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Call for towing safely this summer

Jul 20 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

Caravanning is on the up and up, with recent research revealing that one in five people in Britain are planning a camping or caravan holiday this summer.

But the research also found that 20% of caravan towers have only taken it up in the last six months, leaving experts concerned about road safety due to a lack of training and expertise in drivers towing caravans.  

40% of those surveyed who tow caravans, trailers or boats say they have never had training on how to do this safely. There is also concern that drivers don’t know the towing capabilities of their vehicle, meaning they could be buying caravans that can’t be towed safely.

Towers also said they felt at risk from other road users, with one in ten having had to brake heavily when towing, almost a quarter having had to speed up after being tailgated, and one in ten saying they’ve had to swerve when towing due to other drivers’ inconsideration on the road.

Tim Shallcross, Head of Technical Policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: ‘With more “towers” than ever hitting the roads this summer, it is essential drivers are up to speed with road safety.

‘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.’

The survey was carried out by Nissan, which has recommended the following towing tips with the Institute of Advanced Motorists:

  • 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.