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caravan safety checklist: Wild weather driving

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We always hope for clear skies above the open road, but nature has shown us time and again that she has her own plans. From light rain to severe storms, wet weather is a game changer; but being prepared with a caravan safety checklist will make a world of difference.

Let’s look at the different conditions you might encounter on your trip:

Winds

Towing a caravan in strong winds multiplies the chance of sway and overturning. If extreme winds are presenting a challenge, play it safe and pull over into a nearby rest area or park until the elements settle again.

Rain

Light or heavy, rain brings different hazards.

A light sprinkle can cause oils to be released from the road, resulting in a slippery surface that poses a threat to the traction on both caravan and towing vehicle.

Heavy rainfall will quickly limit visibility of other vehicles and the road ahead. If you can’t see very far or lose sight of the caravan in your mirrors, pull over at the first available rest stop until it eases.

Heavy rain also dumps a lot of water on the road quickly, which can cause aquaplaning, or complete loss of traction. When you come to a stretch of water covering the road, reduce speed, steer carefully and brake lightly (remember to account for the increased braking distances).

Hail

Driving into a hailstorm will compound the impact of the hail, so find shelter until it passes. Park facing the storm, as your windscreen is usually made of toughened glass and the area of exposed caravan windows will be reduced.

Is your caravan weatherproof?

There’s no telling what weather you might encounter on your trip, so it’s best to ensure that both caravan and towing vehicle are in tip-top shape to deal with any situation.

  • Invest in the best brakes for your caravan, and consider off-road brakes if going off the beaten track.
  • For further safety invest, in electronic stability control.
  • Fit new windscreen wiper blades if they’re showing wear.
  • Check that all tyres have deep tread and that they’re inflated to the right amount of pressure for the load you’re hauling.
  • Regularly test sealing on doors, windows and joints for possible leaks.

Caravan safety checklist for the road

  • Before setting out, check the latest weather report for your current location and destination so you have an idea of what you can expect to encounter.
  • Close windows and fasten the awning securely.
  • Check that the electric brakes on the caravan are working.
  • Make your moves slowly and cautiously. Reduce the amount of braking by maintaining a steady lower speed.
  • Switch headlights on to a low-beam setting.
  • Stay in the left lane.
  • Avoid puddles where possible, it’s impossible to know how deep they really are.

No matter what you do to weatherproof your caravan, there are some storms you really don’t want to be out in. If you get caught in bad weather, look for a sheltered spot off the road and sit it out. After all, you do have a home away from home to weather the storm in.

Did that last storm cause some damage? Take a look at how to repair a leaking roof on a caravan.

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