Clayton's Towing say a combination of speed, slopes, wind and a number of unique factors are usually to blame for caravan crashes.
Clayton's Towing say a combination of speed, slopes, wind and a number of unique factors are usually to blame for caravan crashes. Clayton's Towing

Clayton's Towing weighs in on what causes caravan crashes

CLAYTON'S Towing has weighed in on the likely causes of most caravan crashes on the Sunshine Coast.

For 45 years they've been tasked with cleaning up Coast roads and have a simple solution for caravanners.

General manager Mike Clayton said low tow ball weight they feel is a leading factor in a lot of caravan accidents.

"We are amazed at the amount of people we speak to at crashes who say they've never weighed it," Mr Clayton said

He said caravan crashes weren't as common as regular car crashes but have the Clayton's crews working overtime.

"We are amazing at the amount of people we speak to at crashes who say they've never weighed it," Mr Clayton said.

"You can buy a weight scale for $70 which is the biggest saviour.

"We find caravan crashes seem to come in runs. We will have none for a while, then a few at once.

"They're highlighted more by the carnage they cause. Particularly when they're destroyed and personal items are scattered everywhere.

"Any caravan crash causes traffic delays, but fortunately the drivers are often okay." 

In a social media post that went viral 12 months ago, Clayton's Towing listed several factors to what they believe is to blame.

The post had a reach of more than half a million.

The company doesn't claim to have the exact answer for every crash but say a combination of speed, slopes, wind and a selection of the following attributes all play a part.

Vehicle size and capacity.

A a decent-size vehicle loaded correctly is safer than a vehicle that has a bit of paper saying it can.

A large four-wheel-drive wagon is a fair lump of a car but a lot of these lighter utes out there have a higher towing capacity. Just because it says on paper it can tow 3.5 tonnes it doesn't mean you're going to be all good to tow even a 2.5 tonne van.

Of course large four-wheel-drives crash, but we generally see them with larger vans behind.

Weight:

You need to aim to have around 200 to 250 kgs weight on your tow ball with bigger vans.

Ten per cent of the caravan weight is a good rule of thumb for whatever size van you tow.

You need to have the rear of your tow vehicle set up for this load, and ensure it is legal.

If you have no or limited downwards weight from the van going onto the tow hitch of your tow vehicle you're really asking for trouble.

Some vans are manufactured with nearly no tow ball weight - some are really scary - so do your homework before you make your investment.

Electric brake controllers:

When you're on the highway turn them up high to provide solid braking to the trailer; if you need to emergency stop you want the trailer to be pulling up faster.

If you go through town and turn them down due to brakes locking up at the lights, don't forget to turn them up or they won't be there when needed.

The older-style controllers had a large solid lever so you could grab the slide button to lock the trailer brakes on.

Anti-sway bars and weight distribution hitches:

First off they are two totally different things but people appear to get them mixed up.

Sway bars are designed to help with swaying, weight distribution hitches take weight off the tow ball, and level your vehicle.

Most caravan crashes we attend we see weight-distribution hitches fitted. With a heavily loaded tow ball they can help.

If you have low tow ball weight, we personally consider weight distribution hitches make things worse.

With their tension they really could provide the opposite result and have a dangerous lifting effect on the rear of your vehicle.

To check out the post in its entirety follow this link.