Going Nomad? Make sure you’re ready when towing for the first time.
The nomadic lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it can be a life-changing experience and a really rewarding and positive one with the right preparation. There’s an incomparable freedom in leaving everything behind and making a home wherever you happen to pull in next. But while spontaneity is fun, it’s important to know what you’re doing before you go towing a caravan or camper trailer for the first time. It isn’t always as simple as hooking up a towbar and taking off!
– Ensure your vehicle is right for towing, and that your caravan or camper isn’t too heavy. All vehicles have weight limits for towing, and going over that limit is likely to ruin your engine and your holiday!
– Make sure your vehicle is broken in and ready to tow. Many people don’t realise that vehicles often have a minimum number of kilometres they need to do before they can safely tow, so you can’t just roll out of the showroom and into the nomad life.
– Ensure your towbar is correctly fitted. Not all towbars are created equally, and nothing will ruin the adventure quite like losing your home off the back! Check your caravan is correctly coupled to the towing vehicle, with the safety chain fitted and that brake lights and tail lights are all working.
– Be sure that your towing vehicle is up to date on services. Towing a heavy caravan or camper puts extra pressure on your car, so it needs to be in tip-top shape.
– Before setting off, ensure everything inside is secured and evenly distributed to reduce excessive swing and make sure you have clear visibility (nothing blocking the mirrors or back window).
– While driving, keep left as much as possible to give overtaking vehicles space. Remember that with your heavier load, the braking distance will be longer than you’re used to, so leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front, and plenty of time and space when you’re entering traffic.
– Make sure you’re up to speed on the road rules and towing restrictions in the states you’ll be driving in. There are plenty of ways you can be caught out if you’re not thorough, and hefty fines apply.
Whether you’re a family taking the kids on that once-in-a-lifetime adventure, school leavers embarking on a gap year, or retirees ticking a trip off your bucket list, adequate preparation will ensure you get the most out of your towing holiday and stay safe on the roads while you’re at it.
Until next time, drive safely.