Do you have
any experience with towing a caravan or 5th
wheeler ? The overall length of your vehicle and caravan or
5th wheeler can be very daunting if you have had
no prior experience. To get some confidence it is
recommended you undertake a towing course.
recognized training courses are available and cover weight
distribution and hitch set up, reversing, parking and how to
use your caravan/camper trailer off road. The passenger can
also be taught to provide hand directions to assist the
driver with maneuvering and parking. They also run courses
for the 4WD vehicle itself. If you have yet to acquire your
caravan or camper trailer some course providers will supply
these for you.
For example, the RACQ (Queensland) as part of their driver
education program run a caravan and trailer towing workshop
as well as a 5th wheeler towing workshop. RACV
(Victoria) also have a ‘Learn to Tow Your Caravan, Boat
or Trailer’ drive school.
4WD driver training courses are run by 4WD clubs and places
like Australian 4WD & Advanced Driver Education (A4ADE) Qld,
Misty Mountains 4WD Tours NSW,
4WD Off Road Driver Training Pty Ltd
(4WDORDT) Vic, Adventure 4WD SA and others.
law states that you must be able to see clearly down both
sides of what you are towing so this will mean for most of
you caravanners that mirrors will be required on both sides.
are various bonnet, guard, door and clip on mirrors
available. Some are better than others as the force of the
wind from passing semi-trailers has been known to blow some
clip on type mirrors back against the tow vehicle driver’s
stopping distance between yourself and the vehicle in
front should be allowed and braking or acceleration
should be smooth and gentle. This is particular
important in wet or slippery conditions.
Avoid applying the brakes if the caravan begins to sway. If the
caravan is fitted with an electric brake system this can
be operated by using the manual control. A
constant speed should be maintained or even slight
acceleration until the swaying stops and the caravan
straightens out again behind the tow vehicle.
lower gear when traveling downhill. This will save
both the tow vehicle and the caravan's brakes due to
overheating with constant use.
distance when overtaking. Remember you will not
have the acceleration you are used to.
someone standing (in your line of sight) at the rear of
the caravan when reversing. A hand-held UHF radio
can be useful for communication between the person
guiding the caravan and the driver.
or single lane bitumen roads it is safer to completely
pull off to the side of the road when you see a large
truck or vehicle approaching. Allowing the larger
vehicle to occupy the single lane roadway will prevent
you from being showered with rocks as he passes.
How can I
avoid "suction" from other vehicles as they pass me?
can minimise or overcome this problem by driving at
a reasonable speed or when you observe a larger vehicle
about to overtake, marginally reduce your speed as this will
also allow the overtaking vehicle to pass you more quickly.
Firmly grip the steering wheel and be alert and ready for
the buffeting that may occur.
WDH and Sway Controllers
assist with the handling of your towing vehicle.