Call for compulsory caravan course to end the carnage

Caravan safety Keith Shapcott with Roadcraft instructor Michael Carter.
Caravan safety Keith Shapcott with Roadcraft instructor Michael Carter. Renee Albrecht

AS WE approach the long summer holidays more and more caravans will be travelling our roads and so comes an increase in potential caravan crashes.

Ahead of the influx driver education experts are calling for compulsory training for would-be caravanners.

Gympie Roadcraft's Glen Jocumsen questions the state's inadequate licensing system, which he says is to blame for some crashes.

"I think some sort of defensive driver course for caravan drivers should be mandatory," Mr Jocumsen said.

"The legislation is at fault here because the licensing system allows a caravan driver or new owner to have a large four wheel drive and a 22 foot caravan and tow that combination on a normal C Class without any requirement for any extra training."

 

A car towing a caravan after it crashed on the Bruce Hwy at Cooroy on September 3.
A car towing a caravan after it crashed on the Bruce Hwy at Cooroy on September 3. Clayton's Towing

He said to drive a heavy vehicle with a combination length of 15 metres would require a heavy vehicle licence in other industries.

"Some of these combinations can also weigh in excess of 4500kgs and again in the heavy vehicle industry this would require a light rigid licence," Mr Jocumsen said.

Figures show caravanning is a real growth industry and with registrations steadily increasing alongside the development and size of the vans so do the number of crashes.

 

Mike Clayton from Clayton's Towing said some urban myths can have dire results for caravanners in dangerous situations.

He says there are five real reasons a caravan can crash (READ HERE: 5 reasons caravans crash) including simple things like incorrect loading of the van.

"There's a bit of a saying that if you get the wobbles up that you (should) go faster to get out of them," he said.

"That's one we've heard so often and it doesn't work.

"If you're towing a caravan, (extra) training doesn't hurt at all."

 

Gary and Jaime Young learn the caravan ropes with Roadcraft instructor Rick Southon.
Gary and Jaime Young learn the caravan ropes with Roadcraft instructor Rick Southon. Renee Albrecht

New caravan owners Gary and Jaime Young, who booked into a Roadcraft caravan course before they explore Cape York next year said the experience was a real eye opener.

"The van just magnifies your potential for error," Mr Young said.

"It's about understanding what your capabilities are."

Gympie Times


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