Caravan holidays are one of the most enjoyable and cost effective ways to see Australia, but before you head off on that long awaited holiday, there’s a few things to consider. Not only do you need to buy the right caravan for your needs, you need to ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes on licencing, towing and your car before you embark.
Practice Makes Perfect
Although you can tow a caravan on a normal car licence you should consider practicing before taking off. There are many factors that are completely different when towing that you wouldn’t have thought about when driving your car.
Just hooking up the van and heading off into the sunset may seem like a good idea, but making sure you can safely turn corners, understanding your new braking distance and realising there will be a wind factor as well are all contributors to making sure you have a safe and fun trip.
Make sure you get your van early and practice in a quiet and safe space until you can corner, reverse and park so that you don’t come up against any trouble on the road.
Know your Weights
One of the biggest causes of accidents and fines on the road is not knowing your weight limits. Once you work out what weight your car can tow, you need to combine the weight of everything in your caravan to accurately stay under regulations.
If you take a look at your caravans compliance plate you’ll find it’s aggregate trailer mass. This is the amount that your van is allowed to weigh once it’s fully loaded. The only way to be 100% sure you are not overweight is to take it fully loaded and have it weighed at a public weighbridge.
When looking at the weight, you need to remember to calculate all your liquids such as fuel and water into your weight. It’s very expensive to get this part wrong and every state has different fines that apply if you guess it and come in overweight.
Electrics and Obstructions
Before you even pull out of the kerb, check the electrics and obstructions. Make sure your brakes and indicators are all working and that there is nothing obstructing the view of your registration plates.
Fines will apply if your tow bar is obstructing the view of your rego plates which will lead to a very short and expensive holiday.
Once you’ve done your practice, checked your electrics and got your weights right, it’s time to do a final check on all the little things that will make a big difference on a trip. Check tyres, windscreen wipers, couplings and spare wheels.
Cover everything and you’re in for a very enjoyable adventure. It's a small price to pay for a trip of a lifetime.