Expert to share tips for a safer caravan experience

THEY are too numerous to count.

The number of stories that Gary Rodgers can tell about grey nomads who head off on their dream caravan holiday, only to be back within days because they have damaged their home on wheels.

Some don’t even make it out of the driveway, Mr Rodgers, the co-owner of Warrnambool Caravan Repairs, said with more than a trace of sorrow on his face.

He tells the story of a  man whose caravan the business had set up so the weight was properly distributed.

The customer picked up the van and promptly moved everything to the back, which made it wobble under tow and jackknife half an hour into the big trip.

Another tale is about a man who damaged the side of his caravan when he side-swiped a waste skip. He had it repaired by Mr Rodgers and his team but was back soon after, with the same recently-repaired side of the caravan dented after backing into a tree. 

Caravans damaged by their owners when they were backing or turning provide a steady stream of trade to the business, he said.

“People do not realise how far caravans swing in the back. They hit petrol bowsers.”

His wife Debbie Rodgers said part of the problem facing new caravan users was they were not taught how to tow or pack their vans when they bought them. Mr Rodgers hopes to help people new to towing caravans, as well as experienced towers, how to avoid accidents when he speaks at a forum in Warrnambool for caravan holidaymakers.

The forum will be at the Archie Graham Community Centre in Timor Street from 10am-11am on Tuesday, April 15.

Mr Rodgers will also talk about what people should get when they buy a caravan such as towing mirrors and towing hitches appropriate to the weight of their caravans.

Another caravan safety feature he recommends is Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology that automatically activates electric brakes when inbuilt sensors detect the van is swinging from side to side unsafely.

One of things he won’t be recommending is the use of house bricks to chock caravan wheels or to lift vans to a flat level: plastic chocks do the same job and weigh far less.

He also tells people to consider taking many of their accessories off their caravans before they sell them.

Many of the accessories can fit the next caravan that people buy and are expensive to replace.

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