Caple | C160/96DL | Road Safety Advice for Tourists Towing Caravans or Trailers

Towing Caravan 6pp DL.ART
Page 1
■ Make sure tyres are the same type and size and have a
minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm.
These steps are especially important if your caravan
or trailer hasn’t been used in a while. Don’t assume
that everything is ok – check first.
What to do if you break down
on the road
■ If possible, get off the road as quickly as possible to
avoid blocking traffic.
■ If on a motorway, pull over on the hard shoulder as
far to the left as possible. Your wheels should be
turned to the left.
■ Switch on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
In poor weather, keep your sidelights on as well.
■ Before you get out of your car, make sure all
passengers are wearing a high visibility vest.
■ Make sure passengers leave the car by the left-hand
side to avoid other vehicles.
Designed by The Design House, June 2009
■ Have your caravan serviced every year by a mechanic.
Working To Save Lives
■ Make sure your tyre placard has the recommended tyre
size, load rating and tyre pressures.
■ Put up a warning triangle 45 metres behind your car. Be
careful when doing this – do not attempt if it isn't safe.
Road Safety Advice
for Tourists Towing
Caravans or Trailers
■ Stop near an emergency phone if possible and call a
breakdown company from the phone or your mobile.
■ If you suspect there might be a danger of being hit
by another vehicle, get yourself and other passengers
out of the car and clear of the traffic.
■ Avoid trying to carry out any repairs.
Leave this to an expert!
Údarás Um Shábháilteacht Ar Bhóithre
Road Safety Authority
Páirc Ghnó Ghleann na Muaidhe, Cnoc an tSabhaircín,
Bóthar Bhaile Átha Cliath, Béal an Átha, Co. Mhaigh Eo
Moy Valley Business Park, Primrose Hill, Dublin Road, Ballina, Co. Mayo
locall: 1890 50 60 80 fax: (096) 25 000 email: website:
An tÚdarás Um Shábháilteacht Ar Bhóithre
Road Safety Authority
Towing Caravan 6pp DL.ART
Page 2
During the summer, Irish roads become much
busier with tourist traffic when many holiday
makers at home and from abroad will enjoy
a caravanning holiday.
We have produced this leaflet to help drivers
towing another vehicle make sure they have
a safe journey. It offers advice especially
for tourist drivers who may be towing a
vehicle such as a caravan or a boat trailer.
Where we use ‘car’ in this leaflet, we mean
any vehicle that tows another.
General driving safety tips
■ Make sure you have your driving licence and insurance
documents at all times when driving.
■ Always carry a high visibility vest(s), warning triangle,
torch (with working batteries), fire extinguisher, first
aid kit, tool kit and spare bulbs with you.
■ Have all relevant emergency helpline numbers handy,
including those for emergency services, breakdown
assistance and your insurance company.
Tips especially for towing a
caravan or trailer
■ Drive at the right speed. The maximum legal speed
limit for a vehicle towing a caravan or trailer is 80km/h.
If the speed limit displayed is lower, for example on
certain roads or where there are road works, you must
obey the lower speed limit.
■ Pay particular attention when accelerating and braking,
especially when approaching corners.
■ Leave more distance than usual between you and the
vehicle in front. Allow plenty of extra time and space if
entering traffic.
■ Allow extra time and distance when overtaking other
road users and make sure you are well past them before
moving back to the left-hand side of the road again.
■ Be careful when driving in wet, foggy or extremely
bright conditions or in high winds.
■ Where possible, pull over regularly to allow vehicles
behind you to overtake.
■ Never let passengers travel in the caravan or trailer
when you are towing it. All passengers should always
travel in the towing vehicle.
■ Make sure the load in the caravan is spread evenly to
reduce the chance of the caravan swaying. This is
especially important in high winds, particularly side
winds, when swaying is more likely. Swaying is also
more likely when you pass larger vehicles approaching
on the other side of the road.
■ Where possible, drive out forward from a parking spot,
as reversing with a caravan is difficult. It is worth
practising reversing, but do so in a safe location and
with someone to guide you.
■ Plan plenty of rest stops to avoid the onset of fatigue.
Remember that the only cure for fatigue is sleep.
Both a caravan and a trailer will affect how your car
performs and how well you can control it. In particular,
towing a caravan increases the amount of fuel your car
uses and decreases its ability to accelerate and brake.
It's wise to practise towing a caravan on short trips
before you attempt a long journey.
What to do before you start
your journey
■ It is important that your car is mechanically sound,
so get the vehicle serviced before starting on your trip.
The service should check that:
the tow bar or towing device is strong enough and
attached securely so that it does not break or
become loose during use;
the wheels, tyres, steering, suspension and brakes
are in good working order;
the battery is in good condition and fully charged;
all lights and reflectors are clean and working; and
oil levels are correct.
■ Depending on the width of the caravan, you may need
to fit extension mirrors to your car to make sure you can
see the road behind you when your caravan is attached.
■ Do not attempt to tow if you do not have adequate
clear vision in both wing mirrors.
Getting your caravan or trailer
in roadworthy condition
■ Make sure the safety breakaway cable is secured in
place and in good condition.
■ If more than 1.5 metres separates the vehicles, use
some warning device such as a white flag to draw
attention to the tow bar.
■ Make sure brakes and lights work correctly and that
wheels, tyres, wheel bearings and the suspension
are in good condition.
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