As the season gets underway, it seems a good time for a timely reminder about the pre-trip checks we should all be doing before we set off. A few minutes to walk around the ‘van and do a few safety checks really should be built into every road trip itinerary, so here are a few suggestions. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we do encourage you to make you own additions to this based on your personal experience and your particular caravan. If you have kids why not make it a part of the holiday ritual that you take them around with you on the inspection, it’s a great way for them to learn more about their caravan.
- Tyres and pressure. This is a really important one. Badly inflated and worn tyres are dangerous. Investing in a pressure gauge is a good idea. Your tyres should also meet the minimum depth requirement. Look for cracks and damage to the walls of the tyres in particular. If in doubt, change them before you go.
- See and be seen. Check all your lights are responding and that any reflective edge strips are clear and visible. Also check the coupling for the electrical supply to the lights. Is it firmly attached and are all the connections clean and free from obstructions?
- All hitched correctly? Check your hitch is secure with no chance of jumping or rattling as you drive. Remember your breakaway cable as well. Check it isn’t frayed or broken. The majority of the caravans we supply come with a stabiliser that should be checked before you leave.
- Is everything secure and locked down? Make sure everything that shouldn’t be moving isn’t moving, and that everything that should be closed is closed. Often forgotten lock down items, such as air vents and roof lights, are easily overlooked. Of course, you should also make sure that you have closed and locked the main doors and any outside compartments.
- Balance the load. Apart from the fact that unsecured heavy items such as your awning or any additional furniture could move around inside the van and damage the fittings, they could also unbalance your caravan making it more difficult to control.
- Retract fully. Steadies and the jockey wheel should be all the way up.
- Check the guide. You caravan information will contain the details about how to hitch correctly for your particular make and model. It’s always worth a quick read to make sure you have covered all the bases.
There is plenty of other information on safety and general maintenance on our website and the Internet, and we suggest you take a regular look as a little bit of a refresher.
A few pre-trip safety checks will ensure that your journey is worry free, and make for safe and easier driving.
This blog was written by Dave Brown. Dave is a Director of his family business which began in 1971. He has a wealth of experience in this sector starting as a workshop apprentice straight from school in 1982. Married with two children, Dave has been an enthusiastic Rugby player since the age of 8, only retiring this year. He will now spend more time travelling in his VW Campervan and watching his favourite team, the Northampton Saints.