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Caravans [inter alia].

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There are drivers who are frustrated by caravans, and similarly Caravan owners who are frustrated by some other drivers, so I am inviting some measured comments which I hope will assist all drivers to understand both groups of drivers.


I towed a caravan for 20 years, until my wife decided that I was too old to still be doing the fetching and carrying that goes on with a caravan holiday.


I will start with what most caravanners know. which is the fact that the caravan you want to tow should not exceed 85% of the kerb weight of the car you are using to tow the caravan, and also the craven should be loaded with heavy items over the axle, and the downward pressure on the tow bar  must not exceed the manufacturers specifications.  A specific check of this can be done with ordinary bathroom scales.


Failure to do this will cause the caravan not to handle properly, and cause accidents, possibly overturning when driven too quickly.  An overturned caravan has been known to frustrate some drivers.  Also a car towing a caravan that is too heavy for it will not go up steep hills, and  will  not go down them either in one piece.


Then there is the speed at which caravans travel.  Caravans are usually limited to the same speeds as lorries.  On a motorway, 60 mph is their limit, and on motorways they are not allowed to use the third lane. Country lanes do cause a problem, and the discerning caravanner will avoid them whenever possible, and a half hour's perusal of a map will always produce the best route which not necessarily will be the shortest.  There is also the time of travel.  Starting your holiday on a Tuesday or a Thursday are usually the best days, and starting between 10.00 am and 11.00 am are the best times as the motorways are at their quietest on those days.


There are some caravanners who do not appear to know these basis items.  There are also some drives who don't either.  Usually these drivers have a mindset that compels them to try to overtake a caravan whatever the circumstances, overtaking, then cutting in, and then turning left [or right on a lane] causing the caravan to brake and often starting a jam which is blamed on the caravan driver.


I hope that these few comments will generate a good discussion, and I look forward to caravnners and drivers who don't tow to fully particate.







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I'm not saying all caravaners are irresponsible and the caravan club probably has the more intelligent caravan types.


But some of the ones you see down here I'm sure have never towed a caravan before in their lives , and they are really taken by surprise by some of the Devon roads . We had 400 parked up yesterday, we couldn't move for hours (although in fairness I don't think the accident was the fault of a caravaner)


But if they must insist on coming, surely it would be easier for them to travel at night ?.


I'm sure they would prefer it in Scarborough !







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As a caravanner of 20+ years, its not very often that I am the cause of a hold-up, although I must say there are occassions when it does happen and it does upset me when I am holding up traffic. Such as yesterday morning returning from Norfolk to Esssex, the road was so udulating that it just was not feasible to travel at over 35mph with a caravan in tow, I did look for opportunities to pull over and let them pass but I never found a place. I blame Norfolk County Council as no sooner did we pass the "You are entering Suffolk" sign than the roads smoothed out and I could increase the speed.


There are many occassions where a caravan is the biggest vehicle and therefore visibility past it is not possible and it may appear that the caravan is causing a hold-up, but you will often find some other slow moving vehicle such as a learner driver or a grandad with a flat cap or even a bicycle in front causing the hold-up.


The once a year caravanners are a nightmare, because they are often innexperienced and often use poorly maintained caravans (and cars) and they go out and do long trips.


Our caravan is used 20 to 25 times a year and I have been towing for over 20 years.


The only near serious incident I have ever had was last summer on the M5, a combination of circumstances put me in the second lane downhill, trying to overtake a slow moving van, said van then started drifting across towards me, leaving me no choice but to move over towards lane 3. So I am in a vulnerable position, downhill at my max speed of 60mph and encroaching on lane 3, when an Audi Q7 came past in lane 3 at around 100mph, with the 40mph speed difference and small gap between us he set me into a big scarey snake, I kept my cool and managed to straighten it out. fyi I was pulling a 1640kg caravan with a 2200kg car, so well within weight margins. Apart from the fact that the Q7 was driving at illegal licence loosing speeds, if he had been more understanding of caravans he would have held back and let me get clear of the tw@t in the van.


knightsmith, a hotel is out, they wont take my dog, and why would I want to own a £20k caravan of my own, designed for travelling, along with a suitable tow car, and then go and stay in someone elses caravan and pay a premium price for the privilege?

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Good post, Richard.


