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Your caravan is probably one of the most valuable items you own and as such, it should be looked after and kept safe.
There are many aspects of caravan safety to consider, from operational safety such as levelling and towing, to theft security and fire safety.
Hit the right level
When you arrive at your holiday destination or even back home, you must always ensure that your caravan is on level ground. Not only would it be annoying to be sleeping on an angle, but there are also practical reasons why your caravan needs to be level too. Your fridge and other appliances may not work properly if you’re off kilter, and it will also make it difficult for sinks and showers to drain effectively too. In fact, your whole set-up will be better if you’re level, so take the extra time when you arrive to get the right position.
Once you’re happy that you’re on a reasonably level patch, lower each of your corner steadies to ensure that the caravan is secure - each steady can be adjusted to their individual gradient. You can even opt for wheel chocks if you wish. These give an extra layer of safety to ensure your caravan stays put and are often used when caravans are not being used for longer periods.
There are many ways that you can improve the security of your caravan to protect it from being stolen or from break-ins when the contents inside may be taken.
The first thing to do when you arrive somewhere and detach your caravan from your vehicle is to secure it with a hitch lock. A hitch lock locks the hitch and stops the handle from being able to be raised, which means no one will be able to move - or steal - the caravan while the hitch lock is on. Most insurance companies insist on hitch locks, so do your research to make sure you get the best one for your caravan.
Make sure you close all the windows and lock the door when you leave your caravan to keep everything inside safe - even on really hot days!
Don’t leave any portable valuables inside the caravan if you’re going out. This includes things such as iPads, laptops, phones etc. If opportunist thieves can’t see any valuables inside, they may not bother trying to break in.
After pitching, befriend the neighbours and agree to look out for each other’s caravans when you or they venture out.
Attaching an awning to your caravan is advantageous for many reasons - and one of them is that it makes your caravan harder to steal without drawing attention!
Consider security devices such as cameras and alarms - and make sure they are visible in the hope they will put would-be thieves off.
When you’re not using your caravan, make sure you store it securely. Storing it inside somewhere lockable would be ideal and keeping it on your property away from public view would be the next best thing. Driveways are good if you are around to keep an eye on it, but try to avoid leaving it somewhere unattended if possible.
Keeping your caravan safe from the threat of fire is extremely important both for human safety and to keep it in good condition. Check that your smoke alarm is working before every trip. Also ensure that you have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket on board at all times - these could come in handy for small flames that could be quickly dealt with yourself. Always ensure that all gas supplies and kitchen appliances are used safely and turned off after use. If you have children, make it clear to them that they should not touch the gas or any of the appliances at any time. If you discover a larger fire in your caravan, get everyone out and call the fire service; never try to tackle it yourself.
Towing a caravan, particularly the first few times you do it, can be tricky. You should allow yourself more space and time than you would if you were just driving your car to ensure you don’t miscalculate and make mistakes such as mounting curbs. Remember to break sooner than you normally would and accelerate slower. Stay calm and take your time and everything will be fine! Set off earlier than you need to so you’re not rushing and have time to stop for breaks if you need them
Keep in mind that speed limits are often lower when you’re towing - 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways. You should always be able to see the caravan clearly, so extension mirrors are a good idea as they give you a better view. Make sure you remove them when you’ve finished towing though!
You must also purchase a legal number plate for your caravan - which should be the same registration as your car. Before every journey you should check that the caravan’s road lights are working so that other road users can see when you’re braking, indicating or reversing.
On the move
When embarking on a journey with your caravan, it is important to make sure that everything inside it is secured to minimise the chance of anything getting damaged. Make sure that all kitchen crockery is safely put away in cupboards and that any knick-knacks are stored rather than on display. Close all internal doors to stop them flapping around and banging, and also position larger items that you are transporting inside the caravan, such as folding chairs or barbeques, in places that they are unable to shift around.
Ask us anything!
At Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes, we’re pretty knowledgeable on all things caravan, so if you have any queries about any aspect of caravan safety, please get in touch. Our accessory shop stocks a range of safety and security products so drop us an email to find out what we stock and be sure to drop in and take a look for yourself when we reopen.
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