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Towing Safely This Summer

Are you going away this summer? We thought it would be a good idea to put a useful guide together to remind you of some vital safety checks and points for if you are towing a trailer or caravan.     

Before you travel

There are a few checks you should do before you head out onto the road this summer. Firstly, it is important that your tow bar is well fitted and maintained, as this is the main connection between your car and tow vehicle. Your tow bar does now fall within the remit of your MOT but you should still check it for cracks, serious rusting and that the bolts are correctly tightened.

Your tyres are the only contact between the road and your vehicle so it is important to ensure that you always carry a spare wheel. Other parts to double check would be your brakes, electrics and suspension.

When loading a trailer, the load should always be tied down or restrained, there should be no load projections outside of the trailer that may cause danger to other road users and the load should be evenly distributed. You can check the noseweight by using one of our MP970 noseweight indicator gauges which has a soft tip to prevent damage to the hitch and give accuracy within 3%; this allows you to ensure the load does not exceed the vehicles capacity.

The law says that you should be able to see clearly down each side of your caravan when towing it; our range of towing mirrors can be easily fitted to your vehicle and give you an extended field of vision.  Another legal requirement would be a breakaway cable; in the unlikely event of a caravan or trailer becoming detached from the vehicle, the cable will pull on the caravan brakes and then snap allowing the caravan to stop away from the tow vehicle.

The NTTA have put a full checklist together on trailer checks to do before each journey.

When on the road

When you are ready to go and now out on the road, it is essential to abide by the speed limits which are as follows;

·        30mph limit – all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise

·        50mph limit – all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise

·        60mph limit – all dual carriageways and motorways – Always remember not to drive in the right hand lane of the motorway

As well as abiding by the speed limits, there are some other factors to consider when towing. Always drive within your capabilities and be aware of the weather conditions at the time. You should never brake sharply on a bend and if your trailer or caravan begins to snake, then you should ease off the accelerator. The SH5492 Stronghold Stabiliser can be fitted to help to prevent snaking or swaying. The NTTA also have a useful guide on reversing with a trailer which can give you some more really helpful tips.

Securing your trailer or caravan

Once you’ve reached your destination, it is vital that you have Insurance Approved security products to secure your vehicle when on site or even visiting a motorway service station. Our brightly coloured wheel clamps and hitchlocks are the perfect deterrent for the opportunist theft, but are also robust with anti-saw casing and a unique high security patented locking system. View our full range of Stronghold products to give yourself some peace of mind on your travels. You should always remember that security devices do not guarantee a unit will not be stolen but it will certainly deter opportunists and slow down the more determined thief.

The NTTA have now introduced a service where you can get a free safety check for the light trailer industry.

Once you have taken all of these points into consideration, it’s time to enjoy your holiday!