Surge in caravanners this summer? Safety Tips

Oh joy – there could be 20% more caravanners on the road this summer, as we all look for cheaper holidays. This coming weekend is the busiest for people going on holiday, and research by Nissan suggests one in five “towers” will be doing it for the first time. Slightly worryingly, four out of ten of those surveyed and who tow caravans, trailers or boats, admit that they have never had training on how to do so safely.One of the biggest areas of concern is drivers’ lack of knowledge on the towing capabilities of their vehicle, resulting in drivers buying and renting caravans their car doesn’t have the sufficient power and torque to tow.

Speaking on the research findings Tim Shallcross, Head of Technical Policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The results of the Nissan research highlight a key knowledge gap in towing legislation and safety guidelines. We encourage new and experienced ‘towers’ to ensure they are correctly informed as to their vehicle’s towing capabilities and to follow essential safety guidelines which can be found on the Nissan website.”In response to the research findings Nissan has launched a complimentary guide to towing, available at all Nissan dealerships nationwide. A number of free towing courses will also be hosted across the UK. Customers purchasing a Nissan X-Trail or Pathfinder between July 1st and September 30th are entitled to a free towing course, and members of The Caravan Club are being offered 16% discount on its X-Trail and Pathfinder models.

Five key towing tips as recommended by Nissan and the Institute of Advanced Motorists are:

• Check you are legally allowed to tow. Requirements differ according to when your licence was issued.
• Know your towing limit as well as the maximum braked and unbraked towing weights. This can be found in your vehicle handbook
• Know your limits. Speed is limited to 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 50 mph on single carriageways (unless otherwise stated)
• Allow more time and space for accelerating and braking, given the extra weight
• When approaching an incline select a lower gear in good time. Going uphill this provides extra power. Going down this reduces the strain on your vehicle’s brakes