When you tow a caravan, you need to take responsibility for the extra space you take up on the road. For this reason, in most states you are required by law to fit rear-view mirrors while towing a caravan.
As a safety rule of thumb, the driver should be able to see their own vehicle in its entirety in their caravan mirrors, as well as the traffic behind. The purpose is to allow you to see the full length of your caravan and to help you navigate the larger load.
Towing mirrors are usually attached to the side mirrors of a car, allowing you to see the greater distance behind much more clearly. When selecting caravan mirrors it is crucial that you choose a type that allows for minimum vibration while the vehicle is in motion.
There are two main types of towing mirrors: portable and permanent. The type you choose depends largely on your budget and needs.
Portable towing mirrors
Portable towing mirrors are handy for those who do not travel very often, as they are generally more affordable. Although there are many varieties of portable towing mirrors, it’s useful to note the four basic types:
1. Convex: This type can be suctioned to an existing side mirror and is quite easy to install.
2. Custom clip-on: Made specifically for a particular car model, it slips onto the side mirror and is less likely to slip off.
3. Universal clip-on: These can generally be adjusted to fit various car models and are usually very affordable.
4. Ratchet style: A mirror with a ratchet function that can be attached to the door of a car. It’s more secure than the universal style.
Permanent towing mirrors
Permanent towing mirrors cannot be removed once fitted. In most cases they are larger, offering more visibility. Sometimes they come with the added benefit of having electrical systems and can feature lights and heat settings. Generally, permanent towing mirrors cost much more than portable towing mirrors, so have a good think about your travelling frequency before investing in this type of mirror.
Install and pre-trip checklist
It is imperative you ensure that all mirrors on your car are correctly adjusted, which in some cases means having your towing mirrors professionally installed. If fitting convex, custom or any other type of mirror that attaches to your car’s external rear-view mirror, ensure that you can still adjust your car’s mirror while the trailer mirror is fitted. Portable mirrors come with instructions for installation – make sure you follow these carefully and store your mirrors away safely when not in use.
With your mirrors fixed in place, set your sights on your next getaway with confidence, knowing you can see all sides of your caravan.