Holidays for individualists

Being on holiday off the beaten track – it’s no problem with a caravan. Read more about caravanning in Isolde Holderied’s new ‘Advice for drivers’.

Choosing the travelling speed by yourself, stopping where you like, consciously gathering new impressions: These are the attractions of a caravanning tour. For many years, Germany, Italy and France have been the most attractive holiday destinations of the German caravanning fans.

To keep up untroubled holiday vibes, however, you are supposed to make yourself familiar with each country’s safety standards. Regarding the road performance, a caravan differs from a passenger car. Fast driven corners or sudden crosswinds can affect the caravan’s stability. When it comes to loading, keep the caravan’s centre of gravity as low as possible, with heavy pieces of luggage put at the bottom, and not into the wall units.

For vehicles exceeding a certain weight, some roads are closed: Here, it’s vital to keep an eye on the signposting! Whereas caravans up to 3.5 tons are classified as passenger cars, the lorry and bus traffic rules apply for vehicles over 3.5 tons. This might mean that certain passes must not be used. Basically, the permitted maximum weight as well as the hubloads should not be exceeded. Here, a look in the car documents is a good advice. If you are not sure whether the vehicle is too heavy after loading, you can weigh the caravan at a public weighing machine or at the Technical Inspection Agency.

Talking about weight: A caravan weighing several tons has a longer braking distance than a passenger car, due to its mass. That’s why it is paramount to drive anticipatorily, and to keep a safety distance according to the formula “half of the speed indicator” at least. This means to keep a distance of 50 metres on the motorway, when driving 100 km/h. This matches the distance between two of the poles on the side of the road. Driving-safety lessons are recommendable, as they are offered by automobile clubs. Finally, only people who get their caravan under control can enjoy their holidays without any trouble.

I wish you a happy summertime.

Yours sincerely,

Isolde Holderied

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