In the lead-up to our trip we tried to do as much research as possible to ensure we had all we needed to safely tow our way around the country.
In October 2014 we spent a day at the Melbourne Leisurefest at Sandown Racecourse, where we caught up with experts from AL-KO. We’d heard a little bit about Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and the numerous benefits of installing ESC to caravans, especially for long trips, so we were happy to have the opportunity to experience ESC firsthand.
We were taken on two test drives with a professional driver, who towed a caravan. The first drive was executed without ESC, and the second with ESC. Both drives involved braking at 80km per hour and swerving – actions likely to be necessary when towing at some stage of a drivers career.
Here’s why we preferred the second drive with ESC over the first.
With ESC you’re in control
On a long trip around Australia you are likely to need to brake at high speed (for kangaroos and so on) or find yourself needing to swerve. When the driver braked and swerved without ESC we could feel the limited control of the car and tow rig over direction and speed.
On the second drive, when we did have ESC engaged, the vehicle movements felt controllable, and compared with the first drive the driver managed to wipe off speed and the distance it took to stop. We could feel the caravan brakes hold on and it felt as though the caravan and car were really operating as one. We could see how this kind of control could potentially avoid both minor and major accidents.
Our Sandown road test proved that in an emergency situation, having ESC installed means having total control. We certainly felt much safer on the second test drive when ESC was engaged, and are glad we had the opportunity to experience it firsthand. To those who are embarking on a long towing trip, we would highly recommend installing AL-KO ESC.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’ll be writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.