Safety checklist for travelling with your caravan
If you are about to undertake any journey it is wise to check your vehicle, this is equally true of anything that you are towing such as a caravan. It is much easier to carry out any maintenance and safety checks before you go. Here's our list of things to keep in mind:
- Take your caravan for a safety check - especially so if it has been stored over winter. Most garages will do a brief but comprehensive caravan check to make sure that it is safe to be towed.
- Check tyre pressure - these need to be altered depending upon the weight of your caravan and car. When you are towing your rear tyres may require more pressure. Check your vehicle owner's manual.
- Install /check smoke detector - This could be the difference between life and death. Also make sure that you have a permanent fire extinguisher in the caravan that is easy to reach - make sure that you service the extinguisher every year.
- Close all windows, doors and roof hatches - make sure if possible they are locked.
- Turn off the gas bottle.
- Switch off lights and power when travelling - Make sure all 12 volt lights inside the van are switched off and remove the 240 volt power lead.
- Put all large and heavy items directly over the axle and on the floor - a lot of people make the mistake of putting these items at the back of the caravan - you are then at risk of your caravan pitching back and forth.
- Tidy away all loose items - all work surfaces should be clear - otherwise items will fall and may cause injury.
- Securely fasten all catches, cupboards, stove lids etc.
- Remove TV antenna (if applicable)
- Close front stone shield and secure.
Safety checklist when hooking up your caravan to your car
If possible get a friend/partner to help you as it is easier and safer if there are two of you and check the following:
- Wind up the corner jack stands.
- Connect the caravan onto the tow bar of the vehicle - reverse the car slowly back to the front of the caravan to make it as simple as possible.
- Check coupling has fallen into closed position.
- Fold this back and release your hand brake cable.
- Next remove the jockey wheel and connect D shackles to the safety chains and towbar.
- Connect 7pin trailer plug.
- Check all exterior lights are working - this is much easier with an assistant who can stand behind the vehicle whilst the driver uses both indicators, reverse lights, lights and brakes.