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Sixty percent were on or over the limit

The weighty problem of caravan safety

Check Weight  Have your say

JEFF DeAth works hard to take the weight off the minds of many caravanners.

His Newcastle-based mobile caravan weighing business CHECK WEIGHT has put more than 370 caravans and tow vehicle combinations on the scales since launching in NSW two years ago.

And Mr DeAth has revealed that about 60 percent exceeded or were on the weight limit.

He told Caravanning News that half the problems could have been "fairly easily" resolved by removing excess items or moving weight to or from the tow vehicle or caravan.

But others required more due diligence, culling or even upgrades.

"Some of the worst caravans we have weighed have exceeded 14 of the 15 compliance checks that we undertake," he said. "One caravan was 500kg over its Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM)."

Mr DeAth believed there were several reasons why owners had difficulty in understanding caravan and vehicle weights:

●  It takes a little while to get your head around all the acronyms.

 The people who should know caravan and vehicle sales people have a vested interest in selling to you and benefit from the sale, so are not always the correct person to listen to.

●  In some cases there is too much information on the internet ... much of which is misleading, difficult to understand and not all in one place.

 Many people believe they know and understand caravan weights, but they mistakenly mislead people in the wrong direction.

He said an overweight or unbalanced caravan would not necessarily cause an accident, but he believed an unbalanced and overweight vehicle and caravan could make it more difficult, and more likely to have an accident when trying to recover from emergency situations.

"For example, the combination travels well at 90km ... however, at 100km it sways and is dangerous. That indicates that weight distribution may be incorrect."

Mr DeAth said CHECK WEIGHT was concerned about badly balanced vehicles and caravans.

"Although not a legal requirement, balance can affect the stability of both vehicle and caravan," he explained.

"We regularly see vehicles and caravans weighing 100-200kg heavier on one side. The worst caravan was 310kg heavier on the driver's side than the passenger's side. The owner of this caravan had terrible sway issues."

It was these kind of issues that were not picked up at public weighbridges, he added.

"We have seen many combinations that are technically legal but were still badly loaded and balanced."

CHECK WEIGHT's website has free resources to help caravanners learn about weights and a free report on caravan weight acronyms.


 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without
the prior written permission of Dennis Amor.

Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
All Rights Reserved

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