I am hoping that an understanding will build up concerning the good towers and the once a year ones, [with a badly loaded caravan, towing with an inadequate car and no idea of road etiquette]  and the problems that the bad drivers who drive in a belligerent manner cause to both caravans and lorries.





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for todays young drivers need to sit a seperate test to get class b&e for towing on ther licence charlie

Young drivers can tow, as long as the train weight does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and the trailer weight does not exceed the towing vehicle weight, this limits them to about 1.25 tonnes, which is a small caravan

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  • 3 months later...

I've also been towing for years and one of the reasons I got the Jag is because the Caravan Club had it as overall tow car of the year for a couple of years. I find it a fab car to tow with although my van is only approx 75% that of my car so I'm well within advised limits.

We went to France in the summer and I got 29 mpg ave on a 2,000 mile trip with 3 adults and a dog. I was very pleased with that.

My job takes me around the country so I tend to live in hotels during the week. I prefer the caravan is soooo much better. It gives us fresh air and freedom. If you haven't tried it then give it a go, you don't know what you're missing!

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phil, glad to hear the xf is up to the job. i used to get taken as a kid on caravan holidays and i like them. todays caravans are fitted out great better than most folks homes. i would like one but my wife is not a lover ,althou we rented out one off the big static ones in september this year down in blackpool area and she like that. i am also thinking of renting one next year down in cornwall in the summer. another member on this club also likes them. called trevor and is president of a caravan club in devon. charlie :P

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you may mock , but a good friend of mine owns over a thousand of them down this way (static).


The ones that block up the roads will only be allowed as far as Blackpool, where I have relatives .


Down South we tend to use hotels.


Tried to send you an email about my latest battle with Jaguar/stealership, but it wouldn't send






P.S. Make little things count; teach arithmetic to dwarves.

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It's great that you're getting your wife into vans starting with the statics - move down gradually!

Our van goes all over the UK, it especially likes 'down south' which is anywhere South of Blackpool really........but we do try and keep up the traffic, or at least not hold it up.

I agree with some of the concerns of some members on this forum, I follow another forum regarding camping and some of the comments regarding possible tow weights are scary, some people believe if you stick to 40 - 50 mph it's both OK and you can virtually tow what you like. It's people like that that give caravans a bad name.

Anyway, back to sorting out next year's adventures with the van, Devon here we come!!!

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phil, ive got to admit i would love one.i like the fact that you can up and go the boys have now left the nest. only me her &the dogs. maybe after next years venture in one will convince her. charlie

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The daughter got back to Gatwick from Spain Tuesday , then caught the first plane to Glasgow for work, she is there until Saturday, she has brought some vegetables with her


Email sent back .




You will get as far as Brizzol and then decide "enough is enough" , during the season it is like a car park on the M5 from there to Exeter , not all caused by caravaners in fairness, but northerners coming to sample our rain, and salad, and mostly to escape fro Brum .





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I towed  a caravan for 20 years, only selling it 3 years ago, and really enjoyed after years of camping and other types of holiday.. My wife thought I was getting too old to keep on doing the odd chores which are a part of owning a touring caravan.


Yesterday she said she missed it!!



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You're never too old for a caravan Peter, not now with motor-movers and the like. Get yourself another while your wife's at a weak point ha ha.

Failing that have you considered a small motorhome or a static? We did without a van for February this year and I had withdrawal symptoms! I'd find it very hard not to have something to escape to the country in.

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message in my inbox today. charles ever felt the urge to take a different path. from infiniti  think after todays probs  its yes and TATA to you know who. charlie

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Same here, then I also will be going to Mercedes .


The car is fab, which is more than can be said of Jaguar and their dealerships.


So much for customer care .


If the wife had her way she'd have me buying a Merc when  we go down to civilisation on Wednesday .


And this is the one she wants.




But I will keep the XKR at least until it needs an MOT, and I won't be going near any dealership .





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trevor that things wild, a guy in town has one seen it a few times, but yours i think is a far better car, you should keep it for as long as you can. i will prob go for the s-class . charlie

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I will keep it a fair while. But when I do change it will be for something like the above or an AMG GT, or a bubble car.


My friend works for the Merc dealership in Nottingham,and can get me discount, but any car I buy in future will not be through a dealership, don't trust any of them now .


Think i'll go and buy some marine fish tomorrow to cheer myself up





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