Caravanning is more popular than ever and with some travel restrictions still in place, regional road trips around NSW are expected to be the holiday of choice during these school holidays.
However, towing a caravan is far more complex than simply hitching one to your vehicle and anyone planning a road trip is reminded to brush up on essential caravan safety tips before setting out on the road.
Transport for NSW Deputy Secretary for Safety, Environment and Regulation, Tara McCarthy said caravanning and recreational vehicle (RV) holidays are on the rise and this has raised more safety concerns too. “Between 2014 and 2018, there were 239 crashes involving a vehicle towing a caravan on NSW roads. Sadly, these crashes resulted in 12 fatalities and 120 serious injuries,” McCarthy said.
“Towing a caravan adds significant weight to your vehicle. It requires careful planning and loading and puts additional responsibilities on a driver to manage safety. It is crucial drivers understand how to safely load and weigh their caravan and how to drive safely while towing before they set out on the road.
“This knowledge will not only protect you and your passengers, but complying with safe loading laws means you won’t run the risk of fines from police enforced Roadside Caravan Safety Inspections.”
McCarthy said driving an RV or towing a caravan can be stressful and careful planning and preparation, as well as breaking up the journey, can help to make the trip more enjoyable. “After several weeks of lockdown many of us are eager to get outside and see other parts of the state. To make this holiday as pleasant as possible be sure to follow these simple tips and ensure you are complying with the essential safety requirements,” McCarthy said.
“If you understand how towing a caravan can affect your driving, your safety and the safety of others on the road, you will find it much less stressful. Remember to weigh your vehicle and your caravan at a weigh station, correctly load your caravan to meet safety ratings and requirements and do any necessary safety checks before and during your trip.”
Top 5 tips for safe towing
There are several things you should consider before you tow a caravan. These include:
1. Understanding how towing a caravan can affect your driving, your safety and the safety of others on the road
2. Making sure your vehicle’s towing capacity is adequate for safely towing a caravan.
3. Ensuring that you have weighed both your towing vehicle and caravan, you know your Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM), Gross Trailer Mass (GTM), Combined Vehicle Mass (GCM), and you understand how to find and use a weigh station in NSW.
4. Correctly loading your caravan to meet safety requirements.
5. The safety checks you should make before and during your trip including brakes and tyres, lights, towing components, load and storage. For the full list go to roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au.