'Careful planning and loading
essential for safety'
blueprint allows caravanning families to keep safe during holidays
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NSW's Narrandera Shire Council has issued
its own blueprint to help keep caravanning families safe during the school
The council has expressed concern over the rising number of caravan
accidents, with statistics revealing that between 2014 and 2018 there were
239 crashes in the state involving vehicles towing RVs.
They resulted in 12 fatalities and 120 serious injuries.
"Towing a caravan is far more complex than simply hitching one to your
vehicle, as it adds significant weight to your vehicle," the council said.
"Caravanning requires careful planning and loading and puts additional
responsibilities on a driver to manage safety."
Under the current COVID restrictions caravanning was more popular than
ever and regional road trips around NSW were expected to be the holiday of
choice during the holidays, it added.
The blueprint urges anyone planning a road trip to brush up on essential
caravan safety tips before setting out on the road.
Before you tow a caravan you need to:
* Understand how towing a caravan can affect
your driving, your safety and the safety of others on the road.
* Make sure your vehicle’s towing capacity is
* Ensure you have weighed your caravan and your
vehicle, you know your aggregate trailer mass (ATM), gross trailer mass (GTM),
gross combined mass (GCM), and you understand how to find and use a weigh
station in NSW.
* Correctly load your caravan to meet safety
* Know the safety checks you should make before
and during your trip.
Driving while towing a caravan is a different experience to normal driving
... it requires heightened spatial awareness of both your vehicle
and caravan, a need for greater stopping distances and careful
consideration of environmental factors such as high winds, wet roads and
* When towing a caravan
you need to allow for the extra length and width of your caravan
when entering traffic or changing lanes and allow for the extra road space
required on corners and curves.
* Apply the accelerator, brakes and steering
smoothly and gently to avoid sway – particularly in wet or slippery
* Leave a longer stopping distance from the
vehicle ahead than when you are not towing a caravan and increase this gap
further for longer and heavier caravans. Allow even more distance in poor
* Use a lower gear when travelling downhill to
maintain vehicle control and reduce the risk of brake failure.
* Have someone watch the rear of the caravan
from a safe location when reversing – reversing
a caravan is difficult and takes practice.
* Be aware of the increased effects of cross
winds, passing heavy vehicles and uneven road surfaces that can cause your
caravan to sway.
Towing a caravan can be more challenging than normal driving and can
increase driver fatigue. It is important to make sure you don't
drive when you are tired, and always plan for plenty of rest breaks on
Making sure you know how to load and weigh your caravan, and safely drive
while towing one, can reduce your risk of being involved in a crash.
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.
Careful planning and loading combined with responsible driving to manage
safety will make caravanning holidays enjoyable for everyone.
For more information on how to safely tow a
caravan, including loading and weighing your caravan and a safety
checklist for before you travel, visit the
Road Safety Website
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