Grey nomads injured after caravan rolls on highway

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Grey nomad caravan rolls over
The aftermath of the rollover. Photo courtesy of Moruya Examiner

A grey nomad couple has been injured after their caravan and car overturned on the Princes Highway in New South Wales.

Police believe the rig became unstable after the caravan attachment became dislodged from the towing vehicle’s tow ball. The car overturned while the driver was attempting to slow and pull over near the Bingi turnoff.

The Moruya Examiner reports that a man aged in his 70s was taken to Moruya hospital after sustaining a cut to his head. A woman in her 60s was also taken to hospital for assessment.

There appears to have been an increasing number of caravan rollovers in recent times, often on major highways. This year has seen serious incidents of this kind on the Newcastle to Sydney Freeway, the Hume Highway, and elsewhere. Last year, a grey nomad was killed died after his car and caravan rolled over on the South Coast Highway near Albany.

Experts say grey nomads should do all they can to prepare themselves and their vehicles for the rigours of towing a caravan around Australia.

Taking a towing course is a sensible first step for many but it is also essential that tow­ing vehicles and caravan are set up and packed correctly. Travellers need to be sure, for example, that the appropriate towbar is being used, a suitable braking system is in place, and that the rig complies with all weight restrictions.

  • Have you ever been in a rollover or near-rollover? How can they best be avoided? Comment below.

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18 Responses to Grey nomads injured after caravan rolls on highway

  1. We had a clown pass us at Ceduna last week doing at least 120 km/p/h crossing double lines. loading properly and steady as she goes is the key. Enjoy the journey, go less distance a day get the right rig for your car’, learn to drive and reverse them.

  2. Lifes a dream when you tow a Supreme. Or so the ad goes.

  3. Education and compliance. Numerous studies have shown that weight distribution is a key factor and we do very little to educate people on how or why this is so important.

    Speed is often blamed but unless we are limited to sub 80Kph then it is only one component that we must manage, it is not necessarily the primary issue.

    Change the legislation that permits towed weight to equal or exceed the tow vehicle’s weight. In Germany for example, it is illegal to tow a caravan that weights more than 80% of the unladen tow vehicles weight. Here in Oz we place too much emphasis on the manufacturers towing capacities and not the overall ratios.

    • How come our “authorities” have allowed these money hungry manufacturers to pick a number between 1 and 10 to say that’s what their product can tow.
      Where’s common sense gone?
      How can a 2 ton ute pull up a 3.5 ton mass pushing down hill regardless of how good the brakes might be!
      The old rule of the trailer not being any heavier then the tow vehicle seemed to work well and with a lot less trauma than todays policy!
      Let’s get back to basics and with a bit more education and training.
      No nomad I know would begrudge doing a weekend driver training school if they knew it was going to make things safer for themselves and other! And then match the Tug to the trailer!
      Stay safe and enjoy the ride :- )

  4. Noticed one of the road springs on my 1999 16ft Jayco Starwagon pop top has gone soft so I have got two new springs ordered to be fitted in Perth as soon as possible. Those springs are made in Melbourne and are supplied to Jayco so I am trying not to alter the suspension away from the original specifications. Stay safe on the highways.

  5. I think once you reach a certain age you need be testedbefore towing a caravan. In so many of these rollovers the driver is aged 70+ . As our retirement age is put back further and further the age of the grey nomads also gets higher and higher. A towing course and test should be compulsory for new buyers of larger vans.

    • We tow a caravan but we plan to move to a motor camper once we get to 70, in about 10 years.

