Sixty percent were
on or over the limit
The weighty problem of caravan safety
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
"For example, the combination travels well at 90km ... however, at 100km
it sways and is dangerous. That indicates that weight distribution may be
Mr DeAth said CHECK WEIGHT was concerned about badly balanced vehicles and
"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
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