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If you’re planning on a road trip with your caravan in tow, here are some important safety road rules by our Jayco Vanbassador and Australian racing driver, Jayden Ojeda.
Take care when there are tight turns
Caravans and motorhomes are longer and wider than most cars, tight turns can be difficult if you don’t give yourself enough room to start with. Understanding the size and turning circle of your RV can help you avoid getting into tight positions where you probably shouldn’t be.
When you’re driving through a city or town you can feel oversized very quickly. Using indicators in advance to show your intent can avoid any confusion for other motorists particularly when moving across lanes to open up your turning circle. Whilst driving in towns or cities it is also important to remember the height of your vehicle. Most RVs won’t fit in a fast-food drive through.
Drive carefully in the wind
Motorhomes and some large caravans can act like a sail in the wind. Strong side winds whilst driving, particularly on narrow roads, can make your caravan or motorhome unstable and can make it quite difficult to stay in your lane. This is more of a problem when driving through open farmlands where the winds are notably stronger, as opposed to driving through tree-filled areas like national parks.
If the wind feels like it is too strong and making it too hard to drive, you can always slow down to reduce the risk, or stop and wait until it’s safe to continue driving.
Whilst driving on dual carriageways, oncoming trucks can create instability, so be prepared and slow down if you see a truck coming in the distance.
Be aware of the extra weight
When travelling with your motorhome or caravan you are a lot heavier than most cars on the road. More weight means longer stopping distance compared to that of a smaller car.
Momentum is key when travelling through the countryside especially when carrying a heavy load. Hills can be quite troublesome if not approached correctly. A heavily loaded caravan or motorhome can put a lot of extra load onto your engine. Gathering momentum before a hill can make hills seem less steep than what they appear to be; compared to trying to start accelerating once you’re already halfway up the hill and already losing momentum.
Use low gears down hills to decrease your chances of overheating the brakes.
Stop, Revive, Survive
It’s fair to say driving with an RV in tow takes more effort and concentration, so it’s also fair to suggest you should be stopping to rest more often than you would in a normal car. If you have a passenger that is willing and able to drive, then share the drive. The time you lose pulling over to switch drivers is far less than if you were to not get to your destination at all.
Plan your trip in advance, pick places where you would like to take a break. You’ll look forward to stopping if you have interest in where it is, as opposed to stopping on the side of the road.