instances of the tail wagging the dog'
loading critical for safe travels
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THE Caravan Council of Australia has stressed the importance of correct
tow ball loading when hauling caravans.
"It is one of the critical factors that determine its handling and
stability characteristics," founder and qualified automotive engineer
Colin Young warned.
"Serious safety issues arise if the ball loading is either too light or
He said the seriousness would increase "significantly" if the mass of the
tow vehicle was not sufficiently high to be able to control any
instability of the caravan.
"There are far too many instances ‒ sadly, too
often with damaging or even tragic outcomes ‒
where the 'tail wags the dog'.
"It goes without saying that any caravan when towed by a suitable
tow-vehicle must handle safely, regardless of whether it is empty or
"It is certainly reasonable to believe that a manufacturer has
professionally and realistically tested their different models of caravans
before offering them for sale in order to be able to credibly determine
the optimum minimum and maximum ball loadings
for satisfactory handling performance."
Manufacturers were expected to have designed the (longitudinal) location
and mass-limit for each storage compartment, so that when the caravan is
loaded ‒ in a reasonable and typical manner
‒ the mass-distribution remained within the
acceptable design range.
"A major problem with many 'vans is that the mass-distribution
‒ hence the crucial ball loading
‒ varies excessively depending on the possible
combinations of the (empty and full) contents of the water tanks," Mr
"It is also expected that all manufacturers would have done their
engineering design thoroughly and thus be able to advise potential
buyers of the worst two combinations of
the contents of the tanks."
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