    • Personally I think that nobody should be allowed to tow a trailer of any size without having proper training /license to do so
      I’ve seen people with even a box trailer come to grief with improper loading (I drive a full legal length tilt tray with trailer combo that can carry 4 cars) so have a `little’ experience with trailers and large combos, and way too many people are seen blissfully unaware as they are driving along narrow country roads that the left hand tyre of their van is bouncing along completely off the tar…

      mirrors, awareness of cornering `cutting in’, underpowered and underweight tow vehicles, driver lack of training, all of these are my pet peeves when it comes to trailer towers (grey nomads and/or boats, even many trade utes are equally guilty)

      One thing to be aware of is with the increase of electric braking, `swivel’ couplers are on the decrease (the old style override braking couplers), with rigidly mounted couplers becoming the norm. I have seen many vans becoming `1 wheelers’ where the van is up on a single wheel- but with the swiveling style overrider couplers- often the tower was unaware hat the van had even become unstable. With rigid couplers- once you exceed the swivel ability of the ball itself, then the tow car gets lifted and tipped along with the van (about 40 degrees), and driver panic as the car suddenly starts tipping over can often cause an accident, where a swivel coupling would settle back down by itself afterwards, often with the driver completely unaware of how close they had come to an accident- I bet the increase in rollovers also matches almost exactly the introduction of electric brakes/rigid couplers

  6. Sounds good to me Gail, I have been towing vans for 45 years and am 66 years of age. In 5 years I’ll be 70+. I will have been towing vans for 50 years. If all caravanners have to have an annual towing test I’ll go along with that, not just the 70+ group

    • It is my belief that everyone who intends to tow anything bigger than a gardern trailer needs to recieve proper instruction before doing so.
      I also believe that every motorist – yes every one – should do a refresher driving course, with retesting, every 5 years.
      There are so many people who have no knowledge of the changes to the road rules, and, let’s face it, most of us develop bad habits over a period of time.

  7. It’s time for a uniform set of laws applying to towing across Australia. It is illegal for a big van to be towed in NSW by a car without monitoring on it’s breakaway battery. Does this mean nobody can enter the state? Stewie

    • No David, this rule only applies to caravans registered in NSW

  8. you all need to find out the facts b4 you start to criticize this poor driver was merging back after double lanes when he was cut off by some DH trying to overtake to late so he had to pull over in the gutter and lost control
    hope he and his wife are ok

  9. After 46 years of driving trucks all over Oz I have seen some caravanners do some stupid things. I do think it is time for all the states to have the one law for everyone and also to bring in a licence for ALL people who tow a vehicle over 1 tonne. I retired from truck driving 7 years ago and have been on the road with van [and wife] permanently. I am appalled at the lack of general driving ability of the caravan fraternity. More arguments are created at parks when said driver tries to reverse into the site. I have lost count of the times I have rescued the hapless driver. I ask all drivers to go to a driving school and get a few lessons at least. Then take your rig out to a big parking area and learn how to handle it. Everytime you stop for smoko practise a bit of reversing. That way you wont make such of a d***head of yourself at the next park.

  10. Agree with what Jerry said. My husband is a just retired MC truck driver and we are amazed at the people who buy a van and think they can drive it safely. Most have never towed anything bigger than a 6×4 trailer and have no idea how to back. There should be a Aust wide special licence for towing a van, with drivers having to show the skill to get the licence. Similar to a MC licence. Also the towing vehicle must be large and powerful enough for the van behind. A car/WD with van behind is a legal weapon in the hands of an inexperienced driver.

  11. My advice for reversing a trailer. Try to approach your site so that when you reverse, the trailer turns out on the driver’s side. By opening the driver’s door, and looking backwards, you can see where your trailer is going. It gets easier every time, just persevere.

  12. Sorry typing error in previous message instead of legal I meant to type LETHAL weapon. After witnessing some very dodgy driving and hopeless backing into sites I stand by my suggestions. Learn to drive a long vehicle or don’t buy a caravan.

  13. Just came back from a trip to Yawal N/P out of Nowra and was discusted by the D/Hs who pile their rubbish up next to overflowing bins it was all over the camping site by the animals why can’t the NWPS get down there late on Sundays and start writing fines out might make some wake up and take their rubbish home we have a rear wheel bag where you can put all sorts of stuff in and keep the place clean.

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