Back to basics … some simple tips on how to reverse a caravan safely

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Reversing a caravan
Having good mirrors will help make reversing a caravan easier ... and safer. PIC: Dash OffRoad

For many grey nomads, reversing the caravan is one of the most stressful parts of taking the Big Lap. Here, Jeff Palmer from Getabout Training /Tow-Ed, shares some words of wisdom on how to get it right.

As everyone knows, reversing any trailer can create its own set of circumstances different to the next. Reversing a large caravan is no different, so putting a plan into place just simplifies an activity.

Below are some dot points for consideration, remembering no two set of circumstances are always the same on any given day and mirrors are not very effective when on an angle! On arrival to any site, the driver walks ahead once the site location is known, to do some site surveying.

Assessing the site: the site survey is looking for:
• Angle of approach, driver or passenger side reverse action
• Activity surrounding your site
• Activities such as – children
• Activities such as – pets
• Any obstacles that might prevent the reverse manoeuvre.
• Other items surrounding your site – trees, power boxes, water stands etc.
• Ground condition – are level blocks required under one side?

Communication: once site has been assessed:
• Assess type of communication that is required during your reverse action into the allocated spot.
• Where might be the best location for the assistance (spotter) to stand remembering we cannot see everywhere at the same time!
• Action the reverse manoeuvre slowly, this allows for sufficient time to react to an instruction like “STOP” – we do not want to level the power box!
• Reversing at a fast rate is NEVER a good idea for many reasons, the main reason is the inability to “react in time”.

Accessories to use: some other things that will definitely assist in this activity are:
• A well-positioned reversing camera
• A good set of two-way radios
• Even mobile phones – hands free for the driver
• Attending a training course that provides you with set up configurations to simplify this activity.

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