If you spend any amount of time on the road with your caravan and staying at caravan parks, you will hear horror tales of someone who lost their caravan to a towing accident. While caravan insurance can help you pick up the pieces after the fact, there are ways to avoid an accident and stay within the law.

Whether you drive or not you should know that trailers and caravans are difficult to tow. They can zigzag with the slightest provocation. In reality, most trailers and caravans are designed and built to tow in a stable manner. Problems generally arise from a trailer or caravan being loaded incorrectly, the trailer or caravan is not compatible with the towing vehicle or the wrong towing equipment is fitted.


The most stable arrangement is a towing vehicle has more weight than what is being towed. However, the reality is that larger caravans have other issues such as being affected by winds. The weight of the towing vehicle will counteract any instability in the towing vehicle. While that is the basic principle, there are a number of issues to consider.


In regard to the tow vehicle, it is important the GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) is not breached. The GVM is the maximum amount the vehicle is allowed to weigh when it is fully loaded. This is different per model and vehicle type.

The payload is the difference between the empty weight, also known as Tare weight and the GVM. You should know that this weight includes passengers, fuel, luggage and any accessories you have fitted since the vehicle’s manufacture.

As for trailers and caravans, the maximum the weight is displayed on the trailer. This is known as the ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass). This is the total weight of the vehicle itself and all items it is loaded with.

So let’s have a look at some of the situations you may face. You may have a vehicle with a tow rating at 3000kg, which can tow a caravan of 2990kg but as soon as you put anything over 10kg in that caravan it becomes illegal to tow.

Another number to check is the GCM (Gross Combination Mass) of your towing vehicle. Most vehicles have this rating. This is the total weight of the loaded towing vehicle and the loaded trailer.


Is there anything you can add to this article? Share your experience through the comments section below.

Martin White

Martin is huge on everything outdoors and is even bigger on driving and technology. He loves boats, new stuff and writing about it.