Towing a caravan
Towing a caravan can be a daunting experience for many. Below we give you some tips on what to do and not do to make your journey as safe and pleasurable as possible. NRMA is here to help our Members with caravans with Premium Plus.
Download the NRMA towing guide (PDF / 2.21MB / 22 pages)
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 Premium Care or Premium Plus 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.
What coverage does NRMA offer for people towing caravans?
NRMA recommends Premium Plus our most comprehensive roadside assistance package for big vehicles including caravans and trailers up to 10 tonnes.
Premium Plus offers the most comprehensive level of towing options:
- Towing for your trailer and heavier vehicles
- 50km in Sydney, Newcastle Blue Mountains, Illawarra and the ACT.
- 100km in remote areas
- Free towing in country areas back to the town of the attending NRMA Country Service Centre or 50km in any direction
Not a Premium Plus Member?
Do you know how the tow ball download of your caravan affects the handling and braking performance of your car? Australian Caravan+RV editor, Brendan Batty manipulates a caravan and measures the difference.
For more information on everything caravanning visit Australian Caravan+RV.
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