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Towing a caravan

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Towing a caravan can be a daunting experience for the novice. Here we give you some tips on what to do and not do to make your journey as safe and pleasurable as possible.

Note: In some areas there are caravan towing schools - for your own piece of mind this could be money well spent.

Can I have people in my caravan while towing?

No. No-one is permitted to travel on or within a trailer while it is being towed on a public road.

Is there a maximum height for a caravan or trailer?

The height of any trailer or its load must not exceed 4.3 metres. In addition, no part of the vehicle or its load can protrude sideways beyond the bodywork.

Why do I have to keep a greater distance from other traffic?

Because of the greater braking distances it is wise to have a larger gap between your own and other vehicles. The law states that when towing a trailer on the open road, you must leave at least 60 metres between your combination and heavy vehicles or other vehicles towing trailers, unless you're overtaking. It can take five kilometres or more to overtake a road train.

Can I tow more than one trailer?

No, you are only allowed to tow one trailer or caravan at a time.

Is my trailer covered by my NRMA Membership?

Yes. NRMA Membership covers a registered trailer, providing the towing vehicle is covered by NRMA Membership.

Do I need a special licence to tow a caravan or trailer?

No, you don't need a special licence or even any towing experience. But towing a caravan requires skill and concentration. We recommend you either learn from another driver experienced in towing, or take a course with one of the specialised caravan and 4WD driver training providers.

Can learner drivers and "P" drivers tow a trailer or van?

Provisional ("P" plate) licensed drivers are not permitted to tow another vehicle, or a trailer with an unladen mass of 250kg or more. Learners are not permitted to tow a trailer, caravan or any another vehicle.

Will my CTP insurance still cover me while towing?

Provided you comply with all the necessary vehicle requirements, your Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance provided by the towing vehicle's policy covers you when you are towing. Separate CTP cover is not required.

What happens if I have a crash and my caravan's weight is over the legal limit?

Your insurance company will not pay your claim if your caravan's weight is over the legal limit. This is the first thing that the insurance company will seek to establish.

Am I permitted to follow the speed limits when towing?

Mostly, yes. However, though the national speed limit for towing combinations of less than 4.5 tonnes is the posted speed limit, except in WA (100km/h for trailers over 750GVM), some vehicle manufacturers apply a speed restriction to their vehicles under certain conditions. If these are ignored, your insurance and warranty may be waived. We recommend you travel at 80 km/h and under. It's better safe than sorry.

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