Know your towing limit
Before you set off with caravan in tow – in fact, before you even buy the caravan – you must know the maximum towing weight your car can tolerate.
You will find your VIN (Vehicle Identification No) in the car’s handbook, by the driver’s door or under the bonnet. If the VIN no does list a train weight (the maximum weight for the car plus a trailer/caravan), your car isn’t suitable for towing.
For the average driver, the restrictions on towing an ordinary 2, 4 or 6-berth caravan shouldn’t affect you.
Read our caravans and the law FAQ for more information.
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Adjust your driving habits
It isn’t easy to forget you have such a heavy load towed behind you, but it is easy to keep to your usual instinctive driving habits; trying to beat the orange traffic light or cheekily nipping in front of that car at a roundabout.
But remember, the vehicle you’re now driving is twice the length and twice the weight of your car.
Even properly balanced, a caravan can at first appear unwieldy. When first setting out, don’t panic; it’s not as though other drivers can’t see you. They should take a little more care when looking to overtake, but don't rely on this - make sure your always extra mindful of what other road users are up to.
Towing and the law
Be prepared if towing a caravan in bad weather
Before you set off, check the weather forecast for news of high winds on your route. If you’re towing a caravan on high altitude roads or motorways keep a weather-ear on the local area forecasts. If you do hit very strong wind and the caravan’s motion worries you, then try to pull off exposed road.
Motorways, in particular, are often cut through exposed and open land. If it’s possible to take a less exposed route, even if it puts an hour or so on to your drive, then considerate it. Better arrive later in a calm frame of mind than endure a frazzled and fretful journey.
Even in relatively calm conditions, wind speed can suddenly change due to overtaking traffic, especially lorries and coaches, and you could find the car and caravan buffeted about.
Though it’s unlikely that you’ll be caravanning in the snow, should you be hit by a sudden snowstorm, do just as you would if you weren't towing a caravan behind you.
Drive more slowly, use a route, if you can, that has been gritted. A loss of road grip is bad enough in a car; when towing a loaded caravan it could be a nightmare.
Your maximum speed (adhering to local speed restrictions, of course) is 50mph on a dual carriageway, 60mph on a motorway.
When you check your car’s tyre treads, check the tyres of your caravan, too.
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Take special care when manoeuvring
When towing a caravan you’ll need to be aware of taking corners at a slightly wider angle to avoid clipping kerbs.
Special care should be taken in reversing, and a reversing camera fitted to the rear of the caravan is a good idea.
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Finally, in 2014 the RAC reported that motorists’ top peeve was being stuck behind a car towing a caravan. At least you have the calming knowledge that you’re in front of it!
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