Is Your Caravan Overweight?
Unlike asking a lady, finding out your vans weight isn’t just polite – it’s critical for its safe performance on the road. In fact, an overweight caravan isn’t only illegal, it increases your crash risks by causing both the van and the tow vehicle to become unstable and by overloading the breaks. It’s recently been estimated that a whopping 70% of caravans in Australia are overweight!
- Why is it a problem?
Towing an overweight van is illegal for a reason – it’s quite possibly one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. If your caravan is too heavy, you’re putting an unnecessary strain on your chassis and running gear, causing them to wear down far quicker. If it’s overweight and unbalanced, you’ll get what some refer to as ‘Death Wobbles’, where your van begins fishtailing behind you. This is actually the number one cause of accidents for caravanners.
- Are there any effects on insurance?
We all know how important insurance is. From our cars to our home and contents, the vast majority of us have had to rely on our insurance at least once, which is why having insurance on your van is so important. However, if you’re in an accident, and your insurance company learns you were overweight, they likely won’t pay out your claim – even if you weren’t at fault!
- How do I find out my weight?
Unless you want to wait for the police to weigh your van, the easiest way to find out is with a weigh bridge. Public weigh bridges are dotted along major highways across the country, or at local council depots and industrial estates. Whilst some are free and self-service, others are around $25-$30 – though when you compare that with the cost of a fine or a denied insurance claim, you’ll find it well worth it.
- What can I do about it?
It isn’t just excess water and luggage that contribute to your vans weight – sometimes those added extras that you picked out at the dealership aren’t included in your caravan’s carrying limit. This include roll out awning, external fold down tables, additional solar panels, bike rack carriers (and the bikes you put on them) and even a satellite TV dish. Make sure you take this into consideration when deciding what you do or don’t need to bring away with you.
If you haven’t noticed already, having an overweight caravan should be a serious concern for any holiday maker. Not only is it a safety issue, but it can void your warranty, your insurance companies won’t have to pay a cent, and it’s illegal, meaning you’ll be facing some very hefty fines. The easiest solution is to simply pack light and weigh your caravan.