Caravan towing is different from driving a car. After all, you are carrying a lot of additional weight and you don’t have complete control over the caravan. This is why every driver towing a caravan needs to follow certain additional rules to keep them and others safe while towing.
In this blog post, we will explore the topic of rules you need to follow for caravan towing as well as a few tips to safely tow a caravan.
What Is Caravan Towing?
If you are reading this blog post, you probably already know about towing a caravan.
What makes towing a caravan different from just driving your vehicle is that it requires specific driving skills. It’s not as simple as driving your car on its own. Also, there are certain rules to follow when you are towing a caravan to keep you and others on the road safe. This goes beyond just making sure that your caravan has had its yearly maintenance and servicing carried out.
For example, you need to allow longer distances for overtaking, breaking or joining a traffic stream compared to when you are only driving your vehicle. When you tow a caravan, you are not allowed to make sudden changes of direction or lane changes. There are also plenty of other rules to follow and you need to be aware of such rules and follow them to avoid any fines and loss of demerit points.
Rules for Caravan Towing
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of caravan towing rules, you need to understand that there are a lot of regulations that can be broadly categorised into 3 different areas:
- Road rules specific to towing
- State regulations regarding towing
- Legislative requirements
The federal compliance requirements are covered in the Australian Design Rules and the Vehicle Standards Bulletin No 1. Further down the line are specific state and territory regulations and they might be different from the federal regulations.
The next thing you need to know is the recommendations by the vehicle manufacturer. You might think of them as recommendations but most of them may be binding in nature due to compliance requirements with Australian Design Rules.
If it feels like a lot to digest, here’s a non-exhaustive list of the rules you should follow for caravan towing:
- At the most, there should only be one trailer hitched to your vehicle at any time
- The caravan being towed should not have any people inside
- The load should be properly secured
- Do not exceed the maximum towing weight as recommended by the manufacturer
- The vehicle speed must remain below 100 km/h when the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer exceeds 4.5 tons
- Check the rated capacity of the safety chain, tow bar and coupling and make sure you adhere to those limits
- All the trailers that weigh more than 750 kg are required to have brakes
- Trailers that weigh more than 2,000 kg should have driver-activated brakes
Things You Should Know to Safely Tow a Caravan
While there are plenty of regulations covering caravan towing, it is important to have road awareness to safely tow your caravan. Here are a few tips to help you with the same:
- Always stick to the maximum weight limit of the vehicle and the caravan
- Make sure to maintain a distance of at least 200 m from a vehicle in front of you if the combined length of your vehicle and trailer exceeds 7.5m
- A common problem with caravan towing is not securing the load inside. Make sure everything is tied up and properly balanced. Pay attention to the maximum axle loads as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Respect the speed limits. Stick to the maximum recommended speed by the manufacturer or 100km/h, whichever is lower.
- Spend some time practising taking turns and reversing your caravan to get a good idea of the turn radius and how much you need to turn the wheel to remain safe.
Caravanning is fun and it should remain that. Don’t drive over safe speeds or overload your trailer. Stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations and always be aware of local regulations related to caravan towing to avoid any fines or demerit points. Situational awareness and practising towing your caravan in a vacant place go a long way in keeping your caravan travel safe and fun.
Visit RV & Caravan Centre for Your Caravan Servicing Needs
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Please give us a call today on 1800 782 236 to learn more about our caravan services or leave an enquiry.