Towing a Caravan? Get a 4×4
Are you a nomad by nature? Maybe not, the routine life might have triggered the need to explore the world. Home to office and back home for years can be boring. However, vacation over the summer may not quench the spirit of adventure if you have really had enough of the routine life. Some people do it as a hobby. Whichever your case is, adventure is fun and you should pack and head out for the longest time possible. Besides the fun, it comes with experiences. You will learn so much about the world and probably your car that may never come up in the city life.
The caravan idea can be interesting until you get to drive one. No matter how many years you are from 18 since you were licensed as a driver, you are not qualified to drive a caravan until you practice. Do not assume because you are a driver you can wake up one summer afternoon and tie the caravan on your 4×4. Well, some people are first learners. The point is you need to learn specifically for caravan driving. It is like driving two vehicles, controlling is daunting. To be more precise, it is dangerous. Nothing to scare you though, precautions are necessary if you have to enjoy your trip.
If possible, spare time for a short course and learn the basics, it is necessary. The course might also help you to brush existing skills.
Why a 4×4?
Four-wheel drives are the most preferred for vacations, which involve caravans. While there is always a hype that goes with this type of cars, they are the best in this case. You will find it easier and more convenient with 4×4. Here is why;
They are strong and have good ground clearance. At times, you might need a GVM upgrade for more suspension. Most destinations of caravans are in the bush where you will have to be on off-road most of the trip. The sturdy design of these cars is ideal for weight of a caravan. You are not limited to weight with worries of exceeding power of the towing vehicle. You can tow a boat with a 4×4. It is the ideal car for a caravan.
Still, you need to check your trailer ground clearance and wheels to ensure they are suitable for the expected rough terrain. Obviously, you should have researched on your destination and best route for safety and adventure. It is important to balance the two; do not choose a route because there is a lot of scenery to enjoy on the way and compromise on security. The vice versa is also dangerous, it’s an adventure, make sure you have fun!
Tips for towing
Towing requires patience, that’s the basic skill you need to be aware of before heading out. Probably you will be the slowest on the road. Although it depends with the load you are carrying, even the toughest 4×4 and a fully compatible trailer are bound to strain on the joint.
If you can engage cruise control because you should drive as smooth as possible. No pulling sudden brake stances, which can be avoided with moderate and consistent speeds. Can you forget you are pulling a caravan? Yes, it happens. After driving smoothly for 3 hours on a freeway, you can get lost in the flow and only be reminded by a thud on the back. However, this rare because caravans are mostly on off-roads where speeds are automatically regulated. Moreover, the uneven terrain will remind you of a load in the back.
Apart from the driving safety rule of keeping distance, ensure you have at least 5 seconds difference to the front car. A 4×4 is the best in towing because of its weight, it can ever be overpowered by the caravan irrespective of what you are carrying. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful.
Also, beware of the heights when driving in the bush. Do not drive off and leave the caravan; of course, it won’t separate from the 4×4 but it might weaken the joint. It is important to make quick judgments while driving before maneuvering the routes.
You need to be conscious of the length when making turns. Assume you are driving a long truck and make appropriate calculations. The longer the caravan or Axel between the 4×4 and trailer, the more conscious you should be when making turns. Basically, take wider arcs; you will be safe overdoing it than underestimating the curve.
Always disengage cruise control when driving uphill. Towing a trailer on cruise control in hilly areas can be dangerous. Although a 4×4 is a beast and will conquer any terrain, the weight of the caravan can compromise on its power. It should be free to adjust speeds and wheel rotation in such terrains. Also, cruise control is not recommended when pulling a caravan on wet grounds.