair amount of time to slow down safely. It is recognised that downhill overtaking is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres an articulated combination can make.