Trying to take out your caravan for the first time can be a daunting prospect. You may find yourself suddenly feeling like your feet have turned to stone and your wrists to limp noodles as you see the trailer attached to the back of the car. The thing that most people don’t understand is that it’s not only normal to feel like that, but a good thing.
For instance, let’s be honest, if you were going down a busy road who would you like to encounter, a nervous driver that will pay attention to every little move he makes over a fear of making even the slightest mistake, or an overconfident one that drives without even devoting a single thought to what he is carrying behind him? The truth is you will never feel ready until you actually make yourself go and get some experience under your belt.
Like any other time you’ve gone driving, the first thing you do is fasten your seat belt, turn on the car, check your special extension mirrors for towing that your line of sight is not obstructed, and you pull out of your driveway. Your first destination should be a wide open area where you can go around a few times and get a feel for the handling and learn how to compensate for the extra weight. This is also a good time to get your bearings and figure out how backing up will work and which way the caravan will go after you turn the wheel a certain way.
The most important thing throughout all of this is to keep checking your extension mirrors for towing, and developing the habit for when you go on a road eventually. For better visibility, make sure that your extension mirrors for towing can cover all the blind spots. For this purpose, it is advisable to get one the lower mirror of which is a 90mm high x 180mm wide.
Speaking of roads, you will now need to bear in mind that you cannot go as fast, nor should you try. Keep a calm, steady speed and try to not break suddenly if you can avoid it as doing the opposite may result in the caravans items shifting around or you loosing control of the handling. Sharp turns should also be avoided since they can often-times be impossible to make with your new length. Simply hold a steady course, avoid jerking the wheel too much and make way for those that mean to pass you.
It’s always a good idea to also check your brakes, lights and wheel pressure as well even when you aren’t towing a caravan, so make that a regular habit if you haven’t already. And finally, make sure that the weight inside your caravan is evenly distributed because if too much is concentrated in one place it can compromise your ability to properly handle the vehicle since every movement may off-balance it.
I’ll leave you with this – being afraid to make a mistake on the road is a very reasonable fear, but the only way to get rid of it is to get as much practice as possible until you gain enough confidence to offset it.