By Denna Bowman
The Institute of Advanced Motorists has put together a list of tips and advice for anyone who is planning on towing a vehicle this summer to keep them safe on UK roads.
The aim of the road safety charity is to remind motorists to ensure their vehicles and trailers are road worthy, paying special attention to motorhome and caravan tyres.
The warning comes as figures from the Highways Agency show that between April and June 2013 alone, there have been 1,408 towing incidents on the UK’s roads..
According to the Highways Agency many towing incidents occur because motorhome or caravan tyres have burst due to not being checked or replaced where needed, overloading the caravan or trailer and a mismatch with the towing vehicle.
Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy and advice at the IAM offers tips for successfully towing another vehicle, including:
Check the pressure of all motorhome and caravan tyres before setting off
Check the weight of the towed vehicle (it should not exceed 85 per cent of the car’s kerb weight)
Check the unit being towed is secure before pulling away, and check again after a short distance. Look for anything loose, disconnected, missing or broken
Shallcross explained: “Whether you’re towing a speedboat, a horsebox, a caravan or another car, there are certain rules which must be applied. It is important to recognise the challenges which come with having to control not just one vehicle, but two.”
Martin Spencer, technical manager for the Caravan Club, said: “Check the caravan tyres pressures and tyre condition before setting off. Unlike in the car, you’re unlikely to feel a slow puncture on the caravan, so regular checks are essential. It’s also important to load your caravan correctly and within its limits.”
Andy Withington, spokesperson for the Highways Agency, added: “Our Traffic Officers and contractors are out on our roads every day and see at first hand how incidents involving caravans and other towed vehicles can contribute to delays for other road users.
“While the vast majority of towed vehicles travel safely we would encourage anyone towing during the holiday season to prepare before they set out and take a few simple steps once they are out on the road to avoid becoming involved in an incident.”
He also stressed the importance of checking motorhome, trailer and caravan tyres and added: “Make sure that caravans and trailers are not overloaded, keep to the speed limit for towed vehicles, ensure any rear view extension mirrors are fitted and drive carefully and considerately at this busy time of year.”
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