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Caravan towing tips

20 January 2015 ( 14 February 2017 )

If you're new to caravanning, read our caravan towing tips to help you have a calmer, safer journey.

Car towing caravan through the mountains
Always be aware of the wind conditions, especially at high altitudes and on motorways

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.

Six ways to get the most out of your caravan

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.

The UK's new speeding fines explained

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.

How to reverse a caravan

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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Next article: Tips for preventing caravan break-ins >>>


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.