Giving the Boss (the Wife, Mum, Adele) a refresher caravan towing lesson was never going to be easy…this is how it all went down!
We have been caravanning for many years now and it is still surprising that there is so much more to learn.
One thing that we have often pondered on is “who will drive?” Normally it’s me, but what if something ever happened to me? Could Adele drive the car with the van in tow? The car is much bigger than our regular car we drive so Adele not only has to get used to the car, but also the car with a 24ft caravan on the back. Not the easiest of tasks.
We had the van hooked up in the drive while we packed it for our next weekend away. One night during the week we had a little time up our sleeves so I put the boss to the test. “Come on” I said, “you need to know how to drive this thing”.
So off we went. Now one thing I have learnt over the years of driving is if you are pulling a caravan you can’t be in a rush. AT ALL! Now, there are two speeds in the car that Adele drives around town; Flat out and Stop! My first hurdle in this little towing test was up for discussion and we had not even started. How do I bring this one up?
We pulled out the drive and I had to tell her to keep the car to the right. Luckily we live in a court, as we crawled out of the drive way, she amazed at how much room we needed for the van to get around. We only just missed the light pole on the left hand side. Pretty incredible visual for Adele was to see the wheel marks of the car and the ones of the van, there was a big difference.
We were off.
At the first corner she hit the anchors and there was a jolt at the back of the car…”Crap hon, was that me?” Yup. It really doesn’t take much to feel the van and this was the perfect time to show her the brake dial next to the steering wheel. We wound it down and tested and back up and tested. She was amazed at the caravan braking system. “That’s cool”.
Slow and steady with EVERYTHING. Accelerating, turning and breaking!
For the next 30 minutes we turned left, turned right, went through roundabouts, went around roundabouts. We even hit the highway so she could feel how it towed at 90 km/h. Our Ranger is an awesome car for towing, and she didn’t really have any major problems and I was pretty proud (and relieved)
It’s the small things that I just do automatically that I needed to share with her…. Looking at the other side of a roundabout, not only to see if you have enough room, but the trees hanging above. Will the van hit them? Turning left and giving yourself plenty of room. Turning when there are obstacles on both sides, light poles, street signs…What if there was another car coming the other way. Who gives way once you’ve started your maneuver?
The more practice she gets the better she will become. Her first trip on her own is just around the corner and I think I will be a nervous wreck. Not only will I have white knuckles I will have to do my best to just let her go. She is a clever cookie and I know she will be very cautious.
If you are reading this and you always do the driving and towing, then take a step back and think about getting your partner to learn how to do it. It may seem easy to you, but there is so much to consider and take in.
Take a deep breath, relax (if you can) and let them do the work.
Here are my top tips for helping the Boss tow the van without it ending in divorce!
- Take deep breaths
- Be patient
- Don’t speak to her like she’s an idiot
- Don’t speak to her like she is a child
- Repeat 3 & 4
- Remember to encourage her & praise her (without doing 3 & 4)
- Take it slow, slow everything down – accelerating, braking and turning
- Check mirrors
- Take corners wide
- Look ahead – forward plan
- Stay calm
- Tell her you love her and repeat 3 & 4
Good Luck & safe travels
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