Many travellers see a caravan as their second home! And, why not? It offers everything that your home does- a kitchen, toilet, bed, and a cosy place for relaxing time. A caravan is your home on wheels. With a caravan you can save plenty of money and avoid staying in hotels.
Towing a caravan can be quite a challenge especially for first timers and those with rather large caravans. Hopefully this article will provide you with some additional information about towing a caravan.
Do not overload your van
Before connecting any vehicle with your car, check whether your car can tow it or not. The weight of your caravan should never exceed the capacity of towing vehicle or towbar, whichever is the minimum.
The fine for exceeding the limit of towing capacity varies according to the amount of limit it exceeds. The information on towing capacity of a vehicle is in the manual of that particular vehicle.
If your newly bought caravan is heavier than the towing vehicle, you need to replace your towing vehicle. You can also update certain components of your towing vehicle, such as suspension, which increases its towing capacity. However, these updates may impact your vehicle and are also expensive.
Items such as hot water systems, fridges, washing machines can add a lot of weight, so make sure you only take what you really need.
Police have started to really crack down on overweight caravans, so be sure to check your weight and that it complies with your towing limits before you embark on your next holiday. You can purchase a set of caravan weight scales to weigh your van at home.
Keep enough space on the road
If the complete length of towing vehicle and your caravan is more than 7.5m, keep a distance of 200 meters from any vehicle on the road. It’s best to stop the towing vehicle by applying the brake a little earlier or accelerate the vehicle a little less.
You cannot stop and park your towing vehicle and caravan on the road for more than one hour. You can only stop if a driver is dropping off and picking up your caravan. Use extension mirrors to always have a good view of your rear unit. Do not forget to remove them after you tow your caravan.
Position items to keep your caravan balanced
Another thing you can do while towing your vehicle is keep everything inside balanced. Distribute the weight evenly while packing your caravan to keep it steady on the road. First of all, pack the heavy items and place them just forward of the axles, low on the ground and evenly on both sides.
Medium-weight things can be packed around the heavy ones. Light-weight items can be packed into the lockers of the caravan. When you are done packing, ensure that everything is packed securely. Never attach a gas bottle to the outside of your caravan; it will start a fire if your caravan crashes.
There are some road rules which are applied while towing a caravan, as listed below:
- The vehicle towing a caravan must drive at least 60 meters behind the heavy vehicles or other towing vehicles.
- The maximum speed for a vehicle towing a caravan is 100km/hr.
- If you are towing a caravan wider than your car, there must be caravan extension mirrors.
- People are not allowed in a caravan while towing.
You must not drive the vehicle that is towing a caravan in these situations:
- If the caravan can injure a person, damage the path or the road.
- If a portion of the caravan is likely to fall from the towing vehicle.
- If the tow vehicle is unregistered
- If the caravan is unregistered
Inspect the tow vehicle and caravan
Before towing the caravan, make sure that everything is closed inside the caravan and the towing car. Make sure all windows, doors, etc., are secured before you start moving.
Do a virtual check starting from the front of a caravan connected to a towing vehicle before starting the journey. Check that the caravan plug is plugged in, the coupling, safety chains, and breakaway wire are all securely hitched. Turn off the gas bottles.
Make sure that the caravan’s awnings, windows, doors, steps, hatches, etc. are securely fastened.
Always be more concentrated on the road and drive slowly when towing a caravan. Make sure you always stay fresh by taking regular small breaks. If you have to tow the vehicle for more than one day, ensure that you have a good night’s sleep.
Watch for danger in advance
While towing a caravan, take the widest turn you can when going around a corner. At roundabouts, turn as late as possible so that the caravan gets safely around. If you are going to overtake, allow plenty of space and time on the road to achieve a smooth overtake because a towing vehicle with a caravan takes more time than a normal vehicle.
When driving in hills, using gears rather than breaks while driving downhill will save your trip. While driving uphill, ensure that you are at the maximum posted speed limit as you approach the hill.
Maximum Speed of a Vehicle Towing a Caravan in Australia
Till now, we have discussed the towing vehicle, caravan, and road safety during towing of a caravan. Now we will discuss the speed limit of the caravan. Below are some state-wise vehicle speed limits while towing a caravan.
Towing Limits in Western Australia
The maximum speed limit of towing vehicles for towing a caravan in WA is 100 kilometres per hour. Most of the caravan and towing vehicle combinations can weigh between 5,500 kilograms and 6,500 kilograms. With this much weight, the combined load of a towing vehicle and caravan would be a lot more challenging to handle than your normal car.
Towing Limits in New South Wales
The speed limit of towing vehicles for towing a caravan in NSW is 110 kilometres per hour. The towing vehicle should have a gross vehicle mass that does not exceed 4,500 kilograms.
Towing Limits in Victoria
There is no set speed limit for towing vehicles for towing a caravan in Victoria. Learner drivers are not allowed to tow a trailer or caravan in Victoria.
Towing Limits in South Australia (SA)
There isn’t a speed limit for towing a caravan in SA. Instead, drivers are told to follow posted speed limits and adjust their speed according to the road conditions.
Towing Limits in the Northern Territory
As with most other parts of Australia, there are no specific caravan towing speed limits in the Northern Territory.
Towing Limits in Queensland
For the latest rules and regulations in Queensland, click here.
If you are planning to go on a holiday in a caravan, make sure you know some facts about the towing of a caravan so that your trip is successful. We have tried our best to give important points about towing and speed limits in different places of Australia. Enjoy your next trip to Australia in your caravan.