As the last bank holiday before Christmas is soon to arrive, Land Rover has shared its expertise to help holidaymakers get to their destination safely when towing a caravan or trailer.
Daniel Rogers, towing expert at Land Rover, shares his expert advice for drivers building confidence when towing, covering everything from hitching-up and hitting the highways of the UK and Europe to parking at campsites.
Top Towing Tip 1: Preparation and Packing
Before setting off, pack your belongings to reduce the risk of your trailer or caravan yawing, weaving and snaking by loading the trailer or caravan in a specific way to distribute weight efficiently.
The centre of gravity of the load should be around 10-20 cm in front of the trailer or caravan’s wheels. This can be achieved by loading slightly more weight in the front half of the trailer or caravan than the rear, ensuring that you don’t exceed the recommended towing weight for your vehicle.
Don’t load a trailer so that it is lower at the rear. It should be level, or ideally, slightly nose down. Any load should be secured to the trailer tie-downs where available, too.
Remember that it is a legal requirement to use extended mirrors when towing for full visibility around the vehicle.
Top Towing Tip 2: On the road
Remember when driving with a trailer or caravan that you need to allow more time and room for everything. Make sure you allow a gap of at least four seconds to the vehicle in front, anticipate junctions and stops to allow you time to brake early; also allow extra room for turning and manoeuvring.
When you start your journey, take time to test the brakes when it is safe to do so, to understand how your load will affect stopping when required.
If when driving with a trailer or caravan you experience moving from side to side (weaving), here are a few simple solutions to resolve the problem:
- Adjust trailer contents to move the centre of gravity forward (see Top Tip 1)
- Fit a ‘hitch yaw damper’ to reduce the side-to-side movement
- Avoid over-packing the trailer and ensure the maximum trailer weight is not exceeded
- Reduce driving speed
- Increase trailer and vehicle tyre pressures according to the manufacturer’s specification
Top Towing Tip 3: Parking
Reversing with a trailer or caravan is a gentle, slow and steady art. Start reversing with the vehicle and trailer in a straight line, before slowly turning the vehicle in the opposite direction to the one in which you wish the trailer to travel.
Don’t continue too far as the vehicle and trailer may ‘jack-knife’. Once the trailer is moving in the required direction, reverse the steering of the vehicle and follow the trailer into the turn, straightening up when you reach the correct direction.
“It is vital that no matter how often you tow a trailer, you take the time to prepare properly and don’t rush your journey. There is a lot to get used to and many problems which can easily arise.
“Even with the wide range of technology available – such as our Advanced Tow Assist system which allows you to park your trailer without even touching the steering wheel – it is still vital that anyone looking to tow has a good understanding of the physics and theory behind it. We hope these three tips help those heading camping this bank holiday weekend tune-up their towing skills and reduce the risk of incident.”
For further information on towing from Land Rover, you can visit https://www.landrover.co.uk/ownership/guides-and-manuals/off-road-driving.html
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