The RAC has warned Christmas holidaymakers to be patient behind the wheel, with higher numbers of caravans expected to be on the road.
With the COVID pandemic severely restricting overseas travel and interstate border restrictions constantly changing, many West Australians have bought tow vehicle and caravans.
The RAC says caravan insurance has jumped 50 per cent in the past six months compared to 2019 — including an 85 per cent spike in June.
RAC communications manager Rhys Heron said drivers should expect more vans on the road this holiday period as West Aussies are forced to holiday within their state..
“The summer break is always a popular time for families to hit the road for a caravanning or camping holiday, but we should expect our roads to be even busier this year,” Mr Heron said.
He added many drivers will be new to towing vans and camper trailers and may be travelling long distances on unfamiliar roads.
“Vehicles towing a caravan can’t travel as fast as other cars and need to allow extra space for turning and braking, in case they have to stop suddenly,” he said.
“It’s been a tough year already — let’s be patient, slow down and share our roads so we can all enjoy a safe and happy holiday.”
RAC’s caravan safety tips:
Before you leave:
- Service your tow vehicle and check your oil, radiator, suspension, tyre pressure and lights
- Clean your windows and mirrors, and fill your windscreen washer bottle
- Distribute weight evenly in your caravan — start by packing the heavy items first, low to the ground and ensure all items are securely fastened down
- Don’t overload — find out what your vehicle and towbar are capable of towing and do not exceed the towing capacity
- Double check to ensure your caravan is hitched correctly
- Plan your route so you know where you’re going and check for rest stops and petrol stations along the way
- Charge your phone and put it somewhere out of reach
On the road:
- Scan ahead as far as you can to identify hazards early and adjust your driving
- Allow extra distance for braking and leave at least 200m between your vehicle and other caravans on the road
- Drive to the conditions and do not exceed 100km/hr
- Challenge the need to overtake other drivers — if you’re behind a vehicle travelling at 90km/hr, you will need at least 1km of clear road in front of you to overtake them (as to not exceed the speed limit of 100km/hr)
- Allow extra space when turning corners
- If you need to stop in a hurry, always brake in a straight line
- Take regular breaks and stop for basic vehicle checks every 100kms
- Check your mirrors regularly to ensure you’re aware of what is happening behind you
- Stay alert for wildlife
- Be patient and enjoy the drive