We may have seen the worst of the pandemic, but with soaring living costs and airport chaos, more and more Brits are choosing to spend their holidays on home soil. This, combined with a shortage of caravans due to reduced production, has seen demand for caravans and motorhomes soar over the past couple of years, with many novice campers buying caravans, campers and motorhomes.
Until recently, drivers who had passed their test prior to 1997 were required to pass a car and trailer driving test in order to tow a caravan. However, as of December 2021, this is no longer the case. The government removed the need for trailer tests in order to take some of the pressure off the DVLA, and alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers.
However, just because it is no longer a legal requirement to take a towing test, it doesn’t mean that it is not a good idea. Ask your local driving instructor or caravan servicer about towing tests; these can improve your confidence and could lower your insurance policy.
If you are new to caravanning, the first thing you need to do is tell your insurance company that you will be towing. You are most likely to be covered at least under third party insurance, but make sure they know anyway, and consider fully comprehensive insurance (if you are investing in a caravan, it is worth protecting it).
If you are not lucky enough to have a space big enough to store your caravan at home, then make sure you have cleared space for it to go, and that you have blocks to keep your stays in place, as well as chocks for the wheels. If you don’t have space to store at home, find a nearby caravan storage place or holiday park that offers storage – preferably before you pick up your new caravan! Ensure that you have a hitch lock and any other security measures to keep your van safe, wherever it is.
Your towing vehicle
In order to safely and legally tow a caravan, you have to make sure that your towing vehicle is up for the job. There are plenty of online tools, such as this one, which will help you to determine whether your vehicle is suitable for towing. Don’t risk it with an underpowered vehicle or one that is too light; you may feel happy towing on a flat road in good conditions, but the wrong payload and engine size on a hill or in high winds could result in disastrous consequences.
Once you have got the above sorted, you are ready to plan your first trip away. To help your holiday go as smoothly as possible, follow Trust A Garage on Facebook or Twitter for the next instalment in this series, which will take you through the basics of hitching up and setting up.