caravan club towing course
get on course for safe towing
It's a brave or foolish individual who ventures out onto the road with a caravan on tow and no experience or training in how to handle one safely. Common sense dictates that attaching more than 1,000kg of caravan to the back of a car is going to have serious repercussions on the way the vehicle handles and performs. Then you've got the age-old problem of parking and manoeuvring your van around campsites and onto pitches. To the inexperienced tower with no clue as to the correct way to go about things, a tight parking space can represent an accident waiting to happen. Yes, towing a caravan successfully is not as straightforward as you might suspect and before you hit the highways or the byways, some sort of caravan towing course has got to be a sensible idea.
Fortunately, the Caravan Club run just such a thing on a regular basis at their 16 training locations around the country. Large numbers of prospective owners have taken part in the events and the Club reckon their courses have imparted the basics of practical caravanning to over 40,000 individuals since 1978 - just imagine getting stuck behind that lot on the M5.
In all seriousness, caravans and caravaners often receive a bad press that they simply do not deserve. Research by the Highways Agency and other bodies has shown that caravans are rarely to blame for long motorway tailbacks in holiday periods with poor lane discipline by car drivers in lanes two and three being a far more common cause. Many car drivers will point to the issue of slow-moving caravans blocking minor country roads but a properly matched caravan and towcar combination should be more than capable of maintaining a respectable speed and caravaners are advised to regularly pull over and let faster moving traffic through. Typically, far less than 1% of road accidents in the UK involve caravans and enhancing the image of caravanning through safe, courteous towing is a key part of the Caravan Club courses.
The courses are open to caravan club members and non-members alike and they are very popular so you may have a short wait before you can get on one. Once you've got your certificate, however, you'll feel far more confident with your caravan on tow. After you book yourself onto a course, the Caravan Club will send you a course handbook entitled Practical Caravanning. It's a thorough publication packed with advice and tips on how to caravan well. Keep this safe because it's almost certain to come in handy at some stage, even if it's only to stop the picnic table wobbling.
The courses themselves vary according to the experience and ability of the people attending. Inexperienced caravaners will find a Practical Caravaning course most useful while the Caravan Manoeuvring course might be more suitable for people who know the basics but would like extra tuition to hone their manoeuvring skills. All of the events are taken by professional driving instructors who, for the most part, are caravaners themselves. Typically, these tutors are brimming with helpful hints to make your caravanning experience safer and more comfortable - it may pay to have a pen and paper handy.
The towing courses tend to be undertaken in small groups with each individual getting as much time behind the wheel and as much one-on-one tuition with the instructor as possible. The instruction is tailored to the group's needs, with the instructors happy to explore a wide range of subjects as required from the correct car-to-caravan weight ratios, load distribution and hitching up to road and motorway towing, reversing and steadying the caravan once you've got it on the pitch. The tutors also stress the importance of working as a team when reversing or hitching the caravan. Another pair of eyes can be the difference between a successful manoeuvre and a hefty repair bill, so it's well worth dragging your partner along and making sure they pay attention.
The Caravan Club offers a one day caravan manoeuvring course for people who know the basics for £135.00 or a one and a half day Practical Caravanning course for £155.00. If you've got a motorhome and want to learn how to get it about more safely, there's also a 1 day Motor Caravan Driving Course that's available from £155.00 per person.
Whatever your level of expertise, the courses should prove extremely handy and once you've taken them, you'll feel much more confident about towing out on the roads and parking-up on site. The courses certainly make you wonder about people who buy a caravan and head off on holiday with no tuition or knowledge of how the use and control the vehicle safely. For more information on caravan towing courses, contact the Caravan Club Events Department on (01342) 336 666 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org - alternatively, visit www.caravanclub.co.uk.